How choosing vulnerability helped me with my fitness journey

"I will love you both in your darkest moments and I will love you in your brightest." (words I whispered to myself this morning)

When we choose courage over perfection we put ourselves in the face of vulnerability. Facing all our fears in order for the chance to be seen, heard, and understood. Vulnerability is the essence of all meaningful relationships. It's the art of being un-calculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, 'This is me, and I'm going to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.’

Vulnerability is saying I choose courage over perfection and choose to fail and fall time and time again just so that I can learn about the person I am becoming. There’s also something very liberating about vulnerability. It’s honest, raw, and there’s no pretending that things need to be perfect. When you fuck up, you can tell yourself “well that sucks…” pick yourself up, and try again.

The decision to dedicate my focus and energy into becoming the healthier version of me was not only about taking control of my life, but it was also about facing my fears of failing at another attempt to make fitness a part of my life. Let's be real, when you've got that post baby shape and you see other women around you bouncing back immediately after having a baby sometimes you can't help but feel ashamed that you couldn't do the same. I know I did. I was screaming from the roof tops "WHY ME?!" Comparison seeped in and clouding my mind making me believe that I wasn't good enough to make these changes in my life. For years I allowed this to hold me back.

I never worked out for myself consistently until about 3 years ago. Before then the only time I really worked out after having my first child was the 6 months leading up to my wedding and it was for the wedding. As soon as the wedding dress was put away it was back into the "settled" married with kid life of this social stigma of what it meant to be "domestic". After years of working hard to find continuity in my life with juggling a marriage, family, and careers; my life began to control me rather than me controlling my life. I started making decisions for others in hopes that by pleasing them I would find a way to gain my own happiness. Looking back at it all I was so wrong. 

Learning how to be vulnerable will always take practice, its not easy to share some of the deepest and sometimes the most painful emotions that haunt us to this day. Facing our fears can be very scary, like doing something new for the first time. But I think the worst thing is not knowing what we could've done if fear wasn't in the way. This is when you have to get vulnerable with fear and tell yourself, "This is going to be scary as hell, LET'S DO THIS!"

Finding Strength in Our Weakness

Being intimate involves the mixing of our life with another’s, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts. We are all designed to connect. Real intimacy is not found just by merging bodies in sex. Real intimacy makes us feel alive like we’ve been found, as if someone finally took the time to peer into the depths of our soul and really see us there.
— Lucia Pador, Utterly Engaged

A few months ago I was asked by the editors of Utterly Engaged to contribute to their Volume 4 magazine edition which encapsulates the topic of intimacy and love.  And to be honest I was stumped on what to share to an audience that is traditionally reading this publication to find inspiration for their wedding. But the biggest reasons why I have always believed in Utterly Engaged and who they stand for is they are building a space in which people can create a meaningful wedding and life with those they love. 

Below is my written piece in Utterly Engaged Volume 4 paired with the beautiful and strong imagery of Elizabeth Messina, an incredibly talented photographer. 

Vulnerability can often be seen as a sign of weakness, but I’ve always believed that being vulnerable to our emotions, thoughts, and feelings and allowing others to see this side of us brings on strength and intimacy. Sharing our individual story and journey to others, enables us to connect with one another on deeper levels. It allows us to be able to share a side of our lives that most people have never seen or experienced. I know from my own personal experience how frightening this can be. I’ve always been afraid of unlocking and unfolding certain truths about myself, mostly because I want to believe I’m a strong woman, wife, and mother. But I’m learning that strength shouldn’t be just the perception of who you are to the public eye if you are holding back from some of the most intimate truths to the ones you love and surround yourself with.

I struggle with depression. I have since I was 15 and it has always been a very hard truth for me to share with those around me especially my husband and daughters. They have always depended on me as a strong minded, determined, and hard working woman. So when signs of my depression begin to unfold, it causes a lot of internal pain for me and I find myself trying hard to cover it up and hide the emotions that are stirring up so much agony inside. Not too long ago I had an episode of depression that hit me like a wave and my husband was the epicenter of the storm. He has often experienced my moments of anxiety, but has never seen the side of my mental illness that swallowed me whole. It was a rough few weeks for the both of us, but in that struggle we both came out of it even stronger and more transparent with emotions and truth. It's common that in relationships we try our very hardest to not allow the darkest emotions to infect others because of our fears of bringing them down, but the truth is it is these moments where we need to lean on each others hearts to create the authentic connection we need in order to find a place of healing.

I’ve been married to my husband, Jonathan for the 7 years and we’ve been together as a couple for nearly 13 years. The very moment I shared some of the darkest and most painful moments in my past with him brought out the most light in our relationship. It's difficult to carry the pains of our past, but in order to move forward with the future there are secrets we need to let go. These secrets to us can seem like moments of weaknesses, but the truth is they are the reasons for our strengths. Each day I feel like our love grows on a solid foundation of transparency and truth. We are able to tell each other how feel openly, which has brought us even closer than we have been before.

We are most alive when we find it, most devastated when we lose it, most empty when we give up on it, most inhuman when we betray it, and most passionate when we pursue it

Pick up your copy of this exquisite magazine here

Last night I had an incredible time at Sugarfina in SF seeing some old friends, sharing laughter, and catching up on this thing called life at the UE Volume 4 release party. Thanks for the good times.