Here is a picture of Ava and I from last summer. Back then I actually would have thought my arms looked great in the picture—so little! It makes me kind of sad now that I used to think of it as a compliment when people would hug me or hold my wrists and remark on my slightness. Why did it take me 37 years to realize the invigorating power of strength? You know what helps beat back waves of anxiety and fear? Muscles.
I joined on Jo and Arun's encouragement, coming to Crossfit during what felt like kind of wobbly time professionally and personally. The first month was an exercise in massive humility. I'm a terrible beginner. After a few mortifying weeks of stumbling through the movements I grew weirdly comfortable with being "the worst" in class. Everyone was so encouraging of my little strides. Every little increment of improvement—be it moving from the 12 inch to the 20 inch box, or graduating from jumping pull-ups to the bands—was cheered en masse. I remember watching Holly grind her way through a last brutal set of power cleans one day and I wanted to cry in appreciation of her efforts. My own setbacks and accomplishments each class feel very personal and profound and after every work-out I know that I'll walk a little taller and prouder throughout the day. For the first time in my life I feel like I lead with my shoulders up and back. And I started wearing really short shorts, which is weird but I'm not doing these squats for nothing, right?
I kind of hated the September food challenge and yet it worked its Jedi mind trick on me. Give me meat. Make my brussels sprouts crispy. Almond butter with strawberries for a snack please. I've never dieted in my life and have often looked down upon women who did. Food should be savored! Well now for the first time I'm eating with deliberateness, instead of cramming everything in sight down. I like how eating makes me feel now. I like not feeling gross when I leave restaurants. I like that when I do indulge I do so with careful gusto. All of this work in class, and the mindfulness afterwards, is serving as a real anchor for me. I'm so grateful for all of it.