self discovery

The View from Up Here

For about two decades of my life I was terrified of heights. I could look over the side of tall buildings, walk down high steps and ride sky scraping roller coasters without stress or anxiety but any time I was asked about phobias, I habitually responded “oh yea I’m afraid of heights”.

This fear was never broken because it never seemed to be a problem. It never impeded me. It was just something I said. My fear was heights. I knew why I was afraid of wasps (randomly chased into the house by an angry red flying bug as a child). That fear had grounds, an event that had caused the avoidance. Heights, for me, did not.

My dad had been afraid of heights for as long as I could remember. I’m not sure if his fears were groundless but mine were. I had always been a daddy’s girl, desperate to distinguish myself against my younger sister- she could be a Mommas girl but Dad was mine. This might be why I took on his fears as my own.

When a belief takes root in the mind, something concrete and factual, it is only as immovable as the mind allows it to be. I was afraid of heights because I had convinced myself I was afraid of heights. I had repeated this to myself and to others for years. This was a fact in my mind so why would anyone else think differently. This story, although seemingly a small falsehood in the grand scheme of things, was still branding and building me into the person who was afraid of heights. What if I had continued to believe this? What did it keep me from doing while I believed it?

One time I tried a climbing wall as a child. I was to race my cousin to the top. Although he had climbed trees his whole life and I had not (afraid of heights, remember?) I thought myself capable of anything he could do. At this point in my life I had zero and a half upper body strength and had never even touched a rock wall. Needless to say the race was over before it started. I was stuck a few feet off the ground, unable to pull myself higher. My immediate response was oh it was too high. I’m afraid of heights. My fear that wasn’t my own became my excuse for being an inexperienced climber. Why would I keep trying to be a good climber if being afraid of heights was an acceptable way around the effort? This was a model of how I shaped my life. I let my excuses and shortcomings keep me on the path of least resistance.

I don’t live like this now. I actually adore rock climbing and hiking. These are things that I would have gladly never done with my previous mindset. Nothing was making me look bad or lazy or any less than the person I wanted to be at the time. Having low standards means a more reachable goal.

It’s incredible how much your mindset and your beliefs regarding your own self can shape your life, your ambitions and your interests. Everyone has met someone whose mind is impossible to change despite the arguement or the facts presented. Think of their mind as a bed of concrete, things haphazardly becoming firm and stuck in place. Self awareness is how we evolve, how we adapt and become closer to our true selves. Concrete brains have a plain of peace in this respect because they don’t question things once they fall into place in their minds. There is no internal conflict because there are no questions being asked. When you ask those hard questions and the cracks in the foundation start to show it can be scary. Realizing you built a life for who you were before is scary. However you truly discover who you are at the end of your comfort zone.

Everything changes. We, as a universe existing within a universe, have an opportunity to evolve our perceptions and to shape ourselves. Keep your mind as fluid as the world around you. The things we repeat become our mantras, consciously or otherwise, and build the person we are around these rooted beliefs. The words we say to ourselves day in and day out have tangible effects on how we see the world around us and how we react to it. So why not make it an intentional practice? If you can choose the materials to build your own view then why leave it with a cracked foundation?

Adventure!!

Blazing our own trail!

So the weather has been unseasonably warm lately (then cold, then freezing, then hot) so my pupper, Cora, and I have been getting some hiking and short road trips in!

My main goal with this trip was to see how Cora handled being in the car longer than 30 minutes. Since eventually we’ll be embarking (pun enjoyed but not intended) on van life in the next year or so I really wanted to test where she was as far as sitting still that long, bathroom breaks, temperament, e.t.c. While testing all of these factors, I also wanted a familiar location I knew we would be able to navigate. So I chose Sulphur, Oklahoma which is a lovely little town just under 2 hours from the OKC metro. The area around Sulphur has been noted for its mineral springs, since well before the city was founded late in the 19th Century. It’s honestly a gorgeous little area with trails, springs, and camping sites.

Sulphur was one of the few places my family would visit regularly, even just for short trips. I hold dear many family road trips and camping adventures as a child. Needless to say I was thrilled to show my fur baby all of the town’s natural splendor! So we set out..

Such a good girl!

Cora loves riding in the car and did really well, as usual, up until about 45 minutes in. Once it got beyond the duration of a normal trip she definitely noticed and tried to climb in my lap for attention. This was easily deterred because it’s a habit she’s been trained out of for awhile. After that we had zero issues and continued on.

Once we got there, we started out near the nature center as many of the trails begin there. We hiked for roughly two hours and had a blast! Cora adores running water although she jumped out of every picture I tried to get of her enjoying it.

At the end of this excursion, we reemerged in the parking lot in front of the nature center. Suddenly this child was yelling at the top of his lungs “Daddy she didn’t follow the rules! She has a dog!”

I did a double take and, sure enough, there was a sign (smaller than a sheet of printer paper) that had a picture of a dog crossed out. Everyone on the trail had loved Cora and been happy to pet her and I had seen two other dogs on our day out. So I just chalked this up to some good ole trail blazing! It definitely made for a memorable day!

Adventure!!

Meeting the Adventurer Inside.

I am a procrastinator who hides behind the vague veil of preparation. So very very recently, I have fallen in love with the idea of van life. I’ve always wanted to travel and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was always on my bucket list. Ever since that made the list I’ve fretted about if I’ll ever have enough time to take off work, what my family and friends would think, what I would think being so far for so long. Deciding to aim for van life has given me a different kind of ambition. No worries about proximity or fear of the unknown, just a quiet peace. Usually I’m frantic and planning all the things and then doubting myself then planning then usually abandoning the plan. This time there’s no jitters, everything just feels right. I feel as though aiming for most people’s “worst case scenario” (i.e. living in your own vehicle) has lifted a lot of stress from my shoulders. In a weird way, this is the culmination of all of my life joys. I’ve always loved driving and the idea of road trips but I have been on very very few.

In previous years, I had let outside influences taint my determination for this kind of life. I had come from a family accustomed to financial stress so it was easy to withdraw into the illusion that this is how life was. To get the stuff you had to work and get the money to get the stuff. Who doesn’t want stuff? Retail therapy had been a bandaid that my family applied repeatedly. Stuff made everyone happy. For the moment. Moving from childhood to adulthood, I had realized that despite these gifts moving in and out of our lives they never helped anyone feel better. They didn’t fix any of their internal traumas or boost their self esteem in any meaningful way. Everyone was still empty.

Initially I went through the traditional steps in life. Painstakingly close to cloning my parent’s start to life (minus the children and 20 years of marriage). High school dating> marriage> house> animals. I was hitting the mile stones in record time. I was so busy climbing the “life ladder” that I didn’t stop to see I had grown into a different person. I had different interests, hobbies and passions than the people around me; than the man I had married.

When the fuck did that happen? Was it part of losing weight? Part of almost dying? (Short story: eating poorly rots your organs) How had we grown so far apart and so differently? I had no idea at the time but all I knew was that something was calling me. Cliche, yes, but I yearned to follow. So, as with most upsets in otherwise placid situations, these desires kicked up a lot of issues we had been overlooking. Important and highly dissenting visions of how our future would look.

The truth of the matter is that I only knew how mismatched we were because I got to know a more authentic layer of myself. Someone stronger, braver, maybe a little dumber. So I got out on my own, hit some hurdles and now I’m back on my feet and looking to follow my call to adventure. I’m done procrastinating and hiding behind excuses. I’ve begun shopping for a van to either renovate or convert for my excursions. I won’t have an accurate timeline until I actually find a van and know how much work I have ahead of me. But I am insanely excited to dive into this project and into this next chapter of my life! I guess, in a way, I’m still hitting all of the “traditional” milestones. Had my quarter life crisis right on schedule 😉

Adventure!!

Doing the damn thing.

I titled this entry on January 28th. Today is November 11th. I clearly did not do the damn thing. Which is fine life happens and things get put off. But what could I have gained in those several months if I had lived with more purpose? Or did I need time to heal? Shit really does happen and it leaves us tired. Damaged. We need to take time to heal and recharge.

While I do realize that I have been putting off the life I want, making excuses for one thing or another; I can still be kind to myself. I’m getting back into it. It’s so easy to fall back into old habits, to get overwhelmed by stress or distracted by responsibility. Trying to make it through the week turns into months. Looking back, without purpose and intention life too easily becomes a cycle of erosion and repair.

I don’t want that life. I want to find joy in everything, not dread the coming workweek anticipating everything that could go wrong. I want to build a life I love, a life I can be proud of. There’s a lot of self doubt right now. I feel as though I’m on the cusp of creating something meaningful with nothing but obstacles in my way. It could always be worse. As I sit here, a payroll processor trying to build a life of adventure, I know it must be done.

My idea of the life I’m building is ever changing but incorporates a few core themes despite the fluctuation of the vision. Freedom, creativity and adventure. Fitness was my springboard out of my comfort zone and now I want to expand on that confidence by fueling my life with the spirit of adventure. Until I can make my entire life drip and ooze with remarkable experiences everyday, I want to begin doing little things on a day to day basis. Not only to work towards my overall goal of travel adventures but to make a habit of just getting out and doing things that take your breath away. Not to mention, keeping yourself in good shape can help you tackle any adventure that comes your way.I think that self awareness in general is admitting that your goals and desires in life are always going to change so you can’t get hung up on one label or one school of thought. This blog was transitioned from my old fitness blog, ironlizerd. Not that fitness isn’t fantastic, it’s just not the all encompassing factor of my life anymore. The goal I have for my life is to be more based on experience than based on results. I look back at the girl who started trying to blog years ago, so many things have changed. I’m not married anymore, not knee deep in any type of keto and trying to get the hang of a gym routine again. I have grown so much in this time and I’m extremely happy with where I am. My independence, confidence and determination have never been higher. I’m ready to go out and make this world my adventure.