A Study in Being

This weekend was a downer in many ways. For starters, I opened the CrossFit Open with a pretty sad score.

The CrossFit Open 14.1 WOD:
AMRAP10 – 30 double-unders; 15 power snatches (or ground-to-overhead) @ 55lbs.

The WOD began with double-unders, which if you recall, are one of three key elements that are holding me back. This is mostly my fault, as I spent about a year and a half not working on them; I have just started to really consistently work on double-unders in the last few weeks, so I was not expecting to do so well. Regardless, I wanted to do well. I can usually do a single-under followed by a double-under, so that was my method going in to the WOD. Naturally, I got tired mere moments into the WOD and started losing my rhythm. I just wanted to finish my first set of DUs and get to the bar because I’ve been able to snatch 55lbs. since last year’s Open; those were guaranteed reps for me.

I didn’t even complete three rounds in this WOD, and while I know this is a huge area of opportunity for me, it also just felt… well, bad. It wasn’t how I wanted to start the Open this year. Final rep count: 114. There are people throughout the world who have been doing CrossFit for a shorter amount of time, who had–before 14.1–never gotten a DU before, and then went on to string together sets in the double-digits. I wanted to scream and kick and punch my uncoordinated body when I saw those posts, and then I wanted to sulk in the corner while muttering to myself about how it’s just not. fair. However, that’s called being a poor sport, and it’s actually exciting for all those folks to have that kind of breakthrough in the Open! I happen to have a lot of coordination issues with these kinds of things; it’s not surprising that double-unders are taking me so much longer.

However, I am worried 14.2 will just be wall ball shots and chest-to-bar pull-ups–a sure-fire way to further crush me.

But, on the bright side, I spent Saturday and Sunday in open gym sessions, just working on my double-under timing. No huge breakthroughs, except for starting to fix the way I hold the jump rope and how slowly and high I need to jump. Of course, now I pretty much have shin splints again (huzzah), which is the result of being lazy and not taping my arches. Lesson learned.

Because I was so down on my double-unders, I let other things get to me. Even though I had a great time Friday and Saturday out with friends, I moped around during most of my free time, stressed about moving houses so soon. The new owners even came by on Sunday, and I was incredibly detached and depressing to talk to. How am I doing? I’ll tell you how I’m doing, which will go against everything considered culturally acceptable when conversing with strangers; the market is crap, you’re kicking us out six months early so I don’t know if I have the money saved up for another deposit, I just got the news that my student loan payments are about five times higher than I expected under my income-based plan, and I suck at the one thing I really care about right now, which is CrossFit. Also, I still can’t seem to meet guys that are interested in investing in me and vice versa. That, new owner who keeps remarking on how lovely and nice the interior of the house you are forcing me to vacate ahead of the mandatory sixty days, is how I am doing.

Bleh.

After that, I stayed in my sweats (which were actually just my workout clothes from that morning. Yes, I know, I’m gross, whatever, let’s move on), and sat on the couch and watched the Oscars. There are four things that can make me smile when I’m that bummed on life: Ellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Benedict Cumberbatch. (I don’t put Doctor Who on that list because that show usually makes me cry, as well.) See also: Benedict Cumberbatch at the Oscars.

My bad mood carried over into the morning, which started with me not even knowing what day of the week it was. Things slowly improved after a second cup of coffee, some venting to my co-workers, a slice of cake, and a really awesome workout tonight. (Strict pull-ups, unassisted? More than 2?? 16 total?! That’s a first.)

SEAtown CrossFit – 3/3/14 WOD
For time: 21-15-9
Kettlebell swings (44lbs.)Box jumps (20″)
Burpees

Time: 8 minutes, 18 seconds

I felt like I pushed myself harder than normal. Maybe it was to overcome the blerch, and maybe it was to prove to myself that there are still skills I am making significant improvements on (and to remind myself that it’s because I’ve worked on them).

We all have our weaknesses. As I grow up, I’m learning more about mine. Some weaknesses take lots of time to patch up, and it can be difficult to remember that when it seems everything else is falling apart. I don’t want to say that it will all be okay, though, because that seems so passive and dismissive. No, it will be okay because I’ve learned to face things head-on. That’s what CrossFit and these last few years really taught* me.

 

 

 

*Also, British television is awesome. That’s another very valuable lesson.

 

 

Regeneration*

My identity is ever-becoming.

I am acting strange because I am once again wrestling with who I am, what I want, what I love, where I’m going.

This move was necessary, a step to trigger the turbulence.

I’m sorry to my friends to whom I’ve sent a million messages, and I apologize that they’re so dramatic. But this is me. This is me processing. It seems, at times, dark and chaotic. And it is.

But the thing is…

this is me becoming better than I ever was before.

* And yes, of course this is a tip-of-the-hat to my favorite TV show.** Which also brings me to another point: I’m going to be on media black-out from Nov. 23rd through the 25th. I don’t have access to BBC America, so I’ll be catching The Day of the Doctor on the 25th, and I don’t want to hear any spoilers.

** EDIT: That should say “favourite,” I suppose.

In Which I Admit Weaknesses

“…It’s me,” I stated aloud.

Two of us were talking about the frustrations of dating as a twenty-something, and I finally admitted what others have probably long suspected. And as I continue to process why it is that I remain single, I have to take accountability for many things. Now, it’s not to say that several folks from the last three years are off the hook for treating me like a Swiffer mop (that is, as something to help clean the mess temporarily and then tossed aside and forgotten), but it’s to really lay out what’s going on–and what needs to be processed.

Here’s the thing that I haven’t–until very recently–realized about myself: I’m flighty. During another conversation, my friend looked at me and asked, in all seriousness, “Is the reason you’re into guys who live nowhere near you partially because you always need a way out?” It didn’t take long for me to answer, Yes.

And as I thought about every relationship I had that had an “official” title, I realized that I was always creating a contingency plan. I thought about all the recent situations in which I found myself drawn to multiple persons of interest, and they were all “safe” in that they lived far away, or they obviously couldn’t commit, and even though all the building blocks were in place for yet another disappointment, it always gave me a quick exit. So why is it that I never come clean in the first place and say, “I’m the one we should be worried about. I don’t know what I want, and I know you’re really awesome, but at this point in time, I’m problematic. What I need right now is a friend, and can you be that, even if it means I actively have to push aside my feelings?”

Even with Portland, I had to leave. I found myself falling in love with a city, and I had to prove to myself that I could leave. I had to leave to see if it was real. It’s “if you love something, let it go.” But when it comes to me, I’m not letting anyone or anything catch me in the first place.

So… why am I flighty? Am I afraid that commitment equates stagnation, whether that’s in love or work or just life in general?

In the meantime, as I work through this, I am committed to working on my own interests, doing things not to impress someone else, but to accomplish my goals and reach new heights. I am pushing myself to speak my mind, to put my intentions out there, to say something when it needs saying. I am striving to be better, to realize that searching for the perfect partner will do no good if I cannot be in a place where I am ready to be an amazing partner (which stems from continuing to grow as an individual).

Roots will have to wait, but I will at least cultivate the field.

I’m Not Giving Up

I’m just giving in.

Some people would say I feel too much. I say, “Too much? What is that?” No, but seriously. I am The Person Who Feels Everything, surely one of the most Sisyphean of all fates. It’s pushing an emotional boulder up the mountain of your past relationships, only to have it roll down on you. It’s being the person who feels enough for three relationships, who could hold a feelings summit, who could hand out feelings on the street like a flier for discounted sub sandwiches and still have some emotions left at the end of the day.

via Thought Catalog – “You’re Always Allowed to Have Feelings”

There are some days when I wish I didn’t have so many feelings. When I wish the emotional capabilities and the ebbs and the flows in how I see the world and my life and my current state would just disappear for a second.

I’m not the only person like this. I just happen to be one that has an outlet, that has this blog to type into, but who craves finding that one partner who can actually just be so comforting and awesome and completely unexpected that I don’t even feel the slightest bit strange telling him these same things. And because I have this penchant for analysis and processing and intensity and a tendency to fall for no one but tortured souls, I still have this blog and not the other thing I mentioned.

(I have to admit that I’ve been listening non-stop to Wrecking Ball because it’s pretty much the description of every “almost lover” I’ve had since 2010.)

When you have too many feelings, you feel those connections, you see everything that could be, you see how to help, and you pain yourself wanting to make things better even if it’s not your job. And even when you know this, even when you tell yourself to run far away from complicated potential, you still find yourself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering when the pattern will stop. Because it always returns.

How impossible is it that someone will realize he needs to break his own patterns and destructive habits, and face his own demons, and realize I’m actually the best thing to happen to him, and that treating me like just an option isn’t actually an option?

It’s pretty far out there, and I want to divorce myself from the idea that it’s even a possibility, because so far, it hasn’t happened. Manic pixie dream girl syndrome, I suppose.

And what I’m feeling now, as autumn takes its hold, is just tired. But as usual, I never give up. Finally identifying the pattern that’s plagued me for several years is a step forward. Now, what to do about it?

Well. That’s a whole new journey.

Thanks for listening, blogosphere. I can’t hold onto those kinds of thoughts indefinitely. Someone needed to know.


All I wanted was to break your walls.

The Week In

I’m currently sitting at my dining table, drinking what might possibly be the best hot chocolate I’ve ever made. Coconut milk, raw honey, cocoa powder, and a dash of cinnamon all together in one warming concoction.

I’m also currently sitting at my dining table in my new rental in Seattle, WA. I am Ardith Laverne, the young woman who is from many cities in the Pacific Northwest, but most recently from Portland, Oregon, which I left to move back to Seattle.

I knew when I made the decision to move back to Seattle that it would be tough. There are many things in Portland that I love. However, I also know that Seattle is where I need to continue my professional development, as well as the place where I can round out the remaining years in my twenties.

Someone at the gym tonight asked me if I split my time between the two cities after I explained my situation. I thought about it only for a second or two, and realized that yes, I do. Portland and Seattle are both home to me. It’s kind of difficult logistically, although it really isn’t that difficult. After all, on a map, the two cities are only inches apart.

I think roots are going to have to wait. There are so many different factors that can come into play, and I’m feeling like a leaf in the wind instead of a tree. I think a big part of it will be how this whole partnering business goes, so I remain open-minded to lots of different scenarios. In the meantime, all I have to worry about is myself, and anything can happen. (Exhibit A: moving back to Seattle.)

What I’m getting at–just over a week into my new situation and routine–is that I’m staring down the barrel of uncertainty again, but this time, it feels good. When I started my job search in the Seattle area, I asked for friends to think good thoughts. One friend wrote her thoughts out and shared them with me; she sent a message to the universe and said, “Only let this move happen if it is for the highest good.” In other words, let any move be only because the right things have aligned.

As a storyteller, I’m curious to know how this all turns out so that I can look back and turn it into narration. I want to retell the lessons learned, and I want to see how I learn to navigate my relationships in Seattle, Portland, and even my hometown. I want to explore my new city because it’s changed and I’ve changed since the last time I lived here.

But most of all, I’m hoping that this new chapter defies convention in many ways. I don’t like “normal plans,” and I have high hopes for the next few years. I have high hopes of finding beauty in strength, and finding out nothing is impossible, and that second-guessing myself never did me any good.

And on a related note, I PR’d my front squat tonight. 125lbs. (for 3 reps!). That’s my own body weight. And I got there by listening to those three key themes I just listed in the above paragraph.

If believing in those mantras works for CrossFit, well, I think it’ll work out just fine in life.

 

Cheers to the unknown.

Unconquered

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

It’s been hard to write lately. Things are changing very quickly. They are moving faster than I expected, and it’s all because of me.

For those that haven’t heard, I accepted a job at the University of Washington. I begin in mid-September, where I will be taking my advising skills to the public four-year realm as part of the School of Public Health. I am nervous and excited and happy and confused and all sorts of different nuances. What I do know is when I need to be at work on that first day, and for now, that will have to be enough.

I spent a lot of today talking about CrossFit and love. My one-year anniversary is coming up, and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this past year, as it really has much more to it than nutrition and fitness. That’s a story for another day, however.

Today, I talked at length about being a manic pixie dream girl and how I’m tired of my penchant for trying to help (“rescue”) the males in my life. As I have quoted many a time, “We are the hero of our own story.” (Thank you, Mary McCarthy.) That goes for all of us, regardless of biological sex or gender identity or sexual orientation. We are the hero of our own story.

I am looking for someone who understands that. He will understand that for himself and about me. He will be so incredibly fascinating by his own account that I can feel safe and comfortable in sharing my own stories. He’s going to be different. He’s going to be unexpected. We will find the space in our own stories where things don’t simply fit together like puzzle pieces–they instead create something new, something where the individual parts are still visible and still meaningful, yet the sum of the whole is more than those individual pieces.

I write about love a lot. But I write a lot about my journey there, because being alone is something I want to be good at. This summer has been such a good thing for me. And maybe, yes, I’m still unsure about the possibility of ending up lonely. As another friend and I discussed, it would be lovely to be with someone that looked at you not with lust, but with love and adoration and respect and the most genuine kindness. It would lovely to be with someone who would say, without prompting, without curating the perfect words, “That woman right there? I love her.” They would say it with feeling, with realness, not with the sugar-coated insincerity social media has blown up.

I fully expect the same of myself, too. I want to feel that spark and the simultaneous calm that comes from being with someone who’s a good match. There are a lot of opinions out there on “knowing” you’re with the right person; I am of the opinion that, if I allow myself to, I will be able to feel and know. I’m optimistic, because I haven’t quite gotten there yet–and it’s scary, not knowing what it feels like to know (see what I did there?). I have been wrong. I have been wrong a lot. I haven’t conquered nor mastered this.

And why should I have done so already? There has been so much change in my life, in who I am and who I am becoming. I think I like who I am becoming. (That’s a Drake quote?) I cannot (but I will) wait to see how things unfold.

I am a lot to handle. I bring a depth of thought and feeling to the table, and it is overwhelming to many. But… someone out there can handle it. Maybe we’ve already met, but does that matter when the nature of life is somewhat turbulent? I know he can make it through, and we can make it through to each other. I trust him.

Because he’s out there, too, hopefully searching for himself in this wild frontier we call life.

 

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Mulling it Over

Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route.
Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

I am richly complex, and the story I am writing follows suit. I will not give this up to be the “safe choice.” I will not have my ambitions quashed by society’s institutions and individuals that gave up on themselves and their dreams long ago.

This is the story of how I lived, and my biggest hope is that it is far from ordinary.

Via Ashley

San Francisco, with its stars. For more, visit: http://thierrycohen.com/

(Thanks, Ashley, for reblogging all of those pictures. I had heard about them months ago and nearly forgotten.)