Broken Down & Built Up

I got to the gym in plenty of time for the popular and crowded class I enjoy (along with about 50 other local gals). It was early Monday morning and I was jazzed. I actually made it there. On time. With two kids in tow.

We started with a warm up and I was giving it my all. Soon, I was removing layers as my body warmed up. The music was energizing and I was responding to the confidence I was feeling. My reflection in the room’s huge mirror showed me perfectly in sync with the fit gals surrounding my not-so-fit bod.

“I’ve got this,” I smiled to myself.

About 2o minutes into the hour-long class, I glanced at the clock and breathed a sigh of relief. One-third there. “I’ve got this.”

The next 20 minutes went by fast. I was busy concentrating on the increased pace and difficulty of the instructions. My sync started to falter. I noticed the difference in my abilities compared to the women around me. I still pushed myself to hit every move, bend every joint, pull up every weight, but I wasn’t always able to keep up.

At one point, I even had to drop my weights altogether and just move my arms. I wasn’t the only one, but I felt inadequate.

I glanced at the clock again. 40 minutes done and I was discouraged.

“We have ANOTHER third of this class to go?” I seethed under my breath. I decided to survive the remaining 20 minutes. All of the vigor from just 20 minutes prior sucked straight out of my sweat glands.

Relief washed over me when we knelt to our mats for the final stretches, which indicated the worst was over. I grasped my toes, pulled my chest to my knee, and paused. Enjoying the extension in my tired muscles. I raised my arm high over my head and reached beyond my mat to further lengthen my torso. Deep breath.

Oh, it felt so good.

Finally, I raised both arms in the air, as instructed, breathed deeply, and clapped along with those around me – in thanks to the instructor for her torture.

As I put away my mat and weights, I hit another high. I did it. I hung in there. I may not have hit every single move perfectly or been able to hold every pose as long as my peers, but I finished. I was sweaty and sore – the good kind of sore where your muscles are thanking you for not forgetting they exist.

I walked out energized and proud. The day was still young and I had this difficult task behind me.

These feelings: Confidence-then-happiness-then-worry-then-doubt-then-discouragement-then-humility-then-hopeful-then-joy-then-gratitude.

Those feelings sum up my experience at SheSpeaks 2015.

Just like my workout, I started the experience at this renowned women’s conference confident, probably overly confident. The first day, at the pre-conference, I was jazzed. This was my sweet spot. I was hearing from amazing women, talented women and they spoke “my” language. For the first time, I felt permission to be whom God made me. That’s what I texted to my mentors. It was a strange feeling, but it felt good. The emotions were hard to describe, but they were warm and fuzzy.

By the end of day two, doubt crept in. I was starting to wonder why I had come. Others around me had it more together. I felt inadequate. I wondered if the topic I chose to pitch and speak on was enough. It didn’t feel like it.

By the morning of the third and final day, I hit bottom. I did not want to be there. A publisher appointment went laughably horrible and while my desire was not a book deal – I did want to feel like it was a possibility down the road.

I took a break, found a quiet spot and wrote in my journal, “I’ve never been so frustrated over something I’m so sure of.”

It was tough, but I decided to survive the rest of the conference. I’m so glad I did. The remaining sessions were easier on my emotions and lifted my spirits. My speaker’s coaching group went well. The talk I delivered was adequate and well-received.

It will take me a while to fully process my experience – but as I’m reflecting over what I learned, reviewing my notes and quietly contemplating big things in my heart – I feel as if I’m stretching my spiritual and emotional muscles. They just went through the ringer. They were pushed. Weighted down. Pained. But they survived. The backside of that experience brings relief and reflection.

Deep breath.

Claps for the instructor(s).

Big clap for the Instructor.

I walked out of my workout “energized and proud” but I leave SheSpeaks energized and the opposite of proud – humbled.

God has things planned. Things that He may actually want me to be a part of. What an amazing feeling.

Let’s do this.

(If you haven’t read my Reset the Rhythm post, please do. This is part of my journey.)

About Michelle Fortin

Michelle Fortin is a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mom. She's also an award winning broadcast journalist and public relations professional. Michelle spent nearly a decade working in television newsrooms across the country, both behind and in front of the camera. Training future broadcast journalists in her faculty associate roles at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and at Arizona Christian University was a cherished focus of her post-TV career. Today, she maintains a roster of public relations clients focused on empowering fellow “momprenuers.” She also serves as a speaker for various women's and mom's events. Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from Biola University and Master of Mass Communication (MMC) from Arizona State University. She and her husband, two young kids and English bulldog call Scottsdale, Arizona, home.

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One Response to Broken Down & Built Up

  1. Lisa H. July 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Awesome thoughts! Thanks for sharing. :)

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