It’s my favorite story arc from my favorite Christmas movie. No, it’s not the boardroom scene from Elf….that’s a close second. It’s when Andrew Lincoln (pre Rick Grimes fame) lays it all out there and lets Keira Knightley know exactly how he feels about her. Raw, vulnerable, beautiful unrequited love laid out in no uncertain terms, knowing that nothing will come of it. Being honest and open for the sake of being honest and open. All without saying a word. It’s painful and touching and tender and heartbreaking.
I thought of this scene many times recently, for two reasons. First because the word “perfect” kept rattling around in my head for the last few weeks, and second because of how I cry each time I see it.
Perfect. I was being everything but. The first four weeks of the year, I was on fire! I was sticking to my diet, I didn’t miss a workout, and for the most part I did it all with a smile on my face. I was safe and sound in my little constructed habitat doing exactly what I should be every day. Then the curveball came….travel. I had a conference in Arizona for several days, and went early to spend some time with friends. I was out of my routine, but tried to create routine around me. I planned, and prepared and tried to get a lay of the land so I could set myself up for success. I stuck to all my workouts, I had a great friend and personal chef prep all of my meals for me so I could stick to my menu, and overall the trip was a success. I did have one extra cheat meal that week though and I felt pretty shitty about it. I had concocted all of the reasons why it was ok (I’ve got plenty of time; it could have been worse; I’m doing waaaaaayyyyy better than I normally would) but at the end of the day I felt shitty because I had let myself down. I was 19 weeks out from the competition at that time and that attitude of “It’s only one” will be my downfall if I continue with it. I got into a little funk (pity party, table for one!) that kept on going for about another week. My food/menu changed, and I didn’t love it. I worked with my nutrition coach to tweak it, but I wasn’t approaching it with the excitement I had in the beginning. The adrenaline high of the first few weeks had worn off and here I was. Raw, vulnerable, laying it all out there and not being sure if anything would come of it.
Now to the crying. I had a very strange phenomenon happen ten years ago when I was training for a marathon. For some context, I was doing the marathon for two reasons: #1 I was double dared into it #2 My mom was dying from cancer and I thought if she could get up every day and fight, I could do this. The phenomenon was this: every day that I ran, when I came (literally) into the home stretch down my street towards my house, I would start to cry. I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t hurt. What I was was way outside of my comfort zone. The crying was a release. It was everything I couldn’t say to my mom as I was watching her die. It was everything I couldn’t say to my children to prepare them for what was about to come. It was everything I didn’t want to say out loud to myself….that my life would be forever, profoundly changed in ways I couldn’t even fathom but somehow at the same time knew. I’ve had that same “crying” experience a few times now in my training. So far it’s only happened in spin class (thank God, because the room is almost pitch black) but I’m worried it’s going to happen more frequently. I realized that the reason I cry during that scene in the movie is because I so relate to future Rick Grimes expressing his deepest feelings without saying a word. I’m not a cryer, but I’ve found a way to release feelings that I cannot find the words for. Maybe I have the words but I don’t want to say them out loud. What if I fail at this? What if I’ve made such a public display of my commitment and I fall flat on my face? What if all of the people that have told me I’m an inspiration see me stumble? What if I follow all the rules and my body doesn’t cooperate? I get overcome and sometimes the only thing I can do is cry.
But you know what I’ve decided? That’s ok….it’s more than ok; it’s perfect. This is my journey and it is unlike that of anyone else. My body is unique, my story is my own, and I’m forging this path alone (with the help of some pretty amazing women). I am not going to be perfect in this process, but I am going to continue do my best. I’m going to make progress, because I believe in the people who are training me and they keep telling me to “trust the process”. I’m not going to beat myself up anymore if I stumble, but I’m not going to let myself off the hook either. This road is going to be bumpy sometimes over the next four months but I’m not going to let that throw me. And to me, that will be perfect.