dare to be different

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

I love a theme.

And I love that I have friends that will embrace a theme.

For birthdays, Christmas parties, the CrossFit Open, or just a February Saturday, we choose a theme and run with it. 80s, Superheroes, Country, 70s, Retro Fitness, Fancy Tea Party, College Colors, ‘Merica, Roaring 20s, 80s Prom, themes make it fun, at least for me. They let my imagination run out to play.

When I first started CrossFit, I was a capri and very long flowy 2XL tank top kind of girl. I tried to hide in plain sight. I wouldn’t wear shorts at all. Now I’m all about patterned booty / bicycle shorts, even in the dead of winter. I like some color, I like some spice. They make me smile. My friends at the gym inspired me to just wear them, be comfortable, and have fun. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. If you’re offended, look elsewhere!

Do I get looks when I go to the grocery store wearing my mermaid shorts and open-back tank? Yup. But, what other people think of me is none of my business. This is a huge mindset shift for me.

Same goes for our theme parties. When it was time for roaring 20s night, I tried on so many flapper dresses and none of them felt right. So I dragged out my high school drum major uniform. We did a Cole Porter show way back in 1995 and I wore a pinstriped zoot suit with paisley suspenders. Miraculously it fit, so in a sea of flapper dresses I was the woman in a suit. I held my breath when I walked in to the restaurant, wondering what other people would think when they saw me. Then I walked through the tables and realized it didn’t matter. How did I feel? Honestly, under the nerves I felt kinda sassy, a little fresh, and way more comfortable than in a dress. Now I embrace being different in situations like this.

The other night at a birthday party our theme was retro sports / fitness. We were going out to play a physical and competitive game. Most of us are CrossFit folks, so we all have our share of fitness wear. But retro…hm. Then conversations led to “athletes vs. mathletes” (and I clearly fall into the latter category.) As with many themes, I just like to have fun with them. Thinking of the 70s and bright colors, I picked some rainbow sweatbands, white shorts with rainbow trim, and a retro NASA shirt (for the mathlete) with a rainbow background. Oh yeah, and tube socks. Did I look silly? Yes. Did I fit the theme? Yes. I felt eyes on me in the restaurant but after my initial self-consciousness I didn’t really care. Yes, I realize that some people identify rainbows with the LGBTQIA community. I am an ally and have no fear of being seen or known that way. And again, what other people think of me is their business. I honestly do not care. Let em look! Let em think whatever! Moving on!

It brought back memories…I had a wild streak in high school and college that eventually faded away under piles and pounds of conformity and conservatism. Only in the past handful of years have I started to embrace my individuality again. My personality and identity not just in relation to others…as a mom, as a daughter, as a spouse…instead, really just my personality within myself. Who I am. Me.

I ran around and looked silly. I had fun and embraced my goofy side. I was just in the moment, letting my freak flag fly! Thankfully I have friends who join me in that.

Be who you are! As unconventional and unique as that might be. Be yourself out loud! You never know who is watching and feeling encouraged, emboldened, even a little less alone. Someone in your circle may be buried under the weight of other people’s expectations. Hiding their light. You never know who is inspired by you embracing who you are. Many don’t have that courage or are looking for it.

Let your freak flag fly!

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Part 3, the Finals

This is the end of the Masters of the Master Competition Series. The finals. The championship. Destination: Texas, USA. The stage is set. The invites were sent out. What an honor to get invited.

The travel was planned. The bags were packed. The plan was in motion. Would I remember everything? Would my bags get lost? Would I be ready? So many variables.

Rise early. Time to grind. It’s competition day. A long day. Many new faces. A new area. A new gym. New rules. Mask on. Mask off. One must be prepared to adapt to whatever comes your way. Oh the nerves that cause trips to the restroom until the first heat starts.

8:28, 11:06am, 1:04pm, and 3:33pm. Those were my heat times. Cold weather. Outdoor waiting area due to COVID. Adverse conditions one may say. Challenge accepted. So many ups and downs for this competition but it was still an amazing experience. The woman above was a fierce competitor and took the #1 spot in our division. She inspires me to work harder. 

  •  I met some amazing competitors from cities I have never been to. I learned their fascinating stories of CrossFit. Because everyone has a story.
  • I was forced to use a port-a-potty multiple times in a day. So nasty. This was also a personal record for me.
  • I watched my favorite age group of 65-70 year old women killing it in the competition. I saw them move their bodies as I did mine. Slower but with such convictions. Now I have goals for myself at that age.
  • I traveled with friends who are like family who supported each other. My favorite word being “incoming” after spending hours in the car together on and off. We even celebrated with fancy cupcakes. We sang comp car karaoke and so much more. Memories were made for sure!
  • My virtual cheers. FaceTime calls. Coaches texts. Gym friends even sent notes of motivation. Social media shout outs. My CrossFit Community is amazing. 
  • I competed solo causing me only to rely on me. I have to put in the work over and over again.
  • My daughter came along and what a great experience for her to see athletes from 35-70 competing for a spot on the podium. She watched intently. She learned movement strategies. She cheered with conviction. This was an unexpected benefit to the comp but one I thoroughly enjoyed observing.

At the end of the day I made the podium. So many emotions and self triumphs. A rebound of sorts. Pushing through movements I don’t like or are not my favorite. Hitting new limits under extreme fatigue. Celebrating after.

Many may question why compete. Many may wonder why travel. Many may think of so many reasons why not to take the risk to compete. Winning is never guaranteed. It’s the journey. The ups and downs. The friendships. The hard work. The spirit of competition. It all fuels the fire in my belly.

Next competition is a few weeks away. Time to rest a day and get back to training hard. Next comp is 4 team members representing different generations. Teen, 20 something, 30 something, and the good old caboose rolling in at 49. 

The comp should be a 2 male / 2 female combo but we are going in disadvantaged with 3 female / 1 male. It’s an experiment of sorts. 3 of my family members will be competing in this one. That makes it extra special for me. My fitness regimen spilling over to my kids is just heartwarming to say the least.

Until next time.

author moments

Just 31 Days

Here we are at year number three for this kid. Year number three of what you might ask? Why, it’s my January reflection list.

In January of 2019, I wrote this list up on the wall. My list of highlights and lowlights of the month. the first month of the year. A reflection point. A new tradition.

A year later in 2020, I hit repeat. I did again. Oh how life seemed so different back then. Just a year ago. Just one year ago. Life was so different. Who would have known a pandemic was on the horizon. A pandemic that would still be wreaking havoc a year later. Certainly not me. But here is the value of my list.

I have an opportunity to revisit where I was then vs where in am today. Am I still breathing? Yes. Am I still learning? Yes. Am I still celebrating life each day? Yes. Did I suffer loss in the past year? Yes I did. Am I able to share my stories with the world? Yes. Is there a value in the list? Yes.

My value is tremendous to me personally. I didn’t realize it at the time. I didn’t realize how important the calendar reminder I set in Outlook would be either. I just didn’t think my future self would need to revisit the past. I may now realize the past doesn’t define us. Especially if we stumble or make mistakes. However it does shape us. It may even toughen our skin at times. It gives us experience. Life experiences have value.

Below is my 2021 list in no particular order. It’s my honor to share this list with my readers and those who look back at this stamp in time. My virtual time capsule entry.

  1. I booked a plane ticket.
  2. I settled an estate.
  3. I put a house under contract to purchase.
  4. I put a house under contract for sale.
  5. I reviewed investment opportunities.
  6. I got a new certification for my professional life.
  7. I wrote blog posts.
  8. I applied for PPP for my small business. An acronym I never knew about a year ago!
  9. I got a cool new calendar with lots of F$&! words in it for 2021.
  10. I attended high tea with some sweet friends.
  11. I planted flowers on my farm.
  12. I invested in a glamping site.
  13. I watched my youngest make her first varsity sport in high school.
  14. I tried meal prep food from a new provider.
  15. I worked out a bunch training for a national competition.
  16. I coached some amazing people this month in life.
  17. I redecorated a cabin on a whim.
  18. I finished some renovation projects that were lingering.
  19. I learned to fly a drone.
  20. I was a big supporter/cheerleader for somebody who needed a big boost.
  21. I tried new foods.
  22. I tried to be purposeful in my time.
  23. I dealt with digital school days.
  24. I dealt with in person school days.
  25. I supported those in quarantine.
  26. I made valiant attempts to stay healthy and corona free.
  27. I got mad. Plenty of times.
  28. I felt exhausted after hard workouts.
  29. I started each day as a new day.
  30. I committed to writing this list.
  31. I got my nails done.

The list is by no means all-inclusive. It’s a snapshot. A glimpse. A memory list. I definitely did not know the value my January list would bring me in 2021 when I began this process in 2019. However, here I am excited to turn my life pages to see what 2022 will bring. 

No matter what failures or celebrations come my way, I will write about them. It’s my list of I did’s. There is nothing on the list about I didn’t because I always try. Remember I don’t live in the past dwelling on what didn’t go my way. I move on. 

New president is yesterday’s news. Corona is a headline of last year. 2020 is a piece of history. My hope is that you make a list. Maybe it’s a February list. Maybe it’s a top five list. Whatever you decide, commit to it. You will enjoy the process. I’m enjoying my process three years later.  

No tattoo and no weighted vest yet. Both are in the planning stages. More to follow on those stories in the future.

celebrations

Let’s Talk Music 2021

On January 25, 2020, I wrote a random blog post on music. This was not long after I laid out my 2020 goals which included an anthem or song for the year. Some choose words each year, for me I chose music last year. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I ever acknowledged music in this way but it was a symbol in the crazy world of 2020.

So here we are in January 2021. I reviewed my most played songs of 2020 and there were a few consistent as I spent many hours driving in solitude. Of course my anthem was the #1 played song but it had me thinking about what my anthem would be for 2021.

Not much thought after that until today. Boom a text was received and it all changed in a moment. A moment like this, as Kelly Clarkson would belt out.

Some lyrics that fuel me:

I am healthy,

I am wealthy

I am not going to take your shit

I am protected, well respected

I’m a queen, I’m a dream

I do what I wanna do

I’m who I wanna be

‘Cause I’m me

I’m fly as bees

I drive

I’m independent

Everything on me

I’m a queen

Not every word applies but the ones above ring true to my strength, my confidence, my gait, and so on. I am me. No carbon copies. A queen in my own world. Which all seems appropriate since my song of 2020 was Queens Don’t by Rae Lynn.

A queen’s gonna rule just the way she was made…
Queens don’t hate, queens don’t fight….
Every jewel on my crown, you better believe I earned..

Thank you ladies for putting out some amazing lyrics to keep me focused on 2020 and 2021. I just add. No need to confuse me my confidence with arrogance. I work for what I deserve. I work hard. I play just as hard. I treat others the way I would want to be treated.
This year’s song is a symbol of my attitude as I attack 2021 with vim and vigor.  ‘Cause I’m me and this is my style.

Hope you find your theme song for the year if it strikes your fancy like it did mine. I am truly lucky to have many in my life who see me as having the shining light of a queen. The commanding personality of a leader. The attitude of an independent thinker and so much more.

Off to live my best queen life. Today, tomorrow and the next day. 

face blowing a kiss
fitness and nutrition

And Just Like That…

I was sucked in. Sucked in to the leaderboard. The invitation. The competition. The unknown. The opportunity itself.

What could I possibly be talking about? I made it to the national leader board for the Masters of the Masters competition. The #2 spot. Who me? Yes you! Boom. The invite hit my mailbox just before the holiday hustle and bustle went into full swing. Should I travel to compete? Should I just be happy with where I made it to? So many questions.

I was on the fence for days. Should I? Should I not? At the end of the day, I took the plunge. I went for it. I signed up for round two of competing and the training. This time in the grand state of Texas. A plane ride away. A different dynamic for round 2. 

An unknown location and facility. A new state which requires a day of travel. Sleeping in a bed aside from mine can impact my preparedness. No community cheering me on. So many variables.

I thrive under pressure. I live for new experiences. I meet new people all the time. I learn and grow when I’m out of my comfort zone. For all these reasons I said yes. Yes to the comp! Now I need to prepare for the unknown. 

I need to dial into my nutrition and commit to working hard the next several weeks. I can do it. I will do it. No matter where I end up on the final leaderboard I can say I took a big step in just showing up.

I’m not fearing the competition movements or my competitors.

I’m not giving into self doubt. I know I can do my best and be okay with the results. Showing up is half the battle.

I don’t know how to quit. That means I will push through even the hard stuff.

At my age, I’m lucky I can move to the extent I do. I’m even more happy to say I’m a competitor. I don’t worry about others judging me because if it was easy everyone would do it. Even if you are not built to compete. You can get moving.

I hope this post inspires someone to start moving to a fitter self. The first step is the hardest, but anyone can move. Look for updates next month on my big adventure.