I'm back tracking a little on this post. I've been feeling sluggish, slow moving, and just straight up shitty for a while now. About my body. About what I am and am not doing with my life. So on the 3rd of July, I was hanging out with Cathleen who mentioned she was going to be taking Schmid's class in the morning and said why don't you join... and I thought to myself, "Mackenzie, people are suggesting you work out... take the hint." While my super negative mindset went there, I knew that wasn't what she meant, at all. But I thought about it and to honor my conversation with Cody about doing what makes me feel good and what makes me happy, I decided it was a great idea. So the next morning, 4th of July, I woke up nice and early, headed to Brian's class to kick start the holiday. I forgot how much I liked working out in that space, how much I enjoyed his class, and honestly I needed someone to make me do something. I hadn't regularly worked out since the company season ended, but even since before that really... and I could tell because I couldn't get out of this funk. To this point, I was just sinking deeper and deeper but refused to admit it. Josie, Cathleen and I got our booties in gear and crushed class. In fact, I felt amazing, I was genuinely shocked I was able to keep up, but more so how well I felt I did considering how long it had been. Running laps around the shop was liberating and even better, my knee felt great. A mini miracle in itself, I hadn’t run since my ten miler in April due to really bad knee pain and swelling. After class, I headed home and showered and made a run for hydration on my way to CapitalSUP DC where Meyer, Lexi, Frank and I got the DC location ready for the fireworks tour. We had every vessel on the water, I led the group in the 2 mile trek to where we would be watching the DC fireworks. And boy was that a sight to behold. It was great, wish I had been able to enjoy it a little more rather than attempting to document it. Fireworks and christmas lights make my heart so full and happy, seriously I had been looking forward to this for weeks. Then on our 2 mile paddle back to the shop, we were met with all the other cities and towns along the Anacostia River giving us display after display. What a beautiful day it was. I was more energized throughout the whole day and slept like a baby!
That began the journey, but the slow one. I was telling myself I needed to improvise more often. So I started to. I needed to get back running. But as always, my brain got ahead of me and I was a bit ambitious. In the weeks following, I started dabbling but not really committing full time. I ran with Sam one morning and again my knee didn't hurt and waking up that early felt amazing, like I could accomplish anything. Then... I didn't do it. I sunk back into my lazy ways. I wasn't even practicing yoga with my wrist sprain on one hand and a badly sprained thumb on the other from adventures from a wedding which I wouldn’t trade for the world. Worth it. But basically, I hadn't done anything really. And I was hating on myself but couldn't get myself motivated. I was more out of it than I really wanted to admit because I was living so presently in every other respect which made me so happy. Holding in tight to my friends and saying yes to everything knowing time is precious.
Okay so here I am. It's Monday. The past two weeks, I'd like to say I've gotten back in a direction I want to be. I am jumping into a new week with a renewed sense of purpose!
Exactly one year ago, I was hiking Mt Rainier. I danced on the mountain and took in the breathtaking views. I spent that entire day reflecting on the previous three weeks of dancing around the United States (New York, LA, and Seattle) with Axis Connect and Spectrum Dance Theater. I spent time thinking about my goals, hopes and dreams. I thought about my loved ones and just pondering life in general. It was the warm and fuzzies kind of feel. It was incredible, I came back with a new refreshed purpose. I was going to get that job. I was going to lose weight, dance and do everything. Well that took a very interesting turn. I certainly did everything I could to keep myself busy after heartbreak. And it was the healthiest I had been. I was meal prepping again, I was searching for my biological family, I was practicing yoga constantly. I was reading again, meditating and filling time with people who brought goodness to my life... who showed they wanted me there, you know, real friends. I spent time with family, I was working and dancing and overall crushing it. Then the real test, audition season... literally destroyed me. My sense of identity, self, and care were totally gone. I hate to admit it. But its true.
Then last night, wildly enough, I was looking for music from a dear friend Andres to add to my sleep playlist on this computer (been on my ipod classic for ages and I missed it). And I thought I had set it to myself via email... I did. "Hallelujah" I found it. But in that same search I came across this very dark email I had composed, I was very troubled in high school and this whole rant was about dance. How unhappy I was. How I was tired of fitting everyone else's mold. It was ironic that as a junior in high school I was dealing with similar dilemmas. I knew there were a lot of factors to my darkness then and having gone through therapy, I had found ways to cope and be safe, to understand myself and what I needed. I knew I needed to run so as not to hurt myself, and it became part of my routine. At 9pm, when I'd get home, if I couldn't get out of a funk, I'd run... even after a full day of school, full afternoon and night of dance and rehearsal... just to reset myself and then I'd retreat to the bathroom and get my homework done knowing I wouldn't have any distractions.
What I didn't realize until now, was that my feelings as an adult were similar but having had all these tools since then to learn and grow from, I was in a much better place. That I could conquer anything. Things that still set me off, I can now use more efficiently as fuel. For example, people telling me I'd never make it. Or ooo this one is good and still boils my blood. "Dance... is your career....? Isn't that a bit... juvenile? Should you maybe find something a little more... adult like?" After reading all these notes and former emails... I felt a renewed confidence because I've done so many things I LOVE and have learned and grown so much since I hit bottom at that point in my life, I knew this was just another hurdle to conquer. So when I went to sleep last night, I felt totally calm. Totally and strangely at ease. I'm stubborn, no doubt.
But I also know, this is what I want to do. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this summer... and a lot of it has been hard to take on but on that exact note, I've also done the same amount of thinking, okay, well more time thinking this summer that is the complete opposite. I am finally again feeling that same motivated feeling I felt last year on the mountain. I’m ready to get back at it...
Getting back in shape isn’t easy. Not at all. Your mind plays games and you feel the challenge but I forgot how good it feels to do workouts I love. Especially on top of my dance training, I love when it directly influences what I working on in rehearsal and love even more when I get good feedback and giggle inside knowing it’s because I’m doing my cross training they wouldn’t necessarily encourage. I forgot how much a good endorphin release was what kept me healthy in mind and body. Over the last two or so weeks, I've gotten back to my personal yoga practice, taking the chance on my sprains in classes (which feel ok! not fabulous but not bad) I started running (ok... I've run like three times...) I started working out everyday and I got my ass back in the studio and boy did it feel so good. I always feel better after some time off but I also decided I'm dancing for me this year.
Last year, I approached the season trying to take a break from some of my favorite ways to cross train in hopes of reshaping my body. It didn’t really happen, it started to but would never be enough but more importantly, I never felt quite like myself. I'm going to try not to let myself sink back in that body mental game I fight everyday. I like looking strong. Sure I'd love to tone up and slim down, but I'm not sacrificing running, weights, swimming, paddling and all my passions .... it isn't worth it.
After that really heartfelt and honest conversation with Cody, I have a refreshed sense of how to approach my year... his words clicked then but until a week or two ago, I did nothing about it. But
life is too short to waste precious time and precious moments. Cody, sorry it took so long. But again, thank you. Missing you dude. A lot. I got to talk about you the other day and today and it just sorta lit a fire under my ass to get in gear.
So I’m just going to do what I love and what makes me feel good, and do it unapologetically (or try to). I am going to spend time with people who bring goodness and light to my life and find a spark of adventure as often as I can, everywhere I can.