Learning to fight for yourself

10 months ago I started seeing a trainer. I didn’t even know my intentions when I started, but I had heard great things about her, she was just getting started and charged a killer rate, and I kinda sorta knew I needed to do something about my ever ballooning figure.

The first week, just 2 sessions, was hell. HELL. (After watching many fellow gymgoers’ first weeks in the last 10 months, I now know this is intentional on the part of my trainer). I was thinking that maybe this level of intensity was not for me. I didn’t like her standing there asking me why I was stopping (because it’s the 40th TRX squat and I haven’t done a squat since 9th grade, that’s why!), holding me accountable for what I said I was going to do, even though it was really hard. Still, I went back the next week.

She had told me to track my diet, just to see where I was, so we could figure out where I needed to go. It was impossible not to try a little to look impressive when I was logging my meals in my app. And then shit got hard and messy with my stepkids, so I just let it all show. “I was doing good, and then life became a shit show, so it kinda fell apart,” I told her.

Her next words will stick with me for life.

“It will ALWAYS be a shit show. This is the only thing you can control with any certainty. You have to decide that YOU deserve to fight for you. You are worth fighting for.”

That just blew me sideways. I have spent so much of my life fighting for other people, but never once fought for myself in the way that I deserve. I mean, it makes so much sense now. If the only person truly looking out for me is me, why was I so okay with putting myself on the back burner? It is so much easier to focus on other people’s shit then our own.

Don’t even tell me that you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Stepmom life is ripe for ignoring our own problems. The dark side of any kind of caring, helping soul is that constantly focusing on everyone else masks insecurities and buoys the low self-esteem driving the behavior in exchange for feeling needed and wanted. That’s actually some really big stuff to confront. It is much much easier to protect your husband from the evil ex and be hero to your stepkids than it is to recognize your own shortcomings. No one is going to tell you that you’re handling your shit wrong or that you have faults if you are saving everyone else. No one can argue that. You’re safe.

Except…you could have so much more. You could BE so much more.

How many times have you said to yourself that you don’t have enough energy or time to workout/take a nap/ go for a walk/make a craft project/work on that goal/write in that journal/get a pedicure/take that trip? It’s all the same thing. Until you learn that YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR, you won’t have that time, you won’t make any steps towards what you really truly want.

Going to the gym became allegorical for learning to fight for myself. Right now I’m fighting for the health and strength that I’ve always wanted and for the catharsis I need to cope with my life. Somedays I’m just fighting for the space to spend an hour on myself.

It doesn’t have to be about going to the gym, though. That’s just what works for me right now. But that has spilled into every aspect of my life. I have to constantly remind myself, I CAN take the time. I deserve it. Sometimes it’s making the time to do a trail run, sometimes it’s carving out a Sunday free of obligations. But each and every time, I fill up my cup which allows me to better support my family, give my all at work, and, most importantly, be my truest, happiest self.

I no longer subscribe to the myth of sacrificing myself in order to bring happiness to others. That assumes there is a finite amount of happiness to be had. In reality, happiness begets happiness. The happier I am, the more my light shines on others, which only illuminates their happiest selves.

Each day you have to remind yourself to fight for your own happiness. You are worth it, you deserve it.


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