It’s been over two months since my last blog post. When Mr. C. and I decided to relocate from Nashville to Austin (like stopped talking about it, put in notice at work and really decided), a few switches clicked off in my brain. All I could do was think about the move. I was incapable of maintaining any part of my normal life. I didn’t write. I didn’t even try to pretend I was going to eat healthy. CrossFit became a once or twice a week thing…maybe. So it all began to build up.
For the first time in my life I experienced insomnia. Sleeping is a strength of mine, and I had never realized how lucky I am to have my sleeping skills until I laid awake in bed, thinking of all the things I should have been doing and wasn’t. I had a good eight blog posts spinning around in my head (and five of them were actually decent ideas), but I couldn’t write. All I could do was think about The Move.
And then The Move happened. We got to Austin. I wish I could say I was in love with this city from the start, but it’s been rocky. I mean, it’s going to be okay. We’re good. I just wasn’t expecting to have a minor breakdown in the grocery store.
The primary grocery store in the Austin area is H-E-B. My husband jokes about my love affair with grocery shopping (which is a total exaggeration), and my obsession with Kroger (only because I know where everything is), but I may be in love with H-E-B. I couldn’t wait to get two hours to myself to shop aisle by aisle, looking at new brands, getting a feel for my new grocery shopping adventures.
Let me tell you, H-E-B is an adventure. There’s stuff everywhere. Produce galore! Fresh, healthy foods ready to go! The meat department! It’s amazing. And cheap. Seriously. I was almost buying stuff just so I could tell Mr. C. how little I paid for it.
Then in the middle of my shopping safari, I was hit with a staggering sense of loneliness. A growing terror that somewhere between Nashville and Austin I had forgotten where I was. What I was moving towards. There was no one to validate what we’d done was right. Or, more importantly, that our decision hadn’t been wrong.
All the certainty I had felt for the past few months vanished. And everything I had neglected to do since before The Move became frighteningly apparent. Where minutes before I had been joyriding down the “Salty Snacks” aisle, I was now overly conscious of the weight I gained. And how scruffy my feet looked in my worn flip-flops. And how utterly exhausted I was. I knew no one in Austin (other than Mr. C.) to help me set things right.
I stared at my cart. So much junk food. Crap. I was entitled, I told myself. I can’t think about eating healthy right now. A mini-war raged in Aisle 12. The same battle I’ve had for years. Emotional eating. I’m not entitled to disregard my well-being. I’m not entitled to make myself feel worse with the excuse of making myself feel better. Yet I was absolutely powerless to change course.
I noticed someone else had entered my aisle, and I moved my cart to let him through. He was wearing Nanos. And had a scar on his shin. Oh! A CrossFitter! I didn’t talk to him. Didn’t ask his Fran time or what Box he called home. But I did take a look in his cart as he walked past me. Lean meats. Vegetables. (Obviously he was using the Salty Snack aisle only as a shortcut to get to where the ghee was stocked.)
And I remembered a conversation I’d had with Coach Dennis from CrossFit Talon not long before I moved. I told him that the only thing I would truly miss about Nashville was the CrossFit community.
And he had said, “Yeah, but you can’t stay somewhere for just one thing.”
And I remembered we had moved to Austin for all the other things.
I won the battle in Aisle 12. I replaced most of the crap with better choices. (I kept the pint of Coconut Chocolate Chip Almond Ice Cream, because…well…hell, I can’t win that battle.)
The few minutes of devastation passed. The fear of being unable to set my life to rights receded.
I felt like crap because I wasn’t writing. Then write.
I felt like crap because I could feel the beginning of a muffin top. Then quit telling yourself you deserve to eat large portions of Mexican food.
I felt like crap because I no longer had calluses on my hands. Then find a box. And lift.
I missed CrossFit. I missed my community.
And for the love of God, I needed a pedicure.
The next morning I walked into CrossFit Upheaval. I met Ben, the owner. And Kara and Daniel. I pushed through a ten minute AMRAP. I tried to do a strict pull up and failed. I don’t remember the last time I couldn’t do a strict pull up.
But I was back. I was in a new place, but I was back.
Nearly a year ago I wrote It’s Not CrossFit. Although I still stand by the idea that we are the real reasons for our own change, I admit that I didn’t give the CrossFit Community enough credit. Seeing a guy in a pair of Nanos at the grocery store didn’t change my life. But I felt less alone. I felt I had a place to go. I felt a push to get strong again.
And so I am.