I have finally begun to work out again! This week was the first time I took out the weights and mat in almost 6 months (eek) and I am paying for it dearly now. To say that my muscles are sore is just not accurate enough. I am fortunate that Halloween is just around the corner because I quite literally walk like a zombie these days, slowly and painfully. Stairs make me cry and I prefer to use the guest bathroom in our house because the toilet is just slightly higher than the one in the master and apparently those 2 inches or so make all the difference to my devastated thigh muscles. Every time I crouch down to help Levi get his shoes on or take the trash out of our garbage can or generally just go from a sitting to standing position, I momentarily ask myself why in the world I am doing this to my body. I know its good for me. I know it strengthens my heart and lengthens my lifespan but in that one moment where the pain just shoots through my muscles to those pesky little nerves all I can think is, “Why, dear God, why?” And then I remember the fact that makes me pick up the weights the next morning: It won’t always feel like this. One day in the next few weeks I will have the benefit of strengthening my heart and lengthening my lifespan and it won’t hurt as much. My muscles will have begun to tone again and will stretch and strengthen so that the massive, body wracking pain I feel today will be no more than maybe a slight pull or quick tug for a moment. It’s a part of getting stronger and fitter. The pain subsides as the muscle builds.
I’ve been working out some emotional muscles as well lately. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve embarked on this journey of vulnerability with some close friends this year. To be clear, this doesn’t only mean that I am more honest with them about the events and occurrences that are happening in my day to day life, because truthfully that’s pretty easy for me. I’ll tell you anything you want to know about the goings on of my exciting stay at home mom life. Where vulnerability comes in to play for me with these women is that I ask myself to be honest with them about how I feel about those events and occurrences in my life. And not just the tippy top feeling on the emotional iceberg, which for me is usually anger and a whole lot of fun to express…loudly and often…but to go beneath that first hardened exterior to all the gushy stuff that makes me squirm. Vulnerability for me in this season means being honest with those who love me about the sadness I feel or the shame; to be honest about where I am grieving and at what juncture I have found myself in that process. It means expressing how overwhelmed I feel at times or sometimes just how lost I really feel. It means shedding that overcoat of self-confidence that I shield myself in when I traipse around the world and letting this handful of trusted women in on the insecurity and uncertainty that plague me in the quiet moments.
Its been such a great year so far and I hope I can articulate some of its worth and value in the months to come, but for right now I have some very sore emotional muscles. I’ve spent most of my life not ever exercising those muscles attached to these feelings so they are feeling the burn of being strengthened and lengthened. And just like my very sore legs and arms, the pain sometimes causes me to stop and ask, “Why, dear God, why?” but the answer remains the same. One day it won’t hurt as much. And I will feel all of the benefits of living a whole hearted and emotionally healthy life and experience fewer and fewer times of pain as they stretch and grow. At least, that’s what I’m banking on!