Going Full Time Month 3

My legs are sore.

My legs are sore because 30/38 days this year, I have ran as fast as my legs can carry me on a treadmill at the local gym. I remember the first time I felt fat (yikes, are we going there?). I was four years old and I saw a Madonna video. I immediately went to my closet. I put on a bikini top (purple with a ruffle & various fruits on it), some cutoff shorts and a jean jacket. I pulled my hair up into a wild ponytail, licked a red M&M and applied the color to my lips, and looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t look at all like the dancers in the Madonna video. They all had abs of steel and I was rocking a four year old puppy belly. They all had cleavage and I didn’t even know what the word cleavage meant. I remember thinking “How come my body looks like this and theirs look like that?” And I’ve had body issues ever since. Cool story, huh?

So now, years later, years and years and years later, I’m consistently going to the gym. Please don’t misunderstand… I’ve feebly tried to get it together “body-wise” so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve been to a handful of yoga classes, a handful of spin class, a handful of Zumba, Pilates, you name it. I’ve also done a solid week of every diet you can think of. The Whole 30, Keto, Paleo, South Beach… you name it.

Are you seeing a trend?

A week isn’t going to do jack.

Month 1, I learned that everything is a trade-off. Month 2, I learned I am more than what I thought I was. And month 3, I learned that it takes patience. Not that I HAVE patience, rather if I’m going to do big things, those big things are going to take consistent effort and a hell of a lot of patience.

30 days of running = 7 pounds…. and here I was thinking “Gimmie 30 lbs off or it’s not worth it.” No, no, sweet darling, this is going to be slow and painful and only when it’s over will you look back and say that it was worth it.

I’m looking at my calendar, my life, my days & decisions and thinking, “These are not small things. These are wildly huge things. You’re trying to reform your health, you’re trying to build a business, you’re trying to support your family with this business, you’re starting a YouTube channel, you’ve started a second and third Instagram for your channel and family work… this is not easy.”

At the Arizona Science Center there is an outdoor water exhibit. You pull levers, push buttons, and snap springs to launch a ball up into a series of tubes and slides, all spinning in water. One section is particularly frustrating. You have to pump a handle up and down to build pressure. Then, once the handle is too heavy to push and the pressure has built up, you can pull the knob to release the pressure, launching the ball up a long tube and onto one of the overhead tracks. This can be frustrating for a couple of reasons. First, building up that pressure can be hard. It’s an arm exercise and the longer you pump, the harder it gets. Then, if your pressure wasn’t enough, the ball sometimes launches upwards only to fall back down again and you have to start back at square one, only this time, your arms are already tired.

This is what this month has felt like. Working hard at the gym all week and then realizing you blew all your hard work on a big meal at Carrabba’s that Saturday. Making a vendor connection and then finding out they moved to Michigan the following week. Finally sitting down to post on Instagram and realizing you have nothing you want to say.

So the ball drops, and sore arms and all, you make a decision. To try again, only this time harder. Or to skip the whole thing.

I’m not skipping the whole thing, and neither are you. Because now we know, it takes time, it takes patience. It takes getting up over and over and over again. It takes teaching yourself how to bounce back without blinking an eye and each time you bounce back, you’re smarter, you’re stronger, and you’re better. One of the most valuable things I heard this month was a quote from a YouTube Video (Sorry, I can’t find it anywhere now) and it said, “If you do hard things, your life will be easy. If you do easy things, your life will be hard.”

I’m headed into month four, stronger, smarter, and better… and with some very sore legs.

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris