still writing to myself

I’m on week 5 of my Lively Woman journey. Our most recent homework was to write another letter to ourselves, a version of me five years down the road. Enjoy.
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To a slightly older, possibly wiser, and hopefully less tired version of myself,

You have survived. For five years you have rafted rivers of grief and slogged through the trenches of parenting small children, but you have lived to see the other side. Remember those days when you felt that 5:45pm could not come soon enough because the day had contained more dirty diapers and spilled bowls of oatmeal than one person could ever handle? Now you have an eight year old and a six year old. Remember that these are the days that you longed for. The baby and toddler phase were never going to be a time where you would thrive, but this is what you looked forward to. Teaching these small people and watching them grow. Hallelujah.

Then there is the uncomfortable ease of grief to consider. There are still those days where your chest feels tight and it is hard to breath, but those days are fewer. They catch you more by surprise than they did five years ago. I imagine that the somewhat seamless way that life has continued on makes you feel guilty – it even does now, despite how sometimes I feel as though I am functioning in molasses. But the strength that you feel now does not mean that you miss her any less, just that she has given more of her strength to you than you ever realized.

And you, Rachel, you have grown. Hand-in-hand you have taken your education and your health and made them your own. These aspects of your life have continued to grow and intertwine. You have used your base of knowledge and excitement about nutrition to assist others in their own journey – while eating delicious baked goods along the way.

But truly, this is all that I can imagine for you right now. Today I am having a hard time seeing past the end of the day, much less the end of the week. When you look back at where I am today, offer your memories grace and forgiveness. This has been an ugly year but you have survived it.

-Rachel

an epistle regarding masochism

I’m in week two of a program called Lively Woman. It is run by the lovely Emily Nielsen, who owns Balance Family Fitness. The program is six full weeks of Tuesday/Thursday 5:45am HIIT classes, two at-home workouts, a weekly run and dedication to clean eating (plus, logging everything you eat). I waffle back and forth between feeling motivated to change my life through Lively Woman to wondering why in the world I would ever want to set my alarm for 4:45am on a regular basis. 

Our homework this week was to write an “open and honest” letter to ourselves about why we wanted to take part in the program. Taking time to ponder this made me realize how eating and exercise are tangled into every element of my life, past, present and future. This is the letter that I wrote.

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To the Rachel that I am:

I suppose there are a lot of reasons I could list for signing up for Lively Woman. The most obvious reason would be the weight I still haven’t lost from my pregnancy with Jasper. Unsurprisingly, the pounds don’t seem to want to burn themselves so I’m having to become proactive.

But there are other reasons. Reasons as simple as the fact that I am a badass. It used to be more obvious, back when I lived in inner-City Chicago and biked all around town. Back when I looked cool smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee at all-night cafes. But now I am a mom and I have softened. I wipe noses and search for baby dolls, make peanut butter sandwiches and sing silly verses of “The Wheels on the Bus”. Deep down, I am still a badass and this is giving me a chance to remind myself of that. Being pushed to my limits, making tough decisions and growing strong.

Another reason is the legacy that my mom left for me. Most of the attributes and traits that she passed along are things I hold so tightly to and cherish. But then there are the uglier ones, the ones that I would have been better off without. The sweet tooth (ok, actually sweet teeth), the unconscious way that I view food as a reward, the lack of portion control. I grew up with a role model who constantly battled her weight but was always ready with a warm plate of chocolate chip cookies. I don’t want to pass this legacy on to my children. I want to learn to curb my sugar cravings and to stop after a cookie or two. I want to care enough to bake with clean ingredients. I want a healthy strong body to be what my children see, not frustration over the fact that I’ve let myself go.

So carry on, warrior. You are still a badass.

-Rachel