The post below was originally published in 2011, and it's been updated each year to reflect where I am in my life and the new...Read More
This morning, I hit the Town Lake Trail for an hour of deep breathing and talking to myself. It was wholly rejuvenating, and when I came home, I sautéed up a Hot Plate of collard greens, sweet potatoes, and chicken breast. While I ate, I scribbled in my journal: “Got the snakes out of my brain.”
In no particular order, here are my…
The “Just Enough” Corollary
Experience has shown that for me, living as the Best Version of Myself works better than setting hard and fast goals for a particular time period. But this morning, I developed a corollary to that rule. For now, my mantra is going to be “just enough.” As I explain in my About Page, the crazier the workout, the more I enjoy it, and I love to tuck into big piles of food. But these days, I have to balance my crazy-ass workouts with lovely meanderings in the sun and chilling the F out at kundalini yoga. And that got me wondering: what if I did just enough of everything instead of aiming to go over the top? So this month, I’m trying it. Eating just enough. Training just enough. Sleeping just enough. Working just enough. I know it’s not revolutionary, but it might be evolutionary.
I love running by myself.
For the last two years or so, Dave and I have been reading books about being introverts, and it’s been illuminating. Because I talk a lot, and I generally like people, I’ve always assumed I fell on the extroverted side of life, but I’m finding more and more that I’m really an introvert that displays as an extrovert. This recognition has allowed me to let myself off the hook when I need to cocoon to recharge my personal batteries. I stay in my pjs and read all day, do my nails, watch Midsomer Murders… all without speaking to or engaging with other people. It is luxurious and restorative and 100% necessary. This morning I realized I need my solitary workouts, too. Don’t get me wrong: I cherish the times that Dave and I train together, but I at least once a week, I need to go solo, too. [Matt Madeiro had a nice piece recently on solitude.]
I can only play with the Zombies once a week.
On a related note, y’all know I’m crazy for the Zombies, Run! app, but this morning, I was in the mood to listen to music, and I noticed that without the zombie story playing in my head, I could hear myself think. By the time I’d circled the lake, I’d made some decisions, drafted a few blog posts in my noggin, and had a plan for the day mapped out.
Music sounds so freakin’ good.
Another “no duh, Mel” perhaps, but don’t you agree that there are some days that music just sounds even better than usual? For a full hour this morning, walked and ran on alternating songs. It was a great way to get lots of outdoor time without demolishing myself, and by letting my iPod control the intervals — songs provide a naturally-occurring 3- to 4-minute interval most of the time — I could forget about the clock and just go.
In case you’re curious, here’s my playlist for the morning. Running songs are in bold:
Blue Monday, New Order
My Disease, Bullets and Octane
Mr. Brightside, The Killers
Run Runaway, Slade
Going Blind, Bullets and Octane
2 of Hearts, Electric Valentine+Ultraviolet Sound (cover of Stacey Q)
Cruel to be Kind, Nick Lowe
Rock N Roll Jesus, Kid Rock (Bummer that this landed on a walk interval. Great running song!)
Blackeyed Blonde, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Fake It, Seether
I Was Made For Dancin’, Leif Garrett
Don’t Leave Me This Way, Communards
Nice, Duran Duran
Stronger, Kanye West
Yoga is one of the things I do, but it’s not who I am.
The yoga classes, swimming in the Caribbean, and walking on the beach last week during our yoga retreat were a gift. But I felt out of sorts a lot of the time. I just didn’t feel like myself in Mexico. I was hot, itchy, relaxed, but craving stimulation. I forced myself to stay off the internet, but I missed my real life. I missed the “fired up, talks a lot, swears like a sailor, likes to wear black” version of me. I craved the food I cook. I yearned to write blog posts. And I spent a lot of time daydreaming about Prague and the trips I want to take to Romania, Croatia, Ireland, Wales, and Hungary. I wanted to feel like myself — bookish, sometimes surly, often emotional, prone to black turtlenecks and black boots — rather than the person I felt like the yoga retreat expected: mellow, quiet, waiting to “be transformed.” It just didn’t feel right for me. Yes, I need the mental time out and connectedness of yoga a few times a week, but I don’t thrive in a perpetual time out — and yoga is a component in what I do… but I’m not a yogi.
I need to rediscover my inner Tura Satana.
Tura Satana was a bawdy, larger-than-life, B-movie actress who starred, most infamously, as Varla in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! I met her at a screening of the movie when I first moved to Austin in 2000. That was before I joined the Roller Derby, and I was enchanted by her big boobies and even bigger confidence. I aspired to be like that, to embrace the notion that little ol’ me could be a sexy bombshell if I decided that’s what I wanted to be. Fast forward a few years… I helped found the Texas Rollergirls flat track roller derby and created my skating persona Melicious. And once, for a photo shoot in 2006, I imitated Tura Satana’s style.
I’ve been working through some pretty major confidence and body image issues these last few months, and looking at these photos, I realized something really important. I was not thinner or leaner in these pics than I am now. The difference was my confidence. I believed I was sexy and strong and unstoppable. That was before my thyroid meltdown, before selling my soul to the corporate overlords for 4+ years, and before some other personal struggles that really shook my faith in myself and what I’m doing. I feel like the last two years have been about crawling out of a “personal worst” hole, and I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned while doing it — and proud of myself for accepting the learning. But it’s time for me to be a badass again.
Sometimes the clothes really do make the girl.
To that end, I’m cleaning out my closet to get rid of anything that doesn’t make me feel awesome — and you guys, that is a lot of stuff. Then I’m buying a few new badass-worthy pieces. I’m not sure what they’ll be yet, but I can tell you what they will not be. They will not be “appropriate for the office,” or floral or “cute.” They will not be “professional” and, in some cases, they may border on innappropriate. I am also very seriously considering giving myself fuchsia bangs again for the summer. Yeah, I know it’s “so 2006,” but I also don’t care. I gave up my Bettie Page bangs in a rainbow of colors when I signed the acceptance letter for my full-time gig with the corporate overlords, and I kinda want to act like an asshole teenager this summer
Being badass, one week at a time.
Dave and I are working on a plan for the Summer of Awesomeness 2012; full post on that coming soon because, really, I want you to have a Summer of Awesomeness, too. My previous Summer of Awesomeness was in 2008. That year, I signed up for a 12-week Spartan Challenge at CrossFit Central, and I committed to doing a sh*t-ton of training that summer. I went to class three times a week. I did extra workouts on my own. I learned to love running. I ate perfect Zone meals every time I ate. It was without a doubt the best summer of my life. I was lean, fit, tan, happy, and didn’t even mind that the temps were 90+ for months on end. But that was, again, before my thyroid decided it wanted to break up with me.
Because of my broke-ass thyroid, I can’t commit to a high-intensity, 12-week plan — but I can commit to having another great summer, one week at a time. This is new for me, this idea of being committed but flexible. I made a workout plan for the week that alternates hard days and recovery days, but that also includes lots of movement. If it doesn’t wear me out, then next week I’ll do what I really want to do… which is throw in a little metcon on Saturday before yoga.
Monday: walk/run (Done!)
Tuesday: strength training @ the craptastic; kundalini yoga
Wednesday: vinyasa yoga
Thursday: strength training @ the craptastic
Friday: Zombies, Run!
Saturday: hatha yoga
Sunday: walk around the lake
Whew! That is a lot of thinking for one 60-minute jaunt around the lake! But I feel ever-so-much-more centered now.
The biggest takeaway for me: Now that I’m out from under the corporate overlords jackboot, and I’m figuring out how I want my new life to unfold, I need to find a way to combine the “higher self” that I find in yoga with the boobalicious me I like to fancy myself to be.
Do you have a trick for getting back to the “real” you?