Tag Archive | transformation

Releasing The Beast And Embracing The Beauty

A few months ago, I had a brief conversation with a dear friend regarding my FB nickname, The Beast.  Ennio, is a dear friend, who happens to be a transformational life coach and who happens to have spoken significantly into my life over the years.  Several people in the last year have approached me about my nickname and how it doesn’t fit and suggested I change it, but had no alternative suggestions that didn’t feel weird to me.

A little history of “The Beast”.  This was a nickname given to me by a friend while we ran our first ever Warrior Dash together in 2011.  She gave me the name, because no matter how hard it was, I wouldn’t give up.  I wouldn’t quit.  I fought to the end, even when I was terrified and 20 feet in the air.  It was given to me, not something I gave myself, however I did fully embrace it.  It spoke of my strength and tenacity in my journey.  A Beast doesn’t quit and as long as I was the Beast, there was no quitting allowed.  I could muscle through anything.  I could do “IT”, whatever it was at the time.  In all honesty, I liked my strength.  If I had to give you a trait that would define me, it would be strong.  Physically, mentally, and in more recent years, emotionally.

So I don’t recall the exact conversation with Ennio and can’t seem to find the archive of it but what matters is what I took away from it, what I heard, right?  So this is what I heard.

Kim, your strength is awesome, but I think The Beast is limiting in who you are.  You are much more than that and I wonder, when you are going to start to embrace your Beauty?

Honestly, I felt like I had just been sucker punched and I was a little annoyed.  Seriously, why does everyone seem to have a problem with my nickname?  Often though, conversations that reveal painful truths do feel like that and can be the most transformative, if you let them.  I chose to listen to Ennio’s words and to remember his heart FOR me.  He has always been one who wants me to be my very best and he will never mix words just to be nice, but he will ALWAYS love me to my best.

So I let his words sink in and I realized that I often hide behind my strength.  It is easy to embrace my strength because it requires little vulnerability, little risk to put it on display.  Either I am strong or I am not, and it is easily measured.  But beauty, either physical or spiritual or emotional(remember, becoming more beautiful is what this blog is about), now that, is subjective and open to each persons own interpretation of Beautiful.  Not to mention, I still didn’t believe I was Beautiful.  I mean, I was getting there.  Sure, I had/have lots of beautiful qualities about me, but I would never classify myself as beautiful.  In fact, I did find this thread of my conversation with Ennio and I said this to him.

Owning my strength is easy. Owning my beauty feels arrogant and it feels like I would be a fraud…half the time anyway.

This conversation has stayed with me since September as I thought about it and wondered and began to notice how I use my strength to hide.  And I realized, Most of this journey has been about coming OUT of hiding and I didn’t like seeing that I had exchanged one method of hiding(food) for another.

Then, on Thanksgiving, I took this picture with my niece.

I saw this photo and I liked it and of course made it my profile photo on FB.  One week later, I look at this picture and have to catch myself as I wonder who hijacked my profile and put a picture of a beautiful woman on my page…and who is that with my NIECE?

When I look at this picture, I see a woman who is happy and at peace with herself.  I see someone who is not hiding from the camera.  I see a beautiful woman…and then I realize…it is me.

So, part of my run on Thanksgiving was about releasing a lot of the junk I have learned about over the years of this transformational journey.  One of those things was The Beast.  I decided, it was time to release the Beast and embrace The Beauty.  I can still be strong, but I don’t need to hide behind The Beast and it is about time I started believing what others have told me is true for years.

I. Am. Beautiful.

 

WS#5 Know Your Boundaries/Limits: It’s OK To Say No

When I first started aggressively trying to lose weight and get healthy 4 years ago one of the big struggles that I had to get beyond was people pleasing.

Oh there is a party going on?  With food?  Sure I can come.  Just a  little bit won’t hurt.

However, I am a social butterfly, and at that time, I lived in Grand Rapids where I had a very active social life.  3-4 nights a week of gatherings of some sort turned into more than a little bit.

As I traveled this road, I came to realize that I didn’t have to do everything I was invited to and I certainly didn’t have to accept every dish passed my way.  My friends, those who truly supported me, would NOT be offended if I passed on their food offerings.

When I signed up with Leif Anderson Fitness 34 weeks ago, I knew that at the end of my 20 week package I would be able to walk away confidently knowing I had done everything possible to lose weight.  Since I knew this, I also knew I had to give it everything I had so that I could walk away without any regrets. No lingering doubts of, “if only I had or had not…” would be able to be in my mind.  Leif had also told me pretty directly that if I worked the plan, 100%, there is no way he could not keep my body losing.  I set out to prove him wrong by doing everything right. (side note: I failed at times at being perfect.  Go Figure.)

What this 100% commitment translated to in reality was what some might consider extreme.  I skipped a family Easter dinner because I knew that I was not in a place mentally/emotionally to go to a gathering and eat on plan.  I took a small amount of heat for that from family and it was kind of depressing to spend Easter alone, but I figured if I can get my weight under control, I will have at least 50 more Easter dinners.  If I don’t, my Easter dinners are numbered.  I chose an extreme short-term measure based on how I felt in the moment in regards to food for the vision of a long and healthy life.

Often I will decline invitations to things based on how I feel about food.  At first, I didn’t explain why and later I began to explain and as my friends saw my results they totally supported my decision to remain steadfast in my commitment, no matter what.

Now, I don’t always say no to things.  There are plenty of times I feel in complete control and will go and meet friends for dinner.  I will have already eaten my dinner and will merely sit with them while they eat and I will drink a diet soda.  At first this was weird, but again, as friends saw my intense commitment to my journey and that nothing was going to stop me, they stopped questioning me and really started supporting me.

Often, they ask when my next free meal is, so we can do dinner out without breaking plan.  Some have joined me for cardio on occasion.   Others have asked what my meal plan is for that week and invited to cook for me, then cooked according to my plan.  When people love and support you, they are willing to make adjustments to be able to spend time with you in a way that is supportive.

Yes, at first it is weird to say no often and to set firm boundaries based on what you can handle in a given moment.  For this people pleasing girl, it felt incredibly selfish to be making such demands on where and what we do.  What I discovered though is that this is MY journey.  People love me.  I don’t say that in an arrogant way, just a matter of fact.  My friends and family love me and they support me to the extent of my commitment.  If I am wishy-washy in my stance, they will be to.  If I stand firm in what I can and cannot do or handle they will rise up and stand firmly beside me and they will do it gladly.

All of these paragraphs ultimately say this…it’s ok to say no and it’s ok to set boundaries.  This is your life.  Do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal.  One day you might be able to handle ordering off of a menu, other days you might not without deviating from plan.  Know your limits.  Check in often with yourself and act accordingly.  Your true friends will love you, respect you more, and rise to the occasion to support you as you take bold steps to take back your life.

and…don’t be afraid to let people in on what you are doing and to ask for help.

We are not meant to live life alone.  I could not have lost 78 lbs without the help, love and support of my friends.  They could not have supported me well unless I was clear about what I needed.  Give them a chance to support you, say no as often as you need to.  Know your limits.

Living In The Tension Of What Is and What Is To Come

It has been a while since I have busted out the “Kim’s Translation” of the Bible and it is about overdue 😉 (This one came with a little help from my Pastor in trying to communicate this concept, Thanks Jim)

There is a theology/thought/belief/biblical idea about the Kingdom of God being here, but not yet.

Pause.

Say what??

I know, sounds kind of crazy, right?  Here, but not really?  What does this mean?

Let me ATTEMPT to explain, but remember, I am no theologian, I am just a girl working out her faith and learning along the way.  My understanding of the Bible will change over time as I grow, but for today, this is how I understand it, with help from Jim!

So, Jesus came to earth to fulfill a promise(or several promises really)  He came that we might have life, abundant life.  Overflowing life.  Life to the full. He came to bring His Kingdom, His ways, His power, to earth, to give it to us and when He returned to heaven, he left His Spirit with us…so we can have those things.

The problem.  We are still on earth, and while we are now the Temple for the Holy Spirit and it/he resides in us, It does not reside in all because not all have received it/him.  And, we are not in heaven yet, and we still live in a world that has sin all around us every day, and often we (I) are the perpetrators of such sin.

So we have this promise of abundant life and yet because of the sin in the world and in our lives, we don’t get to experience the fullness of that hope and promise yet.

Think of it this way, Grandma is baking her best cookies for you.  You love these cookies.  They are the best cookies ever!  She puts them in the oven and then hands you the spoon to lick.  You savor that spoon and can’t wait til those cookies are done.  You have just had a foretaste and you KNOW these cookies, in all due time, will be AMAZING and you can hardly wait. You watch the timer.  You count the minutes.  You wait in anticipation for the FULLNESS of what is to come.

That is what it means to say that the Kingdom of God is here, but not yet.

Now,what the heck does this have to do with anything I have ever written about?

Well, in this here, not yet idea, lies a tension.  A tension to want to push the process, to speed things up, to manipulate the thermostat to make those cookies get done quicker vs waiting patiently for the process to happen in the best way possible under the absolutely best conditions…and according to the Master’s GREATEST plan.  Grandma’s cookies are the best because she knows what she is doing.  Let her do her thing!

So, I am realizing, my journey is alot like this.  Just as God has begun a good work in me and will see it to completion, Leif has also begun a good work in my body and has restored great hope for me that my body is in fact NOT BROKEN and can and will lose weight.

In the last month, I have struggled with the tension of trusting Leif and Tate with their GREATEST plan for my body that will help to fulfill their promise to me of achieving lasting fat loss.  In the restoration of hope in this area, dreams I never knew I held within me were released into my soul and I began to anticipate what it might be like to be at goal.  I began to dream of things I never dared to dream before.  Dreams of perhaps wearing a bikini was a big one even if for only one day before realizing I am far to modest for that. But really the idea that if I wanted to I COULD wear one and really own it and work it!

More and more though, my body has been shifting and changing and while I am starting to look amazing in clothes, I know what lies underneath those clothes and that underneath those clothes, a time has come where I have had to start wearing Spanx, or some version of them, aka a girdle(this was a hard place to be in to have to buy and wear this article of clothing).   I see in the mirror all the loose skin and the unevenness in which my weight is coming off.  It is not pretty folks. In fact, it has been devastating.  I think, or at least it feels like, I have cried more this past month than I did during the 2 years when I was actively engaging my sexual abuse healing/therapy.  Now, that might not be true, given that I am a bit removed from that time, but sheesh, it sure feels like it.

I have begun to worry about what is to come and if those dreams that were birthed in me along with renewed hope would ever come true.  Or if I will have to find a very rich man to marry who can pay for skin removal surgery.  In all of this I have found myself angry at both Leif and Tate for bringing me to such a place that I would dare dream of something that just doesn’t seem possible, in this moment, in this mirror image that I see when I am naked and alone.

So I find myself in this tension of both hope and despair.  Hope and excitement of what IS happening and what is to come…and realizing I need to let go of some of those dreams of things I cannot control so that the cards can be played out.  A tension of trust vs control.  I have two men who know what they are doing.  They are the BEST cookie makers in the business, if you will.  Me begging them to give me all the ins and outs of their recipe in the moment is NOT going to make things happen any faster or better.  If I understood exactly what was happening, I would be tempted to manipulate and control things instead of simply trusting these two body whisperers.

Now just because I finally have words to explain where I have been this past month doesn’t make it any easier.  I have had to put blinders on like they do on a horse at a parade so that I can’t see all that is around me and be distracted.  Despite my chaotic emotional state that has felt crazy as I live out the tension, I have had to do whatever was necessary to stay true to the plan, nutritionally and training wise.  I have had to stop looking at new friends results and comparing their journey’s to mine.   During this time, I have gotten ugly.  Ironic, since my journey is about becoming beautiful, the kind of beautiful that Jesus would behold!

I have NOT represented myself or Jesus well.  I could blame it on “Dieter’s Rage” but that would be me not taking responsibility for my life and actions.  Daily, it has been a battle and as I wrestled with trusting these two men, particularly Tate, I have lashed out and said some really ugly things.  Hurtful things.  I realize in hindsight that I just wanted to feel like I had some semblance of control over some piece of all of this journey.  Slowly, I am learning…in Faith, my job is to trust Jesus where He leads and He has led me to these men. In my body transformation, my job is to trust these two and to not treat them poorly when they hold the line for me.   Fortunately, for me, Jesus is a master at forgiveness, and Leif and Tate don’t take it personal when I lash out, and they too forgive me.

For now though, I have my 60 lbs lost, my foretaste of what is to come, if I would trust the process.  I have the promise, it is mine to collect on, but it’s not all the way here.  Yet. It is a journey, a process, and I am not done yet.

Tension.

A picture of hope, me-mid process. 2 photos taken a year apart, although really, all the change has happened in the last 6 months.

What It Is Like To Be Me (Mid-Transformation)

Have you ever watched a baby turn to a boy? You know he is growing. You see the change in clothing/diaper sizes. You see the increase in skills…but he is still a baby. Then one day you wake up and look at him…and suddenly he is a little boy.   No more baby face.  Overnight some magical shift happens.

Or you have a friend pregnant for the first time. You know she is prego and are watching impatiently for the bump to appear so you can rub it. You wait.  And wait.  And wait.

..and after a while you begin to question it….then you meet for  your regular weekly lunch date and you walk in and HELLO BABY!!!  Almost overnight, the new momma went from barely pregnant looking to BAM there is definitely a baby in that belly.

THAT is what it is like to be me on this journey. I know things are changing. I see the scale each week. My clothing sizes have changed.   I am continuously amazed by what fits and doesn’t fit in my closet.  People oogle and aah when they see me after a long absence.  But I don’t see it.  Not usually.   Then one day…I  wake up and pass a mirror or catch a glimpse of a photo and holy #*%- who is that woman!!!?? What happened? It is like overnight a sudden shift happened and my body caught up to reality and decided to display what has been happening.

Or maybe…suddenly my brain caught up with reality.

Either way…it is awesome when I can actually see what is happening and don’t have to rely on facts and figures and numbers.

In the same way that overnight it seems that my body suddenly appears smaller, it also seems that overnight or minute to minute I seem to grow.  Not literally, but it is fascinating how in one moment I can look in the mirror and be so totally excited by what I see and in the next I can be near tears that I am never going to get to goal and I suddenly seem fatter than ever.
I wonder when/if my brain and my heart will ever match up with the mirror for more than a moment.
What it is like to be me at this point in my journey is both exciting and terrifying and requires bravery every single day to keep going.   At times I feel crazy, totally delighting in the ooogles and aaahs from others in one moment and the next moment freaking out like a mad woman.  One minute delighting in the changes in my body and the next totally depressed by the lack of changes I see.

11 Days And Counting

I am officially 11 days into being grain/sugar-free and with the exception of one day where I had 5 corn chips I have been totally successful!  The 5 corn chips were a mistake.  While chips are not the best option ever, I also didn’t realize corn was a grain.  Oh well, it was 5 chips.  I counted.  🙂

As far as diet goes, this is what I am noticing.

  • I have tons more energy.  I didn’t think I lacked energy before, but in hindsight, I see a huge difference.  I used to come home from work and veg out if I wasn’t working out in the evening and when I was working out it took ALOT of self talk to get me to the gym.  I wake up with my alarm without nearly as much trouble and in the evenings I am like an energizer bunny just getting stuff done.
  • I am not having any crazy cravings.  Every once in a while something sounds like it might be good, but then I simply eat some vegetables and I am golden!
  • I am surprisingly LOVING not counting calories and actually finding new freedoms in it.  I was so afraid to not count calories because it is what I have  always known and being an emotional eater, how in the world was I ever going to manage my eating so it doesn’t get out of control.   Well, I am discovering it takes ALOT of vegetables to overeat.  I am loving exploring fun new recipes.
  • I can tell my pants are getting looser already even though I have not been back on the scale.
  • I am discovering many more of my friends eat this way, so I am not feeling alone in this eating lifestyle.   I seem to get encouragement daily form some source or other.  It has been awesome!

Now for the workouts.  I began Crossfit this week.  Let’s just say it is more than a LITTLE intense.   Here is what I am loving about this so far.

  • I love the competitive style of it.   Every workout you are trying to do better than you did last time as well as to beat the guy/gal next to you…or at least sweat just as much and work just as hard.
  • I complain the next day about how much I hurt but secretly I love it.  THe deep ache of my muscles screams I am alive in so many ways.
  • I get to lift really heavy things and therefore feel all sorts of “hardcore” or, I gotta say it here…BADASS!  Seriously, who doesn’t want to feel strong and powerful and like you can do anything??
  • The coaches/trainers are SO encouraging.  They want to see me excel as much as I do.
  • I love that after my first workout with Eric, Daniel talked to him and found out that Eric had underestimated me.   Yeah, that happens a lot.
  • I love that after my second workout, this time with CJ, I was SO DONE that I felt sick.
  • I love that once I am done with the initial 1:1 phase where I learn how to do Crossfit style workouts and they teach me how to do correct form so I don’t get hurt, my workouts will be group workouts.  Again, like with the nutrition piece, I am not alone.

I am loving this new phase of my journey.  I am loving that I am being given resources to the knowledge that will help me and that Daniel is so willing to answer my questions when I have them.  I am loving that I am back on track and excited and filled with hope again that one day I will be at a healthy weight.  I no longer care, “by when”.  I truly want to live a healthy lifestyle…and I am on my way.

***************************

ok, so this is what I did on Tues for my workout.

  • I had to high knee through a rope ladder on the floor (8x)
  • go thru the ladder laterally(sideways) (4x)
  • go thru kinda diagonally (4x)
  • them most awful of all, I had to HOP thru (4x)  Those of you on this journey know about the awful Fat Slap and why I hate to hop….but yes my friends I HOPPED through that blasted thing 4 times.

That was the warmup.  Then we stretched.  Then the Workout began.

This was a timed exercise.

  • 20 kettle bell swings
  • 20 push ups
  • 20 lunges

I had to do this 3 times through, so 60 of each.   I completed it in 6 min 30 seconds

On Thursday, CJ led my workout.

He warmed me up on the rower then showed me some stretched focusing on my hips and shoulders.  I learned a few minutes later why he focused on those areas

We began the Workout of the day (WOD)

This workout was one where I did 10 of each thing then 9 then 8 all the way to 1 of each.  He called it 10 to 1.

My first exercise was to do 10 deadlifts, with 95 lbs on the bar

My second was 10 push presses with 32 lbs on the bar.

I did those and went back and forth between the two until I was doing only one of each.  Again this was a timed workout.  My time was 9:30 and I felt sick when I was done.

 

Next time, I will have CJ take pictures…:-)

This weekend I have been assigned some at home Tabata exercises.  More on that later though.

It’s On Me!

A few posts ago, when I couldn’t sleep and I was spiraling downward, I wrote a blog full of questions.  Questions I didn’t feel like I had anything close to answers to in that middleofthenightIamsoexhaustedIjustwannasleepbutcan’t moment.

Well, I spent last week coming out of my funk and being incredibly busy every night with everything but working out. Then I went “home”, home being where my heart is happiest, to GR for the weekend. I spent 2.25 days soaking up the love of friends.  I breathed deep and inhaled the knowledge that my heart and mind had forgotten or misplaced or something…

No matter my size, I am loved.  Deeply and dearly. I am loved enough to be pushed on an 8 mile run by Ben, who for 2 hours and 21 minutes become a pseudo Demond.  Questioning my heart rate and pushing me up hills and making me run when I wanted to walk and not letting me quit when it got painfully hard. I am also loved enough to have my identity challenged, or at least the number I seem to identify with challenged.  Loved enough to be encouraged to think of myself bigger than a number.

I am loved enough to have my perspective on my life challenged(by Coach) in that what I see and experience as all-consuming and awful and total failure, is not.  In fact, Coach is amazing at remembering (when I don’t) my accomplishments.  Regardless of the struggle, I have still kept off what I have lost already for longer than I ever have before.  I have faced some pretty big monsters in my closet and lived to tell about it and probably will have more to face, and I will live to tell about those too.   I have and continue to do more than most other 300 lb women.  I continue to get up when I fall down.

I am loved enough to be kicked out of GR when it is time for me to go but I don’t want to.

2.5 hours there and back with lots of time to think without distracting myself with other things.  Plus a great weekend with everyone left me space to think about my commitment.   I thought about the past few weeks of little to no working out, factored in the time of being sick and gave myself grace for that, and an answer to one of my questions from that crazy night blog post began to form in my mind.

Who AM I and what am I about? Where is my commitment?

It is easy to get sidetracked on this journey.  There are 1000 ways of doing this thing and not one is more right or more wrong than the other.  It is also easy to get distracted by other people’s stories and how “seemingly” easy it is for them, while I sit and whine about how hard I have to work.   I thought about mentioning a few particular bloggers I have read who seem to have it easy, but decided, I don’t know enough about their stories to claim it as easy.  Their struggles are simply different from mine.

It is easy to get lost on this road folks, even when you have a detailed map.  I know I joke about LIKING to get lost in the woods on runs, and I DO love that, but I really hate when I seem to wander off the path that has been so clearly laid out for me (by Demond).  I wander so far off course, that I question everything and then getting back on the right path seems hard.   It is like I lost the map, forgetting the course we laid out in the beginning that would get me to where I want to be.  You know, things like, how many calories do you want me burning a day?  What HR do you want me at?  How many calories am I eating a day?

And….apparently I get lost in my blog writing too, because I was supposed to be answering a question.

Who Am I, what am I about and where is my commitment?

I am Kim and I am a pretty amazing person who loves big and therefore hurts deep.  I am passionate about becoming fit and healthy and living a long life.  I love doing all sorts of active things and discover new ones all the time that I never knew I would like.  I love people and draw energy being around them.  I am a person who loves helping others and making them happy.  I don’t like to disappoint people or let them down.

FOr now, at this time in my life, I am about setting the stage for a healthy life. From now until I reach this goal, this is my focus. This is where my energy needs to be focused at and at the same time I need to have balance and enjoy friendships in my life that are life-giving.  I need to be open to creating here, what I have in GR, with new people, which will require being willing to trust new people more and more and to be willing to share with them like I do with the folks in GR…and to be willing to invest into their lives as well.  No more holding back.

Where is my commitment?  It is right here.  It had gotten off track a bit though. I think for a while my commitment shifted to a mentality of playing it safe.  Playing not to lose instead of going all out and playing to win. I was doing just enough to hold steady and to not raise suspicions. Doing a lot of chattering but not following it up with the actions. I think also, my commitment shifted from being to myself first and shifted to being to Demond or to Coach or Aaron. I became about not disappointing them.  On some level I fought to keep going because I know how much time and energy they have invested in me and how can I not keep going after all of that?  Well folks, in this journey, that kind of commitment doesn’t work.  All it does is create a space of dishonesty or half truths…and doing just enough.

What I am realizing though, is that this is NOT their journey. While they love me and are willing to walk with me and encourage me, they can’t do the work for me.  They cannot give me the want to.  This is ultimately my journey and it is on me to complete it in a manner that brings honor to their sacrifice of time and energy spent on me and with me. (mind you, they would not see what they have done as a sacrifice).

So my commitment has to be to me.  I have to stand in my commitment of health for me and me alone and while I am not standing alone, it is my stand. It is my Journey.  My results.  My Responsibility.  It’s on me.

It is on me to let Demond know what I need.  It is on me to workout whether he is around or not and to push myself beyond my comfort zone.  It is on me to get enough sleep each night and to plan all of my meals out so I hit the calorie goals.  It is on me to read my map and to snap right back on course when I go off.

This is not about perfection.  It is about getting it done.

So, Demond, I know I have been oh so not fully committed the last little bit as I figured some things out…but I am all in now, my friend.   Will you still walk with me?

Coach and Aaron, I know I don’t even need to ask…I know you are with me till the end even as you head to NYU or get married…thanks boys…love you so much I don’t have enough words to express it!

Gavin

So, as you can tell, I have been in a funk of the worst kind. It has truly been awful.  It has been like being in a deep dark pit just trying to crawl my way out.  The more I scrambled the worse it got so eventually I simply gave up.  I know.  I am crazy.  My highs are high and my lows are low.  Guess that is the bane of being a passionate person.

Anyway, today I am beginning to see light in my pit.  It helped to text chat with Coach a bit and to talk live with my friend Ben who is running Nashville with me.  A huge part of my pit has been stress over Nashville coming with not being able to run the last couple weeks.  Ben ran Nashville last year, knows the course, knows me, and can totally understand where I am at on this.  So it REALLY helped to just verbalize some of my fears and to really have them heard.

Then tonight, I was taught a huge lesson by my nephew who is almost 11 years old.  Gavin is amazing. He loves Jesus with all his heart.  He has a tender and compassionate heart for others.  He is an amazing big brother.  He honors his commitments without complaint and…He is a competitive dancer.

He began formal dance lessons 2 years ago and was quickly asked to join the competitive dance team.  This is his second season and his second weekend of competition.

A competition weekend is intense.  He is on location from early Friday evening until late at night.  Goes home and has to be back by 7:30 AM on Saturday.  All morning is spent in workshops where he learns all sorts of dance techniques and is judged on his ability to learn and on raw talent.  Then the competition actually begins and he has to wait all day until his time to dance on stage.  He is there until 11 PM and has to be back again on Sunday at 7:30 again until about 4 PM.

All of this is following weeks of intense lessons and rehearsals leading up to this big event.

It is intense.  These kids are so amazing though.  Gavin is coming down with a cold and was not feeling well today.  He didn’t dance his first dance of two until almost 8 PM at night.  I could tell he was struggling to keep it together as his cold (which I may have gave him!) was coming on.

This young man though, when it was time to take the stage summoned all of his energy, focus and commitment to his team and gave it his all. You would not know that he was not feeling well.  You would not know that 15 minutes before going on stage he was nearly melting down from exhaustion.  He went out and did his very best.

I was so proud.

He later went on stage again and did it again for his second dance routine.

Here is what he taught me. It doesn’t matter how you feel in the given moment. You have a committment to yourself and your team to keep and your committment is greater than the feeling in the moment.   When it is showtime you can either half ass it and let your team and yourself down or you can suck it up for 4 minutes and go all out.

And…regardless of if you win a prize or not…you will always have the knowledge that you did your very best.

poor baby so exhausted and posing for pictures with his instructor and his Grandma...the last thing he wanted to do was take pictures....so bummed, I can't get my video uploaded!

Oh and another brave young man tonight….let me rip a tooth out of his mouth and he didn’t even cry!!!

Check out the self-titled "Toothless Garrett"