Starting Over

I heard something recently that really struck a chord within me: your identity is not in WHAT you do, but in WHO you are. For the last 5 years I’ve been somewhat at a crossroads. When I left Stanford Athletics as a fitness trainer back in 2009, I was fortunate enough financially to be able to take a couple years off and really think about the direction I wanted to go. Having been a fitness trainer since 1997 and during that time made my way up to a fitness supervisor, a fitness manager and then eventually branch out on my own with private clients and working at different clubs in different states, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in the field or not. I realized that although I have a passion for fitness, I don’t think it’s my calling. In 2011 I branched out into a whole new field in the Social Services field as a Community Partner/Stakeholders, helping trainers re train Social Workers as well as being a part of inventing the 23 model behaviors Social Workers are suppose to start implementing when engaging families. I got so much out of working with the Social Workers and seeing a first hand look at all they go through and how overworked they are but mainly, I got joy from knowing that we (the Community Partners and Trainers) were teaching them a new way to interact with their families that could lead to kids being kept out of thet system as well as giving the skills, tools and power to the parents to help make that happen. It was a nice change from the pressures of FEELING like I have to maintain a certain superficial look when working in the health and fitness field and having my eating disorder kick into overdrive!

My dilemma however is this: their isn’t a lot – if any – of positions I can branch off into from being a Community Partner as this was a 5 year grant given to specific counties to see why Native American and African American kids STAY in the system so long and how we could correct that. Although I’ve had this experience that’s been outside of fitness, I still feel like my identity, who I am, is tied to me being ‘Trainerchick’. The fitness trainer for 12 years who has worked for clubs, a top notch college in the Athletics Dept. and who was able to have enough private clientele by referral from current club clients to be able to pay the bills strictly from that. Lots of pluses there, but do the negatives outweigh all those things? The eating disorder being kicked into hyper drive? Putting pressure on MYSELF to look a certain way and even when I reach that look, STILL not being satisfied? Yes, all these things are conundrums I’ve been pondering for going on 6 years now and I wish I could just find ME, start fresh and finally be happy. 

Unbalanced Relationships

In the last few months I’ve been forced to acknowledge something that has apparently always been a factor in my relationships: I have a lot of relationships in my life that are not give  and take, but seem to be more one sided. In addition to having to acknowledge this, it also led me to look deeper as to WHY this is and I then came up with the fact that it can be traced back to my own issues and dysfunctions.

Let me give you an example of what kicked this whole thing off. A few months ago I made plans with my besty  to come over his house and just geek out like we used to do. Before I go on, let me preface this by saying that he’s in a very dysfunctional relationship where his girlfriend is so insecure that she accuses him of being involved with everything from the bathroom mirror to other men behind her back and he’s never given her a reason to think such outrageous things, hence her own issues and dysfunctions come into play here, and at the same time, so does my besty’s for putting up with it and not drawing boundaries. Anyway, having not seen him for a while, having dragged a ton of my devices with me for and looking forward to us hanging out, I got about 60 seconds from his gate, text to let him know this and what was his response? That his girlfriend was there! Apparently she had just dropped by only a few minutes prior to me texting him my ETA (which in my opinion, is ample time to send a short text informing me of this) and at the end of the day, what this meant was that it was a no go on the geeking out, let alone me even stopping by for a hot minute to say hi! Remember she has unfounded “suspicions” and “jealousy” issues.

I can say that I was pretty much sent into an internal rage! I personalized it as I do most things that involve other people. The first thing that came to my mind was that he didn’t value our friendship enough to at least defend it to her if I came over for just 90 seconds. Then I thought about how he didn’t value ME as a person to initiate a text or call to let me know not to come – even if I had one foot in the gate, so to speak. After I calmed down, or is it more accurate to say that WHAT calmed me down came next and that was realizing that my feelings about how the situation was handled and how I personalized it was a direct result of my OWN issues. Issues that I’m in the process of addressing and trying to heal from that originate in childhood. Issues of feeling disregarded. Never being chosen because I never felt good enough. Issues of not feeling not important to anyone when it comes down to it because EVERY ONE else was better or more valued than me.

Once I saw the situation from this perspective, I realized a few things that can be applied to a lot more interactions that I have in my life: 1. I place way more value on my  relationships than the other person and as a result I’ve had to reevaluate if each relationship is worth continuing to be that unbalanced or is it time to withdraw a little bit 2. Although I have a ways to go, the fact that I made that connection so quickly and was able to pretty much take my anger level down twenty notches proves that I had made progress on my journey to heal and 3. I won’t take ownership for my besty’s unhealthy choices. He chooses to be in a relationship like this where he has to sacrifice others in order to appease her and keep the drama down. Although I strongly disagree with that method but oh well, sometimes we just have to go through things before wet get to certain points.

At the end of the day, even though I was able to take ownership of MY emotions and MY reaction to the situation,  process it in a healthy way so that I didn’t get stuck in that old familiar ‘what’s wrong with ME’ mental broken record and not take on the choices he made personally, he still needed to know that the WAY he went about it was NOT ok! So, instinctively I didn’t communicate with him for weeks, even though I really wasn’t mad at him, I guess that was my way of coming to the conclusion that after weighing out our 14 year friendship, it was clear that I either valued the friendship just a little more than he did or probably what was closer to the truth was that I just have a better sense of self awareness and ability to confront things head on than he does. Either way, I considered that situation  one of the many revelations I’ve had about myself over the last few years that have contributed to my healing journey.

And yes, me and my besty are still friends, although I place as much emphasis on trying to hang out with him anymore and it’s still all good.