For as long as I can remember, I was told that I get too excited. I was told that my vigor for life and its experiences was haughty, and that being outwardly ecstatic about something (or obsessed as some might put it) was not humble; it was not becoming of me. I’ll admit that my energy for new experiences can overwhelm even me at times, but stoicism is just not in my nature. Man of few words? Not I. I’m a woman of many, many words, and the emotional range of a Sherwin-Williams paint swatch.
When I was in Air Force junior ROTC my freshman year of high school and (the only girl) spinning rifles on the rifle team, it became my entire world. As soon as I got home from school, I was in the front yard spinning my Springfield 1903 replica until the sun went down. I couldn’t see life beyond this silly wooden rifle. I wanted to prove myself to the boys who didn’t want me on their team, and I wanted to prove myself to all the girls who scoffed at me, a girl, for spinning a rifle. I acquired a ton of bruises, and naturally I dropped the rifle a lot, but that just made me want it that much more. So much so, that I completely submersed myself into it… mentally, emotionally, physically. Much like an actor emulates the character they’re going to portray, I became my rifle. It’s all I could think about, it’s all I could talk about, it’s all I could dream about.
As my passion increased, so did the emotional oppression: “You spend too much time doing that”, “You talk about it too much”, “You told us that already”. The rejection was drilled into my mind again and again. After a while, it seemed like the path of least resistance was the best one, and I could achieve that by surrendering to people’s beliefs about how I should and shouldn’t act. And for a long while that path worked. It didn’t make me happy, but it got me off the radar. I suppressed my feelings to accommodate the world (that’s what it felt like at times: me vs. the world) and in exchange, everyone could be content. (disclaimer: I have no intention of victimizing myself when I share this, and I’d like to acknowledge that I realize that everyone, and I mean everyone, was and is doing their best from their own point of consciousness).
But when passion is in your heart, it will not and cannot die. It can be caged, it can be convinced, and it can be swayed. It can be subdued, forgotten, and it can even be misplaced, but only temporarily.
I thought my passion had died, until I began CrossFit in February 2011. It became very evident to me that it had not only been inside of me all along, but also that it refused to be ignored any longer. It was during my very first workout, and I believe it was somewhere between jumping on a tire and doing abmat situps that I was filled with this feeling of complete. desperate. need. to keep doing whatever it was I was doing that day in the gym. CrossFit was merely the catalyst though. It helped to reignite this fire that was always in me, and it was as if someone was dousing it in flammable fluid – an out-of-body experience. I was filled with this old overwhelming burst of feeling that I hadn’t felt in so long. It was as if these invisible chains had been lifted & I was free again.
That was the day my life changed. That was the day I really began to live again.