Natural Heat

We are all comprised of many different things that make us unique.  Dare I say it, special. When I think about what things make me especially special, I can name off some good and some bad.  I think part of the reason I can be a bit reserved is because I’ve been afraid of myself.  Afraid of what will happen if I actually say and do what is on my mind and in my heart.  As it was said in The Bird Cage, I’m afraid of my Guatemalan-ness…my natural heat.  Let's say my heat is my passion. When I feel things, I feel strongly, and I can’t help it. It wasn't that long ago I read a paper that I had written in 5th grade. It was a paper outlining what I wanted my life to be like when I grew up. The thing that stood out the most was how strongly I felt about voting and exercising our freedom of speech to stand up for what we believe in. Yes, even then i was full of fire. Somehow I got to a place in life where people had turned me down or not listened to me so much that I began to believe what I had to say was not important or didn't matter. Luckily, with the support of loved ones, I was able to pull my self up by my tri-shoe straps, look myself in the mirror and say, you matter to ME. My Guatmalen-ness is back! What I have to say may not always or ever be important to you, it doesn't have to be. What is important is that we all feel free to have our own fire, I like that yours is different. Most of all, I like that you have one, too.


Acceptance or denial?

As I looked at myself in the mirror today, I thought of a blog post I had recently read about how what we see in the mirror can sometimes be a filmy version of the truth.  Blog post here: (http://www.beautifulbodybistro.com/).

When I look in the mirror all I see are "thunder thighs". Over the past few years, I've learned to appreciate my legs because they allow me to do the things that I LOVE to do - and accepted that if they need to be "big" to do that, so be it. It didn't ever dawn on me that my thighs probably aren't that big and what I see in the mirror isn't the truth. There in lies the question, had I accepted my body for what it was or am I in denial that what I see isn't the truth. For the past week or so, I have tried really hard to see myself clearly.

From what I can tell, my legs and the rest of my body are far from "thunderous"...to say the least! The truth is that I rarely look at any part of myself clearly...my legs were just the most obvious. Since I've acknowledged this truth, I feel that I've faced and conquered a huge fear of mine - if I looked at myself truthfully, would I like what I saw? If I didn't like what I saw, how would I expect anyone else to like it either? Facing myself fully and accepting myself clearly will allow me to accept the acceptance of others.

Thank you to everyone who has accepted what I have been so afraid to face. I couldn't have done this without you!


Here we go!

This year, I entered it knowing full well that I was committed to my dreams, no matter what. And so far, one week in, I'm loving it! Today was my 5th swim of the new year, and I actually swam one lane above my comfort zone. This is a great start and a really BIG deal. I feel like I had been a little too settled into my safety zone, and it's about time to let myself go. Not only did I swim much faster than I normally do, but it felt easier. My spirits were sky high and even though I couldn't breathe, I didnt feel the normal state of panic that usually overwhelms me. I stayed calm and swam my little heart out. A few days ago I realized my mentality had done a total 180. I used to get frustrated and think I'm never going to get faster and continue with more negative self talk until no matter what happened I left the pool feeling defeated. The other day I saw the send-offs on the board and said I want to swim on the fastest one, and actually thought "I will"! Yes, I will! It might not be today or tomorrow, but I will. This is the year of "yes"!


Year in review 2011

There are a lot of things that happened in 2011, at least in my world. Here are a few of the defining moments:
Ran with the elite women at Bloomsday.
Upgraded my cycling category by winning Frozen Flatlands road race and the Tour of Walla Walla. Completed my first 1/2 ironwoman...with the bonus of an extra long bike leg.
Installed 3 shade sails in the backyard.
Raced in China...where I had my first flat tire in a race.
Walked a section of The Great Wall.
Ran into one of my dearest high school friends in the Forbidden City.
Learned so much about how wonderful it is to be American!
Spent a week training with 9 amazing women and Cliff English in Arizona, all in honor of Sally Meyerhof.
Won my first cyclocross race (and second) and was forced to upgrade to race with the crazy fast and talented elite women (and men).
My brother Heith and his wife Doricela welcomed baby Noah Glen Eric Barkley to the family.
I also welcomed an I-Pad to my family this Christmas :)
Oh, and I welcomed my new cross bike the family as well!
More than doubled my yards in the pool!  I look forward to this paying off?
Countless cherished memories with family and friends!

All in all, 2011 was a wonderful year!

2012 - THE YEAR OF "YES"

As I think about the possibilities that lie ahead in 2012, I can't help but get excited!  I've made the commitment to myself to be my dreams.  Last year I struggled to keep my feet under me, let alone make forward progress.  It gave me the perfect opportunity to give up on my dreams, knowing full well this coming year could prove to be even more challenging.  I looked in the mirror yesterday, directly into my own eyes, and said "BRING IT"!!  I'm not ready to give up on my dreams and certainly not ready to give up on myself.  Last year brought to life one of my favorite quotes: 
"All your life you are told the things you cannot do.  All your life they will say you are not good enough, strong enough or talented enough.  They'll say you're the wrong height or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this.  They will tell you NO, a thousand times NO.  Until all the NOs become meaningless.  All your life they will tell you NO, quite firmly and very quickly.  They will tell you NO and you will tell them YES!"  
There have been far too many times that I've held myself back - afraid of failure, afraid of success, afraid of being too shiny.  And it's exhausting!  I'm tired of telling myself NO, I don't have the energy for it anymore.  
This year, don't be your own enemy, tell yourself YES!