WOD, write, repeat

In fitness, there are no short cuts. It involves immense discipline and hard work — Mahesh Babu

For the third time in the five-and-a-half years I’ve been doing CrossFit, I participated in the 2019 CrossFit Open Games.

This is a masochist’s version of having fun. And when you look at the number of people who participate in the Open. There are a lot of folks who could fall in the category of masochistic.

‘No pain, no gain’ as the saying goes.

I managed to survive the five weeks, although the 86 (out of a possible 105) thrusters I did in the last Open WOD (workout of the day) really did a number on my shoulders. I didn’t injure myself but I certainly pushed them. Nothing a chiropractor or an osteopath couldn’t help resolve. For now, the foam roller and Tylenol are my best friends.

For about the 90% (I’m guessing here) who participate, the Open is about seeing where you are fitness-wise. A gauge to measure yourself from when you started CrossFit or from the last time you participated in the Open.

Since I participated in two previous Opens, it was a great barometer to track how far I’ve come since I started doing CrossFit. I’m pretty proud of my progress. I will never be competitive enough to make a serious run at a title but that’s not the point.

It has always been about being as physically fit as possible to participate in life. It’s about doing the little things that everyday life asks of you. Carrying groceries. Climbing stairs. Vacuuming. Shovelling snow off the driveway. Mowing the lawn. Gardening. Playing with your kids. Participating in an impromptu road hockey game. Activities we naturally assume we can do until we can’t.

My goal has always been to grow older as gracefully as possible and if that requires throwing the occasional punch, then so be it. I’ve been throwing punches most of my life but now, my punches are stronger and quicker.

I have to admit it’s a real kick to know how much stronger I am now than I was five years. I could RX the odd workout but that’s never been the goal. Being able to RX a workout is a happy side effect from taking care yourself and becoming stronger.

I have small, manageable goals and I have dream goals. Do enough small goals, I might actually achieve some of those dream goals. I surprised myself with one dream goal that had never been on my radar. Toes to bar. Google it. You’ll see. It never registered as a goal for myself yet here we are. I’m not there yet but it’s not unreasonable to think that I could get my first toe-to-bar before the end of the year. It’ll require more core and upper body strength than I have right now. Quite honestly, I might be gunning for it. We’ll see how it goes. I still have to manage my expectations and avoid injuring myself. That’s always a bummer.

Before I continue, I have to apologize for the fact I missed last week’s expected new blogpost. I warned you that I was busy and that writing a weekly blog wasn’t a priority anymore because I’m ramping up my writing commitments and goals.

I thought going bi-weekly would be manageable. Apparently, it’s not. I’ll aim for every two-three weeks. I mean I should be able to yap about something after all that time in-between, right? Oh well, we’ll see. I really can’t let this blog go dormant like so many blogs like mine have done.

Speaking of writing, I’ve come up with four writing projects to tackle this year. And it doesn’t include that writing bingo I signed up for last week. I’m not going to talk about the bingo thing unless I feel like it. That one is about having fun and challenging myself.

I’m trying to dive into that writing life I need so much. There’s still separation pains from the other commitments I’m trying to extricate myself from. I’m not the one having the pain but I can see the other parties trying to make it my pain. If that happens, I’ll just make myself persona non-grata for awhile. To be honest, with four (let’s be real, it’s five) projects which I plan to complete this year, persona non-grata suits me just fine. The community of online writers I’ve found myself in have been great. There’s one writer I’ve been bouncing ideas with lately, and she’s been great. She cheerleads everyone but she’s also a really good writer and a lovely artist. She’s pretty chuffed about what I’ve got planned.

Again, I’m going by instinct with these projects but it nice to have a sounding board.

I’m really happy about my up-coming writing projects. It makes creative-me want to party all-night or something like that. Given how thrilled I am to try and juggle these projects, I’ll probably forego the partying in favour of getting down to the business of writing. Typical.

Well, why not?

Holy crap, we’re halfway through February already. That just means I’m three weeks away from finishing that pain-in-my-ass project and I can focus on the things I want to work on and play with.

You don’t even want to know what the beginning of last looked liked for me. Trying to balance life and your heart’s creative desires has been, at times, a horrible tug-of-war. I was ready to go homicidal. Then my period showed up. Well, that would be explain the intense homicidal leanings. But it doesn’t explain away the fact I was still having a horrible tug-of-war.

As I write this, I’m taking myself away from my heart’s creative desires. Yeah, that won’t do for long. I’ll probably be less homicidal next month. Until then, what do I do to deal with the tug-of-war? I take on more fun stuff related to writing. I can’t really what my plans are but rest assured, it’s my way of digging in my heels and setting the foundation for the writing life I want. And that means letting go of commitments I don’t want to carry anymore and taking on commitments I want while scaring myself creatively at the same time.

I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ll ask myself ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ I’m at the point where I’m going ‘well, why the fuck not?’ It’s a notorious attitude that has given me some of my most memorable moments. I must be in memorable moment mode. Quite honestly, I’m happy to be in that frame of mind where I’m pursuing things that excite me as a creator.

Aside from the writing, after a little over ten years, I’m going to have a fur baby in the home again. A lovely 2-1/2 year old cat. She’s not here yet but the adoption papers were signed yesterday afternoon at the shelter. She needs her vet check before she can be released. So with any luck, I’ll pick her up Tuesday afternoon after the vet sees her and gives her the green light.

It’s taken me a long time to screw up enough nerve to have another furball running around the home. I won’t ever discuss my reasons here because it’s intensely personal. I must be ready if I signed the papers.

I’m excited for her to be part of my life and to be a part of hers.

Disequilibrium

Disequilibrium can be a gift. Great art doesn’t come from comfort Delilah S. Dawson

For a writer or an artist, disequilibrium can definitely be gift.

I think about the ways I’ve challenged myself as a writer in regards to the some of the themes/subject matter in my next novel.

The challenge was not so much in dealing with the topics themselves. The challenge for me was not to allow anybody to negatively affect the story I wanted to tell. The minute I allow anyone to hold me back from being faithful to my characters’ stories, I have done a disservice to them. I would not have been faithful to them.

So far, I’ve been fortunate in not having to wrestle heavily with anybody’s concern about the language (i.e. swearing) that I use in my writing. When I started figuring out and exercising my literary voice, I had the odd person express their discomfort in how freely I used coarse language.

All that tells me is they have a limit to what they’ll tolerate in their reading material. I’m fine with that. But let’s be clear – I’m not changing a fucking thing just to make my writing more palatable for one person or anyone who has a ‘delicate constitution.’

So, either let your toleration levels limit you or gird yourself and see what else I have to offer as a storyteller aside from turning the book pages a beautiful jewel-toned shade of blue.

Reining in or dialling back my creativity means reining in or dialling back who I am. If you want milquetoast, you’re not getting it from me. You’re more likely to get nothing but murderous silence from me. And that’s not a good thing.

If my unbridled creative tendencies to have my characters swear like a mad motherfucker (among other things) turns your stomach, I would like to say thanks for trying to read my writing, and have a nice life.

Disequilibrium can be a good thing for the reader. As a reader, I like to be sucked in and challenged by the author. I’m saying “Bring it on. Do your best to wreck me.” I have mentioned I have masochistic tendencies in previous posts, right? Well, I bounce between masochist and sadist, to be honest.

So as a result of the kinds of stories I’d like to and want to tell, I can’t help but inevitably make life interesting for anyone who is willing to read my stories.

When I decided I wanted to try my hand at fiction writing, I didn’t set out with the intention to make people uncomfortable with my storytelling. I just wanted to figure out how to tell a good, if not great, story.

But it’s starting to look like I’m comfortable with the uncomfortable. I seem to have a tendency to want to explore things that some folks might have set specific boundaries regarding anything uncomfortable. My willingness to ‘go there’ with certain topics probably makes some folks nervous. But as an artist, the uncomfortable is interesting, exciting, probably unnerving and makes my imagination gleefully unruly and chaotic.

To be honest, an unruly, chaotic but focussed imagination is my happy place. That’s what it’s been like for me and my characters since I started writing the second novel. My happy place is untouchable. And yeah, life’s bumpy roads have tried to pry me away from my happy place in the past. That’s when disequilibrium had become too much, too heavy, and threatens my happy place. That’s when I get unruly and maybe a little too feisty to handle. At that point, I’m pretty much ready to fight anyone who gets between me and my happy place. Actually, I would do more than just fight.

I’ll just leave that thought right there.

Great art doesn’t exist solely to make the viewer or the reader feel good about themselves and about the world around them. Great art will also ask the tough questions. Great art will make the grotesque beautiful. Great art will make you think and ask questions. And great art will challenge you.

Through words or through images, those are some of the reasons I embrace disequilibrium and push myself to create.