On Strength and Heart (a.k.a. An Explanation of Last Week’s Absence)

Last week, I alluded to the fact that I’d been going through some personal “stuff” … hence the writer’s block that left much of the week post-less. As I continued to think about the situation – I got to thinking about the way that my workouts act as a form of therapy to get me through the stress of both this particular situation, as well as everyday life (or at least allows me to focus on something I can control for a while). For that reason, I have decided to take a bit of a risk and delve a little more into my personal life today.

So many of you have been so kind and forthcoming with your support, encouragement and thoughts (even the ones I don’t always agree with, but I still respect) throughout the last nearly year of Strong-Fit-Beautiful’s existence. And sometimes what you really need is that outside, objective voice to guide you in the right direction. To help you see what you really need to see to be able to maintain – or regain – your wellness. To help you take on the challenges which you cannot directly control, and to which the endgame is unknown. To help you realize that putting yourself in a vulnerable position, while it can be terrifying, is the true test of strength.  

See, here’s the thing: if you have ever seen me teach a class, it may surprise you to know that outside of the studio, I’m a starkly different person – the confidence and excitement are much harder to come by. While in class, I joke that you probably think I’m crazy, or mean, or something worse, in “real” life, there is nothing that brings more fear than the possibility of people actually viewing me this way. I have gone so far as to say that until I have heard the words “you are my friend, and I like you” said, I have a hard time believing that people actually do. It’s almost as if workouts and classes are business, and everything else is personal – and while I may succeed in being a confident rockstar in “business,” I struggle to keep my head above water when things turn more personal (perhaps that is why in my pre-fitness days, I found solace in theater, where I could be someone else).

As you may already know, February is heart month. From heart disease awareness to those little boxes of chocolates in the stores, the heart is everywhere. And while I do everything in my power to maintain my heart’s strength through fitness (a.k.a. the love of my life), in many ways, my heart is aching.

To be completely honest, I don’t often find many people who “get” me. I’ve been told all too many times that I’m intimidating – a description that I’m yet to understand. I stumbled upon a quote several months back that truly resonated with me: “The right man will love all the things about you that the wrong man was intimidated by.”

So, yeah, this is a story about a man. A man who “gets” me. A man who loves the same things I love – the things that others have found too “intimidating” about me. A man who took me by surprise, who drew me in when I least expected it, and who distanced himself right when I finally felt confident enough in myself to let him in. To care. To feel. To believe that who I really was, was amazing.

I’m not going to make it out like this was a huge, long affair, because it was not. It began as months of a harmless spark between friends; a spark that finally found the right conditions and ignited. My instinct was to run from the fire, but my gut told me to enjoy the beauty of the flame that was finally ablaze. It was several weeks of a beautiful glow, but just as quickly as it ignited, the flame went out.  

I wasn’t wronged. No ill-will exists. I still cherish our friendship, though it’s difficult to take a step back and try to ignore the feelings. When I took a step back and looked at it, all the signs that told me that the two of us together was so right. I care deeply for him, and I want nothing but the best for him – though I still believe that what’s best for him is me. Where does the story go from here? I suppose only time can tell.

So I did what I do best when I find myself facing challenges that even the best workout in the world cannot solve – I put my thoughts onto paper. I did something that I’ve never had the confidence to do before – I decided I wasn’t going to lay down and take it – I was going to fight for him. I put myself out there. I said my piece. I’ve yet to hear his thoughts – but I’d rather him take a little time to explore the feelings truly in his own heart, rather than just giving me the initial knee-jerk reaction. Was it a mistake to share what is really in my heart? I don’t believe so. Even if I don’t get the response I genuinely hope for, I really believe sometimes we don’t get what we want, we get what we need … and that everything happens for a reason.  

At the end of the day, what’s best for our minds, and what’s best for our souls, is what is best for our hearts. Much like our muscles, sometimes we just have to go through a little rebuilding and recovery to come back stronger. I’m staying positive. I’m keeping faith that I’m on the right path. And I’m definitely not giving up.