A photo taken on November 1, 2015, during one of the most unwell moments of my entire existence.
I never thought I'd come to a point where I would be tracking my macros, planning out my independent workouts, and determining where within my budget I can afford to tighten up in order to afford the most ridiculously priced, yet super beautiful, pair of lifting shoes.
At different points in my life, had you asked the question "What do you think your life would be like on January 23, 2018 at 6:36am?" I would've had a much different answer. Depending on how physical active I was or what I was currently engaged in during the time, you might've heard any of the following:
- Prepping a carb rich meal, in preparation for a long evening of training with my private boxing instructor... or prepping to test for a high ranked belt for Krav Maga
- Laying in bed planning my beta climb route, obsessing about that V4 turned V100 because I'm too fucking short and I do not have the wingspan of a bird
- Packing up my paleo meal prep with the intent to consume after completing another functional movement, strength and conditioning training session at the gym
- Living in Denver completely bundled up and braving the cold with two dogs
I've gone through several phases in my life of being fit to getting fat to being fit again, and I've survived the cycles between extreme joy and crippling pain. I've tasted the fitness rainbow— powering through Krav Maga, boxing, parkour, beginners adult ballet, modern dance, pole dance for performance and fitness, tennis, football, rock climbing, cycling, yoga, and the shortest stint ever with CrossFit.
But the one phase in my life I appreciated the most is the one that brings the most bittersweet taste in my mouth: the time I was sick and had no idea if I would ever recover from what I was physically and emotionally battling.
It was the most humbling year of my life as it taught me a lot about the capabilities of my body and its need for survival. I had gone without eating, sometimes spending extended periods of time sleeping on the cold tile of my bathroom. I had jammed myself with all sorts of pharmaceuticals, and explored the realm of Eastern Medicine working with an acupuncturist herbalist. I had watched my body deteriorate, and later accelerating that deterioration by own hand; I began binge eating all of the junkiest foods known to man and not bothering to ever get outside for fresh air and exercise. However, despite how much I was giving up on myself, my body refused to quit.
Years out and recovering, I've come to experience observe a number of things about the human body. Conducting outreach and working within homeless encampments for my day job as continued to reinforce my beliefs. I meet with heroine addicts regularly, majority of whom haven't had a meal in several days sustaining life. They are able to perform human basic functions like sitting, standing, walking, talking, and even riding their bikes for several miles. Another client of mine showed me his thumb yesterday, a month after slicing it open with a box cutter. "It's almost fully healed. I mean I lost the tip of my finger, but look how the skin has grown back."
We can eat the absolute worst foods for our bodies, but instead of instant death our bodies adapt by putting on weight. We may not perform at the same level as others who are more balanced with their consumption, but we can still get by the day with eyes blinking and lungs breathing. Cigarette smokers use the bathroom no differently than their non-smoking counterparts. Even those who were born with handicaps or acquired them throughout their lives are still able to stand before us alive.
Whether we designed this way through creation or have become a beautiful by-product of evolution, the human body was made to be resilient and was made to find its way back to homeostasis.
Our bodies were meant to be strong. We were made to be resilient. We were built to survive. We were meant to get cuts, scrapes, and bruises, and our body was designed to clot, scab, and move through the stages of healing. Broken bones were made to mend. We were meant to get sick, and our bodies are equipped with most of the right tools to heal itself.
Our minds are no different. Adaptation is a form of survival that occurs even within cognitive functioning [more on that later]. So at any point in your life that you underestimate your abilities or question your own abilities to pull through, make it a point to consider all of the ways you've made it thus far. All of the hard weather conditions you lived through. The accidents you've had. The bumps and the gashes. The fractures. The stomach bugs. The nasty colds. The infections. And perhaps even the life threatening, potential death sentences your body has been issued.
Even when you give up on yourself, your body still won't let you go.
We were meant to be tested, to get hurt, and to heal. We were meant to live.
Never forget this. We were meant to be strong.
And we are.
By no means, don't take this shit for granted. Treat your body well and it'll continue to work with you to sustain you.