I turned 33 yesterday. Birthdays are special to me. As a child, my mom used to make a big deal out of birthdays, and though I’ve grown up, it’s still a special day for me. On my birthday, part of me always thinks about all of the other people in the world with the same birthday, and that it’s special to every one of them to. But I also like to think about how, to everybody else, it’s just a normal day like any other day. That balance of special and normal – that’s my birthday in a nutshell.
I had a great birthday. Everyone at work made the day feel really special, and despite almost talking myself out of it, I did make it to Crossfit for a birthday workout. It was a hard workout – Elizabeth, which I’m told is a benchmark WOD (21-15-9 squat cleans and ring dips). I scaled 35lbs squat cleans and did box dips instead of ring dips to finish right at 11:11. And everyone was wonderful and said happy birthday to me!
Why did I go instead of taking the day off for my birthday? Because Crossfit is my birthday present to myself. I’d been wanting to try it for so long, but one thing after another got in the way (money, lack of a job, fear that I couldn’t *do* it). I’m in a position now where I *can* do it, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I can afford it, my husband and I both have jobs, and I’ve learned that I can do any WOD as long as I scale it to my ability. I love going to Crossfit. It’s challenging and interesting in a way that I’ve never found any other workout to be, not even boxing or kickboxing. The support and warmth I get from my fellow Crossfitters almost makes up for having my regular workout buddy (my little sister) move 20 hours away. I go at it as hard as I can, I come home exhausted and sometimes hurting, but I’m ready to get up and do it all over again the next day. Since I start 2.5 weeks ago, I’ve been making it four days a week. I don’t even pay attention to the number on the scale. Instead I measure my progress in my strength and ability. It’s amazing to feel strong and capable again. When I deadlift 55bs 20x in a row, I feel like a total badass.
My birthdays are milestones. Last year at this time, I was hopeless, unemployed, and had just learned that my husband was losing his job. I was moving my little sister (and best friend) halfway across the country and losing my workout partner. I had no motivation to go to the gym, and I was ready to end it all. I talked seriously about suicide to my husband. I had nowhere to go but up, but at the time, I saw no way out of the pit I was sinking into.
This year, I have a job, my husband has a job, and most importantly, I have hope. I don’t know whether it’s circumstances, or being properly medicated, but I feel extremely optimistic about everything. I’m at my heaviest, but I’ve stopped giving up. When this date comes back around in a year, I will not be the person I am now. I will be better and stronger, and I will come to appreciate my body for what it is capable of, not for what I think when I look in the mirror. I may even come to like what I see in the mirror. Already, I am noticing a disparity between how I feel about my body when I bust out a WOD, and how I feel when I see myself in the mirror. It’s going to take time, and I may not be all the way there by next August, but I’m going to get there. I can see the way there now. Happy birthday to me!