Friday, June 17, 2011

Rediscovering Balance

This week as been all about re-finding my balance. The stress and trauma of the last several weeks behind me, a new focus ahead. Because of what was going on at home, between Ariel and I, her Dad and I, and everyone else who was unfortunate enough to get in the way, things have been... rough. With the resolution of those issues, and the rerouting of paths and goals, we're all settling back into normal, or our version of normal.

Monday, you might remember, my weight was up. 5 lbs up. Water weight, sure, but still. It's taken all week, and a lot of concentrated work to fix that bobble, but fix it I did. My weight this morning was back down to 121, and  the water weight is gone. In the grand scheme of things, that's pretty quick. But... I lost a week. A week that I didn't have to be fighting water weight. Again, grand scheme, small price, and hopefully it won't make or break me.

I had an interesting talk with Tab this morning (2nd leg day) about the impact of this sport on family. She mentioned that it's one of the only sports where a potential competitor has to not only determine if he or she is ready to compete, but also if his/her family is ready. It's high-stress. It's high-maintenance. It's hard on everyone. My family wasn't ready for two competitors. My family is having a hard time dealing with one. She's tired. She's hungry. She's grouchy (ok, bitchy). It's hard, but I can deal with that. What's harder, is the "She's mean."  I don't like that one at all. And I don't think it's accurate or fair.

Here's the deal... they were warned that the training would be intense, that I'd be exhausted, underfed, overworked, and cranky. Outcome? Cranky is assumed. Even if I'm not cranky, I'm seen as cranky if I put my foot down (discipline)  or if I disagree with someone, simply because I'm competing. If I wasn't competing, my discipline, my expressing my own opinion,  would be considered normal (still not necessarily welcome, haha, but normal). Because I'm competing, suddenly I'm the uber-bitch.

I have had my cranky moments, admitted. But I'm not cranky all the time, and I feel it's unfair to place that on me. I try hard to stay balanced emotionally, to separate my exhaustion from my responsibilities. I don't always succeed, but I don't always fail. And I really don't like having it assumed that I'm bitchy before I open my mouth (or eyes). This week in particular, with the drama behind us, I've thought things were going fairly smooth. And I haven't been bitchy. I've been a mom. I've been a wife. I've been me. But I haven't been "mean", or inconsiderate, or rude, or ....   I know when I'm being a bitch. I take a little bit of pride in my inner bitch, and I'm ok with that. But I also know when that bitch is out of control. I might not always dial it back, and I don't like it, but I'm honest enough with myself to recognize when that happens. That has not happened this week.

This is a stress that I underestimated when I began my journey. Especially after the resolutions reached last week, I thought  this type of stress would fade and I would find my zen place as I move forward. Not happening. I've worked harder this week than I ever have in my life. I'm exhausted. I'm often too exhausted to be hungry. I'm certainly too exhausted to argue. And, honestly, I feel a bit battered by ones I didn't expect it from.

So what's all this have to do with rediscovering balance? I think I need to redefine "balance". Balance doesn't mean smooth sailing. It just means knowing what's important and being true to that - whether I'm in the midst of, or absence of, stress. It's about realization. I've realized this week that the perceptions of those around me can really add to an already stressful path, and I've realized that I have a degree of control over how much it adds. Zen might be too much to ask for, but being honest with myself isn't. I've realized that to have and hold balance as I move forward into the next 10 weeks, I must be honest with myself every moment, every day, and keep ownership over my words, my facial expressions and body language. I can't control a misperception, but I can control my response to it. I can stay true to my path and still be a loving wife and mom.

At least until the last several weeks when I lose the few carbs I have left, and I lock myself and inner-bitch in a closet as pre-emptive damage control.  ;-)


  1. Hi Chelle! I love your blog! I think I will be doing MuscleMania in September. It looks like so much fun. I would not only get to wear a bikini, but also a costume! I think that fits my personality to be able to get on stage in a WonderWoman or Pirate costume. I wish you the best of luck in August! I am super excited for you! I'll be following along in your journey!

  2. Hey Chell,

    I can relate to the problems of misperception. Anais Nin said "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." And my therapist is always telling me "nothing is personal." Everyone you deal with is only looking at things through the filter of their feelings and thoughts. My point is, I totally agree with what you're saying: you can only control your reaction to what people are seeing in and saying about you.

    Good lesson :) I also agree with your definition of balance, unfortunately, we'll never get smooth sailing for very long, but balance just means altering your flow to match what's going on around you. That definitely sounds like an integral lesson for high-stress competitions like this one. Hopefully all the other parent- and spouse- and other hyphenate-competitors learn something important from this post! :)