I felt like it would be a good idea for me to go into a bit more depth about who I am, where I come from, and what I’m trying to do here. I was so hung up on the notion of needing to do things perfectly, that I became paralyzed and unsure of myself. There are so many things I want to talk about and so many lessons I want to relay to people through this blog, that I have no idea where to start and, to be honest, it’s a little overwhelming sometimes. I know that you’ll never get anything done if you concentrate on doing everything absolutely perfectly; it’s just not possible. This is going to be my first attempt at answering the following questions: who I am, what brought me to this moment, and what I’m trying to accomplish here.
WHO AM I?
I guess I should start with a list of my identities (in no kind of order):
- African American
- College educated
- Software Engineer
- Intersectional Feminist
- Fitness enthusiast
- Personal Trainer in Training
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practicer
- Mental Health supporter
WHAT BRINGS ME HERE TODAY?
Well, to be honest, a lot of things. A lot of different types of hardships over the years that I’ve internalized have brought me to this moment along with the realization that I no longer have to suffer anymore. It took me quite sometime to arrive at this conclusion, but it did become easier the more I began to ask myself the question, “What makes you happy?” instead of “What will make society/my peers/my family happy?”
I believe in the past I had been living for the sake of others and for the sake of survival. I let other people’s and society’s perception of any of my identities guide me in the directions I traveled in rather than my own heart and soul. The natural result of all of that was that I lead a very unhappy and exhausting life. Constantly living according to the will and whims of others took a rather harsh toll on me that I finally decided to stop paying just this year.
WHAT AM I TRYING TO DO HERE?
Throughout my life two things have always been constant: my love of physical activity and my constant need for self-improvement. The thrill or rush I feel when I’m running somewhere new, trying some new exercise, or working on a new muscle group just cannot be compared. I love feeling and getting stronger and that has always been a source of happiness and strength for me. For a long time, though, I struggled with an eating disorder, a combination of anorexia and binge eating disorder. I thought that controlling my weight through dieting and exercise would help me control my mood and my self-critical thoughts. Instead of attacking those thoughts and perceptions directly, I decided to attack myself and my body instead. The thing I loved and enjoyed doing turned into a symptom of the sickness that existed in my mind.
I truly believed that if I changed my outside (body), I could change my inside (mind). As foolish as I know that reasoning is now, that way of thinking had me chasing an ideal for well over ten years in order to attain confidence. I told myself if I only changed my outside, I could finally be confident.. As if who I was wasn’t acceptable today. There are reasons I felt like that (peers, family, lovers), but I won’t go into all of that. I had to accept that outside influences, too, do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Confidence can only be created from within.
That said, I realized that I want to teach people this one simple philosophy when it comes to physical fitness and mental health: You cannot improve your mental health, through the manipulation of your physical body. In fact, it’s the other way around. You can only make permanent and meaningful changes to your physical body from a place of mental acceptance of said body. Negative thoughts and feelings do not yield meaningful, permanent, positive outcomes. You will always find yourself struggling toward the same goal at some point again.
I want to become a fitness professional that helps guide her clients to train their entire body, including their most powerful and important muscle, their brain. I want to help people draw the connection between mind and body when it comes to overall well-being. You cannot have one without the other.