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

Archive for the ‘How Lady J Does It’ Category

Shamuary Plans

From good old Merriam-Webster:

Shame (noun): A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.

Last night (last year, heh) 3M sent me a link to a commercial she had seen. In it, a woman’s effort, or apparent lack thereof, in an intense spin class is shamed by both the instructor and the other participants. The happy ending shows the woman cycling by herself in the gym, free of the judgment of others. I told 3M that I didn’t think the premise was so bad, as much as I train alone; that perhaps the woman needed the encouragement to try harder. She did, after all, look much more at peace on the cycle at the end of the commercial.  Can peace really produce results?

I have been thinking about how much differently I train since I have been married. I moved away from my group and my training has been much less structured. While I can say the most negative emotion elicited by someone else was annoyance, I have often (irrationally) feared shame when training in groups. Yes, I intellectually understand that all sane people are focused too much on themselves to have the time to judge someone else in the moment. For me – the mere act of joining a group induces shame. To ask for help requires consciousness of shortcoming. It’s right there in the dictionary!

I have decided, for the month of Shamuary, that I am willing to sacrifice the peace of solitude for the potential to progress more. I meant it when I said in my previous post that I want to be fearless, and the only thing that haunts me more than my shortcomings is their public airing. As we speak, I am making plans to join a local running club again, where I may have to explain my two year absence, OR cope with the fact that I kept to myself so much that no one remembers me. Feeling shame for being human is one of satan’s shams. Not today, devil. Not this Shamuary!

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Hashtag Silver Lining: can’t feel shame if you are unconscious.

In The Beginning Was The Word.

*looks up*

Forgive me, Lord, if I end up blaspheming in this post. I’m thinking really hard about what I write here. If I’m wrong about anything, please show me. Thanks for inspiring others to invent delete and backspace.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

Beginnings are a big deal. Not that you can’t have a great ending without a great beginning, but oh man, getting the beginning right often makes things that much easier. It is my duty as a Christian to constantly keep the Life-giver at the forefront of my thoughts. As 2019 has started, I am already finding myself overwhelmed and defeated, although I shared in my last post that I have no objective reason to feel this way. The thing about life is that you can have a great day but then you go to sleep, knowing that you have to set yourself up to have another great day. If tomorrow itself is not guaranteed, surely a great tomorrow is far from certain.

So what can I do to not throw in the towel on January 14? Resist.

I’ve chosen resist as my word of the year because I have found that when I choose not to resist, it is when I get into trouble. I must resist –

  • the temptation to overeat.
  • believing that progress is always linear.
  • comparing myself to others.
  • allowing the evil one to steal my joy.
  • minimizing my accomplishments.
  • not prioritizing my time.

I can only make one good decision at a time. When I pray the Lord’s prayer, I ask for my daily bread – not weekly, not yearly. While I can plan for the future, I cannot know what it holds. I want to honor God with my body. I want to serve others with my gifts, even though I feel so much of the time that I don’t have very much to offer. He can use anyone, even lil Joanie, to accomplish His will, and I definitely don’t want to be in the way.

This week, I have 16 miles on the calendar. It has been well over a year since I have run 16 miles in one week and I am terrified. I wasn’t too pleased with how slow my long run was on Saturday, but I am choosing to remind myself that practice for the big day isn’t always going to be pleasurable. I imagine that it’s quite normal for a workout to feel like WORK. It’s not even trying to pretend to be something else.

God is my light. I must resist succumbing to the darkness that has already been conquered. The war is won.

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Photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels.com

Four More Years! 

Happy Raceaversary to me, from me! 

That’s right. I’m the one (via God’s grace, naturalmente) who is the cause for the celebration! I have been running for FOUR years, like the consummate politician! So, since I’m the one who decides every day whether I am a runner, I shall outline here why I believe I should continue to support my racing and thus my overall well-being. 

1. There are fewer more glorious feelings than crossing a finish line. 

It doesn’t matter if I see a finish line and feel relief or triumph. I have never been disappointed when I reach it, even if I think I could have had a better day on the course. Every one means that I started something, committed to it, and saw it to fruition. 

2. I know how I can improve. 

While I am not at my peak of fitness currently, I know there is hope for me to become a better runner than I ever have been. I may not be a beginner, but I pray that I have just seen the beginning of my running career. I can learn to be both more disciplined in some areas and more forgiving in others. Let’s be real – there’s nothing else that motivates me to be physically healthy. 

3. It has made me a more open person. 

I have run (rimshot!) into people who have changed my life. Granted, I knew The Mentor before I started running, but I likely wouldn’t have started without her. I’ve gotten to know countless amazing people, like Blonde Oprah and 3M. Because of running, I am open to meeting more people and both learning from them and giving to them. 

Every step I take in a race is a gift from God. May He grant me at least another 4 more years! A vote for running is a vote for Joanie! 

I don’t think I’ve seen a truer race sign.

The Setup 

3 days from now, I’m going to be a wife. Pretty big stuff. Adonis’s presence in my life has been a wonderful thing in more ways than I feel like counting right now. One of the things I’ve been reminded of since becoming engaged is just how much love I have in my life – from family, friends, and colleagues. I always have understood that I have been blessed with a lot of love but it seems to be coming out of the woodwork. I’m unsure whether people are behaving differently because these are just the things people do for future wives or perhaps I am simply noticing more things because Adonis has enabled me to be more receptive to love. I have a feeling it is a combination of the two. 

The love and wisdom I have received from  my friends is something I hope I will keep close to me as life continues. However, I have noticed a trending sentiment that disturbs me –

It’s all about you. It’s your day. 

I find the second part of the thought a bit less troubling in a certain context – ensuring that my voice is heard and my wishes expressed amongst a family of REALLY strong personalities can be challenging. I do believe it’s “my day” when it comes to things that don’t matter in the long run, like food and music. The wedding trappings. 

All about me, though? My protest, in part, is because I like celebrating myself. If today is all about me, does that mean other days can’t be about me? I get to a March 12, 2016 and from then on it’s about anyone and everyone else? That’s a bummer. I simply refuse to peak on my wedding day. It’s gonna be big and it may be the best day of my life thus far, but if it goes wedding day —> mortgage —> get fat —> kids —> death AND I don’t get to be a star anymore? I ain’t signed nothin yet! 

The above-mentioned trajectory minus the fat, however, is something that I embrace. I would never have been in a place to embrace it if it weren’t for everyone else. Beginning with my parents on the first day of my life, to my music teachers, to my friends and relatives, and eventually my students – my life has been touched by so many amazing people that have helped me to take my bravest step yet. I wouldn’t be Lady J without them. 

It does make me happy to celebrate our wedding. For sure. I will never forget sitting at my bachelorette party amongst 30 women – how could I have the audacity to say that anything is all about me? There was so much love at that table. If anything, I am pleased that I’ve provided an excuse for people to come out of their holes and love each other. I wish that life weren’t so busy that it has to take life-changing events to get people to show up sometimes. I am thankful that I have my friends, but I am also thankful that my friends have each other. 

I do not want to be setup to believe that anything can be just about me. That can’t be a good recipe for being a good wife, daughter, or friend. I sincerely hope I have been a loving bride-to-be, not consumed by all that is happening. Though it will look different, I believe I have been blessed with the type of friends who will be excited, present, and loving on March 13 and after, just like I will be for them. 

  

Just put tape on it 

  
I missed a workout tonight, and I’m only sorry I missed it because I have to make it up tomorrow. It turns out if I want to run faster, I have to run faster. As much as I’d like to run from the facts (heh), there are people in my life who will not let me. 

I wish I wanted to do all my training. In fact, lately, I find myself not wanting to do much, training only because I know I must. I don’t even find the wedding dress business to be sufficient motivation. Why can’t I be more like 3M (pictured above), who has a solution – a way of mending or taping any problem – for everything? Even when she b*****s it’s oozing with potential and positivity! She knows it’s going to be hard and she is still excited about it. Many can be envious of her speed, including me, but if I could take anything of hers it would be her enthusiasm. Is there an enthusiasm workshop somewhere? Gah. I hear Blonde Oprah’s high-pitched voice but I can’t make out what it’s saying.

I don’t just want to train and get better! I want to like it! 

Shoutout Series: Four Foot Fabulous

  
I was trying to come up with what picture would be ideal for this shoutout. She’s like Wonder Woman in every way, but she’s short. I googled “Short Wonder Woman,” and this is what they gave me. 

Four Foot Fabulous is on her way to completing her first Ironman at this very moment. I could stop writing right now, right? What more do you really need to say about someone who has the will to overcome – well, everything, really. The Ironwoman of the moment (Lord willing! Minus a few hours or so) happens to be bringing her forth her zeal for life in this particular way. 

FFF (N.B. –  also the musical notation for very, very loud, which is fitting) makes my heart happy. She’s a brilliant risk-taker who does anything she sets her mind to. Her big heart can usually be found on her sleeve, she has occasionally lamented, but I think this is my favorite thing about her. Nobody keeps it realer than Four Foot Fabulous. She allows herself to express her ups and downs very honestly and, in my opinion, this puts her in the best position to motivate others, which she does frequently. 

I told FFF yesterday that it really is a privilege to call her friend. She has a pretty big fan club, indeed. I look up (down?) to her so much that I wonder why she would keep me in the loop. Don’t get it twisted, y’all. Heart of gold nonwithstanding, FFF is simply too F for riff-raff. This woman makes you feel as good as you are just by being herself. What could be more fabulous than that? 

Go get your finish line and well-deserved title, my dear FFF. Don’t forget Lil Ole Lady J! 

PS: FFF, Imma put you on blast right here because I’m not classy like you. You told me you expected to be running Mile 17 of your marathon around 10 PM and as of right now you’re ahead of schedule. That’s very inconsiderate. Love you anyway!

Shoutout Series: Cut Short

My friend’s death humbles me. 

In general, I think death can serve as an important reality check for us all; a harsh reminder that life as we know it is indeed temporary. However, Cut Short is (yes, present tense, as I’m confident her cancer free soul is gloriously celebrating) extraordinarily special. 

Her life on earth was entirely too short, but in the years with which God blessed her and everyone who was touched by her, she made an incredible impact. I met Cut Short in college as we rushed the same music fraternity. As I looked back through some of the memorabilia I have, I feel honored to have her signature among my things. She had a heart so full of love for music and people, a sharp and silly sense of humor, and a talent brilliant enough to make even the most confident musician doubt her competence. Precocious not only in intelligence but in wisdom, her down to earth manner put even the most insecure at ease. Cut Short was evidence that the best things often come in small packages; the only challenge she seemed to have in those days was a vertical one. 

Then Leukemia. Ugh. 

I will never forget her calling me and my stepping out of a practice room to take her call while we were in grad school. She spoke with confidence that she would be able to beat it. And she did, like the champ she is. At least – the first time. Sadly, she had to undergo additional treatment last year. She still maintained her cheerful, upbeat demeanor each time we spoke, this time knowing exactly what lay ahead. 

I am sad to say that though we kept in touch via Facebook, phone, and email, I didn’t take the time to see Cut Short when I had the opportunity. I mean – she’s Cut Short. She beat odds left and right. How was I supposed to know the last opportunity I would have to see her would actually be the LAST? As I heard her battle here was ending, I reflected on how she’s touched me and desperately hope that I made that evident to her at some point. I felt guilty for occasionally envying her awesomeness. That’s just like Cut Short though – still moving people to be better without lording anything over anyone. 

At her memorial service, there was an invitation for her friends and others to be a part of the choir. I am no singer but I leapt at the opportunity. Being among those who love and miss her was both heart-wrenching and joyous. I am definitely a cryer, but I’ve learned over the years that it is difficult to both cry and perform at the same time. I had mixed emotions about the choice to sing because I knew I needed to cry for her and didn’t think I would be able to. Well – I did cry. But not too much. The privilege of singing goodbye for now for my friend allowed me not only to mourn our loss but celebrate both her life and how she continues to touch those around her. Even in her death, Cut Short helped me to see all with which I am blessed. Love. Music. Health. That’s just how she rolls. 

Cut Short. I’m sorry I didn’t come see you in July. For my own sake I hope I don’t see you too soon. But I WILL see you. Thanks for being a part of my life. 



2005 🙂 Cut Short is being awesome on the far left! 

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