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  • Writer's pictureCocoLikeChanel

The Gift of Grace

"Do you ever give yourself some grace?" That was the question posed to me yesterday by the beautiful blonde woman standing in front of me. I joined a gym a few months after I lost my niece. I felt so weak and wanted to feel strong. So I started lifting and needed some professional supervision. In the grand tradition of gyms everywhere January comes with some intra-gym challenges. I like challenges. My mind is often so creatively germinating that it can be difficult to focus given the sheer magnitude of all the things scribbling around in there. Sometimes when I am forced to fit into the confines of a box my subconscious rises to the challenge. I'll make the coolest most amazing box anyone has ever been put into!

All of these thoughts were percolating as the young blonde trainer stood in front of me getting some "baselines" to measure my progress. It may come as no surprise to any woman but exercise is pretty low on the list of things that affect our bodies. 1) Nutrition 2) Sleep and 3) cortisol levels- aka stress. Which is why this eager young woman was asking me about my stress level over the past weeks.

I don't know if you have ever experienced the look of absolute shock and horror that paints someone's face when they ask you their version of "how are you doing?" and you answer truthfully. I have. I have released my reality on an unsuspecting victim of social norms and watched the true shock and horror that follows. So when this earnest young woman asked me about some of my stressors of the past week I told her truthfully. I had a parent spend the night in the hospital, the death of a family member, my incarcerated father sending another warrantless lawsuit towards my mother, and a call from my sister who was completing the horrific task of cleaning out her child's room after her death a few months before. So I spouted a few of these off followed by the dollop of self-deprecation and frustration that I was unable to partake in my regular routine of health and wellness.

"Do you ever give yourself any grace?". The young woman posed this to me eyes wide with shock and true compassion for a girl having a truly bad week. I contemplated this question. I am someone who tries to look at every trial and tribulation as an opportunity to create something else from the pain. Art, music, therapy, personal growth, and even writing and sharing my struggles with others so it may help assuage some of their guilt. Had I ever considered giving myself grace as she called it? Truthfully I wasn't sure what that meant. Be kind to myself? Not set rigorous goals and make detailed plans to execute to reach those goals?

To give myself grace. To be ok with not being ok. We took the rest of my measurements and I went on to complete the workout. But the thought stuck with me. Aching in my mind almost as much as my legs ache today from the workout. Grace. There is an ethereal connotation that comes to my mind whenever I hear the word. As if it was a gift that could be bestowed upon me by the gods. Kindness, goodwill, respect. It was a lightning bolt to my system as if it was thrown by Zesus himself.

Every week won't be as charged but there will be more moments of intensity. Of stressors and upsets. Of heartbreaks and anguish. Grace. Giving myself kindness and respect for surviving the peaks and valleys. I like the sound of that. So here is my challenge to us all. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself the kindness and respect you deserve for facing the challenges of life and not crumbling. Although it can seem like a herculean task at times it is our most human homeostasis. So give yourself the grace you have earned for surviving. I have found some strength in the peace. I hope you do too.

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