“You know, I’m not sure I can do this with you anymore.” I say, to one of the younger guys that does my programs, at the fitness center I manage during the week.
He looks at me confused, as I walk away from the bench and weights holding the back of my neck.
“What’s wrong?” He asks.
“ I hurt my neck for like two weeks, and I couldn’t figure out what I had done. It just started feeling better today...and now I think I just reinjured myself.”
“Oh! Well, I can just get it myself next time.” He exclaims.
“Yeah..we’ll see. I let you know how I feel tomorrow.” I say, as I walk back over to help unload the bar.
As I started to unload the bar, I heard him yelp...as the weights fell to the floor.
I had just made him drop a 25 plate on his foot, because I unracked the weights without paying attention to his end.
“I’m sorry!” I exclaim. “I was thinking about my neck.”
“You need more coffee!” He says, as he shakes his head at me.
Six months ago, I hurt my back. The next day I promised myself (and you) I would go on the journey of becoming “enough”.
Today, I am just now telling the last of my male clients...that I can’t keep spotting them in the same way I used to.
Rule one of being a trainer, is that you should not be spotting someone... if you are not strong enough to spot them.
I've had to admit to myself, that if they need a physically stronger trainer...then I should encourage them to go find that person.
I was looking through an old box a couple weeks ago, and found this picture of me.... about 4 weeks before my son, Jacob was born.
It made me smile.
It also made me a bit sad.
I remembered how much I didn’t like my picture being taken at the time.
I remembered the long hours I was working…Personal training at a club in Leawood, KS at 5:00 am, and then teaching morning and night classes at a local career college, for the massage therapy and personal training programs.
I remembered how that time of struggle, had fueled me to become the woman I am today.
I took this new picture, the day after I found the old picture.
It made me smile.
But, it also made me a bit sad.
I honestly remember thinking, that when I looked like this, and succeeded in becoming a “strength coach”..that I wouldn’t feel the sadness, and the pain of the last 5 years.
I imagined that the result of all of my hard work would be strength, that overcomes the pain.
But I realize now, as I look at the two pictures together...that pain the woman on the left was carrying...is still very present in the woman on the right.
No amount of achievement has erased it.
And with the injury I’m dealing with from my own overtraining,
I’m not physically stronger than I was 5 years ago.
When my coach told me to stop, I told him I had made an appointment to talk to a therapist.
I told him I had been using weightlifting to deal with emotional pain.
Now, 6 months later a close girlfriend asked if it has been helping.
I told her the truth.
I told her it was challenging.
Two weeks ago, Barbara (my therapist) snapped her fingers in my face three times.
“Maile… come back here.” She said. “You are going somewhere else, and you need to be here.”
I refocused on her face, and said, “ I don’t have anyone speaking over me like this during my day.”
“Well you gave me permission to speak over you, didn’t you?” She asked.
“Yes, I did. No one else in my life knows, that I’m going through this.” I say.
“That is why I am here.” She says.
So, what did Barbara really do... when she snapped her fingers in my face??
She kept me from running away from the pain of what we were discussing...and had me sit with it.
My back is on fire right now…
It forces me (again) to stop...and to sit with the pain of what I’ve created...even if by accident.
It forces me to stop and be honest, about whether I am doing everything I should be to heal and recover.
It forces me to recognize that pride and carelessness, will only serve to keep me injured.
It forces me to consider whether I would like to be healed… or if I would like to keep up this “strong” image.
Since my reinjury, I’ve have been keeping a mental recount of how many woman I see each day, trying to run from the pain they feel.
They have all come to the gym, in effort to escape the pain for awhile...just as I have done my entire life.
Just this week, I’ve stood with women in the gym as they tell me of recent miscarriages, infertility, parents dieing, cancer diagnosis, children in rehab, grandchildren they are not allowed to see, 100 hour work weeks...and that is just what I can remember this week.
What is different in my conversation, is that I do not offer the gym as a place to fix their problems.
The gym is just a place to have a moment to yourself.
The gym is just a place to become physically and mentally stronger.
But when we step outside of it...we must be sure to love ourselves... in the face of a world that would rather we sacrifice ourselves.
This website, and this blog is (and always will be) a record of my journey to restore my body, mind, and soul.
I don’t have all the answers.
I just have my stories.
I just hope to offer you a place that you can go, where you can be encouraged to love yourself.
When we look in the mirror at the woman in front of us, she needs our love.
No one else can ever (truly) do this type of love for her.
Loving her... is embracing any imperfection we see in her.
Loving her... is opening up to any pain that she carries.
Loving her... is setting her free, to be who she is in the moment she finds herself.
Loving her... is surrounding her with people, who encourage her to love herself first.
That’s all for today friends. :)
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