Dealing with F’ers

dealing with F'ers

I recently calculated I see roughly 170 people per week over 4 different facilities – that does not include passers-by, people simply working out  – nodding at me, greeting me while I train clients…. This isn’t about “Wow!  Look at me!” this is about the JOY and PURPOSE of my job.

We all have F’ers in our lives.  If you don’t, call me, I have questions to ask!  I feel like I am pretty nice, genuinely kind, considerate…thoughtful.  I text/message clients and class members to encourage, rather than just thinking nice thoughts.  I support the facilities I work at with a smile and hard work… but still, there are people who just get their kicks messing with other people.  Right?!  Am I alone?

Right, didn’t think so.

But this isn’t about MY issues. It’s about some of THIS week’s clients and why I love my job.

1. Personal life. We were in a small group personal training session and while talking about goals, I found that one of my clients was going through a divorce -she was going to lose that last 10lbs since the baby.  Later, I saw her wiping tears from her eyes as she worked. So, we refocussed on the work at hand.  Form, intensity…movement.  And so did she.  1 hour of emotional reprieve. 1 hour of doing something good for her during a shitty period in her life.  She thanked me as she left with a smile.  THAT’s one way to deal with F’ers.

2. Body Image. After class we were discussing body image.  That’s kind of standard.  I was asked “How do I get rid of THIS?” as she grabbed her inner thigh.  My answer, “Choose different parents?” She has spent most of her life with her mother’s (and others’) negative commentary running circles around her self image. Years of thigh-gap marketing.  Years of “this [insert body part] is not good enough” messaging.

Remedy? Get naked.  Look in the mirror.  Don’t waste time telling yourself things you don’t believe (“I am beautiful” “My thighs aren’t fat”…) Don’t tell yourself anything.  Just take inventory. THIS is your body. A combination of genetics, care and time. Next, start caring for that body.  Exercise, eat well, rest well.  As your body changes , and it will, it changes according not only to ‘care’ but also to genetics.  You are not going to suddenly become large chested or small chested (you may loose more or less than you want there).  But whatever it is, it’s YOURS. That makes it extremely important, valuable even. As you improve your good self-care, allow that to include your messaging.  LOOK, really LOOK at marketing images – do they LOOK realistic?  Look at the people around you… all flawed, all struggling.  Think about what the world we live in would be like if we stopped that judgmental sort of criticism- of self and others?  If we gauged ourselves by how well we moved, how well we felt, how well our bodies responded to healthy stimulus? Forget the F’ers who tell you you are not good enough looking like “THAT”.

3. Instigators. Even when you are doing well, or maybe especially then, people just can’t resist the temptation to try to sabotage. (Maybe you are your own “F’er”?!) Stirring up trouble, drama…. calling attention to lesser matters.  Things that don’t change the world or the lives of people we care about in positive ways.  One such person asked me casually, “How are you doing today?” My answer, “FANTASTIC.” Their response?  “Oh.  really? Fantastic, huh?”…yup.  fantastic.  Didn’t even need to think about it.  I am helping people change their lives.  Reshape not just bodies, but attitudes!  What an amazing impact a healthy mom or dad can have on their children!  What an amazing impact a healthy adult can have on society!

My friend Jim Palmer said, “Most people twist themselves into knots trying to conform to what they think they should be, rather than simply being aware of who they actually are.”

Bottom line: I decide what is and isn’t going to have power over my life.  I decide how I am going to react and what things I am going to focus on.  I decided that my favorite thing is joy.  I choose that.

However you get there, I hope you do too.

Author’s note:  Please feel free to say “Fuckers” in place of “F’ers” if you are so inclined when reading this post.  I was trying super hard not to swear too much. 😀


Badass Branding

Lady Gaga.

gaga sound of music

(Listen to her Sound of Music Medley)

I probably could stop there. But for those of you who aren’t quite sure what I am talking about…

gag set

Now tell me, when she first started her singing career, were YOU a fan? (I have lots of friends who will answer ‘OF COURSE!’ and many who will say, ‘uh. no.’)

Did you ever think SHE would be asked to sing the “Sound of Music Medley” at this year’s Oscars?  Did you ever think she would look so “normal” or “princessy”?

Me neither.

Here’s my take.  Lady Gaga’s branding is an outlet for self-expression. Her branding allows her audience to relate and be heard.  Her branding gets her AMAZING voice attention. Her branding helps us look past stuff we may not understand, to be able to listen – either without the prejudice of our eyes or enhanced by our vision.

NOW….what if she had tried to be “the next Julie Andrews” or just another girl with a really great voice? Trust me, there are LOTS of girls with really great voices.  Why do you think it’s so hard to make a living in the music industry? …or any industry, for that matter.

There are LOTS of people with talent and skill; what YOU bring to the table is the differentiator.  You better bring it.

on being brave…

I’m not gonna talk to you about how to be brave, ok?  You know how to be brave.  You know what scares you, what you are passionate about and if you don’t… quit reading and start talking to yourself.  Seriously.  If you don’t know YOU, who can you know?!

Years ago I read a book, “The Meaning of Your Name”. OK, no, I didn’t read it.  I flipped through it until I found “Elizabeth” and then quit.  But to the point: Elizabeth, according the book, meant “truth to God”.  I immediately decided I liked that.  Truth. It’s been what I strive for my entire life. We call it integrity, authenticity, genuineness…. It’s about not lying.  Not even being a part of a lie to help someone feel better….even if that someone is me. It’s scarey.  I mean, really, who DOESN’T lie to themselves?

Religion supported my desire for truth for most of my life.  The idea that I would stick to the truth, even when others disagreed was inspiring and made me feel good.  The idea that God knew my thoughts kept me true… I thought. Until I started thinking. Really thinking.  Being brave.

Here are some somewhat random thoughts I mulled over (I didn’t know at the time I was even BEING brave), fought through and stashed away for later thinking:

  1. What does Jesus actually say vs what are we taught vs what we do? I found too much disparity.  That bothered me. So….
  2. I imagined all the things in my life that I thought were true – whether perceived, learned, absorbed – written on a big chalk board.  I then imagined myself erasing everything.  Everything. Why?  Because if it really IS true, it can’t be really be erased.  It would keep appearing on my board. If it didn’t hold water, I didn’t want it. That is truth.
    THinkery Austin 20150216-230

    My granddaughter erasing paintings with a friend! I am a little more afraid when I erase my chalkboard! But I want to approach life with the zeal she does.

    I was later introduced to some of the works of philosopher Rene Descartes, who said, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” That’s what I had come to believe as well.  How strong is your belief if you haven’t had to fight through the truth of it?

  3. This meant getting rid of much of what I was taught – and believe me I tried to keep it!  Things I was taught about being a good person (which often equated to ‘good enough’. which begs the question, “Good enough for what?” and “Who actually decides?” Cause if it’s God, then what are WE doing deciding???) //rant. I started asking “Really??” I also started responding “Fuck that shit.” to much of what I had been taught about my role, my gender, my beliefs and my ‘place’ in the world.
  4. I started talking to everyone (if you know me, you know this is only a slight exaggeration) about what I thought.  I asked what they thought and listened intently.  Put those things on my chalkboard and then erased.
  5. When people I looked up to couldn’t GIVE me the answers, I decided that I was on my own.  Had to think for myself. I received permission to disagree with concepts, presented as truths, due to lack of definitive answers/evidence.  Kinda funny, that…. I have a tattoo on my forearm that says “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, then who am I? If not now, when?”  It’s meaning keeps growing. (Fortunately the tattoo doesn’t keep growing, that would be CRAYYYZZZZY)

    Let me be clear, I think EVERYONE should think for themselves.  Fearlessly.  If you think it, you think it. Suppressing, lying, or hiding does nothing for you or the people around you.  You have a unique perspective.  I get to decide if it is valid or useful for my life, but even if I deem it unuseful, you should still think it – until you decide that you don’t think that thing anymore.  Changing your mind upon new evidence is acceptable.

I don’t think this should be called bravery, either.  I think it should be called living life.

…got friends?

Hey!  I’m a grown up!  And, through extensive research , i have found that most of us felt like outsiders growing up…always thinking someone else had better or “real” friends.   huh.  And I thought it was just me.  Geeesh.

Now that I’m over that… I have been looking at friends and friendships.. the relationship I have with people I call friends.

The people that mean something somehow more special to me than the other people I simply enjoy when they happen to be around.

My take on friends?  Let’s just do a top 10 list.

  1. cigarThey don’t feel the need to correct or protect me.
  2. They run with me into the unexpected.
  3. …or they don’t, but they are still there when I come back!
  4. They don’t feel the need to decide if what I am doing is “right” or “wrong”.
  5. They are curious and passionate, with a dimmer switch.  They don’t need ME to learn and live a robust life, but are happy to do that WITH me.
  6. They are vulnerable.  They let me in without fear of judgement.  They WANT to be known… and to know.
  7. Friends bring hope.  Not through encouragement, but through their existence. It’s ethereal.
  8. They call bullshit without the need to take it to a fight.
  9. They understand where the lines are, because they have set them internally.  They are inherent in their being. (We call this  boundaries) AND they can handle my squiggly lines 😉
  10. Their circles are ever expanding.  With or without me.

I didn’t take too much time thinking through this list, certainly 10 thoughts aren’t going to describe what I find important in a friend, or what friendships can look like.  And it’s order is arbitrary.

What I know for sure (today) is that a friend fills your soul and is fed by yours. In big and small ways.  I also know that I am grateful beyond measure for mine.

being me… or you.

“Why am I so afraid to be completely me? #seemssilly” ….my most recent tweet.

Screenshot 2014-08-11 14.47.06

I thought of some reasons why.

  • I am afraid you are going to judge me for my ‘bad language’ even tho I think it’s just fine language and expresses my feelings well. But then the next question is: “why do I really care what YOU think of me?” I need to like me. You liking me is a bonus. Or not, depending on who you are. 😉
  • I wonder how I will feel if I change my mind about how to best be “ME” and how YOU will react to it.  I think I will be OK with saying “I didn’t like being that way, so I changed it.” But as far as what you think: “why do I really care what YOU think of me?” I need to like me. You liking me is a bonus. Or not, depending on who you are. 😉
  • I am afraid to not be right. Wow.  And just WHO decides that anyway? If I am wrong  – or at least I am in agreement with YOUR assessment of me being wrong – I can change.  Until then; I need to like me. You liking me is a bonus. Or not, depending on who you are. 😉
  • I am concerned about other people following me and then me changing my mind. What about my ‘responsibility’? Here’s what I think about that.  Each human gets to decide what they think, right? So if you agree with me now and I change my mind… you get to decide if you want to maintain the same course or not.  Just like me.  Every day is full of decisions, the only one we need to make sure we don’t disappoint is us. And in the end: I need to like me. You liking me is a bonus. Or not, depending on who you are. 😉

This post is not a “F U and your self righteous judgementalism” post.  HAHAHA! You absolutely get to think and feel the way you do.  I can be cool with that.  But it is a “can you be cool with me, anyway” kind of post.  If not: I need to like me. You liking me is a bonus. Or not, depending on who you are. 😉

…with all due respect.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

being happy

Gah! I hate this topic. but here we are.

I see lots of super simplified posts about managing our feelings (Happiness is a feeling right?) Ghandi once said, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission” (this was on a recent FB post I read) and it irritated me. (Not the intention of the person posting, but the unintended outcome of taking complex things and simplifying them into an easy statement)

I mean I WANT it to be true. How nice would it be if I had ultimate control over my emotions? Never needing to feel a bad feeling (aka hurt)?

I think we want to gloss over bad emotions, whitewash our lives. As if not having bad emotions (should I say negative or unpleasant emotions?) means we are ‘successful’. We don’t want to admit failure or mistakes. Lapses in judgement. Or that we trusted someone who let us down.

That is all just silly. People fail each other all the time. It’s not my fault if you are mean to me. It’s my fault if I can stop it and don’t. (by distancing myself, calling the police, having a talk with said hurtful person… whatever is required) But even then, sometimes, you are just a victim and getting away from hurt isn’t possible.

And sometimes recovering from hurt is hard and takes a long time.

I don’t want to hold on to it. I need to let old hurts go and not fester. That’s important. But then, sometimes, you smell something or see something or remember something and that old hurt feels new again. So, again. I let go. That’s all.

To think that our lives should not be marked by pain, hurt and suffering is foolish. Unrealistic at best. I can’t WILL things to not hurt. But I CAN feel what I am feeling, decide if I like it or not and then make decisions to help me feel better feelings.

It’s because I am ok with this process. Because I get that life hurts sometimes. It’s because of these things, I think, that I am happy. The phrase “it’s all good” takes on new meaning. I can learn from everything. I can be happy that I understand my feelings and they are appropriate. I can make decisions based on what I want and what I don’t want. That makes me happy.

It’s when I ignore what my insides are telling me that I lose happiness. Not the presence of hurt.

Beautiful on the inside

Today I shared (on Facebook) a video about being free from ‘beauty expectations and pressures’

I am not a fan of sappy, but I found tears streaming down my face.  I kept repeating “pretty enough, beautiful enough” as each woman became freer and freer with less and less makeup, hair extensions, photoshop treatments.

I enjoyed a friend’s comment about his daughters: “Funny, now that I have two beautiful daughters I’m so much more aware of stuff like this. Love it.”

I enjoyed how many people shared the video with their audiences.  But one lovely, well intentioned friend shared with a comment about ‘lasting beauty’ being on the ‘inside’.  Gosh, I was suddenly furious. (HAHA!  I am in my 50’s ok, maybe that has something to do with the intensity… maybe not.)

BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE.  I would like to call “Bullshit” on that phrase. Here’s why….

It’s like ‘beauty on the inside’ is the consolation prize.  “Well, honey, you actually aren’t very pretty, but you are so sweet.  That’s all that matters.”  UGH. It’s almost synonymous with ‘ugly’.  Firstly, you aren’t the judge of pretty.  Well, actually you are, but keep your negative thoughts to yourself. They are for you. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  You get to decide what is pretty/beautiful, but maybe it’s unhealthy to try to get others to conform themselves to your idea of beauty?

Honestly, I don’t think people who say that mean that you are NOT pretty on the outside.  I think they THINK they are saying 2 different things.
1. Outside goes away and is less important, so be beautiful in your personhood first and foremost. AND
2. The outside IS good enough.
 BUT… they don’t realize they are actually saying  – you don’t cut it. (well the people I am talking about anyway)
This may just boil down to
1.) Verbal laziness (their, they’re, there)
2.) Thought laziness (I don’t really want to tax my brain thinking what the underlying message is.  I would rather repeat things that sounded nice when I heard them)
3.) Ethos laziness (I don’t want to go through the effort of knowing what I am about and being about it to the core of my being)
Sometimes, though, it’s just hard to say what we think.  So, no judgement on you if you are saying these things.  I think the best about you. I hope you do the same about me. But if you, like me, are finding that so many of these “empowerment, beauty, girl power” statements are simply underhanded compliments… change it.