Sunday, November 18, 2018

Dear Diary

I remember watching shows as a kid and being so intrigued by the idea of a diary. Particularly the hardback versions that had a lock and key to ensure all your secrets were safely stored away. My dream was to have my own diary just like that. Did I have secrets to write? Crushes to wax poetry about? Emotions that were bubbling inside of me that I could not physically express? At the time I had no idea whether my own thoughts had any real value but just the idea that I could have a safe space to write them down and keep them secret was very cool.

So it was no surprise that I was so stoked when I visited my local Sanrio store (if you have no idea what that is, you're too young to be on my blog) and there on display - a  Hello Kitty diary! With lock and key! I just had to have it! I begged my mom to buy it for me and after much cajoling she finally gave in.

I went home that day and stared at the diary because I was beginning to have second thoughts. Do I really want to write down my secrets in this book? What if someone got a hold of it and read what I wrote? It has a lock, but really...if they wanted to really see what I wrote it could easily be broken. Do I want evidence of my thoughts? Perhaps my thoughts were ludicrous? They become true once I write it down. This from a 10-year old...

I have to admit my first foray into keeping a diary was a bust.  I was too scared to write what I really thought, because I feared that my sister or anyone would stumbled upon it and read it. I recall writing some things about occasions I lied to my parents, questioning whether I loved my sister more than I despised her and also some rant about being a sinner and if I was worth forgiving.

Fast forward a few years and instead of a diary, I started to keep a journal. And really that's where my transformation began. I began to just write about my daily happenings - good and bad. I started to express how I felt emotionally and began to hone in on my writing style. My opinions though meager at the time, were slowly evolving as I grew and experienced life. As I lived, the more I evolved as a writer and thinker.

I kept a number of journals throughout the years but found that I suddenly stopped when I got married.  About 5-6 years pass, completely unrecorded I daresay and after having two boys and finding myself alone in a house with two kids under 2, I discovered the world of blogging.  Even before Facebook, or maybe around the same time, I can't really recall, I decided I would use the blog to keep family and friends updated on our new little family and all our adventures as my husband and I grew these two little babies. Post after post I journaled about our life and the boys' milestones. I wrote about trips and everyday happenings. I found it therapeutic to write and often my style of writing depended on how I was feeling - nostalgic, feisty, melancholy...

Even now, my purpose for this blog changes ever so depending on my season of life. If you've followed me for any amount of time, first of all, thank've seen how things have a certain ebb and flow on this blog. It reflects very much my own thought process.

So all of this born from the mind of a very curious 10-year old and her fascination with the diary.

Monday, October 15, 2018

You So Shy

I looked down at the floor and wished it would swallow me up. I could feel the eyes of my entire family boring down on me wondering what the hell was wrong with me. My mom whispering to me, "Say hi already. Why won't you say hello?" And when I timidly looked up I could see the little girl staring back at me waiting for me to respond. I just couldn't. Eventually I limply lifted my arm and gave a weak wave to signify my hello. I wished the entire moment would just go away. The little girl, whom I knew from school, grinned and walked away.

Do you think that moment ended there? Nope. As the little girl walked away my family looked at me irritated, wondering why in the world I clammed up the way I did. My mom rolled her eyes and my sister laughed hysterically at me. My uncle said in our native language "I had no idea how awkward this girl was...she acts like she knows nothing." And my grandparents tried their best to soften the blow of my family's reaction saying that it's not easy for everyone to be so social outside of what they know. 

I was terribly shy as a kid. Making friends in a new place was paralyzing for me. More so, when I had parents who basically told me to suck it up and a sister who relished in my awkwardness.  I loved the familiar and I loved the comfort of family as friends. I was not interested in starting school in any form. And I can tell you already my memories of preschool and kindergarten are not fond ones. Eventually, as all things go, I found my place and through trial and error and learned to cope.

I think about all my first days of "fill in the blank" and I always err on the side of silence. I sit back and observe. I watch. I try to figure out who the players are and how each person connects to another. I can be in classroom, a conference, a new group fitness class, a party it doesn't matter. Knowing or at least having some understanding of what I'm walking into helps me to cope with this crippling shyness. While most people these days wouldn't characterize me as shy - as I will always end of sucking it up - it does take a lot of mental energy for me to muster the strength to be the first one to break the ice. I'm not overtly friendly, but you can count on me being polite and deferential at times.

It takes me a while to feel comfortable anywhere and having to start over anywhere can just be mentally trying for me that I do grow frustrated by too many changes in my life. I always find a way to overcome but the initial start is never easy for me. There must be that one thing that keeps me coming back or I'm the first to jet.

Take for instance my first Rhetoric & Communication class in college. In the first 15 minutes of class I knew I was never coming back. And I didn't. I even changed my major that day just so I would NEVER have to take another class that involved me standing in front of people and talking. And I wanted to be a reporter. Pipe dreams I tell ya. I recall walking into a group fitness class, hating it and walking right out. I left my mom in there and said I'll see you after class.

I don't think my shyness will ever go away or the anxiety that comes along with it. But as I've gotten older I'm better at disguising it and just coping. I'm lucky that it's not crippling, but I've definitely been in enough situations where I've wanted the floor to swallow me up.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Get to Know Me

I have it in my mind to begin a new series on my blog. And while I've been blogging since 2005, much of what I write is carefully curated for my very tiny audience. Even so, I feel like perhaps there is very little that you know about me, the blogger.  Being the introvert that I am, I love to often think back to particular times in my life that left an impression on me and even shaped the person that I am today. I always wonder why I am the way I am. Horoscopes and zodiac signs make me giggle because while some can seem spot-on others make me want to chuckle because I am the exact opposite.

So as often as I am able, I'm going to focus on some aspect of me - whether it be a trait, a hobby, a habit or ritual that makes me who I am. I don't claim to be a woman of great interest, but I find that when one can be honest about who they are and accept themselves - flaws and all - it makes for a more relatable and tangible person. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

One Step At A Time

It's been over a month since my last post about changing the trajectory of my life. And I remember thinking about how excited I was about what the future could be. Luckily I still am. 

I spent the first week going out and about trying different fitness regimes. Things I've been wanting to try but was never able to make the time for. I connected with new friends and also met up with some old ones. I had a grand time trying out boxing, kickboxing, bootcamp, Olympic lifting and Crossfit. I loved them all but given a limited budget there was no way I could afford to sign up for everything. I loved all the new things I learned and seeing how others are succeeding in this bustling and ever-growing industry.

I also spent time getting together with friends and family to update them on my new ventures and why I was having to make some changes in my life. They were all supportive and understanding and continue to cheer me on. They have been invaluable in giving me the courage to move forward and dream big for myself. 

I've settled into a bit of a routine but continue to be open to evolving and changing as the needs and wants change both for myself and for those I surround myself with.  I feel the responsibility and the freedom of making my own choices. I balance calculated decisions with organic changes. I know some things can be dictated by what I choose while others happen outside of my control and I'm okay with that. 

The burdens of the past no longer weigh heavy on me. As each day passes I replace the past with new memories and forge ahead on a path, that while not guaranteed, I'm hopeful will lead to bigger and better things. Creating a new future for myself and imagining the possibilities is both daunting and exciting. But such is life right? Cheers to everyone pressing forward and not looking back. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Changing Times

My heart raced rapidly as I absentmindedly walked down the long flight of stairs.  I could see my hands visibly shaking as the keys rattled in my hand. I've walked these set of stairs many of times and was always aware of how taxing it was climbing up and going down these long flight of steps. But today I walked down without noticing the usual burn in my calves. At the bottom I looked left and right and wasn't even sure what I was looking for when it dawned on me I had parked my car unusually close - an envious piece of parking space that always seemed occupied by another car or the requisite dumpster. Being on the island meant you were sharing space with light industrial companies, the U.S. Coast Guard or some other up and coming locally-owned business. 
I wasn't sure where I was heading, but I knew that once I left I was never coming back...


If there is one thing I've learned about life is that I've learned my biggest lessons in the unexpected. I've spent the last few months trying to figure out what exactly I wanted in life and how I was going to make it happen. So many scenarios ran through my head as I tried to find one that would seem the most plausible and perhaps cause the least inconvenience to those who would be affected. Because even when I'm making life decisions for myself I'm always thinking about other people. Sigh. 

I have been wanting to press the reset button on my life for a while. Somewhere along the way life just got away from me. Instead of me living my life, I felt like I was being pulled in so many directions that I was simply a puppet whose strings were being dictated by some greater force. When I wanted to rest, I couldn't. If I wanted to try something new, I couldn't. If I want to drop everything and just hide under the covers, I couldn't. Life would not allow it - too many obligations and responsibilities awaited me. And those closest, my family and dear friends, worried that I might one day hit a mental wall and truly be unable to find my way me. 

I believe God placed some very special people in my life to help me rediscover my heart's passion. Helping others, being of use and contributing to a greater cause is where I excel most. But often I do so at my own expense - my time, my energy, my reliability is taken for granted. I juggle so many things and want to make sure everyone is happy and happy with me that I often forget where is my happiness? Venting sessions, late-night talks, long conversations in the car, contemplative discussions over drinks - slowly building the confidence to do what I think I always knew I would have to do. 

Stand on my own two feet. 
A few weeks ago I needed to make a decision and I found myself at a crossroads that needed my immediate attention. I made a decision for once with only me in mind. Afterwards I thought about everything I gave up and everyone I left behind and though I mourned the loss I was at peace with my decision. Because for once I knew that there was nothing that was going to change my mind.  Perhaps I always knew this was going to be the answer it was just a matter of when. 

When the dust settled, I saw what was left and while I allowed myself to mourn over some of the loss, I also saw that there were many pearls - that had things not gone the way they did - I would have never seen. I do not regret the things of the past - I know they happen to make me the person I am today. I'm thankful for those who genuinely loved on me and even those with whom I did not always see eye to eye with. 

And so now I rebuild. But this time I do it on my terms. It's feeling a lot like building a sandcastle - quickly erecting something only to have it hit by the waves and rebuilding again. But it's actually been a pleasant process for me as I reimagine what my future could be.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Whole30 in the Spring

I just finished another round of Whole30. And boy was it a tough one! But I'm so glad I wasn't doing it alone and my husband suffered along side me. I did a few things different this time around and really felt like it kept me on track when so many attempts this year failed.

1. I created a visual countdown. 

I pulled out my markers and a blank sheet of paper and wrote all thirty days out. As each day passed I victoriously crossed it off. At first it was tortuous as the first 10 days went by at a snail's pace. But then the opposite happened when I found myself on the other side of 15 days and the countdown was feeling doable and visually I could see I was reaching the end. And what an accomplishment when all the days were crossed off!

2. I changed my snacks.  

I will in my own weird proud way say I made it through this Whole30 without a single RXBAR. Bless your heart RXBAR...but your presence just reminded me of everything I couldn't have and I just couldn't stomach another coconut chocolate/mixed berry/blueberry bar. This time I added a great find from Trader Joe's - roasted plantain chips. It gave me the crunchy savory texture I needed and when paired with homemade guacamole I was a happy girl. I also went in and bought the not-so-cheap nuts I love...marcona almonds. Even without truffle oil they are still delicious and when paired with some fruit I feel almost normal. Other snacks included dried sweet potato, dried strawberries, chewy date squares and lots of fresh fruit.

3. I picked the right month.  

I kept starting and stopping because the month I'd pick ended up being filled with so many scheduled events that it was impossible to stay on track.  January would seem to be the sensible time to start off fresh, but it's also a big month for family celebrations, so while I've done it in the past, family has had to suffer as a result. Mommy's chopping on pineapples while everyone else is having pizza and cake. So I've stopped feeling guilty about failing and have found that for me and my family the spring months are the most doable. And hey, knowing summer is just around the corner helps too.

4. I know how to eat out now. 

It takes some practice, but it's possible to eat out and still keep it Whole30. Even better with so many places offering gluten-free, protein-rich options, it's easier than ever to ask for it your way. I even have my go-to coffee creation when I hit any of the coffee shops.

I took this last week off and enjoyed some goodies, but I'm right back on it tomorrow. I'm calling it Whole15 for now, but I'm prepared to add in those last 15 days and finish strong.

Sidenote: My non-scale victories included better skin, sleeping like a baby, super regular (if you know what I mean...), steady energy throughout the day, less naps, less headaches, steady and increased strength during workouts and a smaller waist while maintaining my booty gains - haha!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Retreating to My Quiet Place

Finding time to get away and quiet my thoughts is a big deal for me. I haven't made time for it lately, but at the moment, I am. Getting away from the craziness of life and the demands that come along with it is a much needed exercise for me.

When I want to get away and be lost in my own thoughts I love to do very introverted things. I read that book that's been accumulating dust on my bedside table. I pull out my colored pencils and coloring book and quietly work on a piece that I get to every few months. Each time I visit the piece it becomes more alive and vibrant and I'm looking forward to finishing it as many other pieces await my attention. I like to write but sadly this little blog of mine gets very little attention from me these days, but I'm much too stubborn to end it. Too many things to ruminate on and express. While I love to type, even the small joys of actually writing pen to paper brings a sense of peace as well. I have journals that are waiting to be cracked open and written on. Pages that need a purpose, thoughts that need to be preserved, moments remembered.

I like to organize. I just finished getting my tornado of a son's closet organized - coats, hoodies, polos, long sleeves and light jackets all nicely hung and categorized. No more excuses of "I have nothing to wear to ____". I taught him how to fold a t-shirt and my husband helped to get the rest of his room in order. I'm not sure he's too comfortable in his new orderly room, but just know his parents are no longer  unnerved each time they walk past that room.

Quiet spaces is not necessarily an actual spot in the house. It's many places for me depending on what I feel like doing. But I will say many of those things are done alone and it's the time I am most able to fine the peace and quiet I need. Being "on" is exhausting for me and I definitely reach a point when I need to retreat.

I'm there now.

I need to stay there for a while.

Just for a bit.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Learning The Hard Way

Learning lessons is part of life. And if there is one lesson that I've learned is that lessons like to repeat themselves. Trends change, the people involved change, but the hang-ups, the secrets, the disclosure or non-disclosures still remain the same.

And when I think I've left that lot behind, it manifests itself in different ways but with the same lessons. I would like to say that I responded differently this time - that hindsight, in fact, gave me clarity. But I know my tendencies. When I feel like I've been wronged or mistreated my first response is to retreat. I don't like conflict or confrontation. My silence is my response. Sometimes the quickest easiest way to handle a bad situation is to simply walk away or slowly pull back.

I certainly appreciate the saying "out of sight out of mind". The farther I remove myself physically and mentally from a situation the sooner I can begin to rebuild and recover.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Current Life Perspective

I found this meme a while back and found that it resonated quite a bit with my current life. I spent much of the last few years making new friends and having amazing experiences. But, as can be expected, good things come to an end. Is it disappointing? Did I mourn the loss? Initially, yes I did. I felt the gamut of emotions - sad, mad, disappointed, indifferent, frustrated, annoyed and then nothing. Some days it was easier to handle and it felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel. Other days, it just felt like a muddled mess, forever imprisoned to these thoughts of disappointment and frustration.

But, time does heal. I truly believe that.  In the end I've come out of it much more level headed, able to see where I was naive and where I allowed myself to be swayed and influenced. Not anymore. I don't think I've grown hard-hearted - I still welcome the new things in life and more so, the things that replace the hurt. I may be far more cautious, but I'm not closed-off - just more experienced and weary of people and things that overwhelm me. And the things that have remained and the new people and experiences that have come my way, have brought more happiness and genuine joy to my life.

So, if there is one thing I'm reminded of about life is that it is ever-changing. And that's part of the  amazing journey of life - we cannot expect things to remain the same. People change. Experiences change. Circumstances change. Interests change. I'm sure I could go on but you get what I mean. Now instead of mourning of what use to be, I try to look back with fond nostalgia and try to see the moments of my life as learning experiences. I want to be better. I want to do better. Insomuch as I am able to make things better - or even just try to make things less worse - I try my best to do that. The rest I leave in God's hands because I know that He is sovereign and ultimately in control.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Making It Official

Back when I first started this fitness journey, I had mentioned that I might want to get my certification as a personal trainer. Even as I say that I kinda laugh, because I wasn't sure that was really the route I wanted to go. But as I continued to move forward as an assistant for my trainer and continued to learn the ropes of being a trainer and running a business, it became apparent that getting certified made more sense. While its not the most lucrative field out there, it has been the most rewarding and my reasons to pursue it have little to do with its earning potential. 

So at the beginning of this year, I became a student once again and began studying everything I could about becoming a personal trainer. I enrolled with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and studied diligently for six months. With all my responsibilities, I managed to fit in time during the weekends and some late weeknights studying. At times I became overwhelmed and wondered if I was crazy trying to juggle this with everything else that was going on my life (training, training others, helping run a business, homeschooling my boys and being a mom and wife). 

I was happy to see that my days of studying in college were helpful in getting me through this course as I challenged myself in subjects that, honestly, I suck at. Kinesiology, biomechanics and anatomy to name a few. I spent many weekends holed up in my office or at a Starbucks. I spent many late nights, especially at the end, pacing back and forth going over concepts and theories and doubting myself. You know what was really helpful? Seeing and doing all of this first hand at the gym. I know that I'm lucky to have both the academic and practical-side so readily available to me because it made grasping the concepts that much easier. 

So last week, all the studying finally paid off. After a very grueling two hour exam I was awarded with my congratulatory letter that informed me that I had passed. I was elated to say the least and quickly called and texted those whom I wanted to share the good news.  I was also exhausted. All the pent-up anxiety and nervousness finally hit me and the effects left me with a huge headache. I went home and slept.  Girl knows how to celebrate, huh?

Today, I'm excited to see where this takes me. This entire journey in many ways has been surreal. Looking back on the last couple of years, I still can't believe the twists and turns my life has taken. I'm grateful for all the people who have been instrumental in getting me here - they know who they are. To have people whom I care about so deeply support me even when I doubted my own abilities and encouraged me to keep pressing forward. Thank you.

So, if you're looking to join this next part of my fitness journey, let me know!

If you'd like to read about how this ALL began, you can find my progress updates here, here and here

Elated but also exhausted right after I got my certification