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Monday, August 4, 2014

My Evolution: How Six Weeks Turned into a Lifetime, Ep. 1


This was supposed to be a single Saturday "Read & Review" blog, one that touched on how I read a fitness book, applied its teachings, and maybe lost a couple of pounds. What began as a six-week "Wolf Workout" ended up changing my entire view on the rest of my life. Don't you hate it when that happens? 

The book, not surprisingly, is Evolution by Joe Manganiello - you see the guy's name, and likely say to yourself, "What can this half-naked, wolfy, larger than life celebrity with a marble body possibly have to say to me?" 

You'd be surprised. 

I'll admit it, guys - I bought the book on a fangirl whim; after all, I had published Kirby months before, and everyone whose read the book knows that Hottie McCoffeehouse is inspired directly by JM. Who wouldn't want to support the guy who could potentially be a part of the movie that I want to see Kirby become? It was after meeting him at a play in New Haven, and bravely handing him a copy of the book while telling him that I would love to cast him, that my views on this life of mine began to change. 

If I could be brave for a moment or two around a guy who, even at his softest (he was weepy and tired after the show), is deceptively intimidating, what else could I be brave about? Being a girl whose self-confidence has been up, down, and shaky for her entire life, how long could I hold on to this feeling? My Evolution began two months before his book even dropped. 

Flash forward to the book signing. December 2013 - I was down ten pounds, mid-way
through my 1st screenplay and working on lyrics for a new tune. My bedroom wall was littered with notes for my second book and photos of the model for said book's hero (hint: everyone's favorite Viking Vampire), and I'd scored a day off to go buy this book and get a copy signed. I packed my notebook (because I was sure I'd be writing), a couple of my favorite pens, and headed off to Union Square.

Time flew once I got there - by the time Joe arrived for his big moment, I was armed with my book copies and a treatment for Kirby...just so he'd know I was serious about what I said the last time I saw him. :)

To backtrack a little, I did have a few hours to look over the book before the signing started. It pulled me in immediately; he may as well have been speaking to me. At one point, there were tears in my eyes as I thought - this guy gets it. And when you look at his before and after shots, especially after reading the brief pep talk and back story that his writing provides, it hits you - he's fought a battle of his own, and it took decades to overcome his obstacles and demons before he finally looked at his own reflection and said, "Enough."

 Once upon a time, Alcide was a string bean. According to Joe, he was taught to be careful around those smaller than him; as a result, he was bullied and teased. I was bullied and teased growing up, except I was taught to fight when the time came. Laugh if you want, but I would've crushed so hard on this kid... and I probably would've shoved his tormentors into the dirt. (haha)

Days later, I read the book again. His words, both on and off the page, got me thinking. At first sight, and I'll admit to thinking it, my first thought was to remind myself that this guy is selling a book. He'll tell you he's not, because acting is his passion and that's what's working for him, but we know what's up - writers, vouch for this! That last statement could certainly be my learned cynicism talking - but who's to say I'm right? Barring the natural instinct to call 'shenanigans' on a person who claims to care, the truth is that whether or not he genuinely gives a shit doesn't matter. His words make sense. They hit home. This book was the thing that finally made me look at my reflection and say, "Enough."

I spent my entire life looking for love and acceptance. Did I ever find it? Nope, not an ounce. Because it never existed in myself. I spent my entire life making excuses, coming up with reasons why I couldn't, reasons why I shouldn't. And now here I am - in my 30s and dying, slowly, losing mental and physical strength with each passing day. Shouldn't I have had enough by now? Of course! And I spent years begging myself to care. And I couldn't understand why I never cared enough to fight. I may have lost years to pain and an inability to push myself, but the good news is: it's only too late to turn around when you're dead. 

Last December, I committed to evolving - getting stronger from head to heart to toe. No more excuses, no more self-pity; I genuinely want to view things with a new set of eyes. I want so badly to break the unhealthy cycles in my life, inherited by members of family who, for whatever reason, weren't able to break the chains themselves. I've been fighting my whole life, but now I'm fighting the right fight. And this book, the one I didn't expect much more than a 'Read & Review Saturday' blog from? It changed everything. It set off a series of events that I have no control over anymore (smile) - and I mean that in a good way. 

As I continue to fight and push forward (I'm trying to avoid using the word 'struggle'), sharing my journey on this blog just seems to make sense. I've got a lot on my mind these days - some of it life-affirming, some of it alarmingly negative. Even if only one person is paying attention, this blog is acting as a slingshot with which I can purge every thought from my head. And hopefully, when all is said and done, I'll emerge a new woman. A stronger woman. 

I'm not comfortable sharing my numbers just yet - I've got such a long road ahead of me. But it's my road, and I won't allow my crippling self-doubt to beat me to shit any longer. Don't get me wrong, it's there - I fight my cynicism on a daily basis (I'm the girl at the gym, on the bicycle, with tears in her eyes). But I'll win, damn it. 


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