Why I Work Out

BadassWomen

Towards the end of my pregnancy last year I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a bodybuilder. I started following bodybuilders on Instagram (total guilty pleasure) and reading everything I could about weightlifting and nutrition to support a killer physique. It wasn’t just the fact that I felt huge and very pregnant that had me dreaming about six-pack abs but the pregnancy itself made me curious about transformation and the stuff our bodies are capable of doing.

So these bodybuilders I follow on Instagram are constantly pairing their #gymselfies and photos chicken and oats in tupperware with motivational captions like “I have goals. Nothing will get in my way. You have to know WHY you want what you want and then you have to go for it full force.” (Trite, yes – but I’m a total sucker for them.)

These captions always have me feeling like I don’t know really know my why. That said, these women with boulder shoulders and glutes that won’t quit never really seem to articulate their WHY either. So I started thinking about my own personal reasons why I want to be in killer shape. I came up with two:
1. so I can kill zombies and look like The Walking Dead‘s Michonne doing it
2. so I can look like a zombie-killing badass in a bikini this summer

I think I’m disciplined enough to go to the gym and kick my own ass and track my macros down to the gram so I can look and feel like Linda Hamilton doing hundreds of pushups and pull-ups in Terminator or Ellen Ripley kicking some Alien ass or Michonne slaying zombies … but is it a sustainable why? Is looking like a post-apocalyptic badass the kind of why that will get my ass in gear when I’m tired and want to eat All The Sugar?

So I started digging deeper about my “why”. Why do I work out?

After lots of driving and thinking, showering and thinking, working out and thinking, walking and thinking, and brushing my teeth and thinking I came to the conclusion that my WHY boils down to two values: 1. transformation and 2. discipline.

Transformation. I love a good reinvention. I remember as a kid I was always excited for Madonna to unveil her newest look – I even admired how bold and unapologetic she was about stuff like her fake English accent. Into my late teens and early 20s America’s Next Top Model was my favorite – and the episode I never wanted to miss was the big makeover where they chop Rapunzel’s locks into a Rosemary’s Baby pixie. I couldn’t get enough.

And then there is Discipline. I love the idea of spontaneity and just living life, man… but when it comes down to it I thrive on discipline and routine. Trusting a process that will get me from Point A to Point B – it gives me the certainty I crave. But I’ve noticed over the past year that when I lose faith in myself, I stop trusting how over time little steps will add up to great distances. When I’m low I can’t even see past my own hand. Getting from Point A to Point B seems pointless when I don’t even know what Point B looks like. So discipline – it’s about focusing on the process. It’s about establishing habits that pull me, step-by-step, out of the valleys, even when I can’t see what’s ahead.

So back to my why. Why do I work out? Because I believe if I can sculpt my body into a zombie-killing machine then I will prove to myself that transformation + discipline can accomplish any vision I set my sites on. And right now, I have some pretty big vision.

So now I have my why. I like it. But I still want to look like a zombie-slaying badass in a bikini.

5AM

JeremyFox

Friday, January 9th, 2014
It’s 5AM. Fox is still waking up in 2-hour intervals and after getting him back down at 4AM I am up. I try to clear my mind, find gratitude, mentally flood my body with relaxing light, and go back to sleep. But after an hour of listening to my baby breathe (which aside from hearing him laugh is one of my favorite sounds) I was really up.

I unload the dishwasher and make some hot lemon water. It’s a chilly 61º in the house – we like it cold when we sleep. Sleep. My eyes start to water as I wrap my hands around my mug – my bottom lashes serving as a flood gate holding it all in. Lots of people wake up at 5AM – this is totally fine. My neck loosens its grip around my throat. I think I’ve convinced myself for now. I open my laptop to do some work. I’m choosing 5AM.

By 10AM I’m melting down. Everything feels pointless. I call my mom.

“Well, honey. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know why he’s wired this way. Your brother used to wake up in the middle of the night sometimes but he would just quietly play with his toys in his crib and fall back asleep.”

Okay. Tonight I’m letting him cry it out. He can cry all night long. It’s either that or I’m running away to Australia.

Saturday, January 10th, 2014
It’s 5AM. Fox is stirring. I brought him in the bed with me when he started crying at midnight. It’s always like this. During the day I make big plans to kick the habit – no really this time. But that baby is my heroine and maybe tonight is the night he’ll sleep for just a little bit longer. So it’s 5AM and he does this thing where he sits up and slams his head back down. This time, as his hard skull crashes into my brow bone, I have a sort of flash back to his birth – I will never forget the feeling of his hot fuzzy head coming out of my body. My eyes are burning – the same sensation you get when you’ve stayed up too late reading. I might cry. Beebs – you’ve gotta take the baby.

The next time I look up it’s 8AM and the house is silent. Jeremy and the baby are asleep on the couch. My eyes are still burning but in this moment I can clearly see the point of it all.

Being Boss

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You guys. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this creatively charged. I feel like I have a little extra electricity running through my body. That’s because today I launched the first episode of my new podcast with my dear friend and creative colleague Emily Thompson called Being Boss. (I felt so creatively jazzed about it that I told my sister and business partner Tara that this is the year we will finally write our Braid book. She took a deep breath and said “fine.”)

Starting a podcast is something that has been on my radar for a while – but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So when Emily pitched me on partnering up to do a podcast I said YES. It made sense. She first approached me on the podcast idea just two weeks before Christmas – followed up with a “Oh yeah, and I think we should launch in the beginning of January.” We spent the next few weeks naming, designing, branding, logistic-ing, recording, coding, editing, and birthing this little project – and now it’s here. And I’m proud of it.

After we recorded the first episode I almost chickened out. I wanted to tell Emily that maybe we should reconsider or hold off until everything is perfect – but that’s not how either of us roll and nothing is ever perfect. So here we are. Later this week I’m going to be approaching some really big deals and request interviews – creative powerhouses and people you will most definitely want to hear from – but first I need to go put on my big girl undies.

You can listen to Being Boss and read our show notes at www.lovebeingboss.com or on SoundCloud. We’re working on getting it up and running on iTunes but keep running into technical snafus. Sign up for our newsletter if you want to be updated on episodes as they are released.

I Choose 2015

2015

New Years has always felt a little magical to me. New beginnings, new resolutions, new promises. But in 2014 I lived my whole life one day at a time – and today proved to be just another day when Fox woke up alert and ready for the day at 5:15AM – an hour earlier than usual. I tried to convince him that it was still “night night” and reminisced on a time when 5:15AM really was smack dab in the middle of my night.

Giving birth to Fox at home, on my bed, was a big way to begin 2014. Every day since then has been a bit of a sleep-deprived hormonal haze but some other cool things happened in 2014.

We snuck away to Asheville, NC to officiate and celebrate the marriage of Liz and Micah. On the way home we spent the night in the airport. Fox’s first real adventure.
• We went on our annual family beach trip and played lots of croquet and shuffleboard.
• We moved out of the 1920s house we got married in and birthed our baby in and into a mid-century modern 1950s home across the street from my sister.
• I gave a talk about overcoming fear as a creative entrepreneur at The Circles Conference – and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my career thus far.
• We went to Palm Springs to hang out with a bunch of badass designers. We saw Salvation Mountain and it was so neat.
• Fox had a three-way with Thumper and his lady bunny at Disney World and it was the best moment of his life so far.

Then there were the moments, for better and for worse, that don’t quite fit into bullet form that filled my year. The big belly laughs, soft milk breath… hot fevers and teary meltdowns.

I started this post yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, and as I swept up all the fragments of my one-day-at-a-time year I couldn’t quite piece together the big picture. But today it’s clear that it doesn’t really matter because the day-to-day is what really matters – how you do anything is how you do everything. Everyday is every day. So at 5:15AM this morning I chose to be responsible for my day. I chose love. That looked like dragging my ass out of bed, putting on my robe, and reading a stiff book with beautiful photos and few words to my sweet baby.

I’ve got some pretty big goals and plans for 2015 – we’re growing our team at BraidI’m starting a podcast, and I am going to get in the best shape of my life – just to name a few. But I’ve learned that the big scary goals are easy – the stuff like hiking to Mount Everest base camp, completing a Whole30, building a successful business, having an unmedicated home birth… it’s not that hard. I find that the little victories that are far more challenging. Finding enthusiasm in spite of the emotional turmoil that sleep-deprivation ushers in… that’s hard. Making magic when you’d rather just go through the motions … that’s hard. Choosing love when you feel afraid … that’s hard.

So, 2015 for me is about choice. I choose magic. I choose energy. I choose love and light. I choose adventure and style and art and expression. Every single day. It’s my choice.

Throw Up

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Emetophobia is an intense, irrational fear or anxiety pertaining to vomiting. This specific phobia can also include subcategories of what causes the anxiety, including a fear of vomiting in public, a fear of seeing vomit, a fear of watching the action of vomiting or fear of being nauseated. (via Wikipedia)

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When I was around 14 years old I became a little nauseated and it didn’t go away for about 5 years. With that, I became irrationally terrified of throwing up – especially in public. Every place I went I was sure to know where the bathroom was just in case I needed to throw up. (I never once threw up during this time period). I went to the doctor once or twice – they suggested that I had an eating disorder (I didn’t) and prescribed me some over-the-counter Maalox that I’d carry in my backpack and sip on throughout the day. I can still taste the chalky cherry flavor. I would only eat certain foods that I knew wouldn’t make me feel gross – like brownies, milk, and frozen waffles.

Even after the nausea went away I was still so repulsed by the idea of throwing up, or even seeing someone throw up, that I avoided staying too late at parties with alcohol. In college an acquaintance of mine let his friends pay him a dollar to throw up on him. The concept that someone would accept a dollar to be thrown up on didn’t disturb me nearly as much as the idea that someone would actually PAY money to throw up. In fact, I was just asking Jeremy if he was there and he kind of laughed and said “No, but I saw some of the video.” Of course there was a video.

When I was a teenager and we were all still living at home my brother used this fear to his advantage by making dramatic dry heaving noises in his throat when he wanted me to go away. It worked. My brother is a sideshow performer as a profession and funny enough, his name is Donny Vomit. His acts include The Human Blockhead, fire eating and sword swallowing. We lived together in a little apartment near campus when he was learning how to tame his gag reflex with a coat hanger before he graduated to swords … I all but moved out.

Both times my sister was pregnant she spent all 9 months throwing up multiple times a day, every single day. I remember at the time praying to a God I didn’t even believe in to please, please, please not make me sick if I should one day find myself pregnant. I felt really crummy at times, but not once did I throw up during my pregnancy with Fox. Thank you, God.

A few months ago I came down with a really vicious stomach virus. Every time Fox would nurse and I would let down the rush of endorphins would make me go cold, bust out in sweat, and start excessively salivating. I would have to hand him off to Jeremy and go puke. There have been a few times in the past when I’ve pushed down a stomach bug with distraction and sheer will – the kind of will this sleep deprived mama doesn’t have. So there I was throwing up into the toilet and reminding myself that I’m a warrior mama – that I labored and pushed a baby out of my body. That I got this… but really I had no choice. I spent the whole night sick. It was also the first and only time Fox has ever slept through the night.

I use to worry that my extreme fear of vomit would keep me from having a baby – because babies throw up. Fox has had a couple of stomach bugs that usually result in me holding and comforting him as he empties the contents of his little clown-car stomach onto my chest. (So now here I am being thrown up on and not even getting paid a dollar for it.) I try to reassure him, “It’s okay, mommy’s got you.” After he’s done he’ll cry for a little bit and then go limp – he’ll get this almost euphoric expression on his face. I’ll stroke his hair with my hand and check the temperature of his forehead with my lips.

I wish I could end the story there and I want to tell you that I’ve conquered my fear. That letting my baby throw up on me is better than Christmas – but it’s not. It’s sad and gross. In the moment I’m a super cool, warrior mama with only my baby’s comfort and well-being in mind. Truly. But after I’ve got him changed and am in the shower washing his puke out of my cleavage I get a little scared… Is he going to throw up again? I think I heard him cough – is he throwing up? Is he okay? Am I going to throw up? I think I feel a little nauseated… But all I can do is line the bed with towels, cuddle my baby, and make secret bargains with God.