My Fitness Journey

By the time this post is published, I will be standing at the foot of the starting line of a 10 mile road race. This starting line isn’t just any starting line. It is the culmination of two years of work. I also will be turning 51. Yes, I’m running a race on my 51st birthday with 5,000 of my closest friends. Yay!  I decided to do the race, not because I was bored, but because it will mean something. The past year has been a roller coaster of health issues, growing pains and disappointments, and by starting this race and finishing it, I’m hoping to continue the journey of health and fitness into the coming year.

Two years ago, I was doing the same thing. Standing at the same starting line, wanting to do the same race, having the same idea to be healthy and fit. Then something happened. I did the race, but barely. I didn’t feel I did my best. I didn’t have the ability to bounce back from it the same way. I struggled. I was missing something. Hubby, suggested I join a bootcamp. I guffawed. I protested. Reluctantly, I joined.  

A great decision as it turns out. I hate it when Hubby is right. Ugh.  

BUT, it wasn’t always easy.

Getting up at 5am SEEMS like a great idea. All the excitement and novelty of starting a new path to a healthier you wears off at exactly 5:05am that first morning. Then you suddenly hear a voice screaming at you in your head to STAY IN BED!!! DAFUQ WERE YOU THINKING, LADY?!! YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET UP TODAY!! YOU DESERVE A BREAK!!  

WRONG.  

That voice in your head is wrong. All kinds of wrong. Your break is the exercise. Your break is the bootcamp class that gets you moving. Your break is the coffee after class, after you’ve worked your butt off doing Burpees and push ups and sprints and high knees…

You DO deserve better. You deserve being a better you. A healthy version of you. And getting up at 5am is what it takes.

That’s how I changed my thinking. I deserve a better me. So does my family.  

So the journey began. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 5am without stopping, without quitting (which was a regular thought at 5:05am every Friday morning) without verbal complaints, in snowfall, high winds, rain and sunshine.

I. Went. To. Class.

I showed up. I worked. I learned.

The entire first YEAR of bootcamp was about learning. I walked in to my first class not being able to do one single push up. I couldn’t jump. I couldn’t do a chin up, a burpee…nothing. I watched. I learned. Then I watched and learned some more. I practiced. I fell down. I got back up and tried again.

I kept telling myself to just get through class. Just try again. It will come.

I also had the task of quieting that voice in my head that said ‘People will laugh at you. People are looking at you’. That voice? That voice is an asshole. Tell her to shut the fuck up and move on. NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I work out with women who are supportive of each other. NOBODY JUDGES. BEST. Find that. Go where that is!

TWO YEARS. Two years of work. That’s what it took. Not six weeks. Not six days. Not six months. Years. If I read one more time on some magazine how you can change your body in only six weeks or less, I WILL SCREAM.  

WRONG. ALL KINDS OF WRONG. Don’t listen to that.

Years of showing up and practicing. No one is perfect right away. Or ever.  

Two years later I can do 25 push ups in a row. I know because I counted. I can do box jumps (which are the bane of my existence, but I force myself to do them. I just turn off that voice that scares the shit out of me by saying that I’ll fall), I can do battling ropes, I can lift weights, I can squat and I can do Burpees.


Don’t listen to the naysayers who keep telling you it’s not worth it. Or you can’t do it. Or just walk more.  

Do what’s right for you. Show up. Go to class. Do the work. And eat right.  

But don’t expect to change everything overnight. Or in six weeks. It may take less time than two years, or it may take more. That’s up to you, but staying committed is the key.

So, here I am today. At the starting line of the ten mile race on my 51st birthday. Stronger than two years ago. Thirty pounds lighter. A little achier (thanks, 95year old hip) but so much more appreciative of how I got here and still on the journey to a healthier me.

I may fall down and I’m still learning. But I show up. And I practice.  

Cheers, Peeps! The finish line may seem so far away, but really it’s where you need it to be. Ten miles or two years. It’s all what you put in. Enjoy your journey. I still am.  

 

*EmpowHer is my bootcamp. You can find my Coach here. She’s awesome. One of my cheerleaders that keeps me going.   

Find your cheerleaders. Everybody needs some. I’m lucky to have quite a few behind me!  

Good luck!  

 

  

  

18th Birthday Story – Rock Star Edition 

Today is my son Kyle’s 18th birthday. A milestone in any young person’s life, I thought I would re-post this story in honour of him. AND, for purely motherly love and embarrassment, because nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY better than an awkward story about when you were 3years old.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KID!!!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, here is a special story about the first time my son learned to speak. It’s all very dramatic and tears at your heart strings so get out your tissues…okay, it’s actually an embarrassing tale of music and Walmart, but still. It was traumatic for one of us. Maybe two of us. The innocent lady who witnessed my child’s descent into the debauchery and the morally deficient world of rock music and was probably scarred for life and myself, who led him there.

Once upon a time, in a land called Grand Falls Winsor, lived a nice little family with a mother, a father two daughters and a young son. They all lived happily in their house playing and frolicking in the meadows. ( okay, there were technically no meadows in GFW. AND we don’t frolic as a rule. Only on very special occasions like Christmas, or when some of us are really drunk. No pointing any fingers, just sayin’. ) Anyway, the boy, who was three years old, had not begun to speak any language intelligible to any human life form. The mother, being very concerned, took said young boy to a Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist was a young woman of very good bearing and simply stated “There is nothing wrong with the boy. He will speak when he’s ready. Go home and rest your head, lady” 

So, the despairing mother took her young boy home and after a lengthy car ride listening to the young son speak something akin to the Cantonese and Ancient Tibetan Mongloid tongue , wearily escorted young child into the house. It was during this phase in the young mother’s life that she began experimenting with music. Music she adored when she was young and single and had somehow lost in the day-to-day tedium of Barney and Caillou episodes (it should be noted here that Caillou was seen as an evil child full of whininess and annoying shit that led the mother to bouts of anxiety and desperate pleas of “LET’S ALL GO OUTSIDE AND GET SOME FRESH AIR BEFORE MA HEAD EXPLODES!” ) Yeah.

One day, while playing her music very loudly, she noticed her young son sitting very attentively. The daughters, heard the rendition of Bryan Adams’ “I Wanna Be Your Underwear” and asked repeatedly to hear the ‘underwear song’. Mother was happy to appease her young daughters as she found this tune particularly humorous, obliged…often. After the young daughters had ventured off to school, the mother took young son to Walmart for a bit of shopping in the afternoon. The son, being very sleepy and ready for his nap at that time, was readily dosing in the cart and humming a tune the mother recognized as Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself For Loving You”…Joan rocks. The mother, knowing the son was unable to speak, allowed the son to sing the song at will, while all the Walmart staff looked on adoringly saying how cute the little boy was singing to his mother. Yeah.

As the mother approached the checkout line, she noticed a woman behind her who seemed particularly taken with the young boy. She was smiling and cooing to the child as the mother flung her intended purchases on the conveyer belt. Knowing the young boy was securely occupied, the mother paid close attention to her groceries when suddenly she heard a most familiar sound. “I WANNA BE!” being sung behind her. She went swiftly over to her son. Could it be? Was that him? Had the spell of the Cantonese speak been broken and replaced with the x-rated lyrics of an old Bryan Adams song? The lady who had been occupying and smiling at the young boy thought the boy to be speaking to her. So, she replied “What do you want to be?” The mother, knowing the son was merely repeating the words to a raunchy song, attempted to intervene by pointing to a random balloon and distracting the boy. Alas, the boy could not be sidetracked. Again, he sang out “I WANNA BE!!“. Full of fear for the next line, the mother hurriedly began to throw her groceries onto the belt all the while, the nice lady said again, “What do you want to be?” and leaned closer to hear the boy. The young boy looked innocently up at the woman, his sparkling blue eyes dancing with joy as he sang, quite in tune I must say, “YOUR UNDERWEAR”.  

The lady, aghast and shocked by what she had just heard, recoiled in horror and glared at the young mother. Washed with embarrassment, and stifling a laugh, the mother simply retorted “Oh, it’s a song his father taught him” and pushed the cart out of the store, praising the child for his speech and promising to teach him more ‘appropriate’ songs. Like more Joan Jett, whose song son repeatedly sang henceforth as “I hate myself for lubbing you….” yeah. 

The son, now thirteen and three quarters has had a varied singing career. I have been called regarding his poor song choices including the popular titles “My Humps” by the Black ‘Eyed Peas, “I like Big Butts” and the infamous “Save a Horse Ride A Cowboy” which I am totally not responsible for. That last one was definitely Hubby’s country music influence. I did teach son how to do an awesome rendition of Blue Rodeo’s Bad Timing when he was four. I wish I had recorded it. 

Brought to you today in honour of son’s 18th birthday, and to all the women and men who care for their children everyday unconditionally, allow them to sing dirty rock songs to stranger and endure endless episodes of Caillou all in the name of love. 

Speaking and not singing. So proud!

Let’s Pretend Reality is Really Real

As I get older, I find it harder to keep up. Keep up with the ‘kids’, keep up with the work around the house, keep up with the bills, keep up with exercising, keep up with the ever moving ever changing world we live in. I suppose that’s normal and something everybody has to deal with, but that’s not the image people play out on social media.
If one was to believe everything according to Facebook, everybody is living a perfect well-balanced, harmonious life void of any pressures of keeping up, or staying fit or feeling great or being successful. Life According to Facebook is a veritable wonderland of rainbows and unicorns. The happiness meter is on bust and the world is one great big giant playground where all the kids are having fun and playing nice and laughing hysterically…not maniacally. That would be creepy and Facebook doesn’t do creepy. Does it? 

 Well, kinda when you think about it. That’s the premise of Facebook. We gander and peruse others’ lives. We look at the pictures. We see the posts. “I had a great time eating my lunch today.” REALLY?! How is eating lunch equal to having a good time? UNLESS, there was alcohol and a lot of friends thrown in there where you didn’t have to go back to work and the food was free and the sun was shining and….see, there are parameters about how having fun eating lunch can actually occur. Who am I to judge whether someone had fun simply by eating his/her lunch? I’m not. But if somebody puts it out there for the world to see, the world will invariably judge because, duh, that’s what human beings do.  

We judge.

We compare.

We analyse.

We decide what is good, what is bad, what is tasteful, what isn’t. It’s in our nature to simply make decisions on first impressions, be all judgey about it then move on.  

Or, like me, make fun. It’s how I roll, but then I expect the same in return.  

The perfectionist in all of us wants to post the BEST of us on Facebook for the world to dissect and analyse and examine in some sort of twisted voyeuristic play, but that’s not real life.

Nothing on there is real. Really. Not EXACTLY reality, sort of a mixed-up “let’s pretend” kind of thing.  

Image is what is being projected. Someone’s likeness to the real human underneath the pouty smile or the posed stance next to the car. No one’s life is a perfect sequence of magical events all coming together in one symphonic interlude.  

But we sure as hell like to think it does. “Hey, I got a smile from my dog. Post that!” I have done that. I do that all of the damned time and then think, “Why the fuck did I just post a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once and not ready to tear the head off some random kid walking by our house?” WELL, BECAUSE MY SNARLY GROWLY TYRANNICAL DOG ACUTALLY LOOKED LIKE SHE’S SMILING FOR ONCE AND NOT READY TO TEAR THE HEAD OFF SOME RANDOM KID WALKING BY OUR HOUSE! That’s why. Because it made me happy to think she was actually happy and I wanted the world to think my dog was happy and in turn, I was happy.

Because happy is good.

AND WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE HAPPY?!

So post happy!

As long as everyone is under the general anesthetic knowledge that NOTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS REALLY REAL, only kinda sorta real then we’re all good.

So, Truman on folks.*  

Fake is the new reality. Not to be confused with the ever-nauseating phrase ‘fake news’. Pleeeeeeaaasssse. No.

Here is a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once.


I hope it makes you happy.

*[For those of you old enough, this is a movie reference to the Truman Show. Jim Carrey. Ring a bell? No? Ugh. Nevermind….]

Running Through A Meadow is Overrated

The Universe can be an asshole.  Here you are happily running along the meadow, gaily skipping through the flowers, birds singing, skies blue with not a cloud to be seen, the sun beaming down upon you with the warmest glow when BAM! the Universe sticks out his foot and you pull off the biggest face plant ever with buttercups and meadow flying in your wake.  There you are, face down in the mud and dirt, your nose bleeding from the epic wallop, laying on the cold earthen floor, your hair left in knots and wayward birds pecking at you bringing twigs and branches to make a nice new nest in there for their offspring.  Your arms ache like shit from trying to break your fall on the way down.   The ultimate insult, the birds crap on your head as you shoo them away.  You never saw it coming.

Thanks, Universe.

YOU SUCK.

That’s how life works.  It’s all a big game and you get knocked down a time or twenty.  It’s not how you get knocked down, although the face plant is painful and embarrassing and epically awful with the nest and crap all over your head, but getting up again is just as hard.  It’s a matter of scraping off that blood and dirt, climbing up to your feet and taking a good look around.  The sun will still shine.  The sky will still be blue.  Those goddamned birds will still be looking for a place to nest and crap, but you can rise above all of that.  You can take a breath and clean yourself up.  The embarrassment will fade.  The blood will be cleaned off (although the nose may be a Marcia Brady nose for a while)

giphy

and you will trudge on once more.  One step at a time at first.  Running gaily may have to wait for you to recover.  But it will happen.  You don’t want to run through a meadow, anyways.  The bugs are awful.  You are allergic to all of that grass and shit.  The birds, seemingly sweet and innocent, will beat you down with their wings and beaks.  They are not nice.  AND THEY INCESSANTLY CRAP ALL OVER THE PLACE.  Seriously.  Avoid the birds.

Instead, take stock, get a breath and beat the Universe at its own game.

You. Are. Better.

l-amazing-photo-pug-and-tulips

The Universe Is Being Trumpy


 

Whenever an issue arises that seems too all-encompassing or beyond any conscious reckoning, I throw it on out to the Universe to take care of. That way, if it all goes to shit, I can throw my fist into the air and curse the Universe for being obstinate or even a little too self-important and not blame myself for being lazy or forgetful. I mean really, you couldn’t spare five minutes to take care of that little thing I asked for? YOU HAD ONE JOB, UNIVERSE.  

Meanwhile, I’m stuck reveling in the mundane and eking out a bit of fun where I can muster the energy. This life thing is tedious sometimes and I must admit to being just a bit tired. I get tired thinking of getting up in the morning, I get tired of going to work, I get tired of doing household crap and I get tired of getting tired. I sound old. And like I’ve just given up on life all together, but really I haven’t. Honest.  

I still get to sit by the fireplace on my quiet nights when I’m alone and write in my journal. I still get to get out with friends and be obnoxious. I still get to bother my kids and ask annoying questions like ‘what are you doing?’ and say the ever popular ‘CRACK IS WHACK’ That pretty much sums up my discussion on drugs. That and ‘JUST SAY NO’. Lame slogans I can get behind. My point in there somewhere is that even when life seems very dull or overly annoying to the point of downright ridiculous, I can still find things to make me feel a little myself again. Like spew annoying clichés at the kids about drugs. Write about my dullness in my journal that is non-judgy and even kinda enjoys my boring run-on sentences. At least, that’s how I like to think of it. I get to exercise. SOME people may roll their eyes or say ‘oh, yeah. What a privilege’ but when I look forward to getting to the studio and a having someone yell at me that ‘YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR TEN SECONDS’ and ‘YAY BURPEES!’ then maybe, it’s become a part of me. Maybe I can’t have a good day without moving and feeling stronger. Or maybe, deep down I’m a masochist and I like all the yelling and sweating and swearing…like a Trump rally, only without all the hate.

Either way, there are other things to do and feel good about when life gets dull or ridiculous or too Trumpy. (Trumpy – Adj. word that describes life when it gets judgy, hateful, sweaty and utterly ridiculous to the point of giving the world the middle finger. Eg. He was to the point of swinging from the balcony after his girlfriend dumped him. He wanted to give up. He felt his life had become too Trumpy without her presence. ) Feel free to use this new word. I expect Webster’s will indoctrinate it soon enough.

Get outside, find a hobby, write in a journal, or do some burpees…whatever makes it better.  

Leaving shit up to the Universe to take care of may work some of the time, but it seems to me if I can tackle it myself, it will work out better. This way, I might get all of the blame but I just may get all of the credit, too! And of course, the cake in the end.  

THERE IS ALWAYS CAKE IN THE END…

 

Right! Best. Quote. Ever.

 

 

An Open Letter To Humanity

Dear Fellow Human Beings,
I know the past week has been a shithole of nonsense, lies and outrageous tweets. I know that most of us are sitting here questioning the future of the human race. I know that the new leader of one of the biggest nations in the free world is a royal butthole and insistent on remaining narcissistic, misogynistic and racist. I know. I see it too. Let’s all just take a deep breath and ponder the other side.

Yes, the other side. The other side of negative-hate-spewing-nonsense. The side that is clinging to righteousness, decency, compassion and kindness. The side that still champions the underdog, encourages forward thinking and values intelligent dialogue. The side that recognizes the value of a diverse culture, freedom of thought and expression, and the ability to accept the worthy differences in other human beings. This is the side of which I’m choosing to remain a big part, because this is the side that will always win.

I know it doesn’t seem like it now. I know that dark days are ahead of us and the knee-jerk reaction is to duck under the covers and hide until it’s over, but we can’t do that. We need to be the light. We need to guide the way. We need to be the strong ones. We need to take back the human race for the next generation.  

All the light people, stand up. If you can’t stand up, that’s okay. Raise up something…a hand, a foot, a finger an eyebrow, anything. Do it. Remain the positive force that I know you all are. Smile at people. Remind them we are all in this together and one asshole does not have the right to make our lives become a shitty existence. Show some compassion when you can, help a neighbour when he needs it and be there for a friend when she calls. Human decency and kindness is all around us, we just need to take a closer look and shout it for the world to see.

The other night, I was in the line-up at Walmart. I didn’t have a cart thinking I only needed a few things, but overloaded myself with stuff. I didn’t mind. It wasn’t that heavy. I was number ten in a long line, but just ahead of me was a woman in a wheelchair. I knew this woman since I worked with her when I first moved to St. John’s. I was her PCA. She would curse and swear at me. Throw food at my face. Call me down for hurting her and all the while, I would smile and say ‘sorry’, not because I did anything wrong, but because she had so much more going on and she was bitter about it. I got that. So that night as I stood in line at Walmart and watched the cashier help her with her groceries, load them in bags and attach them gently to her chair, assist her with her debit card and make sure she had the correct cash back she needed, and make sure she is okay, I remember the bitter woman and smiled at the cashier. She was calm and courteous and respectful. She didn’t rush her or roll her eyes. She didn’t make her feel any less of a person for being in a wheelchair. She treated her the same as everyone else…A HUMAN BEING.  

No matter what some orange guy with a personality disorder spews over Twitter or says in a news conference, we are all valuable worthy human beings and deserve respect and decency. We are all capable of spreading a little compassion and kindness instead of revelling in dark hate mongering. We need to be the bigger force, the better people the stronger team for those who can’t; for those whose voices get drowned out by all the yelling and hateful speech. Take a breath, remember the light and concentrate on battling the dark side with humour, kindness and warmth. It’s a little thing, but in the bigger picture will make a difference to someone and that’s what we’re here for.  

Stay positive. Smile. Laugh. Walk your damn dog. Buy your kid a cookie. Carry someone’s groceries. Tell someone you love him. It’s all enough, even if it doesn’t feel like it.  

I’ll be over here in the light with the rest of the human beings if you need me…

Thanks for reading and listening and smiling. Carry on, Light People.  

Carry. The Fuck. On.

KJ xo 

  

 

 

Positively Positive

I’m not graceful or light on my feet.  I’m not agile or athletic.  I’m not able to spin or balance elegantly.  I’m lucky I can walk a straight line.  Hell, I’m lucky to be upright, most days.  There is documented proof….unfortunately.    Moving in any direction is awkward to me.  One morning at bootcamp, one exercise involved walking like a duck carrying a kettle bell…that is, squat down as low as possible and walk.   I couldn’t do that. My knees were not cooperating and I don’t think I have enough strength in my quads to pull that shit off.  Oh, I tried, but failed miserably at it. Instead of a duck walk it was more like an old-lady-with-bad-knees-stumble.  (New exercise! ) That’s okay.  I crushed it at the split squats and the deadlift.

There are a lot of things I don’t do well.  There are also a lot of things I do well.  I’m also mediocre at some things and totally suck at others.  I can’t do everything well and I don’t tear myself up about it.  I attempt it, try to get better and move on.  Days are too short to spend wallowing in any self-pity or self-deprecating shit.  I have decided to kick the habit of putting myself down, and get in the habit of lifting myself up.

We all have those days where shit happens and whatever we seem to do, it just invariably goes wrong.  We try to avoid running out of gas, but life gets in the way and we forget.  We try to get to that deadline, but so many people needed us to do a million other things so that deadline came and went like yesterday’s lunch.  Did we forget to eat that, too?

As women, we tend to think about everybody else instead of us.  We put a million others and their needs in front of our own.  It’s instinct.  We are nurturers and we just put ourselves into the line of fire every fucking time.  Ugh.  We can’t help it.  That’s how awesome we are.

Phoebe and Rachel running

It’s all about attitude…

Social media is a cesspool of body-shaming, name-calling anti-everything kind of shit-show that just needs a little bit of uplifting positivity now and then.  We tend to take some things to heart, but we have to learn to ignore the bad and dwell on the good.   When I see my FB feed and its inundated with negative crap about Trump and Hillary, or the latest celebrity divorce or how we NEED to be something other than who or what we are, I tend to retaliate with cute animal baby pics.  It’s my go-to kind of cuteness that overrides any possible negative put-down one can throw.  How can anybody hate a cute animal baby?!

bunny

There are ways to combat the ugly negatives and I suggest banning together and lifting each other up.  Be a cheerleader.  Be a motivator of wonderfulness…so awesome in the positive, that you repel the dark side and naturally attract light to you like moths to a flame, like metal to a magnet, like fingerprints to every damned wall in my house.  (Ugh)

We get beaten down enough.  Let’s lift each other up.  Smile and be positive.  Tell somebody she is awesome today…you may make someone’s day, week or year.  You don’t know everybody’s story.  Give them a smile and something to keep in their mind for the day, so when somebody tries to tear them down, they can go back to that smile or that positive remark and dwell on that for a while.  It helps.  Believe me.  Even the smallest of remarks can make a difference.  One night, I was returning to my house after a bit o’wine with friends. A neighbour happened to spot me on my way and commented on my new car.  I said I was now ‘cool’.  He said ‘You’ve always been cool.  Don’t sell yourself short’.  THAT was a small itty bitty remark that I keep.  It made me smile.  I also thought maybe he was a bit drunk, but take a compliment when one comes along!  AND, it was valuable advice.  Too many of us ‘sell ourselves short’.  Stop that.  Somebody around the corner might just think you’re ‘cool’, too.

No matter how off the cuff a remark is, it can be a big do-over for somebody.

Take care, stay positive and say something nice, will ‘ya?

woman worker