“Writing is primarily not a matter of talent, of dedication, of vision, of vocabulary, of style, but simply a matter of sitting. The writer is a person who writes.” –Don Murray
Welcome to my blog, friends. If we have not yet met, well then, let me just say, hello.
Maybe you have found me because you are on a quest to regain or maintain your health, but I have to tell you that being a fitness coach is only part of who I am. I am a lover of many things and people. And if we meet, chances are I will fall in love with you too. I am forever fascinated by the intricate idiosyncrasies that make up every human being. Because in the end, these are the things that define us. I’m sure we will get to know each other over time through our interactions here, but to start, a few things about me: I love to travel, write poetry, do puzzles, hear live music, drive the back roads, entertain friends, rediscover constellations, and engage in competitive games of mini-golf and bowling with my husband. But my #1 raison d'etre: my son. I became a mom in 2013 and everything I ever knew about love beforehand has now been thrown out the window.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about why I’m here and what kind of an adventure we are about to go on. The other day a friend asked me if I felt like all my time, money, and energy was wasted on an education that I’m not using. In 2010 I received my masters in teaching writing and because I’m not an English teacher now, on the surface, it may in fact look like I’m not “using” my education. But I truly believe that every form of any kind of education is time well spent. Every single paper I handed in, every single poem I wrote, every single peer conference I attended has shaped who I am today. But over the years, I have found that there are indeed many parallels between the way I teach writing and the way I coach my fitness clients. The teachings of one writing instructor in particular, Don Murray, have time and time again proven to be great lessons in life for me. I will likely quote him a lot. I apologizes now. But, actually, I’m not sorry because the man was a genius with such a clear focus on what is truly important in life.
Here are some truths: it took me a long time to call myself a writer. It then took me a ridiculously long time to call myself a teacher. And then again (you’d think I would learn), it took me a long time to call myself a health & fitness coach. What was my hesitation in assigning these titles to my name? Well, there were always people who had been doing it longer than me, and better than me, and with more credibility than me. How can I call myself a writer when Virginia Woolf was a writer? How can I call myself a coach when Jillian Michaels is a coach? I could play the comparison game all day long.
Then I became a mother.
That title is just smacked on your forehead the second you hold that little babe in your arms for the first time. Qualifications to be a mother= have a child. It’s black and white. It’s that simple. I had exactly zero hesitation calling myself a mother, so why did I ever have such hesitation calling myself all these other things? I am all these things. I was from day one. Because all I had to do to be a writer was write. All I had to do to be a teacher was teach. And all I had to do to be a coach was coach. I can tell you, for sure, that when I began my life in each of these roles, it wasn’t pretty. I wrote some really shitty poems in my day. And I remember giving some very poor advice about calorie intake to a client years ago. And parenthood. Oh my. If there wasn’t a day within Mason’s first month of life that I didn’t cry because I thought I was doing everything wrong, well then that was a good day. But we all have to start somewhere. And in time, we get better and better. It may get easier, and then it might get harder again. It may get prettier and then turn ugly. But the important thing is that we’re moving in a direction that fills us with confidence and pride and purpose.
If you swim, you are a swimmer. If you ride bikes, you are a cyclist. If you dance, you are a dancer. Period. Don’t postface your title with a “but…”
And it works the other way around too. If you want to be a runner, then go run. If you want to be a hiker, go hike. If you want to be a writer, sit your butt in a chair, grab a pen, and write. If you want to BE something but you don’t know where to start, let’s talk about it and figure it out. My guess is that the hardest part will be taking that leap to begin.
So what are you? What title do you have a hard time attaching to your name? Type it firmly, and type it proudly in the comments below. Fill in the blank:
I am a ___________________.