NEGATIVES ARE THE KEY TO UNLOCKING STRENGTH

me

#day15 #TeamErin #Oxychallenge

At 2:50pm on some Tuesday I am sitting at a local coffee shop with my computer in front of me and a page that is blank, but full of promise. If my life were a book I could write any story and I suppose that is the truth of what this here is. This here thing that you are reading now. This is my life unfolding. I suppose it’s really up to you to make it beautiful. I just keep writing the way that life really is. Of course it keeps changing and I don’t know if any of it is real.

Maybe I am not asking to be understood. Maybe I just want to know if you can feel me. Sometimes I feel like I am standing in the middle of an empty room full of tables. There are candles lit on each one, like there should be people there, but the only people who ever come in are the ones who need directions, or the ones that need to pee. I stand in the center with my open mic and I sing anyway. I sing the blues because that is what I am feeling. Then I switch to Indie pop. Then I switch to county.

I like to imagine that I am still a young country girl. Wouldn’t it be nice to be all American sweet like candy apple pie dashed with cinnamon and do you remember when grandmas used to bake? I think there were lace trimmed aprons too, or at least that is what I remember in my retrofitted dream. I remember when family was a place to come home to. It was heritage. It was tradition. Now home is a place people grow up to leave for progress and education. Grandpa, tell me about the good old days.

When I am out in the world I sit and wonder where I fit into it. I wonder if other people are writing books in their heads. Most of them look like they are living the right life. They are present. I am in my own thoughts. I prefer this vantage most, my life of quiet observance. Sometimes I wish my calling was to serve God. If it was I would join a nunnery and spend my days creating art in servitude. I wouldn’t need to be paid.

I do though. I need to get paid for the time I spend. These are the rules and so it is that I have a puzzle. I don’t really want to be doing anything but this. That is the truth of how I spend my time. The majority of my time is spent writing. I am absorbed in describing the pictures I paint in my head. People insist that it’s my photography that holds the most value. I agree that I’ve known great success in that industry and I am grateful to know that I have that talent available to supplement my life, but my heart has always been turned pages and words of worlds that are better than here, in the real. If I can’t live in books I shall write them.

What if the books will not sell? My dad insists that writing is dead art and what about marketing, “I am going to tell you something about writing. I wouldn’t spend a red nickel to read what you write. In fact you couldn’t pay me to read what you write. The internet is filled with things I can read for free. I am telling you right now get back to your photography. You are a fool for wasting your time this way and that blog of yours is crippling your business.”

My dad does not mean to be harsh. He means so be real and the truth of the matter is that he is right on all counts, mostly. It’s the mostly that keeps me focused. He finds fantasy to be fickle, I see it at fallible fate. Even fantasy has predictable levels of failure as a quest would not, could not, be an adventure if there were not monsters to slay and moats of mire to be stuck in.

I want to be the girl who pulls a sword from stone and yet just yesterday I wrote that I do not care to be strong enough to do a pull-up. I am thinking about my fitness challenge now, and the body I will need to build in order to secure a place to use my mind the way I intend. This dream of mine is not going to happen with magic. It will come to life because I dared to brave the negatives to pull myself to positive.

I learned this lesson in strength training just yesterday from a woman I have yet to meet. Her name is Kathy Letterman Borsuk and this is what she told me about learning to do pull-ups,“Ya know, being able to do a full on pull up is one hell of an empowering feeling! You can do it. Start with negatives. I can do 5 consecutive now. Working up to 10. Lol”

I told her I was inspired to learn more. She continued to teach, “Negatives for pull ups: Stand on a box so you can reach the bar. Overhand grip. Jump up so that you’re holding your chin above the bar. Remember those physical fitness tests we had to do back in school? Like that. The negative part is lowering yourself down SLOWLY all the way to full extension. Then get on the box and repeat several times. By working the eccentric (lengthening) contraction of the muscle, you are able to work the weaker part without taxing the whole muscle too much. Eventually, you’ll have enough strength to do the concentric contraction (shorting) which is the pull up part.”

I’m smiling to realize the true wisdom of fitness. It is the same wisdom true of life. We must first succeed by working within the negative, strength is built from resisting the worst. The best will come with training and time.

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