Coming to a Gym Near You…

I’M AFAA CERTIFIED!!!!

I’ve been waiting and waiting…and waiting for these results for what feels like an eternity! I know that my presenter told us it would be about 4-6 weeks, but I always assume they overestimate these things and when it got to be mid-way through week four this week, I started to  doubt that I’d passed the practical portion of the exam–I was almost positive I had passed the written portion.  Then last night, I just had a feeling that it was the day.  I was in class until 7pm, so I texted my sister and asked her to please get the mail, but not to tell me if anything came. When I walked in the door after class, I noticed the envelope sitting on the table. I ran over to the table, sat down, and ripped it open to see what was inside. All I read was the “Congratulations!” on the letter and I threw it down and screamed/cried/laughed and every emotion in between! Everything I’ve been feeling for the past months and weeks came flooding out of me like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

All night I could not stop smiling and staring at my certificate. I DID IT!

What this means to me is something I’ve tried to put into words so many time, yet I fail every time.  All I know is right now I’m on top of the world and I don’t see myself coming down anytime soon. I have never wanted anything so badly, and I have achieved it.  These few months have led me to amazing new people and experiences, and deepened my passion for fitness, both for myself and for others.  I am so excited to be a part of the AFAA family–one that has already welcomed me with open arms in the past 24 hours! I am even more excited to start planning my classes and get out there to help others realize that fitness truly can be for everyone and that they can make their lives however they want.

So to everyone out there who has a dream and is not sure they have “what it takes” to make it happen.  I’m here to tell you you do. Fight for it, and when it’s yours, rejoice in that moment. There is no better feeling.

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Life with no ceiling

This past week, I was talking to my PT about this whole pool concept that’s been kicking around in my head for weeks.  I have my first lesson tonight, and I had been starting to feel a little overwhelmed, like I had jumped in (no pun intended) a little too quickly. Not to mention I’ve been sticking with my MO of picking some of the most difficult things to accomplish, which is tough when “patience of a saint” doesn’t quite describe who I am.

I am still constantly on that balance beam of trying to figure out how to make CP a part of my life instead of letting it mold me, and that becomes an even more of a struggle when you are constantly choosing physical challenges and physical goals for yourself.  One of the biggest downfalls of creating physical challenges (anyone remember Nickeloden’s Double Dare?! :)) is that we constantly want to make comparisons.  I say we because we are all the same in this way, disability or not, we are human. We compare. We compete. And we try our damnedest to come out on top.  This comparison always gets tricky for me though, since it’s not quite fair to me to start comparing the things I do physically to “normal” able-bodied people.  However, I can’t exactly compare myself to someone with CP, because it comes in so many different forms, you’d be hard pressed to find someone exactly the same. Okay, I know some of you are probably thinking “you shouldn’t compare at all. it’s bad. blah blah”, but I’m pretty sure we can all think of at least one time we have done that, so that option is off the table. It’s not realistic.

A ways into our conversation, my PT said to me “the sky’s the limit for you” and it got me thinking…

It’s a funny thing to think about when you take the time, isn’t it? (Which is probably why you’re not really supposed to take the time, but of course I do.) The sky being the limit to everything we want to do, try to do, or will ever do in our lives? We can never actually touch the sky. The closest I’ve ever come is being in an airplane, and even then there is still such vast, amazing space above me.

In my case, I think starting to understand that the sky is the limit begins by realizing that not being having someone else to compare to is actually one of the best gifts I could receive. It gives me no ceiling, nothing to measure up to.  It allows me to see what a can do and to never stop trying. Ever.

So for now, I’m waking up each morning and asking “What can I accomplish today?” For me. Based on my standards.

More rambles

There are so many random thoughts going through my head today. I blame the absolutely GORGEOUS weather!

Dear Mother Nature, can it please stay like this from now on?? 🙂

Thanks to everyone who showed their support on my last two posts. I definitely felt it. I am happy to report that I’m back on track and really ready to go again. I find myself questioning so many things all the time, but it always comes back to my heart and the dreams and goals that sit, impatiently, inside waiting to be let out. They haven’t changed in years. And that’s OKAY. They are what I want to do, what make me happy, for ME. And I’m going to do them. (I’ll get into what some of those are at a later date).

So, for now, it’s back to basics–stretching everyday (EW!), crawling, standing, walking. And, most importantly, remembering that I need to breathe every now and then. I tend to forget that all too often 🙂

Aimee Mullins and Her 12 Pairs of Legs

Because this made my day, and because everyone needs to hear this message:

“…It is no longer a conversation about overcoming deficiency. It’s a conversation about potential. I think that if we want to discover the full potential in our humanity, we need to celebrate those heartbreaking strengths and those glorious disabilities that we all have. It is our humanity and all the potential within it that makes us beautiful…”

10 for 2010, 11 for 2011

I’m currently sitting on my bedroom floor marveling at the amount of wonderful things (read: things I don’t need and clothes that don’t fit) that are packed up to go to Goodwill, along with a huge garbage bag full of garbage.

I, quite randomly, chose yesterday and today to clean out my room, and I mean my ENTIRE room; 2 dressers, closet, desk, junk drawer, and window cabinet. It’s taken me all day yesterday and today, it’s done!

This cleaning rampage came on the heels of last night spin class. It was a “best of 2010” theme with some of the top hits from this year, and 2010 inspired drills. The last drill of the class was 20 20-second sprints with 10 second breaks in between. 10 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot of break time and, let me tell you, it’s even quicker when you’re on the bike. The goal of these sprints was to start with everything from 2010 on sprint #1 and, by the time we got to sprint #20, to leave all the negative baggage and have a mindset to carry with us into 2011. It definitely was worth all the pain! I tired to pick one specific “thing” from 2010 to shred for each 20 seconds and honestly felt lighter by the time we hit 20.  I got inspired to make my room and all my belongings a little lighter, too.

There will be no resolutions for me this year. I’m usually the girl who makes a lengthy list and ends up beating herself up far too much for not accomplishing or “getting around to them”. Well, except blogging!! That was one of mine last year, and I’ve stuick to it! And thanks for sticking with me!

This year, it’s living, loving, and believing every dream and every goal.

So, as I close out 2010 with a bit more cleaning and celebrations with my family, here’s 10 things I did in 2010 and 11 I hope to do in 2011.

10 for 2010:

(in no particular order)

  1. Graduated from college
  2. Wrote a 65 page thesis
  3. Competed in 3 5Ks
  4. Took a vacation to Disney
  5. Grew deeper in my Faith
  6. Got a job
  7. Had some amazing times with amazing college friends
  8. Started this blog! (and really took pride in it!)
  9. Gave up my walker!! (mostly)
  10. Started truly believing in everything I’m setting out to accomplish

11 for 2011:

(again, no order)

  1. Travel, either alone or with a friend
  2. Compete in at least 2 more 5Ks than those already on my schedule
  3. Get my license
  4. Meet Prince Charming…a girl can dream can’t she?!
  5. Ride a bike, a real one, not a spin bike!
  6. Become even more passionate about my blog
  7. Read some good books
  8. See a professional bike race (see #1)
  9. Grow deeper in my Faith
  10. KEEP truly believing in everything I’m setting out to accomplish
  11. The big W. (see #10 and almost every other blog post I’ve written)

What are some of the things you’re hoping to do in 2011?

Happy New Year Everyone! Be safe and enjoy!

What If?

Living everyday life, we are all faced with so many moments that can be altered by the flick of a switch; one quick change of plans, one spur of the moment decision, out of fear, out of doubt, out of curiousity. In these moments, we rarely think about the next step. We are only concerned with the here and now. Not that this is a bad thing, but sometimes it can lead us to ask that one loaded question: What If?

Two words. Two little words. That have the ability to impact our lives in so many different levels, both positively and negatively. I try my best to not play the what if game because, quite fankly, it always seems to end negatively for me.

The other day though, I was incredibly bored, so I was looking for quotes as I often do when I’m bored, or upset, or need to lose my thoughts in words for a little bit. After a while, I came across this quote:
“It will cost you nothing to dream, and everything not to.”

Many people like to think of dream as a noun-that thing that happens when we’re in deep enough sleep. I like to think of it that way too, but there is also another way I like to think of the word dream; as a verb. Dream. An action. Something that we do day in and day out.

This got me thinking. What If? With that, here is a list of things that I would not have accomplished, had I not dreamed:

1. I would not be alive. Period. Okay, so this might be a stretch, but I like to think that with a dream, determination, and a lot of love from God, I was able to overcome being 3 months premature to live the life I do now.
2. I would not have graduated high school. I mean, okay, I might have, but only because my parents required it of me, not because I actually wanted to.
3. I would not have gone to college. See above explanation.
4. I would not have the amazing relationships with so many people that I do now. You may ask what this has to do with dreaming, but it has everything to do with dreaming. As little girls, we think about friends. They may start as imaginary, but thanks to our dreaming, we put ourselves out there and establish strong relationships.
5. I would not have taken a spinning class. This is big. I have always dreamed of riding a bike, but due to my poor balance issues, have never had the opportunity. Spinning is the extention of this dream. It started out difficult, with cuts and fatigue, but I was not going to let this dream pass me by.
6. I would not have graduated college, and would not have done so with the use of my crutches. I blogged about this is my previous post, but that was something that, again so many people doubted was possible, but I kept dreaming.
And lastly, 7. I would not be writing this blog post. I continue to dream. Every minute of every day. For myself. For my family. For everyone in the world.

What about you? What If you hadn’t dreamed? Where would you be?

Dreams

I just got back from a weekend in Westport with the family and as I was laying on a beach way more beautiful than any Connecticut beach I’ve ever been to, this is what I was pondering.
I have this bookmark that my mom got me and on it, it says, “Believe in your dreams and anything is possible.” We all know that those ideations we have and those things we aspire to, we call them dreams and talk about them as fantasies, but I got to thinking: what exactly ARE dreams? Don’t get me wrong, I like a mystery of belief as much as the next person, but there are just so many possibilities here.
Let me precursor this whole topic by saying I’m a psychology major, so dreams and the mind are my “thing” through and through, but I’m also a Catholic who believes very strongly in my faith. It gets a bit dicey.
I know of two main explanations for what dreams really are. They come from the diciplines of science and faith; the two areas in which we all almost alway find ourselves spilt between.
In the world of science, dreams are easily explained. We all have an unconscious mind that we control, or at least keep at bay, when we are awake and alert. When we sleep and go into REM cycles, neurons starts firing like crazy and the unconscious becomes the context of our thoughts as we sleep, as we dream. Ramble, ramble, there’s much more psychobabble, but that’s most of it.
Now, in the world of faith and religion (or at least my own. I can’t speak for anyone else’s), the stuff of dreams is summed up in one sentence. They are messages from God that guide you through life. Be warned, just because this is a shorter explanation, doesn’t mean it’s any easier.
The question remains, where do I fall on this topic? How do I view dreams? The answer: I have no idea. I’m extremely torn in the world of dreams. I love them. I love the optimism of them, no matter which realm you view them from. I just don’t know quite where I stand.
What I do know is this. If you don’t have dreams, however you define them, it’s a scary world…and an even scarier sleep. Obviously, we dream hundreds of times a night, but the mornings I wake up and can’t remember any of them are some of my most annoying mornings. I view dreams as more pieces to fit in the puzzle of life. That includes the aspriations, hopes, and fantasties. They are the way to give me some answers that I just can’t come across when I am awake and going about my day. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have anything.
What do dreams mean to you? How do you define them?