When Life Gives You Heavy Shit… Lift Heavy Shit.

When life gives you heavy shit, lift heavy shit. It’s my new motto. Well, newish. About a year and a half ago I started hitting the gym pretty regularly. I hired a personal trainer and started getting a little more serious about my health…

Why? Because taking care of mom was taking a toll on my whole family. My children were having a really hard time seeing their grandmother sick. My middle son, who was home most often, especially. He would get upset every time she’d ask for a burger or a diet soda. Why, he yelled, if this what made her sick to begin with?? Didn’t she want to be around to see him get married or meet his future babies??


I told him there was nothing I could do to change that. This was the life we were living now. The only thing I could promise him was that I would try to be better. I would make different choices and stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

It was a promise I intended to keep.

A few months into training I was introduced to deadlifting. My coach, an experienced powerlifter, felt like I was finally strong enough to move from dumbbells to the bar. As he coached me through the technique I found myself curious and afraid. The first time I stood up straight, loaded bar in hand, I was hooked. I was amping for days. When, I asked him, could I do that again?!

I began to correlate the ability to move heavy things in the gym with the ability to handle heavy stuff outside in the real world. Hence, when life gives you heavy shit… Some days have been easier than others both in and out of the gym.

In a way, this blog was meant to be my mental deadlift. I needed a place to put all the things I was feeling and words have always been my exercise. I published posts but didn’t share them on my social feeds. I did OK for a several weeks using my entries as a therapy of sorts. Until one day I just stopped. It was getting too heavy.

I stopped writing but I kept weightlifting. I even participated in my first compitition in the spring. While training I learned some valuable lessons.

  1. Some days the bar just flies up like a feather and others it feels like a dump truck. You have to learn to shake it off and try again.
  2. You have to give yourself permission to fail and time to heal. Increasing strength doesn’t happen over night. It’s a process.
  3. It’s easy to get lost in your head and talk yourself out of doing more. Make sure the loudest voice is the one that pushes you forward, even when its hard.

(Proof. Yes, I actually wore that in public.)

Recently I had to look at the list and really think about how much training had changed me. How much stronger I felt– not just because I increased the weight I could lift but because I didn’t quit. And I realized that applied to a lot more than the gym. I still needed a place to put all those feelings. I needed to recognize that part of lifting heavy shit means pushing past what you think is hard and allowing yourself the opportunity to be great. Or at least better.

I’m going to try this whole writing thing again. Mostly because I want to avoid expensive prescriptions on the daily. (They are on standby in my purse.) But also because I don’t believe in quitting when things get heavy.

I have to listen to the loudest voice. Finish it, Venessa. Finish it.


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