Personal Confessions: Music

A week ago I joined a gym. The first time I went, I was terrified. Sure, I’ve worked out before, but it’s been so long that the thought of getting back in the gym was scary. But I went. And I’ve continued to go. To make things easier while I’m there, I made a playlist to help block everything out and help me focus. Here are some of my favorites from that list:

“Explosive” — Bond

Four women form the string quartet Bond, and they absolutely ROCK. Seriously, they’re amazing. This song in particular makes me think I’m a spy in training for a big mission. I allow my mind to wander and imagine I’m somewhere deep undercover dodging bullets and scaling walls to save the president, all while keeping perfect make-up and never sweating.

“What Makes You Beautiful” — One Direction

No shame with this one. Who wouldn’t want five (Now four, *sniffs* bye, Zayn) cute guys singing about how beautiful you are while you are sweating like a pig and feeling like you’re dying? If that doesn’t say motivation I don’t know what does.

“Sexy and I Know It”– LMFAO

Note: This music video is a bit NSFW (not safe for work, AKA a bit inappropriate. Contains men in thongs/speedos dancing and shimmying. You have been warned.)

I think it may actually be against the law not to have this song on a workout playlist. It’s so fun and impossible not to bop your head along. Even when the rest of your body feels like it can’t move any longer, your head will find the strength to bop.

“Zero to Hero”– Hercules

On the other end of the music spectrum, we have Disney. The entire soundtrack to Hercules is amazing (“I Can Go the Distance” is also on my workout playlist), but if you need a song to pump you up, this is it. You, too, can go from being a “zero” to “hero!” Now if only you could have muses follow you around and sing contemporary (Ancient Greek?) gospel music all the time…

“Girl on Fire”– Alicia Keys

Oh man. Alicia Keys SLAYS this song. Just listening to this song as I type this makes me want to go out and run a marathon. I’ve been listening to this song when I hit that metaphorical “wall” and instantly I feel like I can keep going. Yes, Ms. Keys, I AM on fire. I’ve got the perspiration to prove it.

“Roar”– Katy Perry

If Katy Perry can survive in the jungle with tigers, elephants, and monkeys, while (again) keeping perfect hair and makeup, then I can make it through this workout. This song just screams “Go Girl Go!” and I feel invincible. Is there any song filled with more girl power?

“Spice Up Your Life”– Spice Girls

Answer: Yes, yes there is. Spice Girls were are the embodiment of the “Girl Power” movement of the mid-late nineties and as a child of that decade, I would be amiss not to include their anthem on my playlist. Baby, Posh, Sporty, Scary and Ginger Spice will forever be my girls. I will never NOT sing and dance along to their songs.

“Crazy In Love”– Beyonce

Not gonna lie, I have like six song from Queen Bey on my workout playlist. Trying to narrow it down to one song to write about was way harder than I anticipated. If you don’t want to strut on the treadmill while listening to this song then you’re lying. And word of advice, don’t try to shake your booty while walking/running. It doesn’t work well. Not that I’ve done that or anything…

“I Will Survive”– Gloria Gaynor

Yes, I WILL survive. I will make it through this workout. I can do it (I think).

And finally…

“I’ll Make a Man Out of You”– Mulan

This song is GOLD. Seriously, if it doesn’t make you want to cut your hair, steal your dad’s armor, run off to war, learn karate, fight, and save China, then something is seriously wrong with you. YOU GO MULAN. CLIMB THAT POLE. PROVE THE MISOGYNIST MEN WRONG.

So that’s just a sampling of what I have. I regret nothing. No shame.

What do you have on your workout playlists? I’m always interested in new songs to keep me going!

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Personal Confessions: Support

This past week I returned to my alma mater, University of Missouri, to visit old friends.

MIZ!
MIZ!

Some of these friends I had not seen in over a year, but as soon as we met up, it was like no time was lost. So easily I slipped back into college mode; late nights and difficult mornings, with plenty of laughs and procrastination. Hearts and burdens were shared and love overflowed for one another. I could be transparent and share just how hard this journey has been for me. Any anxious feelings were dissolved when instead of walls and distance, I was embraced and reminded of how strong I am.

Driving back to Chicago on Sunday was so difficult. Having an amazing week with amazing people begins to make you feel amazing too. Would this positivity continue when I wasn’t around them? Slowly the anxiety started seeping back in.

Now that I have had a couple days to readjust to being home, I’ve come to realize how blessed I was to have last week. I needed to be reminded that I am special and this journey is worth it because I am worth fighting for. It also reminded me that support is the key to my success.

It doesn’t matter how many USANA vitamins I take or how many Nutrimeal shakes I drink or how many hours I spend at the gym or how healthy my food is, if I don’t have people around me who are rooting for me and encouraging me, I will fail. It is so easy for me to lose sight of why I am doing this. I tend to focus on the negatives and forget the positives.  I need people in my life who will subtly remind me (or in some cases, knock me over the head) and steer me back to the right path.

That being said, I would like to thank all of my friends for loving me and taking care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Support has poured in from near and far, and I honestly don’t think I could have made it through all this without you. I am so blessed to have all you in my life, and I really don’t know what I possibly could have done to deserve such wonderful friends as you. Whether you are in Chicago, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, or the ends of the earth, I am so glad you are in my life. Your words of encouragement and loving bluntness has kept me going and helped shape me into the woman I am starting to become. For you, I am thankful.

Personal Confessions: Worry

Thanks, Pinterest.
Thanks, Pinterest.

Today I decided to check out a health club near my apartment. It is part of the local hospital, and I know they focus more on health rather than fitness. I nervously went up to the front desk and asked for information on membership, bracing myself for the “this offer ends today–yes we have a free week pass we can give you, but why do that when you can sign up for $300 now?” speech. The ladies at the front desk told me to have a seat in the lobby, and someone from the membership department would be up shortly to give me a tour of the facility. The tour guide was also very nice and personable, and took her time showing me all the gym had to offer, emphasizing that in order to be a trainer there you must have gone to a four-year college to specialize in physiology, kenesiology, or physical therapy, and how different this gym was compared to other gyms.

This was a big deal for me. I have tried other gyms in the past, but I never felt like I fit in. They were filled with gym rats, the equipment was intimidating, and the staff unapproachable. For someone like me, who is incredibly shy, has very low confidence in her athletic abilities, and frankly, does not want to go to the gym in the first place, these gyms were always incredibly scary. This gym (sorry, health club) looked like it might actually work for me. I eagerly took the free week pass (no strings attached! I love this gym health club!) and membership information home to see how I could fit it into my budget.

The past few months, my budget has been tighter than usual. At the beginning of March, I took a leap of faith and quit my job. There was a lot of reasons I did so, but the main reason was for my health. If you read my About page, you’d find out that I struggle with depression and anxiety. The beginning of this year was especially hard for me with all that, and my job was one of the biggest triggers for the two illnesses. I had a little bit of money saved up, which was a blessing, and I have been living off that.

As I began to write down my expenses, I quickly saw how fast my monthly allotment was going. Between rent, utilities, various doctors appointments, and everyday things like gas and groceries, I was over my budget in no time. I hadn’t even added the potential gym membership or USANA vitamins I take on a daily basis yet. By the time I was done, I was $300 over budget each month.

My heart sank. Tears filled my eyes as I stared at my excel document. How can this be? I am trying so hard to become healthy, both mentally and physically, and here is yet another obstacle in my way. Every time I feel like I can start to make a positive difference in my life, something else comes up.

A good friend of mine texted me at that moment.

“How are you doing?” she asked me.

“Hanging in there. Things were rough for the past couple weeks but I think it’s getting better. Although I’m trying to budget right now and that’s making me depressed haha,” I replied.

After a moment she texted: “Matthew 6:25-34. Read it girl. Read it right now. Stop budgeting and read it and the restart with budgeting.”

I grabbed my Bible and flipped to the passage. It said:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

I’ve read that passage a thousand times before, but it’s never been more relevant to me than it is today. Everything I am doing is to make myself healthier. And God sees everything I am going through and has provided for me so far. He saw my depression and anxiety getting out of hand and he helped me get the treatment I needed. He saw the unhealthy eating habits I have and set me on the path to a healthy relationship with food.

I forget (or more often times ignore) God working in my life and instead focus on the negatives. And as hard as it is, I need to stop doing that. God has taken care of me so far, why on earth would he stop doing that? I need to stop worrying about everything and put it in God’s hands. Easier said than done, I know.

And maybe I don’t get the membership to the health club. And maybe I only see my nutritionist twice a month instead of every week. And maybe it will take me a while to find a job or get USANA off the ground. But in the end, I have to believe everything will work out to God’s perfect plan.