I had written this ‘note’ on my personal Facebook December of 2013, but I thought I would share it here. I have made a few updates, but the point I was trying to make then still holds true for me now…
I’ve been struggling with whether or not I wanted to post something this personal on Facebook, or on the internet in general, since once I do, it’s permanent and out there for everyone to see. But, if sharing this helps or inspires one person in my life then it’s a victory. To anyone who takes the time to read this, thanks, and I hope you enjoy it and get something out of it.
Those that know me or that have me on Facebook know that CrossFit, weightlifting, strength training, nutrition, health, etc, play a big role in our life (and our dog, Boo, she takes Omega 3’s and Glucosamine too! lol.) This started from a young age, the first time my Dad put a basketball in my hands my life changed. I know that sounds dramatic, but it dominated most of my childhood with the goal of playing at university, and then hopefully at a higher level.
Luckily, I got the chance to play in Europe after high school, and then at UVic where we won a National Championship my first year (I rode the pine, but it was exciting to be a part of it nonetheless!) Unfortunately, I had shin splints, and eventually also developed severe chronic compartment syndrome in both shins that forced me to quit in my second year. At this point I could barely walk, was icing my shins seven times a day to keep playing, and really, was losing all sense of rationality.
I decided not to get surgery at that time, but years later when my shins were still a big issue, I got a bilateral fasciotomy on both shins (cutting the fascia knee-to-ankle to release some of the tension/restriction, etc). So, with my dreams shattered at 19, I thought my world was over as I had identified myself with being a basketball player for so long, it had become a very real, tangible part of who I was.
Fast forward a couple years later, I’m still at UVic, and I get the truly devastating, perspective-giving phone call from my Mom that she has breast cancer. Welcome to the real world, and the things that matter most. A lot of other things happened around that time to those close to me that I’ll leave out, but to say that this was a sad, dark time for us all wouldn’t be doing it justice.
But, thankfully my Mom is fully recovered, back to work, kicking ass and taking names, and has been cancer-free for over eight years. How my Mom and Dad handled themselves during that time was inspirational, and indicative of who they are as people. I remember reading a story when she was going through chemo that said cancer can be like a ‘barbwire wrapped gift’, in that if people survive it, it can act as a wake-up call. Time to stop and smell the roses, maybe slow down a bit, realize how good you have it because we don’t always get a second chance. Luckily we did.
Once I graduated from UVic, I had been volunteering at the SPCA, and I really wanted a dog. I literally bought a condo in Victoria, BC, so I could get one, and ended up meeting another very special person in my life who gave me Boo, my quirky 11 year old beagle. A couple years later, I joined the military, sold my condo, and moved into a temporary place while I waited to leave for basic training. Then a perfect storm of things that could go wrong did go wrong, and Boo got spooked, got loose, and was missing for almost a week.
Anyone that knows me knows how much I love this dog, and for five long days my friends and I searched the city for her, put up missing posters, called the SPCA, animal control, radio stations, etc. I wasn’t on Facebook at the time, and my friend even made a group dedicated to getting her back. Over 1,200 missing posters, and a very lucky call and tip later, we found her. I completely realize this is a dog and not a child, but we don’t have kids yet, and she is a part of my family, so I’m very grateful to have her back.
So, my military training begins: QC, MB, BC, NS, back to BC. A couple years of living on base, out of a suitcase to do the training for my trade while Boo lived with a friend of mine, and eventually my parents. In Winnipeg I met another life-changing person in Freddy, my partner-in-crime, and best friend. After a ton of long distance, we finally get to be together here in Courtenay, BC. Anyone that knows him knows what a special guy he is, and how lucky I am to have him.
After years of studying and training, two flights away from my final check-ride, an issue comes up with my left eye that doesn’t affect me in daily life, but has now prohibited me from continuing in my trade. On the bright side, I was getting extremely airsick, so I didn’t have to worry about that anymore, and I got to take a year-long military French course while I waited for the news. (Since the time that I wrote this I have left the military to pursue this career and school opportunities.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally aware that I’ve had a very privileged life, and there are many people out there dealing with way more than I can even imagine. I’m not at all comparing my first world problems to some of the desperate, horrible situations out there. All of these events I’ve summarized have in some way shaped who I am like everyone’s experiences have.
I feel lucky to have had these opportunities, whether they have been successful or not, and to have options, and choices. I read an article tonight that spawned me writing this entire ‘note’, and this one part really rang true for me: “You think that CrossFit has taken over your life, and your family thinks you are now part of a cult because you have changed. But it is not a cult and it is not even CrossFit. It is you. CrossFit is a tool showing you the way to actively take control of your life.”
At times, with all of this going on, I have had a hard time keeping up with my training, and staying motivated. So, I’ve written all of this possibly irrelevant, excessive background info on me to basically find out what drives me to continue training when I’ve had a bad day, a bad week or two, what motivates me, why am I doing all of this? I’m never going to go to the CrossFit Games, it’s always going to be a recreational hobby for me, so I better be having fun while I’m at it.
For me, immersing myself in this lifestyle has been about finding something again after basketball that gives me a feeling of purpose, something to focus on besides work and my relationship, something challenging and new to learn. It’s something else to identify with, other people and another community to connect with… something to believe in.
And it’s opened doors to other opportunities, a relatively new development in my and Freddy’s life is coaching at Titanium CrossFit. I never got heavily involved in coaching basketball, but I’m so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to coach CrossFit. To be a part of someone’s ‘first’ something, to see them become more confident, strong, and capable is truly a privilege. Those on the outside that see CrossFitters as a fanatical annoyance/trend maybe need to understand that everyone is fighting their own battles.
Maybe we just need somewhere to escape to, or a ‘happy place’. Yes, it’s necessary to have perspective, but it’s also all relative. I don’t have a sick child or cancer, I have two amazing parents than love me more than anything, a supportive fiancé, and more incredible friends than I probably deserve (and easily the cutest dog on the planet!) but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own occasional struggles.
CrossFit fosters a community of dedicated, disciplined people that respect the hard work it takes to make improvements whether it be your first real pull-up or a triple body-weight deadlift. It can seem elitist and obnoxious, but it’s just because people are excited about making progress or doing things they never thought possible. They’re feeling capable, and empowered, so of course it’s going to ooze from their pores and dominate their conversations, and possibly Facebook!
No one would bat an eyelash if we were marathoners or triathletes training as much as we do. I can totally understand people who love endurance sports, dancing, yoga, the outdoors, music, art- that is their passion, and I respect that. But for me, for some reason, coaching at the gym, lifting that barbell, putting a heavy weight overhead, having a good ‘WOD’, walking on my hands, etc, all give me butterflies just like when I was playing basketball.
I have met mentors, life-long friends, and some really inspiring people that are helping to shape my life. They encourage me to better myself, to learn more, work harder, to just be better than I was yesterday. I definitely don’t have near the natural talent, if any, (or proper lever/limb lengths) that I did for basketball, and in my wildest dreams I hope do well at local competitions. CrossFit has tested my will, I’ve fallen on my ass multiple times, cried, thrown my training journal in tantrums of frustration (when by myself of course!)
But for the first time in my life I’m starting to learn to remove “I can’t” from my vocabulary, and that transfers over into other facets of my life. I didn’t realize how much negative self talk I engaged in until I started doing CrossFit. It has showed me what I’m really made of, and if I have the courage to keep coming back after things don’t go my way. To work on my weaknesses, admit that I need help and to ask for it. These are all life skills that will make me a better daughter, wife, mother, friend and co-worker.
So this is my ‘why’. This is why after a bad week, I’m going to show back up to the gym on Monday ready to get back to work. So whatever it be for you, be it volunteering, hiking, snowboarding, yoga, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, singing, find something that makes you feel passion and alive again, and that encourages that joy and childlike enthusiasm.
I would imagine that when we have kids, I would want them to see that I’m passionate, that I make time for myself, I see value in nutrition, sleep and exercise, but most importantly, that I try to be a good person, and someone that the people in my life can be proud of.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share any comments on your own personal ‘why’ below!