Permission Granted

Well, as some of you know, I am competing in a 2-day CrossFit competition the end of this month in California called “NorCal Masters.” I do it every year, and now that we live in Ohio, I do it every year as a mini reunion with all of my friends and old CrossFit 707 members.

This year, I am 4-months postpartum with our third girl. I had to be on bed rest for a significant amount of time in my third trimester. And, my recovery was difficult and much more challenging than my first two. It just is what it is.

I find myself in a small, internal pit of despair, though. I am not where I had hoped I would be for this event. Not even close. My fitness and strength are significantly less than pre-baby.

I’m just going to be very blunt —> My ego is super duper sore!

I think we naturally hold on to what we “once were” because hindsight is a b**ch and, let’s be honest, we tend to remember things in our own favor. While I was a decent CrossFit competitor (slightly above average, at best), I like to remember myself as “almost elite.” Hahaha!

If there is only one thing I have gotten from CrossFit, it’s a huge knuckle-sandwich of humility.

The problem with holding on to what we once were (or inflated memory thereof) is that it does NOT allow us to be who we are today. It does not allow us to process and grow. It interferes with our progress and happiness.

Basically, it’s the old, selfish ex-boyfriend that keeps coming back for random hook-ups, and we allow it thinking “this time will be different.” Just as he ain’t gonna change, honey, neither is our past!

So, it’s time to seriously ditch the ex-boyfriend (the past), and learn to be present in the here and now.

Right now, I am 4-months postpartum. I am 38 years young, a full-time stay-at-home mom, part-time coach, and running mostly on coffee, catnaps, and sarcasm.

My fitness is in an entirely new stage of life, so I need to allow myself to grow in this current stage. Often, we think of progress as this one loooooong, continuous line in our life.

What if instead we thought of progress as stages, just like life itself?!

What if instead of me trying to compete with who I was 2, 5, 10, even 20 years ago, I just compete with the person I am TODAY?! The stay-at-home mom of 3 girls with a part-time coaching job.

What if my progress starts from my first day of postpartum, instead of my first day of competitive CrossFit?

What if I focus on my recovery as my body still repairs itself from baby-making, and I celebrate the small victories as they come in the new me (rather than constantly compare them with defeat to the old me)?

It’s too easy (and cruel) for me to say, “Well, I can only do ONE ring muscle up right now. I used to be able to do 10 strict in a row, and 30 kipping in under 5 minutes. Man, I suck now…” Sound familiar?! Most, if not all of us talk this way to ourselves. And yet, we’d NEVER say this to anyone we cared about. Why do we hold ourselves to such different (and destructive) standards?!

I see you… The one coming back from a back injury. The other one recovering from a C-section. And even you over there, the one with a hip replacement, and you on the other side returning from shoulder surgery. I see you. I see all of you. And, I see you comparing yourself to what you “once were,” and beating yourself down as you begrudgingly show up to the gym.

I get it. Part of us is embarrassed because we think everyone will see and judge us for not being “as good as we once were.” The other part of us is simply our own ego getting the best of us.

That old saying, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” is perfectly applicable here!

I can’t change that I had to be on bed rest, that I’m 4-months postpartum, and that I wasn’t cleared to workout again until about two months ago. I CAN change my feelings of insecurity and frustration, though. I can change how I mentally prepare for NorCal Masters. I can choose to focus on the things I CAN do today, and accept the outcomes of this event as they unfold.

And, I can give myself permission to be the person I am now.

Give yourself that permission, too!

Each day, just come as you are, with what you have that day. That IS enough.

Kara PurvesComment