When Something Is Hard

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how many people like to complain about how hard things are.

Let me give you some context to help specify this very general statement.

My friend is very, very pregnant. Like, I was ready at any point during our conversation to drive her to the hospital if she started making a pained face. She’s about to pop. So she’s had a lot of conversations (some requested, most unsolicited) about parenting lately. It’s her first kid, so she’s getting all sorts of advice (again, most of it she’s not asking for). One of her closer friends had recently gone on a mini tirade about how hard it is to be parent.

As a woman of child-bearing age who’s been getting pressure for a decade to procreate, this is a refrain I hear a lot. I have dogs (I mention them often). People love to remind me how having dogs is so different and so much easier than having children (again, I don’t ask, they just offer this up as if I made the comparison on my own and asked them their opinion of it).

The most frustrating part about people telling you how hard something is, especially parenting (besides what I’ve made obvious in these parenthetical asides about people offering up opinions that nobody asked for) is the fact that they make it sound like hard is the worst thing you can do. And that you’ve never done anything as hard as this thing you’re about to do.

In a world filled with comforts, hacks, and affordable luxuries around every corner, I get why doing something “hard” gets more and more terrifying. But just because something’s hard, doesn’t automatically make it something you need to be afraid of or complain about or worry about. It’s just something different from most people usual existence (unless you’re David Goggins).

Childbirth, more than almost anything, remains incredibly difficult. Even with the advances in technology and increases in our ability to protect, track, and plan the birthing process, that large baby still has to come out of that woman’s body one way or another. There’s no hack for that (at the moment).

Yet after the childbirth process, you’ve created a freaking human life. You now get to enjoy and raise this kid. And yes, you’re going to have sleepless nights and goo in places you never expected and smell crap you never thought could come out of a human being. And that’s going to be “hard.” But you also get to snuggle with an innocent life form and hold its hand when it learns to walk and get butterfly kisses before it goes out to play in the yard and watch it learn to talk and run and grow.

Are you going to sacrifice all of that because it’s hard?

Okay, I’ve been harping on baby making for a second, mostly inspired by my friend who is probably in labor right now (you guys, she’s was SO PREGGO). But that’s not my point here. If you don’t want to have kids, totally cool. I’m not interested in a discussion about kids. I’m trying to make a point about what people think is hard.

Every morning when I get up in the dark and leave my warm bed and snuggly dogs (and husband) to do some mind clearing and head to workout, that’s hard. I don’t complain. It’s a choice I’m making that makes me an overall better human.

When I go to my hard workout class and my peppy teacher yells “Mountain climbers!” and my body starts instinctively kicking my own ass, that’s hard. I don’t complain about it. It’s a choice I’m making to improve my health and challenge my muscles to be an overall better human.

When I’m slogging through writing something and I don’t know what to say and I’m convinced I’ve already used every word in the English language and there are no more sentences that will come to me ever, but I’m only halfway through the project and I have to keep going because I’m on a deadline, that’s hard. I don’t complain. It’s a privilege to get the opportunity to create and do what I’m good at and add value to the world in a way that makes me feel fulfilled.

All of these small choices in my typical day pale in comparison to some of the much harder jobs other people have and the lives they live, and the choice they make to go to and improve themselves (or sometimes just get through them) daily.

Thank god no firefighter, military service person, police officer, construction worker, single mom, high-risk public school teacher, first responder, ER doctor, or air traffic controller was thwarted by someone warning them their job would be hard.

And those are just the choices we have. Hard things happen to us all the time. They’re inevitable. Complaining about them or worrying about them or wishing they were over doesn’t make them any easier or help them to go any faster.

The only trick to surviving something hard is just to do it. Once you’ve done one hard thing, even if it’s small, you start to get confidence that you can do something bigger and harder. And if you’ve been through something big and hard already, the hard smaller things feel more manageable.

Hard is what it is. It’s unforgiving, challenging, and unresponsive to your complains. So just do it. Learn from it. Survive it. Get through it. And your spirit will get stronger for it every time.

(And also maybe don’t offer a pregnant woman – or any woman – your opinion unless asked, k? Thanks!)

 

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Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, Episode 105: Doing What’s Good For Us

Hello again friends,

In this episode, we explore why it is we never want to do what we know will make us feel good. Why do we choose something else even when we know it’s a choice that won’t bring us the most happiness? What’s up with these small, seemingly innocent decisions that lead us down a path that doesn’t help at all.

We talk Mi’s Westside Comedy Theater (and Mission IMPROVable).

We talk Netflix & Chilling.

I give a quick shout out to the hubs.

We discuss Resistance (my fave), Steven Pressfield, and slaying the dragon.

Of course I mention yoga.

And we talk about the small lies we tell ourselves and how getting down looks different on everyone.

Oh, and my sweet little Clydie makes some auditory cameos.

Subscribing and liking helps the show, but listening keeps it going 🙂

Enjoy!

My Year Of Jesus

I celebrated a birthday yesterday. Not just any birthday. My birthday. So I’m writing this for really two reasons:

  1. It seems as good of a time as any to hop back on ye olde familiar blogging wagon. Hello again, dear friend.
  2. I’d like you to please wish me happy birthday. Love me? VALIDATE ME?

Without giving away my age, it was a pretty exciting birthday because it makes me as old as Jesus was when he emerged on the miracle scene. If you really need to know my age, pull out a handy dandy Bible and you’ll quickly find your answer. Life Hack: You can also Google.

The last year of my life was a profound one. I married a kick ass dude. We added to our ever-growing dog family. I filmed a stand up special. I booked a lead in a pilot. I finally broke down and committed to a career I’ve wanted to do forever. In between, I yoga-ed my face off.

The truth is, I was looking forward to my last year for a long time. I was told years ago by a psychic I trust that that particular year would be a big one for me. I had high hopes for it. It lived up to them. Mostly.

But what I hadn’t thought about years ago when I got whispers that that particular year in my life would be a big one was what would happen after it. I supposed in my head I thought, well after that year, my life will be perfect and everything I ever hoped for will fall into place and I’ll finally be satisfied.

Yesterday was my birthday. (You: Happy birthday! Me: OMG Thank you for FINALLY saying something!) Well, I’m now in no-man’s land of prophecies. No psychic told me what would happen in this year. And, though my last year was a major success on many fronts, I’m not yet where I figured I would be by now.

When I first realized this a few weeks ago, I got mopey. Maybe it was the July heat. Maybe it was the stars. Maybe it was what Steven Pressfield calls “The Dragon of Resistance” attacking slyly. Whatever it was, I was mopey and felt really sorry for myself. And, as a result, did very little to really sprint to the finish line of that year. Mostly, I ate ice cream, let my yoga practice fall by the wayside, and scrolled around social media wondering why certain people were getting breaks I wasn’t. All in all, an underwhelming finish to a spectacular marathon of a year.

Despite the fact that this past year was major and wonderful on so many fronts, I still got mopey and kicked myself for not being the most famous comedy superstar on the planet yet.

Then I got thinking about Jesus. And I thought, next year I’ll be as old as Jesus when he was being all Jesus’y. And I realized, “My god, I mean, Jesus Christ, Briana, Jesus was just a carpenter until he was your age. This is your chance to make miracles like him.”

Now let me pause…and denote that I’m pausing by inserting a paragraph…with multiple ellipses…

I’m not a religious person. I’m a big fan of Jesus. I’m also a fan of Krishna, Buddha, and Mother Nature, among other admirable icons. My point being, my choice to be inspired by Jesus doesn’t come from an intensely religious place. It comes from a genuine admiration for people who have positively changed the course of history by living their truth so fully they become almost larger than life.

To me, that’s what Jesus can represent if you want.

For me, Jesus’ age reminds me that in order to truly make miracles, you’ve got to take time to train yourself to get there. As much as my ego (and fear) may want me to believe that I’ve been at this for so long and I’ve been working so hard and yada yada yada, even the son of God needed a few decades to get his sh*t together.

So I’m dubbing this year my Jesus year. I’m going to share about it here, if you want to tune in. I want to make miracles. Ideally, most of them involving turning a lot of water into wine because, you know, it’s wine.

Also, yesterday was my birthday. Please tell me happy birthday and that I’m special.

Thanks.

Bush Cheer Squad

Fair warning: This is not a political post in any way.imgres

I’m literally talking about a bush that I pretend to be hoards of fans cheering me on while I run. And by run, I mean when I physically attempt to move my body at a faster rate than usual by putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t like running all that much anymore. Getting back into shape sucks. And it’s all I can do to push myself to keep going on a very short and easy run that would take my former runner self absolutely no time and hardly work up a sweat doing.

Plus, I don’t listen to music, so I let my imagination run free.

And one of the things my imagination does is pretend that this unruly plant who’s branches stick out onto the sidewalk at one of the points in my run is actually a hoard of people cheering me on and holding out their hands to give hi-fives.

That’s all I really wanted to say.

It makes me feel both ridiculous and motivated. As all the best mind-tricks do.

So, yeah, no politics talk.

 

Inside Out Shirt

success kid shirtYou’ll notice that I do my best on this blog to never gym shame anyone. Unless it has to do with basic gym etiquette (or sometimes basic human etiquette).

But you won’t hear me making fun of people. Part of that is I just in general have a policy of kindness. But part of it is because I recognize that I often don’t have all my sh*t together, so far be it from me to point out somebody else’s shortcomings.

Case in point: I saw a woman the other day with her shirt inside out. I thought, “Come on lady. Check your shirt.” Then I caught myself judging, realized it was just because I was exhausted while working out and trying to find something else to think about, and made myself find three things about her to compliment in my mind. I felt guilty for passing judgement (I’m Midwestern. Feeling guilty comes naturally.), so I made myself do kindness penance.

And, wouldn’t you know it, a couple weeks later, I’m at the gym and realize midway through my workout that I had my shirt on inside out.

I could have gone and changed, but I figured “Meh. Such is life” and let it go.

Because we’re all human and we have days we’re more “off” than others. And I figured anyone who noticed wouldn’t care. And anyone who would notice and care about such things wasn’t worth my time anyway, so I shouldn’t care.

Because…

be-who-you-are-and-say-what-you-feel-because-those-who-mind-dont-matter-and-those-who-matter-dont-mind-11

Vegas Britney Motivation

I’m headed out of town with some girlfriends. We’re going to Vegas. And we’re gonna see Britneybritney vegas Spears perform there. And I’m stoked. Like, totally stoked maaaaaan.

For the past couple weeks I’ve let her be my motivation. Girl looks good. And she’s had two babies and some messed up stuff happen to her. But she stays in great shape. And has an athletic body. So it’s a shape that’s attainable for me (at my best…).

I may not look like her. But at least I look like a better version of me while trying to look more like her. But also staying true to me. Because me as her wouldn’t look good but me as me but in her-like shape would.

I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m drunk already.

Vegas, Britney, Vegas!

 

My REAL Fitness Pal

bestiesI’m trying it again. If you recall, I think My Fitness Pal is a jerk. But, as I mentioned earlier in this week, I’m on a Data Diet. And because I can’t fork up the big bucks for a personal trainer or a personalized diet and fitness coach yet, I’m gonna give this asshole app another try. But this time, I’ve enlisted help from a friend.

My friend let me stay with him for Comic Con and we were lucky enough to get to hang out almost all weekend. And he got to meet Data, too. And he was as inspired to get into shape as I am. So we talked about it and decided we’d get each other’s backs and do this dumb Fitness Pal thing again.

So I made him my friend on there (the only one I have because I don’t like sharing all my information with everyone- contrary to the impression this website may give…). I can see how he’s doing and he can see how I’m doing. And because I don’t see him every day and only chat with him periodically, it could be perfect. I’m gonna assume he’s working hard at his diet and exercise and he’ll assume the same for me. And we can check in with each other’s progress on the app. And provide moral support when needed. And not let each other get away with excuses.

At least that’s the hope. We’ll see how it goes…

 

Crash Bam Boom

Last weekend I had a rare Saturday free. I was planning on doing a bunch of things, but didn’t really have anything specific on the docket. So instead of being my normal, hyperproductive self… I crashed.

I even took a picture as proof. crash

That’s me face down on top of a clothes pile on my bed holding a beer.

I would like to point at that at least the floor around me was relatively tidy. Pretty proud of that.

Basically my day went like this: Sleep in until 11:30ish. Meditate. Putz around the apartment. Eat. Workout. Do dishes. Put clothes away. Go for a walk. Meditate again. Eat again. Another walk for a snack. Some staring at the computer screen. Some texts convincing people I was too busy to go out. Some more putzing. Do required writing for class tomorrow. Bed.

That’s it.

And- even though I didn’t yet have my Matthew McConaughey-style-motivation, I’m still pretty proud of that day. It was needed. It was the first time in weeks I exhaled. It was the first day I did whatever I wanted and barely talked to anyone around me. It was a me-day. And it felt good.

I had a lot of stresses- personal, financial, and career-oriented- over the past couple months. I just kept plowing through them without taking time to relax. And last Saturday, I finally just let myself relax.

And even though I wasn’t productive, I set myself up for a much more well-rested, energetic, and productive rest of the week. I think I need these crashes every once in a while.

 

Alright, Alright, Alright already!

MMcConaughey120309_08-fullI grabbed coffee with a comedy friend of mine this weekend. We were discussing our projects and all the ways to be a good performer in this career and whatnot. We also discussed just balance in general- talking about how to fit in fitness with everything else we are juggling. I mentioned how hard it is to find time for a workout. And he relayed the following story:

His friend worked with Matthew McConaughey on set for one of his projects not long ago. He said that they worked on lines together and spent tons of time together over a period of several months. And he said, in that time, McConaughey always found time- no matter how busy or strenuous their schedule- to get his workout on. They were getting up at 5 am and working well past midnight. But he would always find time to workout. Even if it was at 2 am when he had to be back up at 5 am, he found 30 minutes to get on the bike and get in a good sweat.

And then he said something really telling. He said, “The people with the things we want and admire are willing to do what most of us aren’t.” Or something like that. I’m paraphrasing. I didn’t record our conversation. That would have been weird. And I’m enough of a weirdo as it is.

But that idea struck me. I’ve thought about it before and even written about it. But it was never so clearly illustrated as it is with a man who’s career and work ethic I admire.

Yes, I work pretty hard. But there’s room for improvement. There’s always room for improvement. I’ve been slacking on my workouts lately. I don’t like it. It doesn’t make me feel balanced. It makes me feel bloated and insecure. So how do I get the body I want and admire? I have to be willing to do what most people aren’t. I have to be willing to make sacrifices. More sacrifices than I’m already doing.

I don’t yet have the luxury paying my bills easily through creative projects. It’s coming- I’m sure- but it’s not here yet. So I have to give myself every advantage. And I have to work harder than those around me. In every way. And that means getting up earlier, working out more, and not making any excuses for why I don’t yet have what I want. I’m not patient enough to wait for it to come to me. I’ve gotta get clear about what I want and go out there, work my ass off, and get it.

No excuses. Only results. Let DO this.

My Girl, Jill

jillYears ago, I was a big, big Jillian Michaels fan. I read her book “Master Your Metabolism” and was totally hooked. I bought her 30 Day Shred DVD, subscribed to the podcast, and watched more YouTube interviews with her than I’d care to share here. I loved her.

But my fascination started to fade. I realized that she was a wonderful gateway drug into the fitness world for me and gives you that needed boost when you’re looking for quick, easy workouts and ways to regain a healthy lifestyle if you fall off the bandwagon. But like most of my intensely obsessive phases, I outgrew her a bit.

I still admire her work ethic and her workouts, but I’m just not obsessed anymore. I used it as a springing off point for my own research into what works for my body and my own fitness goals.

But then this past weekend, we had a little Renaissance. I was running late in the morning before getting to work and I really wanted to get a good workout in. I calculated how much time it would take to get to the gym, park, and still get in an effective workout before I came home, showered, got ready, and started fighting traffic on my way to work. I realized I really didn’t have time.

Then I remembered my girl, Jill.

I have a her Ripped in 30 program. I didn’t do it much because my apartment used to not have enough space. I also love going to the gym, so I usually would rather just do that. But on this Saturday morning, I realized all the factors were aligning and I could revisit my old fitness buddy for a quick and effective workout.

So that’s what I did. I did the week 1 Ripped in 30 workout. And it was great. It was everything she promises her workouts to be. Quick, challenging, doable, and effective. I even had a little extra time to add some extra arms and abs work on my mat afterwards. And I felt great. She had all the elements that I loved and hated about the DVD that brought me back to my obsessive days.

I even did it again the next morning (for time constraints again).

There’s really no excuse to not getting in a good workout. If you can’t make it to the gym or don’t like going… I don’t want to hear it. My girl Jill has put in a lot of time an effort to create great workouts you can do quickly at home and fit into any busy schedule.

So thanks, Jill. Can I call you Jill? No? We’re not friends? We’ve never met? Nobody calls you Jill?

Aw, Jillypooh. You’re such a joker.