I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for March, 2014

Breaking News!!

I am beautiful.

Some may read that and think that it is a conceited statement. Others whom I’ve heard describe me as such may think it is an obvious statement. However, for me to say this is a big deal. It means that I am finally starting to acknowledge my victories and embrace the good about me.

This realization came about as I was posting about my Raceaversary and I looked through pictures of my physical transformation that has occurred over the past year. As I looked over my first blog post, I studied the picture of my first race more closely. I don’t think I could have been smiling any harder. It may help to understand that I’ve struggled with body image most of my adult life, irrespective of weighing 135 or 215. Over time, this manifested itself in hating pictures. The fact that I was SO excited for this picture to be taken is mindblowing to me. I felt it essential to capture the moments just after my first finish line. I could look through photos spanning several years and it would be difficult to find one where I appear more excited and proud to be in front of the camera.  So what has got full-figured LadyJ so amped?

Remember when I italicized physical in the previous paragraph? The pictures document an outward transformation but highlight an inward realization. The big girl was willing to take a risk. THERE is where the beauty lie all along. All the time I was living unhealthily, I was allowing my strength to idle. Perhaps that was the real source of my shame in front of the camera.

So yes, this risk taking, resourceful, resilient woman not only is beautiful, but HAD been beautiful the whole time. Here is to breaking free from the fears of failure that so frequently keep us from harnessing our strength.

My Narrative

I attended a Leadership Training yesterday where we were asked to write our personal narrative. Here it is!

I come from a place of privilege. My parents worked hard so that I could have the best of everything, and indeed I did. They wanted to ensure that I had a skill that I could not just employ but enjoy, so they had me begin piano lessons when I was 4, and enjoy it I did. I was the weird kid who danced to Beethoven and said her favorite piece was Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. Music was where I found my place, and when the time came to decide what to pursue in college, I didn’t want to let it go. I decided to major in Piano Performance for my undergraduate work, where I met my first real adversity. I had a professor who seemed to constantly undermine me and discourage me from my goal. It was as though s(he) was trying to take a part of me away. It was then I realized that I had been blessed to have amazing teachers all of my life and I had taken them for granted. This prompted me to choose a different path – one less performance based and one toward teaching.

Several years later, I find myself in the music classroom and in the piano studio, blessed to be doing what I said I would do. I’ve learned since then that music education is really a big freaking deal. When I share my love for music and see my students light up as they experience new things, it brings me a unique joy that I am positive the life I had envisioned as performer never could have. They share their fears with me and I am so thankful that I’m able to tell them from personal experience that they can do anything they want to if they are willing to put in the time. While there is nothing magical about practice helping people grow (not perfection!!), there is magic in feeling the power that comes with doing what you weren’t sure you could do.

And yet – there are people who don’t believe that everyone should have this magical experience. That it is, indeed, one of privilege. I consider myself lucky that I didn’t face any real challenge to it until I reached college. If education is about opportunity, how is it logically consistent to remove any part of the opportunity, especially at a young age? Why shouldn’t joy and growth through education in the arts be available to all?  I cannot imagine my life without it. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that my students of varying backgrounds would say the same.

Happy 1st Raceaversary!

The fact that I can say those words is pretty hilarious. Anyone who knew me prior to 2013 can quote me saying things like, “Why would I run? Is there a pack of dogs behind me?” or “I run for ice cream trucks!” When I lived in Miami, it was just when the bumper stickers pronouncing distance covered became popular. I thought the people with 26.2 on their cars just were proud of our approximate latitude. Not even kidding.

Nonetheless, on March 23, 2013, I did something I never believed I could, would, or should do –

I ran my first 5k.

I had trained for 8 weeks using a Couch-to-5k app on my phone. Two days before, I was starting to experience serious doubt and soreness. I showed up at the starting line nonetheless, lined up near the back as I had read beginners should do. I amused those around me as I squealed with excitement in an attempt to hide my fear. Aaaaaaaand then I heard the gun. I turned on my music and started to go. Before I knew it, mile 1 was done, then 2, then 3. I made one more turn and then I saw the big sign that read “FINISH.” Prior to seeing it, I hadn’t thought about what it would feel like to see it. I started to tear up (I’m a huge softy) and run faster. 40 minutes and 49 seconds after I had started, I crossed the finish line, where my parents were waiting to celebrate with me.

I. Was. Hooked. In the year that has passed, I have completed 20 more races, including more 5ks, 10ks, 2 duathlons, 2 triathlons, and 3 half marathons. I’ve loved the vast majority of it, overcoming port-a-potties, injuries, and a serious case of self-doubt. I am blessed to be much healthier than when I started, as now I haul significantly less mass across each finish line.

Though I now train for multiple sports, running will always have a unique place in my heart. I see the world in a completely different way since running has been in my life. I have much more appreciation for my inner strength. I am much more aware of how my body works. I take such pleasure in feeling the steady rhythm of my feet under me as they take me places I never dreamed I would go. I have met some fabulous people who encourage to maximize my own fabulousness. Every time I run, I am forced closer to God as I continually challenge myself to do things I’m unsure I can. All of my relationships are healthier because I am healthier and can give more to those whom I love.

To running. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I hope I never let you go.

March 23, 2013, Strawberry Run, Temple Terrace, 5k

March 23, 2013, Strawberry Run, Temple Terrace, 5k

March 1, 2014, Best Damn Race Orlando  10k+5k Challenge

March 1, 2014, Best Damn Race Orlando
10k+5k Challenge



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