Day 71 of my 90-day fitness program.
During my workout last night I noticed I have two baby abs. (My son tried to make it into four but, poking just under my bra-line, he said, “No, you’re right, I think those are ribs.” :))
This is not a vanity photo. This is evidence… This is an illustration for a story about a little girl who used to fall off the monkey bars in the playground and, in high school, couldn’t run even once around the football field without stopping to walk.
She came to believe she was “just not the kind of person” who was strong… and never would be that kind of person. In fact, she was taught she shouldn’t want to be that kind of person. It was just one of those choices in life—You’re either smart, or you’re strong. Pick one. You can’t have both.
This is the story of a girl who started, in tenth grade, having migraines that made her cry involuntarily, and still had to perform for her flute teacher with her right eye half-closed in pain—because her mom did not want the ten bucks spent on the lesson to go to “waste.”
And so she formed her priorities. And a lot of resentments and fears.
This girl grew up and the physical pain only got worse and worse… It wore her down and became entwined with the emotional pain, and though she knew she probably had “a problem” with medications she thought, Screw it, I’m defective, I’m broken, I’m physically weak and always will be.
Eventually she was told she had fibromyalgia and was, to her relief (and eventual delight), given opioid drugs to take every day, hydrocodone and morphine and OxyContin and fentanyl, one after the other, some times one with the other, and was told she might have to take them forever, because there is no cure for fibromyalgia or migraine—no one even knows what really causes them.
The drugs got stronger and stronger, more and more. They made her not-care about practically everything. That was what she wanted—not to care. She asked for the drugs, sometimes by name, and because she looked and sounded so professional and reliable, her wishes were granted.
This woman let stress and worry get to her so much that her muscles clenched, even in sleep, no matter how much medication she took. She came to believe “it would always be this way” and threw in the towel.
Then by the grace of God or HP or Whatever, she got sober. She asked for help.
This girl is now 46 and is two-and-a-half years off drugs and one year sober and is here to tell you: She can now do 50 pushups during a workout, can do three pull-ups without using her foot to help her up, and can do 13 dive-bombers (not the Hindu push-ups, the real thing) when on Day 1 she couldn’t do any.
Even her son trying to make the two abs into four feels strange for her… because she’s so used to the voice rooted inside that says, Those aren’t abs, who do you think you’re trying to fool, you can’t be that fit because YOU’RE G. You’re the one who fell off the monkey bars.
Well, not any-friggin-more she’s not.
HP told her last year to get going on the physical fitness… And she said OK, and went to any lengths just like she went to any lengths to get sober, and she’s finding that fitness in general is like a mathematical equation:
WILLINGNESS + EFFORT = RESULTS
And amazingly, she has LESS pain. The more physically fit she gets, the less pain she has. The more spiritually fit she gets, the less emotional pain she has—less often, and of shorter duration.
Because she is stronger. And because she has people around her, God/HP/Whatever bless them, who are willing to help her. Because she asked for help.
And now there are lots of possibilities going through her mind.
She is now thinking… What else do I think I can’t do, that I’ve always wanted to do??
This list is growing. She has found out that she’s hardly ever made lists like this before.
Her fear still crops up
(what if i can’t do it what if i screw it up what if what if)
but she looks at the picture of her little baby abs and thinks, Wow. This gives her the guts to keep walking the walk. One foot in front of the other.
What do you think you can’t do? … I am here to tell you: You can do it.
Give it a shot.