It’s the new year and we’re doing some reflecting here at Fit is a Feminist Issue. This is the second in a series of three group posts. What’s one thing you learned, either about yourself or about fitness or feminism or all three together, in 2019?
Nicole: One thing I learned about myself is I can write for a blog. One that I’ve admired for many years, where other smart, insightful women write. Too incestuous for an insight on a group blog post?
Kim: I learned the importance of prioritizing mental wellness. My big fitness “splurge” of this year has been EMDR therapy with someone recommended by Susan Beth Tarshis. I’ve done psychotherapy for almost 20 years, but for the most part it’s been regular “talk therapy” in the Jungian model. I’ve now realized that knowing a lot about myself emotionally (and the history of my emotions) is not the same as processing and living that knowledge in healthy ways. After too long feeling sad and lost, and a few episodes of unexplained rage, I decided to try a more active psychotherapeutic process. It has helped enormously.
Tracy: In 2019 I learned to let go of FOMO as a motivator for anything. This was huge for me. Related, I learned that I can’t do everything. My life is packed with all sorts of awesomeness, but it all sort of closed in on me. I took some time to streamline and make space for things I really value, including down time and solitude. On a more fitness-related note, the 219 in 2019 challenge group got me moving daily in some way I otherwise wouldn’t have. It was a great motivator and it’s helped me establish a habit that has added a lot of joy to my life this year. I plan to carry that into 2020.
Catherine: This is hard to say, but where else but here? This year I’ve acknowledged to myself and to others that my life-long feelings of shame about my body are an overwhelming burden that I need to unload. There’s no reason to carry around body-shame– it serves no positive purpose, it creates a negative model out there that harms others, and it is corrosive to my self esteem. How do I start to release myself of this burden? I’ve bought some jeans that fit and look cute. I continue to do yoga almost every day. I do activities with friends. I am looking info buying an e-bike so I can ride with speedier friends. I’m cooking more, making yummy and happy food for myself and others. It’s a daily mundane process. But so is everything. And that’s okay.
Martha: What I learned in 2019 was I had to make my training time a big rock in terms of my personal priorities. I had a very busy year where my work schedule unlike other years was not often my own. I also learned that occasional interruptions at the gym weren’t as dreadful in terms of impact as I imagined. I was able to scale up reasonably quickly and I didn’t lose form.
Sam: I’ve learned (or relearned, or realized) that I need a fitness community. The move from London to Guelph was exciting in terms of work but I really miss my connection to the cycling community, the Aikido community, my CrossFit friends, my soccer buddies, and Y people., etc etc. I had years of community and connection in London that helped sustain my fitness habits. I don’t have that in Guelph and I need it. Building that is going to be a goal for me in 2020.
Bettina: I learned that, even though I ended up not doing it, that I am theoretically capable of running a half marathon 😉 Planning to make it a reality in 2020!
Cate: The biggest thing I discovered in 2019 was that I could deadlift 175 lbs. that was a revelation, that I could learn a whole new kind of strength. But I also named a kind of grit that was new to me on our difficult ride in NFLD, and conversely, learned to be more comfortable with saying “nope I am not going to ride that part of the ride.” More clarity.
Marjorie: I learned that finding a supportive community, online and in person, is helping me push myself to new levels. I know people say this sort of thing all the time, “find a support system, surround yourself with people with similar goals and values,” but it’s easier said than done.
I have felt like a unicorn, or maybe the Loch Ness monster, alone as a woman pursuing strength in a gym that didn’t welcome me, for much of the last 5 years. Where were the people who valued strength in women? Where was the encouragement to push harder, try more, BE more?
And in this year, I began writing for the blog, I found a community of supportive people who thought what I was doing was worth doing. I moved gyms and found a space that so far seems to be safer and more inclusive. And I found a trainer who appreciates my drive and determination and pushes me to see what I can do next. And I’ve grown more in strength in the last handful of months than I had in the year previous. It’s really cool!
How about you? What’s one lesson that 2019 taught you?