When people heard I was at the Under Armour headquarters, there were three main questions that I heard OVER and OVER again…
1) How did YOU get to go?
2) What did you do?
3) What did you get?
And I have answers for all of that. But I don’t want to talk about it. Not today.
What I really want to talk about was what it DID to me because, honesty, I’m still a little shaken up. The entire experience was very unreal. Amazing isn’t the word. And it wasn’t just because of anything I “got” or anything that I “did.” It was because of who I became by the time I got back on that plane to come.
Well, I guess it is pretty amazing that I didn’t die when Chris made me run a sprint when I hadn’t been there a good hour and then tried to kill me during that outdoor workout. It’s all love. We’ll talk about that later.
Have you ever met someone so passionate about something that you hoped, wished and prayed it was contagious? That’s my girl Jami who hooked up this entire thing for Electra, Heather, Kasey and myself. (We are all FitFluential ambassadors together and that’s how this entire thing started.) As we moved in and out of conversations with different people in the company (shoe, clothes, accessory designers, social media team, people who had been there for weeks, months, years, trainers) I found that this was case with EVERYONE I met. What in the world was in the Under Armour kool-aid?
I drank it. Lots of it. It started with being hyped up about finishing that workout vertically (did I already mention the workout part?) and then hearing the word that almost made me do the ugly cry in a room full of strangers.
I had been feeling like the underdog. And I had taken on the attitude of just being o.k. with that feeling I wasn’t fighting back. I was actually hurting inside. The constant question (from inside and outside) of whether I was an “athlete” or even “athletic” had been getting to me. I didn’t even why I was there. I was just a woman who had been told that she would NEVER make it in the fitness industry; too big, too black, too old, too different, too emotional, too against the grain. I was out there running and jumping and lunging in the midst of a bunch of women in their twenties who felt like I had stepped out of a time machine because I didn’t know a lot of things. And I had been feeling the pressure of not knowing.
Here’s what I found out. You only stay under if you CHOOSE to and being under was hurting my back. I couldn’t stand up and be passionate about who I was and what I do because I was carrying the weight of everything else around. By the time I left (in my own introverted way), I was able to speak up and say, “YES, HELL YES! I am a mother and a group fitness instructor and a personal trainer and a health coach and a bunch of other stuff and I am athletic and I represent real women with real issues and belong at this table! I have something to offer. I have risen up from being 232 pounds, depressed, suicidal, homicidal, anorexic and unclear to being who you see today. I earned it. And I will keep going back to help pull others up.”
PROTECT this house. Do not let anything penetrate this body, mind or spirit into having me believe that I can’t do anything. I just saw a quote by Muhammad Ali that said, “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.” Physically working hard made me feel GOOD and I want to protect my body and health. Speaking up for what I do, being proud of it made me feel great.
Protect THIS house. One has to be fed before they can feed others. I realized, on this trip, how much I had not been taking care of myself. To have massages and a yoga class that I didn’t have to teach (did I mention that Camille is now my new BFF? I guess I should tell her.), to have dinner I didn’t have to cook, to be driven around and able to get things for myself and not just for my children, to be able to sleep past 4 a.m. and get up for my own workout…WOW. To have my body and spirit cared for without asking me to give, give, give was just what I needed. I had to go to work at 5 A.M. the day after I came back but I was renewed and PUMPED. I didn’t even need coffee. Well, I did but I didn’t get any. 🙂
Protect this HOUSE. If my structure is weak then everything else collapses. I started thinking about how I need to do workouts (personal and professional), my business, my blogs, how I need to say “no” (I got more e-mails asking me to do stuff in those two days than I have gotten in six months) to protect my space, how I need to think about where to share my energy. It is necessary to build with the right material so that the first storm that comes through (stress, opposition, pain etc.) doesn’t knock me down. I have to get smarter about how I build as well…not closing people out and not closing myself in either.
So, I could tell you more about the fabulous clothes and funny exchanges I had in those two days (which I probably will over exchanges I had in those two days (which I probably will over the next week) but, for now, just know that I am all about the armour that’s underneath the clothes. I just learned to PROTECT THIS HOUSE, with unapologetic passion.
Thanks Matt Ryb for the AMAZING pictures! Thank you for capturing what I could not put into words.