This morning I woke up sore. Really sore. Not as sore as last week, but still really sore. I am acutely aware of the muscles right above my knee, the muscles on top of my rib cage, the tight muscles in my lower back, the muscles in my shoulders. Walking down stairs is a slower crawl than most days. I'm sore because I've hired my friend Sam to, as I carefully instructed him, "kick my ass." So Every Monday or Tuesday or day we find to meet near-ish the beginning of the week, we go to a park and when he says jump I jump and when he says run up that hill I do and when he says sprint I sprint for about 30 seconds and then my sprint turns into a semi-pathetic saunter/ limp. Some people look really good working out. I would say the percentage in that category is about 3%. They're all hip and put together in their Lululemon, nothing's wobbling on them to begin with and working out is more a demonstration of their contour lines and smooth tummies and strong, powerful legs. I am not in this category. I feel slow. I feel lumpy. I get all blotchy and sweaty and out of breath. By the end of a rep of push-ups I am staring at the ground, elbows locked, aware that I need to bend my arms and shove my face towards the ground, and somehow there is a disconnect and I'm stuck and feel like I'm never going to finish the rep. Very confusing feeling, not sure if you've experienced that.
And I've been hard on myself. I used to not be so wobbly and out of shape. And I keep bringing up visions of a far-off girl who could run lines endlessly and attend a 2 hour basketball practice only to go home and go for a run afterwards. But life gets busy and (hallelujah) high school ends and then you turn eighteen and everything changes and biology eventually gets around to your hips and thighs. And I am not that girl anymore, but this is the body I have. And I can tell you, getting "back on the wagon" has been hard. It is painful. But it feels great. It's been crazy to see how much of working my body is a mental game. Lessons in perseverance, endurance. Learning to push myself and be kind to myself, speaking encouraging words through my head. And the humbling experience of doing something that is hard, that I'm not good at, and doing it anyways, going home, feeling the reminder of how I did something good for my body today.
And last night we had another Fitness Club Fiasco concert at Clinton's. What a sweet group of people that band is. Except for Matt Henderson. I don't like that guy at all.* It has been a really sweet thing to be a part of a project that is so much fun, to
double quadruple how many live shows I do, be able to go out and have fun and dance around with great people, to have a safe place to practice being on stage and in the grind of it all.
After our set I got into a discussion about the manifestation of success in our lives. [Long sigh]. One individual involved in the conversation asked me and another performing musician why we weren't trying harder to make a lot of money off of our art. Or trying to get a manager. Or doing any type of some sort of musical job full time. Because aren't we ignoring what we want to do. He was talking to a musician/artist/Starbucks barista and a musician/artist/server. It's frustrating to have a conversation that you have with yourself on a pretty regular basis. I just feel like, if "success" makes us happy, and don't we all want to be happy all the time, or most of the time, should we not have our barometer for "success" a little wider than the black and white equation of making millions = success. Anything less = failure. I am such a firm believer that we all have a function in this world, and there isn't an off-switch to it in our lives. If you are a teacher, you don't have to spend a day in a classroom to be validated as a teacher. You're a teacher when you're speaking to your nieces and nephews, you're a teacher when you're listening to others speak. There is a deeper, bigger picture to what you do. Doctors aren't just medicine givers, they're healers, they take the time in all they do to say, "how can I make this better, how can I comfort you." and they can do that wherever they are. And, as a girl in the city trying to figure it out, as a girl who thinks a lot and rolls things over in my head, of course there are arenas where I can put my "functions", "gifts", "what have you's", to work than in the bar of a restaurant, I am still living. I still have the opportunity to work on my art and my communication and my poetry in those situations. It's all training. And if I have found authenticity, if I have found a way to support my life in an environment where I am enabled and empowered to pursue the things on my heart, I think that I have it pretty damn good if you ask me.
And now I go to do my hair, this ratty mess, clean myself up for the mad rush of business men and their happy hour after a day of crunching numbers. With sore arms and a full heart of songs from the night before. I'm preparing for a writing workshop for tomorrow, playing my songs for a group of actors/writers. Talk about nerve-racking. I'm sure I'll have more to share on that on Saturday.
May you go forth in all that is placed in your soul to do. Whatever it is that makes you fully alive, that is your home. Dwell in it.
*Matt Henderson is actually a very nice individual, he graciously helped me move last fall and he remembers to do things like email sound guys in advance and make sure everyone has a ride, and sometimes he'll drive me home from far places. Thanks, Matt.