I used to be interesting. I used to seek out danger and adventure like I was some kind of Navy Seal, rope propelling into questionable situations I wasn’t sure to escape from. I used to have deep, meaningful conversations about politics, my hopes and dreams for the future, and my beliefs with friends whose views varied on every issue. I used to fill a Saturday afternoon with new experiences, new vistas, and new friends. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, I lost all of those vibrant hues that painted me interesting and allowed marriage, career, and motherhood to leave me in a boring gray-wash.
You know this is you too. It happens to us all. Each year into adulthood dulls the sparkle a little more until you wake up one day on a mattress that helps your back spasms that have haunted you from the days of carrying a child on your hip, wearing your husband’s t-shirt, with a child and a dog sleeping horizontally across your face. Yes, this is what all that dreaming in your adolescence has lead to and you lumber out of bed to start the laundry, pack the lunches, and take out the dog. You pass a mirror and realize the face starring back at you is a stranger. Where is that girl who dared to jump off the cliff, who rode a motorcycle, who let belly laughter be her ab workout? You don’t even recognize her anymore. You spend the rest of the day looking and listening for a glimpse of her but your day is filled with conversations about which laundry detergent doesn’t aggravate your child’s eczema and exchanging trade secrets for how to stop your husband’s snoring or what dinner can be made in 20 minutes or less. Surely, she’s in there somewhere…you watch what she does- filling her days with household drudgery, thankless errands, listening to her child summarize each moment of their day in excruciating detail. She finally get the kids to bed and you think “Now, she’ll emerge and the sexy, I’ll try anything once, beast will attack her man with a whole new bag of tricks” but you silently weep as you watch her cuddle up on the couch and fall asleep (mouth completely open, oozing with drool) during the first 5 minutes of that Netflix series you heard was amazing. You shake your head, you cry, you scream at her and then in a final act of desperation you run. That is where my fitness journey began, literally running from what I had allowed myself to become.
While the physical reflection in the mirror didn’t match the girl I once knew, the thing that really scared the shit out of me was what I had allowed myself to become. Yes, I ALLOWED myself to become. I sacrificed all those aspects of who I was because I believed them to not be valuable as I grew into adulthood. Where were all those interesting friends who challenged me, well they probably left right after the first 50 minutes I spent talking about the color of my child’s diarrhea after the latest stomach bug. Why wasn’t my husband chomping at the bit to fuck me? He probably wasn’t enticed by me wearing sweatpants to bed or sensible shoes and turtlenecks to work. Where were all those action-packed weekends filled with adventure? Well they were filled up with basketball games, dance recitals, birthday parties, and vet visits. Fitness was the way I started my journey to fight back to free the woman I once was from the internment camp of adulthood. Once my outsides started looking more like the woman I once was, I became consumed with the desperate rescue mission to find the other parts of my identity that I allowed to be stolen, muted, swept out to sea. And once I found my voice, my face, my form again- I guarded them zealously as the treasures they were to make sure I wasn’t so careless as to let them go again. “Do not got gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light”…let those words be your mantra as you find yourself again. Rage against not a physical death but a spiritual one.