How the gym changed everything for me

 

I don’t really know how the weight crept up on me. I mixture of anxiety and children I guess but in the “before” shot, I was over 200 pounds. And I knew it and I hated it but it seemed like nothing I did seemed to help and I just kept eating and sitting and doing nothing to change myself. Even though I felt mentally and physically gross. Working out was here and there. I ran for a while; before that, I was dedicated to the gym but because I didn’t change what I was eating, it didn’t help. I quit when I didn’t lose and didn’t look back when I got pregnant with my fourth child.

This last year was different though. I will confess that my weight loss initially started because of stress. There were weeks that I didn’t eat, literally. I lived on coffee and through the osmosis of my children’s energy. But it started to come off, albeit the wrong way, but it did. When the fear set in though, I decided I needed to be strong. And when I realize the endorphins curbed the anxiety, I added a ton of cardio. Eventually, as the gym got busier, and I got braver and need more and started a few classes. One because a dear friend taught it and others because I knew they’d help get the angry out. And with that, I felt less angry, less sad, less scared and very strong; both mentally and physically. I was, I am no longer afraid.

What I learned from that act of exercise is that it made me feel better mentally and physically but mostly mentally. I have a devote fondness for my Pound Fitness class. My friend Mary was the ONLY reason I tried it. I didn’t do classes at that point and was afraid of embarrassing myself in a group fitness setting. But I love her and I am SO proud of her journey. I wanted to support her and the best was I could was by going to her class. I loved it. From class one. Hitting things with sticks? Well, it’s better than some of the other stuff I wanted to do. It’s also better than yelling or being upset all the time about things I have no control over. Hitting things with sticks has helped me begin to let go. And as the one year of that devastation approaching, I am fully confident all this will be a distant memory and truly the biggest learning experience of my life.

With the new year, the gym is packed. It’s so funny to be one of the “regulars” versus the people who resolve to get fit then drop off the gym surface after a few weeks. I was a little stabby last week when one of my favorite classes was packed to the gills but quickly realized it’s awesome. It’s great that there will be some people in that class who are going to change their lives. Just like I changed mine.

What are your favorite gym classes? Or workout routines?

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Why I’ve chosen to go back to work, even if it’s part time.

When I was pregnant with Devlynn I had convinced myself that once she arrived I would easily find childcare and march my hiney back to my loved waitressing job. I honestly loved to work before I had her. What I didn’t account for is the fact that this tiny human was about to consume my entire heart and there was no way in hell I was gonna leave her with anyone, ever. Waitressing was not a career and Kevin and I agreed that it was just easier and better for me to stay home.

Through the years we added children. Four to be exact. I stayed home with each of them, picking up odd jobs here and there. Sealing envelopes, making pageant clothes; I even taught myself to code and work various Adobe programs to not have to return to the workforce and be able to stay home with my little guys. I’ve sewn everything under the sun and done so many jobs, if I actually sat down and wrote out a résumé, it would look pretty impressive. Yes, that’s bragging on myself. I’m not even gonna apologize for being proud of that.

My baby turned three this last year. And it was a hard, hard year for me. I wouldn’t be lying if I told you I’d lost myself in the spring of 2017. Not that I was ever really sure of myself. In March, I just totally melted into this puddle of wondering who I’d become and who I was becoming. And I panicked and cried and probably annoyed the hell out of the woman who so bravely and strongly supported me through what was the worst few months of my life. And with that, I started to find me again. Gone were the days of worrying about what people would think of a wild hair color and I finally started my much-wanted sleeve (it’s beautiful btw and I wish I could go more than once every three months). But my biggest change was my weight. Admittedly it was kick-started by stress but as I looked for an outlet for all the anger I felt, I found the gym. I love the gym. I never thought I would ever say that. Ever. It started with hour-long sessions on the elliptical and eventually more planned out workouts thanks to my sister’s ex-husband who also happens to be a kick-ass personal trainer. And I eventually added a nutritionist and then classes. I lost 45 pounds and a lot of shame I felt being a “big” girl. I was able to look at myself in the mirror and not be horrified by what I saw. And I felt good, inside. Which matters so much more than what I saw outside. And I did it at the YMCA.  The YMCA is my happy place. And when I decided it was time to look for a part-time job it only made sense to apply there..

I don’t have any teacher experience and so I applied in childcare. Mom of five? Yup, plenty of experience and the added bonus was I could take my little boys with me to work making my schedule more open. I started in the summer. I have loved almost every moment of it. It has just added to the pieces of missing me. I love to go to work. And there is something about helping other mama’s out that gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I remember the first time I handed Dixon over to a smiling Miss Jenn. She took him, played with him and I knew he was safe and when I came back and he’d had an accident, she acted like it was no big deal, smiled and was glad I got to have that hour of time for myself.

The YMCA is a great place. To go to and to work at and I am grateful for everything it’s done for me. My self-esteem isn’t great these days but it’s better than it was.  I still battle with a lot of questions on why and what was wrong with me when everything seemed to fall apart. It’s hard not to wonder why things happen and then to not instantly blame yourself when really it was someone else’s insecurity and selfishness that caused all the pain. Adding a job makes me feel helpful and productive and has helped that terrible esteem greatly. And, I’ve made a few friends along the way… I am hoping that with time I can grow those relationships outside the safe walls of the Y.

Working isn’t for everyone and I will never pretend my 10 hour a week job is anything to compare to a full-time, working mother but it does help my family even if it is simply by helping me grow and feel better inside.

A happy wife is a happy life. I know it’s cliché but it’s not wrong.

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

It isn’t that I lost my voice

I stopped writing. Here and in my paper journals. I stopped sharing everything. There are no pictures of anyone anywhere that you can see unless I let you. I stopped everything that I thought used to give me power. I stopped being so loud. I’ve disassembled my platform, I’ve turned off the mic. But I didn’t lose my voice. And I am not afraid, I just learned the strength of quiet and the strength of silence.

I have thought about the, “one door closes and another opens” idea. It’s true, I guess. As I closed-door after door this year I wondered what the new doors would bring. But if I was honest, I’d have to tell you that a lot of those closed doors didn’t open anything. There was no new door to go through. They just ended things I didn’t need anymore. And when the needs were filled, there wasn’t a new need to take the old needs place. There was just peace with the ending. And I’ve had a lot of ending this last year. I have chosen to not have such a loud voice. Instead, my voice is quiet, peaceful and privileged. You don’t get to hear it anymore unless I truly want you to. It is my new voice. My new door.

I have found a prize in privacy.

Where there was once pride in sharing, in bragging, there is now just no desire to share. I don’t know why. Maybe it was that someone took all these words and stole and twisted and molded them into a platform of lies. Maybe, it’s because I found it just so damn easy to find all the pain and mean on the internet and that taught me, there is beauty in silence and that there is peace in privacy. I am not sure. It feels safe again though. Even as the end of the month approaches and I wonder if the peace will be shattered, I feel safe, for the first time in a long time.

Christmas is here. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my Colorado brother and his family. When Kevin died my heart broke into little pieces. It was the beginning of the truth for me that evil often wins. But within those shattered pieces I found a new piece of my family. One that had missed for a very long time. I got nephews and sisters and brothers and while there is nothing that can describe the pain of losing a loved one to mental health: I am so grateful for what I gained because of it.

And it was truly a great holiday. Probably the best one I’ve had in a while despite some hand, foot and mouth and other weirdness. We did all the fun we could in the short amount of time we had. I even got a sleepover with my nephews. Those memories are forever mine and I am so grateful. This door closing was one of those few, another opens, moments. I get Sam and Danielle and Casey and Cameron. And while I wish I had an even fuller house this holiday, I will take what I can get with a grateful heart.

I think I’ll start writing again though. About what? I am not really sure. Mental health? Maybe. It feels a little more vulnerable than it used to, to share my journey. Where I found it easy to share before, hoping it would help someone down a light path, I now know that people, most people, speak a little different. And that evil can find ways to twist words and make completely innocent words into daggers. And while the good won here, it still makes for painful memories. But I miss writing and I feel inspired these days to say all the things I am thinking.

I’ve begun the “note jotting”. The little ideas scribbled on random papers. The inspiration I felt when I FINALLY got to visit the MET in New York. The humility I felt when someone looked at me and told me that I helped keep them out of the sad and let them feel not so alone. I feel inspired to find the medium of oversharing and letting go; which is what writing and blogging have always done for me.

My new friend sent this to me this morning. It’s funny because everything this speaker says has sort of becoming the theme of my “new” life. Please take the time to watch it. I hope there is some room in your “fuck budget”. Sometimes I am so grateful for thoughtful new friends. And it came at the perfect time to remind me of where I am.

Happy holidays and all that jazz. I hope to be here more.

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.