Eye on the Prize

January was a weird month, y’all. I came back to Lubbock after an emotional but fulfilling trip home for the holidays. I got into a meal plan routine that allowed me to drop 10 pounds and 6% body fat in a month’s time. I hit the ground running at work as soon as students returned (and even a little beforehand). I also allowed myself to get immensely distracted in my personal life, and I took my eyes all the way off the prize.

At this point, that prize is going to Nationals in June for United States Strongman and performing at my absolute best, hopefully crushing some dreams.

I missed lifts. I cried A LOT as I was leaving the gym, not out of “boohoo I didn’t pull that deadlift” but out of sheer, unadulterated frustration. Frustration that I took out on my coach and teammates. Frustration that led to some serious self-doubt. I started questioning who I was as a lifter? What makes me worthy of competing on a national level? Why am I allowing myself to be coach if I can’t even perform my best in the gym? Who a, I to get a sponsorship when I can’t get an “easy” 375 pounds off the ground?

What I didn’t realize was that what I thought was a positive move in my personal life was actually draining me. I love the idea of being a fountain and not a drain, and while we all go through phases of being both, I try my best to be a fountain most of the time. When you’re someone who gives and gives and gives like that, it’s easy to overlook when something or someone is draining you.

That’s not to say it’s on purpose on their part. Shit, at some of the lowest points in my life, I was more of a blackhole than a drain, but I had multiple people to pull me through it. Regardless, it wasn’t until the last few days that I realized I was absolutely exhausted and it had nothing to do with what I do physically. Supporting other people is emotional labor, y’all, and that shit can be exhausting!

I don’t write this to get some abject praise for being someone who tries to raise others up; praise or not, that’s who I am and who I’m going to continue to be. I write this because I need people to know that you must take care of yourself first. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you cannot possibly care for others, and you’re going to burn out.

My “a-ha!” moment today was after I apologized to my coach for (yet again) coming in and not doing much because I was in my head. He said, “It’s okay. You gotta be greedy with your training. Nobody in here is getting ready to do what you’re about to do. It has to be more important to you than anything else and anyone else. #RealTalk” I’d let something “else” become more important.

So here we are. It’s February. We’re 5 months from Nationals. We’re 2 months from a competition in El Paso. And it’s time to refocus on the god damn prize. Earlier this week, my coach told me that I need to crush dreams now and I can worry about breaking hearts later. Here’s to dialing it in, finding my focus again, and blocking out everything else. That doesn’t mean not caring for everyone else in my life; it just means that it’s time to care most for Number 1 for a bit.

Til next time,

MK

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