The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know...Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.
― John Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams
Saturday, I will have finished my fifth consecutive week of working out on a regular basis, 4-5 times a week. It's been a while since I did this, and never before has it involved strength training. I've sweated more than ever before, and when your head is shaved, this leaves you with one of two options: deal with the sting of your sweat dripping down into your eyes, or wear a ridiculous headband...
...my headband is neon green... no shame...
My coworker Alex has been helping me, texting regularly to hold me accountable. Yesterday, after half an hour on Dante's tenth level of hell, otherwise known as the Stairmaster, I sent him pics of the front and back of my shirt, drenched through. Honestly, I was kinda proud. It was a good feeling to be so in my body. Still, it's taking some time acclimating to this thing called my body. He said I've been doing good work, and I agree. I feel like I have.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection ― Gautama Buddha
The first week, I shared with Alex how difficult it was to workout in my fitness center whenever someone else was present. I realized quickly what my internal voice was saying: you don't deserve to take up space; you have to make yourself small; they're looking at you, judging you, criticizing you in their minds; you will never be attractive; you will never be desirable; you will never be enough. At times, this voice was an almost imperceptible whisper. Other times, it was a scream of rage and debilitating dehumanization. Always, it was directed at that innermost part of me that felt vulnerable, weak, breakable.
Thankfully, I came across a meme that both made me laugh and seemed really practical. It said something along the lines of this: whenever you hear that inner voice telling you that you won't succeed, you not-so-politely respond with "Fuck you Trump!" I have to admit.. it works pretty well for me. But I digress...
There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn't matter anymore. ― Laurie Halse Anderson
The other night, I was up late enough to see the stars, something I don't get to enjoy very often because of my sleep schedule. As I looked up, I realized something: when looking at the entirety of the midnight blue expanse in front of me, I never find myself thinking, "Oh well, that one star is more beautiful than that other one over there. It's just puny. Pathetic." Nope. Never thought it. Instead, I see the whole picture, and it's all stunning. Each individual star adds to the beauty of the night sky. Each one plays a part. And each one is irreplaceable. Even if one star fades, dies, and another one is birthed, the sky is forever changed.
I know what you're thinking: dear God, could he get any more cliché? I could, but I won't. Instead, I'll just show you this:
It's my most recent tattoo, and it reminds me of one simple message: I am enough. Regardless of my title or pay at work, the number of friends I have, what my body does or doesn't look like, I am enough.
...we all are...
photo credit: Matthew Wu (via Flickr)