Finding Solace and Opportunity in CrossFit

February 9, 2020 by
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Life happens and things get stressful, but one thing I can always count on to keep me grounded is CrossFit. It started as a curiosity, something new to try. I gave myself three months to feel it out and to see if it was for me. Fast forward almost six years and you could say I jumped in headfirst and never looked back.

In my time as a CrossFit athlete, I have not only grown stronger mentally and physically, but it became the avenue through which I built my career.

In 2015 I volunteered at the West Regional (RIP) on a whim. Every year since then, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to the social media efforts for the West (California) Regional, Invitational and then the CrossFit Games for CrossFit HQ. I had no idea what doors it would open for me but was grateful to be able to combine my passions for journalism and CrossFit, sharing my words with over a million people.

My first story was published to the CrossFit Games Instagram in 2016. It was a 300-word micro-story, a brand new format that CrossFit was testing, the first of its kind. When I read it, I was more nervous than I ever have been, even more than I get during the Open (and that’s saying a lot!). Thankfully it was well-received, earning some of the highest engagement of any post that week. It was one of the proudest moments of my career.

Eventually, I was leading social media teams, mentoring other contributors and producing more stories in one weekend than I ever thought possible. Being on the sidelines, capturing the action, talking with athletes and sharing their stories fired me up. It made me love the sport and I saw this as a path to my future.

What I didn’t anticipate was the drastic shift in the media model — the elimination of the CrossFit Games Instagram and Facebook accounts — and in a flash, years of my published work vanished. It deflated me. The work I had so much pride in, wasn’t good enough. I was frustrated.

If there is one lesson above all that CrossFit has taught me, it’s persistence. I simply don’t believe in “no.”

As the 2019 Games approached, I learned that I had a media credential safety secured, but no outlet to write for as CrossFit was no longer producing its own media.

Social Media (Instagram specifically) became my channel for communication and I reached out to the Morning Chalk Up. Everything was falling perfectly into place and I was booking my travel to Madison. Then, I received news that I had been laid off from my day job as a Communications Manager for a non-profit. It crushed me. 

I worked hard to see the silver lining, but what I was avoiding was the lingering feeling that I had lost my purpose. But at least I still had CrossFit.

Always thinking ahead, I enrolled in a CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. My intention for earning my L-1 was more for the knowledge I would gain than the possibility of coaching. However, the owner of my gym had other plans. It’s funny how life will hand you big challenges followed by opportunities pointing toward your future. I fell in love with coaching and Morning Chalk Up became my creative outlet.

Despite these positive developments, another thing I didn’t anticipate was how my mental health would suffer. WODs were rough, I was missing wheelhouse lifts, I had no energy, no creativity. CrossFit and creativity are my safe havens, but for whatever reason at this point, everything was just hard.

I took a week off from CrossFit — long enough to miss it — then cleared my agenda to travel to New York and train at Solace Strength and Performance. My soul needed a new environment, one that was both familiar and different, to refocus and recharge. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. CrossFit grounded me once again.

One of my favorite things about CrossFit is that no matter where you are, you can always find comfort by stepping into a box — to learn, to grow, to smooth a rough patch. It also reminded me that for some, drop-ins or otherwise, it may be more than a CrossFit class. You never know what kind of storm athletes are living through. Overall, being in a new space, surrounded by athletes who thrive in the gym, I was reminded to appreciate everything CrossFit has given me.

Returning to Los Angeles, the place I had called home for seven years, I felt like I had a new lease on life. The challenges didn’t feel as big, but I still felt like there was a massive hole. As a person I didn’t feel fulfilled, but considering everything I did have, that made me feel a little bit guilty.

So many questions swirled around my head. Was I asking too much? Had I reached my ceiling? Did I need to work harder? Why won’t someone hire me? It was a vicious cycle.

It got down to crunch time where I was so desperate that I was ready to take any job in order to keep the lights on. Coaching and my freelance gig wasn’t cutting it. I was tired. Tired of struggling to pay the bills, tired of feeling worthless and tired of feeling like my dreams were outside of my reach.

Then everything fell into place.

I got my dream job as a social media manager for LIFEAID Beverage Company and enrolled in a social media certification program at NYU. And, I moved to New York City. Going to NYU and living in the city had been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember. I went back to Solace, but this time as a member. Everything fell into place exactly like it was supposed to.

I learned that what I was missing wasn’t a job or school or a new city, it was joy. Pure, simple, unconditional joy. I wake up every day now wondering if I’m dreaming and when I realize I’m not, life becomes even more vibrant.

The future is always unknown and that’s equal parts exciting and terrifying, but one thing that is certain is that my purpose is in CrossFit. Both as a writer and a trainer, supporting fellow CrossFit athletes in their life journeys, that’s my calling.

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