Embrace the Pain

Today, the owner of the Title Boxing franchise I work out at came to teach our class, which was a real treat. He is especially motivational and intense.  He pushed us farther than we usual go in practice, in the best possible way, while shouting things like “Embrace the pain!” and “It’s either positive or negative; you work or you don’t” and telling us to focus on our minds.

It was an incredible workout, even though it was one of the hardest I’ve had in awhile. I feel like I did after my first few boxing workouts- great, but rather sore and tired.

I really appreciate the kind of motivation he gave us throughout the class. When I was in college, one of my friends remarked about me that I “relish a challenge.” It’s a phrase that has stuck with me for years, because it sounds cool but also because I think it describes me well. At the time, it rang true, but it wasn’t something I had thought of before. Since then, I always come back to it while I introspect.

I love being pushed to reach my goals. I’ve had some great mentors in life who have taken this approach with me too- my mom, my graduate advisor, and my boxing coaches stick out in particular. People who challenge me to work harder than I think I can. People who push me test my limits and see what I can do.

It feels incredible to succeed in these challenges. To do something you didn’t think you could. My boxing workout today reminded me of that feeling. Before today, I certainly wouldn’t have thought I could spend 3 minutes straight doing push ups (if this doesn’t sound impressive, try it, especially after 40 minutes of cardio!) One year ago, I never thought I could be boxing four days a week.

You may not always succeed. Some of the exercises tonight, for example, I couldn’t quite do. Holding a 10 pound ball 6 inches off the ground on your back while also holding your feet up 6 inches off the ground is something I have yet to master for more than about 5 seconds, while we were supposed to be doing it for 30 or so at a time. But I made progress. Two weeks ago I wasn’t even using the 10 pound ball.

Most importantly, if I never tried Title or avoided tonight’s workout or slacked off during it, I would never have felt the sense of accomplishment and empowerment that I get from these experiences. If you don’t try, you will never succeed. Nothing works unless you do.


One Year Later

On the 19th, Facebook informed me that it was the 1 year anniversary of this blog! It is amazing how fast time speeds by. I thought I’d reflect back on the past year and the goals I’ve been working on.

I think this blog honestly started because I was bored and lonely after I broke up with my last boyfriend, but it, like me, has come a long way since then.

The very first post I made was about a project I wanted to undertake, over the course of a year, in which I drastically reduced my spending- especially on clothes and books. In case anyone is interested in my progress there, I failed pretty spectacularly in my specific goals. I definitely bought more than three items of clothing over the year and some months bought five or so books instead of just the one. However, I think it was a success overall. It really changed the way I thought about my spending. It made me more conscious of it. It reduced the number of times I went into a bookstore or a clothing store and just bought stuff because I was lonely or bored or felt like it. I spent a long time thinking about my purchases, especially when I was already over my self-imposed limit. Going forward, I hope this will help me reduce this kind of spending in the future as well.

After that project, my blog kind of morphed into my emotional progress in getting over my relationship. It was a pretty bad break up and I don’t think I realized how deeply it affected me at the time. I wrote to help others who might have been in a similar situation. And I wrote because it helped me to heal. Recently, I started a new relationship with an incredible guy that I have been friends with for a long time. Comparing the two has been like night and day and I’m grateful that I went through the hell I did with my ex so that I could come out of it with the growth and self-understanding that allowed me to be ready for this relationship.

I wrote a lot also about my struggles with eating healthy and working out. Partly, I was inspired by one of my undergraduate mentor’s book’s, Beauty Sick, though it’s something I have struggled with my entire life. I reflected on this a lot, until I finally joined Title Boxing Club. Truly, this was life changing. I have not exercised regularly or been in this good of shape since high school sports. I didn’t realize how big of an energy- and self-esteem- boost working out was, especially making it a habit. As time went on, more people have commented on how good I look and how in shape I am. It is so surreal to hear those comments, because that has never been me. It’s been so odd to adjust my self-image to include these new parts of me.

The last area I’ve focused on has been writing. November tends to be the most writing focused, as I almost always participate in National Novel Writing Month. But I’ve slowly been trying to spend more time writing throughout the year. It’s one of the few goals in my life that I want so badly, but also don’t put much effort into because I am paralyzingly terrified of failing. I’ve been writing short stories (almost) every week now. It has been tough because of how much I’ve had going on these past few months, but when I finish a story I’m proud of, it is amazingly rewarding. Each story is like a small, sometimes painstaking, step toward showing me that I can write and I can be a writer.

The underlying theme through all of these seemingly unrelated events has been inspiration and encouragement. One of my primary goals in life is to inspire others. This is one of the reasons I teach. I believe that if I make the world better for just one person, then my life will have been a success. I don’t want to just give up after one though; I’d like to make the world a better place for as many people as possible, one person at a time. I love hearing feedback from people who say that my blog has inspired them. I hope it continues to do so!

Thanks to everyone who is reading this for helping to make my life better. It truly is the people in your life who make it worth living. Surround yourself with people you care about and who care about you.