Misty Marshall: Optimism through discouragement
Hello there 7& 4 friends. It has been a while since I have written but I assure you I am still determined and going strong. My family at Grand Traverse Athletic Club continues to support me and I smile big with each achievement that is made. Progress, even baby steps is still progress and to me being on this journey for the last eight months has been about not giving up. Today, I can celebrate a milestone that feels better than winning a big jackpot, the loss of one-hundred pounds! At the big reveal I mentioned that I was at ninety-seven pounds, and although still going strong I did have a month that I took a backward approach and gained five pounds. I think like most the never ending winter has messed a bit with my emotions which caused me to temporary lose focus on the task at hand but every journey has its ups and downs and as long as I am granted another day, continuing this journey is first and foremost on my mind.
Iâ??ve been struggling recently with self-esteem and discouragement. Although I have lost weight when I look in the mirror I still see a person that is larger than most. This has been a reason for my most recent set-back as I became discouraged with not meeting my goals as fast as I would like. In my mind I should have been well on my way to reaching my ultimate goal of a healthy body mass index, yet I still find myself being defined in terms of morbidly obese. This is evident in more ways than on the scale as I find discrimination against people in my shoes is prevalent each time I walk out of the door of my home even though I find myself being able to do things I wasnâ??t able to do this time last year!
Recently I was shopping at the store for some workout clothing. Being newer to the exercise lifestyle I have found myself being adventurous in the aisles at the sporting goods stores as well as in the athletic apparel department. Since it is difficult to find plus sized workout clothing I was never happier than to be able to finally shop at a local retail store and buy clothing â??off of the rackâ??. As I was shopping for some clothing I overheard two girls chuckling at the â??fat girlâ?? buying workout clothes. The comment made involved statements that cut to the very being of my soul and made me feel like a fish out of water. Not only did it damage my proud moment of accomplishment but it singled me out as different from my peers. I would like to say I shrugged my shoulders and ignored such calloused behaviors but I cried, my heart was broken, as I allowed someone who meant nothing to me steal a moment in which I had worked for nearly a year to accomplish.
As an optimistic individual I try to turn every negative experience into a positive life lesson, which in this situation was extremely difficult as I already had been struggling in the self-esteem department. I could feel my enthusiasm suck out of me like a deflating balloon. I bought my new workout clothes and left the store thinking to myself if only those two girls knew my story perhaps they would be a bit more sympathetic of my situation. I bet they would be rejoicing with me about the weight that I have lost and focus more on where I have been than where I am now.
This got me thinkingâ?¦I bet there are many more people like me out there that are one-third of the way through their journey and find themselves in a similar situation as me. Discouragement is so much easier to focus on than the encouraging words you find yourself speaking to your broken heart after an experience like mine in the apparel department. It is not always easy to â??shake offâ?? the negative comments of people, both implied and spoken, yet in a journey that is public like mine (you canâ??t hide obesity) the only way to keep moving forward is to forgive the ignorance of insensitivity and push ahead. This has been my focus this week!
In an effort to push ahead I bought myself a new softball glove and have started throwing the ball around a bit again. You see, softball was my passion and love for many years until an insensitive comment in high school caused me to give up. I was a catcher, and played third base for several years from about the age of seven. I used to sit and watch the Detroit Tigers games holding onto my glove and tossing the ball up in the air from the couch to practice my catching skills. Softball is one thing that can put a smile on my face at any given moment and buying a new glove gave me back a bit of that lost motivation.
Not only did I buy myself a glove but I purchased a glove for each of my four children. My sons all slept with their new gloves under their pillows and woke up talking about how much fun they were going to have throwing the ball around with their mom as soon as the snow has melted. My daughter, just as enthusiastic about her pink and white T-ball glove tells everyone she is playing softball like her mommy used to.
In another attempt to press through this discouragement I began working on my conditioning for running my first 5K in a few short months. I am working on increasing my speed and strength with my trainer Ryan in an effort to accomplish a goal I never thought was possible. In Elementary school every year we would have to run the â??dreaded mileâ?? in gym class. This was not my favorite time in gym, in fact I would much rather be doing anything but that- dodgeball, climbing the rope, gymnastics, balance beam, ANYTHING but running the mile!
I donâ??t think there was ever a time that I didnâ??t finish last when running the mile at school, in fact I believe most of the time I was mercied as the allotment of gym time expired leaving me somewhere in the field of unaccomplished dreams, once again feeling like a failure. The comments that were made by insensitive school mates made me feel just about as bad as shopping in the sports apparel department that day. I tried, in fact to me I probably showed more effort than most of my class mates as running the mile was easy for them, sometimes the external fortitude is not proof positive of the internal effort, as weighing nearly twice the weight of my peers gave me a disadvantage.
I am learning that the opinions of others should have little to no effect on my goals and dreams. These two small examples are of times I allowed my spirit to be crushed to the point I stopped trying at something, and getting back to these two small things will give me the courage to overcome the feelings of discouragement that has plagued me for a long time. Even if it takes me two hours to complete that 5K on Memorial Day, I will do it! Even if it takes me all summer to get back to where I was in playing softball, I will do it!
Becauseâ?¦to me, these two small things have more significance in building my self-esteem and will escalate me to another level on this journey of self-discovery!
Wise man once said â??A man, who believes that all things are possible, approaches the unconventional with an open mind and a fearless heart.â?? While it may be unconventional for me, still in the process of this journey to run a 5K, or to be in the sports apparel department my heart is fearless on this journey, both of self-discovery and emotional maturity as we all face the giant obstacles in the way of lifeâ??s journey.
Your assignment this week, another self evaluation! What things have you given up in your past because of discouragement, what talents are hiding behind your disheartened spirit, what potential can you unlock that will inspire you to keep moving forward in your journey? I will be in the stands this week cheering you on as you find the power to make progress! Although, I wonâ??t be in the stands literally, as I will be out and about tossing a ball with my kids or in the gym with Ryan and my buddies (Jack & Chuck) preparing for my big adventure in just a few short months!