You're Not Who You Used to Be.
Some days, I am still 10 years old.
I have glasses, braces, and terrible hair (I didn’t know it was curly and thought if I brushed it enough it would eventually become straight). I am chubby and for some reason shopping in the women’s petites section, buying coordinated culotte sets while everyone else is shopping at 5-7-9. I would rather read a book than exercise.
Although I swim and I dance, I am not hardcore about either one. Overall, physical activity is not a high priority. And by middle school, I have already come to think of it as a necessary evil, one I must incorporate in what seems a vain effort to be less chubby. I am an extremely hard worker in school, but when it comes to exercise, I believe I am inherently lazy.
As it turns out, I was wrong.
By high school, I was practicing with the swim team 12 hours a week. I loved to swim. But I was never the fastest or the strongest, and I think some part of me attributed that to my laziness. On the outside I had the trappings of an athlete, but on the inside I knew what I really was. The glasses disappeared, and the braces. I discovered hair gel. 30 pounds disappeared too.
College was tougher. Without the discipline of practice six days a week, and with the ever-present temptation of Pokey Stix (20-inch round cheesy bread, 2-for-1 every Tuesday), I justified my own fears. I made it a point to go to the gym- sometimes. It was a struggle. And everything since, until I discovered hot yoga in Las Vegas four years ago, has been a journey full of peaks and valleys.
Today that scholarly, unathletic child is teaching people how to engage in physical activity. I have such a love for moving my body that I am dedicated to others finding that same love. If I take a day or two off, my body cries out to yawn and move and stretch. I long for sweat running into my eyes and feeling my heart beat out of my chest. I relish being so sore the next day that I walk like the Tin Man. I have a near-daily yoga practice that I don’t manhandle on myself. I don’t dread walking into the studio or plopping down on my mat. I make time for it as one of my highest priorities. I no longer fear working hard, because I have seen that I am capable of so much more than I ever knew.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, or how. And maybe it’s not that I was wrong about who I was at 10 years old. But it’s not who I am now. On my worst days, I don’t make it to class and think this is the beginning of the end, an unraveling of 20 years of effort and dedication pulled loose by a single thread. That might be one of the craziest thoughts that has ever passed through my head. But I KNOW I am not alone in having a hard time letting go of the past.
We grow up. We change. We transform. We become. And we have to give ourselves credit for all the effort we’ve put in along the way.
You’re not who you used to be. You are all of that and so much more.