9/10/19 - DEAL.
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
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I did a little Google search for the intro to this podcast, and when I typed in “cries easily” the first result was a Reddit thread, men talking to men: “how do you deal with a woman who cries a lot?” Answer: YOU FUCKING DEAL.
Hi! This is Coach Sarah, and this is the Morning Mantra!
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Hi, my name is Sarah Axelrod. I'm a run coach and a lover of poetry, and a person who cares about your well-being. You don't have to be an athlete to be #coachedandloved, and if you need an anchor to hold onto as you move through a tough situation, you've come to the right place.
I cry easily. I’m trying to say that without the weight of years reading teen novels in which the one who cries easily (always a girl) is a weakling, someone who can’t be depended upon to keep it together. The cries easily character isn’t going to be the one who solves the problem and does the thing, and I therefore have always hidden my propensity for tears to the maximum extent possible. And it’s not so much that I no longer give a fuck - because who are we kidding, I give a fuck what people think of me, a LOT of fucks - it’s more that I’m done apologizing for crying. This is just who I am, and I don’t need to explain it to you.
If you follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my Coached and Loved newsletter, you’ve probably already seen photos of my daughter Rosalind at her birthday party this past weekend. Ros turned 4, and on the day of her party - which was at a playground outdoors with rain in the forecast and no overhangs or shelters of any kind - she came downstairs and announced that she wanted to wear her Moana costume (long brown wig included). I had a moment of tensing up as I imagined all the things that might happen - her tripping over the skirt and hurting herself, the wig getting ruined in the rain, tears and tears over said ruination. And then I stopped myself from going down that path in my head and told her that she could of course wear whatever she wanted, as long as it included rain boots and a rain jacket. To which - miraculously - she agreed.
And of course it didn’t rain, and of course once I dried off the slides and swings with the morass of towels we’d brought absolutely no one got wet, and of course, Ros did not remove the costume for the entire three hours we stayed at the park. The artist we’d hired to come and paint kids’ faces had barely set up her things at the picnic table before Ros was in her director’s chair, waiting for her close up. Thereafter, every single person who showed up at the party remarked to me that they had had a hard time finding Ros upon first arriving (and it’s not a very big playground) but once they’d spotted her under the brown curly mass of Moana hair, she was unmistakable. My favorite comment, though, came from the mom of one of her school friends, who said, “god, I love how she pulls that costume off SO WELL - she’s like this is WHO I AM, fucking DEAL.”
And if that is not my daughter in a sentence, I don’t know what is.
I do not intend to task Ros with teaching me things, because that’s not her job. I don’t get to hope that she learns to love herself so that I belatedly will, too. But. I think there’s something about the way a newly minted 4-year-old moves through the world that it’s right to be inspired by. I don’t know if this phase of Ros’s life will last, this one in which she absolutely calls the shots in terms of what she wears (she is known for wearing the same thing 4 out of 5 days a week to school, and that, my friends, is what she wants to wear and as long as she has clean underwear I am not going to make a big thing out of it). And who absolutely calls the shots in terms of how she engages, how she interacts. We’re working pretty hard right now on cultivating more of a sense of cooperativeness at home, but I hope that this does not come at the cost of the fierce independence and self-assuredness that can make cooperativeness so hard to come by.
I didn’t quite yet know that Ros’s birthday party getup was my new mantra until the following day, at my church. We attend the same church I attended growing up, a place my mom adored and the place where we held her memorial service, at her explicit request. She once wrote about the way the music at church made her cry almost every week, without her really knowing why; the tears would just come. The final hymn of this service, the first of the new year was one I recognized, one I heard in my head as soon as I saw the title, and the moment we began singing it I was in floods of tears. Am I really this much of a crier, now? Yes, I am. I cry at EVERYTHING - if you’ve listened to the latest Fitness Protection podcast about ReBuild, you’ll hear what I mean. And I knew how much and how readily my mom cried. I saw the way she teared up silently every time we sang in church, and she was always the first to cry whenever we had a family discussion. Seeing her cry, though, made me feel like it was okay to cry. Seeing her cry made me marvel at the depth and the strength of her feelings. And the way she talked about her tears was matter-of-fact. This is who I am. Fucking DEAL.
So, the mantra. In those moments when you feel ready to issue a big apology for something fundamental about how you move through the world: your tears, your emotions, your opinions, your body, I want you to hear MY voice, Ros’s voice, my mom’s voice in the back of your head. I do not apologize for who I am. My tears are my tears. Everyone can DEAL. And then take a deep breath and let them come.
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You are Coached. You are Loooved, and you ARE winning at life. And if you need MOAR reasons to believe that, follow @morningmantrapod on Instagram.