The Stages of Abandoning CrossFit

Alright, friends. Since the holidays are upon us and my clothes are fitting tighter than ever, I wanted to share with you my recent journey abandoning CrossFit. After CrossFitting for 2.5 years, I moved in July of 2015, bringing my journey with the sport to a screeching hault (See- Top 5 Things to Consider before Relocating for a Job in Student Affairs). Here’s a small glimpse of how that’s been going:

Step #1: Denial. I joined a traditional gym and started going alone. This, of course, led to me completely pulling cardio out of my routine, and just lifting in the weight room alone. With a men’s bar. And no control over the music. Needless to say, this wasn’t my cup of tea. I then looked into the “Beachbody” workouts, since that’s a big craze in this area & I know 1 million Beachbody coaches. I quickly decided that is not for me either.

Step #2: Anger. I joined the small [only] CrossFit in my new town, then quit. The right CrossFit gym fits like a glove, and the vibe you get is everything. The small CrossFit in this town just wasn’t for me- the vibe was all wrong, the talent wasn’t up to the standard of my old box, and the coach made several comments I just didn’t agree with. If this is your home box and you love it, great! It just wasn’t for me.

Side bar: It was around this time I decided to go for a run with my boyfriend, and felt so out of shape that I just walked and cried.

Step #3: Lying to Myself. Bargaining. I began thinking, “If I just don’t eat like crap, my body will stay exactly the same” and, “There are all sorts of people who don’t work out and claim they feel great (right?!).” Then those bargains changed over to, “I don’t have time to workout, anyway” and “my boyfriend thinks I’m beautiful!”

Step #4: Depression. Okay, I don’t think this was legitimate depression, but at some point I decided I needed to unfollow every single CrossFit-ish account that I followed on social media because seeing the posts made me devastated. (I didn’t unfollow my actual friends, just “CrossFit Celebrities,” different boxes, companies, etc.) I realized I had no need for lifting tips, new gear, or to look up “#GAINZ” and see what crazy things people were posting. I even unfollowed my favorite CrossFit heartthrob, Garret Fisher (RIP to our long-standing, one-direction social media love affair). Also at this point, seeing my friends from my old gym making their #GAINZ made me extra jealous!! (Not to knock y’all though- I’m still SO proud!)

Step #5: Acceptance. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll never CrossFit again, and that’s okay.

JUST KIDDING- when I relocate again, finding a solid CrossFit gym will be one of my highest priorities, and I will be back in the box whipping up those #GAINZ again before you know it. This current CrossFit Alumna isn’t out of the game forever, trust me!

In the meantime, my plan is to keep eating healthy-ish and maybe run with my boyfriend once a month or so. (Sounds healthy, right?!)

To all my old CrossFit friends out there still killing it, I’m watching you and I’m so proud! (Shout-out to CrossFit Lynchburg!)

At the end of the day, find what works for you, and stick to it! Don’t give up what works for you for the sake of anyone or anything.

P.S. to my boyfriend, I promise this will be the last time you see me use #GAINZ because I know you hate that. 🙂

 

Has your workout routine ever been compromised? Any advice for myself or others? Let’s hear it in the comments!

Five Things I Learned Last Week

Howdy, friends! Something I want to do each week is kick off our Monday with Five Things I Learned Last Week. I can’t promise that these will be insightful, funny, or stupid, but I think we too often take for granted the small learning moments we have in our lives. So here goes nothing…

ONE: Riding the train at the mall while visiting Santa get’s less enjoyable each time I do it; however, the excitement on the kids faces makes it all worth it. They constantly put things in to perspective for me. (Still trying to figure out how it’s always me on the train with them…)

TWO: When a baby wants to put Chapstick on you, you let her… even if it’s 300+ times in one hour. Seeing the look of accomplishment over and over again on an 18-month old’s face is absolutely priceless.

THREE: Caring for someone when they’re sick/injured doesn’t feel like a chore if you actually care about the person. My boyfriend injured his ankle last Saturday, and I spent all of Sunday doing 100% of everything for him. I wasn’t mad or annoyed at all (truthfully!)… I’d do it every day forever if he needed it.

FOUR: December is an incredibly enjoyable month when the temperature is in the 60’s-70’s all the time! Thank you, global warming + southern living.

FIVE: Respect is earned, not given. I watched my boyfriend’s father graduate a fire department recruit class this week, and the things the recruits said about his & his co-captain’s leadership were amazing. Leadership is not a position or a title, it’s action and example.

Those were my big takeaway’s this week. Did you learn anything this week? Let me know in the comments!

– Ashley

Blended Family Holidaze

Perhaps the most frustrating part of growing up in a blended family was that no one spoke to one another. My parents are out of the picture. My maternal & paternal sides have been in a [justified] feud since 1990 & have no contact. Where my paternal side is all very close- with the exception of my father- my maternal side does not communicate, and everyone stays within their household. Basically, it’s a mess. This time of year always reminds me of just how wild family dynamics can be. I’m going to recount my messiest adult Christmas for you below…

Christmas Eve 2012:
After spending the week visiting with both of my maternal uncles and their wives/children- who don’t celebrate holidays together- I celebrated Christmas a day early with another part of that side of the family (great-aunt & her boyfriend, second-cousin & his then-boyfriend [now husband]). We opened all of our presents & had a great night. I spent the night there at my great-aunt’s house & prepared to travel the next day.

Christmas Day 2012:
I woke up and started getting ready to visit my paternal family, who lives about 40 minutes from my maternal family. I have a fantastic relationship with everyone in the paternal side of my family, except for my “dad,” who I have never spoken to. For context- he lives in the same town as everyone else, and no one ever sees him (I mean, ever).

As I began walking to my car, I received a text from my oldest cousin saying “He’s here.” I panic. I obviously can’t drive there now! What do I do?! Do I just celebrate Christmas alone at 21? My reply, “Okay, text me when he leaves.” She did, hours later, and I made the drive out. My presence then sends my Grandma in to tears, and leads to my younger cousins asking 1-million awkward questions. Perhaps this was the first time they had realized I had no relationship with him? Who knows. All I know is that it was incredibly uncomfortable, and I vowed that year to never spread myself too thin on a holiday again. Being alone and vulnerable was not the way I wanted to spend my Christmas, and I’ve never done it again.


This year,
I’m spending Christmas Day with my boyfriend & his family, including his two daughters who are 1 and 3 years old. I cannot wait to see them open their Christmas presents and make the whole day about them (and Jesus). The day after Christmas, the four of us are driving 2.5 hours and spending half the day with the paternal side of my family, which includes both grandparents, three aunts, one uncle, my half-sister, brother-in-law, two nieces, and six cousins (with the always-present possibility of cousins’ significant others making an appearance). We will spend the later half of the day visiting my wonderful uncle & aunt on my maternal side who raised me from age 12-18.

Will I see any other relatives? If so, it will not be on either of those days. I love my whole family but over the years I’ve learned that you can’t spread yourself too thin. Communication goes both ways, and I can’t be the only person reaching out and making contact to try and see relatives. I just can’t do it. I spent a long time kicking myself because no one in either side of my family ever invites me to anything. I just invite myself. With parents out of the picture, there’s no one there to loop me in to plans. So since Christmas 2011, I’ve just done whatever I wanted to and it’s been freaking amazing. I know I’m still spread a little thin this year, but this is most definitely progress!

At the end of the day, Christmas is about whatever you want it to be about. For me, it’s about Jesus, family (meaning, my boyfriend and the girls), and NO STRESS!

Happy Holidays! Have you ever spread yourself too thin during the holidays? Let me know your story in the comments!

“Stepmom-In-Training” FAQ

Dating a man with two young children is not something that I ever considered I’d be doing at 25. It has turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifeat the expense of my family, friends, and acquaintances asking me the most ridiculous questions every time they see me. I have to share with you all some of the most frequent/funniest/strangest questions I receive (so that you don’t ask me- or anyone else in my position- these questions).

  • “What’s it like dating a man with two kids?!” The same as dating a man with no kids, except instead of spending our free time binge drinking and watching TV, we’re building pretend castles and trying to teach the baby how to talk. (Okay, okay… there’s a little bit of the former when the kids are with their mom)
  • “What do they call you?” By far the funniest question I get. Ashley… they call me Ashley. That’s my name. I’m curious what people are expecting me to say when they ask this?!
  • “What does their mom think of you?” WOW intrusive much?! You’d have to ask her.
  • “Do you just take care of them while your boyfriend just sits there?” LOL… Okay first, way to stereotype based off of gender! Second, my boyfriend is the best, most hands-on father I’ve ever seen. His daughters love him and I am impressed with his parenting abilities every single day. He runs laps around me with those kids.
  • “Are you planning on having real kids?” Wait, what?! These ones are very real. And I’m not even engaged so this is not on my radar. And this is offensive and none of your business.
  • “Are they going to be in your wedding?!” Again, not engaged. Nice try…
    • Always followed up with, “You have built in flower girls!” Yeah, I have those with my nieces, also. Again, nice try…
  • “Do they like you?!” OF COURSE they like me!! Seriously though, they really do love me (and I love them!) What a weird question though… do I seem unlikeable?!

Moral of the story- all families look very different & you should really think before you ask some of these questions! At the end of the day, I’m just trying to maintain a healthy relationship, and be the best role model I can be for the girls, without crossing any boundaries and/or disrespecting their mother. (Piece of cake, right?!)

Are you dating someone with kids, or a stepparent?! Any other wild or intrusive questions you receive? Let me know in the comments!

Top-5 Things to Consider before Relocating for a Job in Student Affairs

As graduate school was coming to an end and I began job searching, I was quick to rush into the first job that came my way (because everyone warns you that for your first job you have to compromise)… Well, I’m 6-months into the job I picked, & want to share some advice for those of you looking for that first career placement…

  1. DO NOT COMPROMISE. Do not settle for the first job offer you receive unless you’re 110% sure that it’s the perfect fit. It’s nerve wracking to not have something lined up but trust me- you cannot wait on divine intervention for this one. Trust your gut and if it’s not right, just say NO! 
  2. Location, Location, Location! Search geographically where is right for YOU. Not your boyfriend, not your family, just you. You are responsible for your own happiness, and compromising the geographical span of your job search for anyone or anything other than yourself is a trap. The institution is important, but the city/town is just as important. 
  3. Regarding location, find an area that will meet all of your personal needs! If you need a United Methodist church, a CrossFit gym, a Junior League to get involved with, and a Community Market, make sure that you’re looking in an area with those things! Again, we are trained that we need to compromise for our first job- that is a lie! You will be unhappy if you’re not both personally and professionally fulfilled. 
  4. You need to like your colleagues. If you’re in an interview and could not see yourself potentially liking the employees, it’s not for you. Even if work is your #1 priority, you need to make sure you’re surrounded with people who you can rely on (and vent to when necessary!). In interviews, ask if there’s a strong network of young-professionals. 
  5. Don’t be shocked- no place is perfect! Even the organizations who appear put together have their structural flaws. You need to make sure that you’ve considered every controllable aspect of a relocation before you do it, because undoubtedly something in the workplace will end up different than you expected.

In my relocation, I got very lucky in many of these areas. I also wish I had of done some things different to be both professionally and personally fulfilled. Job searching in Student Affairs can be a national process and as an upcoming professional, you likely have multiple mentors telling you different advice and directives. At the end of the day, you have to make every decision for yourself. As I said, you are responsible for your own happiness. Relocating is a big leap- make sure you’ve created a safe place to land for yourself.

Have you ever relocated for Student Affairs? Am I missing something on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Now this is just an introduction…

Hey there, world! My name is Ashley and after several years of private journaling, I’ve decided to take my thoughts to the world & try my luck at blogging. Warning: I work best in “organized chaos” so if that doesn’t suite you, turn back now.

I was born in Richmond, VA, and raised outside of the city by a slew of relatives since my mother passed when I was 4-months old. My upbringing was just about as non-traditional as they come. I have one half-sister who comes with my brother-in-law and two perfect nieces. I was a first-generation college student, later becoming the first in my family to receive a Masters degree. I consider myself to be extremely independent, and my stubbornness in this area could be considered my biggest flaw. Family dynamics is an area I have a lot to say in… I’m sure you’ll hear all about my crazy family in the future.

I have an amazing boyfriend, who has two incredible daughters from his previous marriage. I consider myself a “Stepmom-In-Training” (which I also find hysterical). I am very lucky to have my boyfriend as my best friend and #1 fan, and he and his daughters mean everything to me. I’m one of those “fall-off-the-map-when-in-a-relationship” kind of girls, and I own it. My relationship has shown me yet another level of interesting family dynamics, and I’m sure my pre-made family will inspire a number of posts.

I am an entry-level professional in higher education- Student Affairs, working at my undergraduate alma mater in Residence Life. Working in this field, alongside people who supervised me as an undergraduate, in a very small town, living alone, has its ups and downs which I’m sure you will hear all about. I am constantly trying to decide whether career or family should take priority on any given day. I’m also in a “quarter-life-crisis” and am thinking about changing career fields to work in the K-12 sector of education. You will certainly hear about this (selfishly because I need input!).

I consider myself half-classy and half-inappropriate, with several curse words sprinkled on top. I’m just a 20-something trying to organize this messy thing we call life, one “to-do” list at a time.

Happy Reading!

-Ashley

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(Side note- If you knew the title of this was from the All That theme song, you rock.)