Thursday, October 15, 2015

Letting Go of What Defined Me.

Vegetarian. Runner. Shy. Marathoner. Funny. Pescatarian. Anorexic. CrossFitter. Loving. Intense. Paleo. Healthy. Crazy. Determined. Beautiful. Smart. Lazy. Tense. Gay. Tall. Short. Fat. Skinny.

Who are you, and what are you letting define you? Is it your hobbies? Perhaps it is your eating habits or the music you listen to or the way you dress? Have you ever been labeled as something, and allowed that label to become your identity? If you had a reset button, that cleared the air of everything anyone ever thought about you, the opinions that were long standing, and the labels that never seemed to wash off, would you push the button? And after the slate was cleared, how would you define yourself?

I recently returned home from an LDS mission. I've blogged in the past about my experience about returning home early due to medical conditions, more specifically, anxiety related health conditions. It has almost been a year since returning home and a lot has happened. I'be found myself amid ups and downs, hills and valleys, sorrow and bliss. I've spent a lot of time working with a counselor to challenge the anxiety triggered behavior and overcome the challenges that I face. My most recent break through came as I realized that I did not want to be define by old labels any more.

Soon after returning home from Indiana, I jumped right back in to CrossFit, a passion that I developed 2 years ago. I was going every day, sometimes spending two or more hours there each time. In the beginning, the gym was therapeutic for me. I felt myself growing stronger and it was a great distraction from my anxiety. Little did I know that eventually it would become more of the problem than the cure.

At the end of August, I thought I had a stress fracture in my foot. I didn't want to go to the Dr, because I knew they would just tell me to stay off it, or worse, put me in a boot. So I kept going to CrossFit, and the foot got worse and worse. Finally I made an appointment to get an x-ray. The morning of the x-ray came and I considered canceling it. I told Charles (my husband) that I already knew they were just going to tell me to stay off it. He kindly replied, "well, meg, don't you think you should stop doing CrossFit for awhile and stay off it?" The simple suggestion of missing a week, let alone a day's workout made anxiety swell within me. "I can't!" I replied, "I just really can't do that!"
As I went throughout that morning, I thought about that anxiety response that was so quick to jump to the surface at the mere thought of not doing CrossFit really concerned me. I knew something needed to change.

I hopped on my laptop and looked up articles and blogs about people who quit CrossFit and why. I stumbled across an article that would change my whole outlook and propel me into recovery. I found it on the, and it was titled - Quitters: What I learned quitting the thing that defined me.

I found myself crying as I read this woman's story, realizing how closely linked mine was with hers. Her words resonated within me. She had been doing this intense workout for so long, and found out that she had to have her thyroid removed. She documents her experience with realizing that she needed to quit CrossFit and listen to her body. I liked this part the best...

"I’m much softer and gentler with myself now, but I’m still mouthy and tough. Quitting CrossFit helped me remember that our identity isn’t tied up in the external stuff we do — it’s how we think: about ourselves, about the world, about the people we love. And it’s about how we treat them and ourselves. Quitting CrossFit gave me the time and space to find my compassion for myself and others, and it’s made my whole life better."

I realized after reading her article that I had most of my identity, and most of what I thought about myself tied up in external things. This made me sad, but even more so, it made me ready; ready to change, ready to actually live life in a way that creates happiness in myself and promotes happiness in others.

So I quit. That very day I cancelled my membership to my favorite CrossFit gym. It was so hard. I had all sorts of fears surface. "What if I gain weight?" "What if they all think I'm a quitter." But the worst was.."Who am I without this?"

It is so easy to get caught up in the trivial things of life. What we look like, where we exercise, what we weigh, what we eat, our jobs, our cars, our clothes. We allows such little things to define us, and often route our choices and our lives. Why do we do this to ourselves? We are made for so much more! We have a far greater purpose...we know we do.

After quitting CrossFit, I've realized that I've allowed a lot more than just exercise to define me. So little by little, I am taking small steps in defining myself in a meaningful way. I don't want to leave this earth and have people say, "Dang, she was good at the clean and jerk." or "She always ate so healthy." no. that seems like such a waste of a life.

I want to define myself with how I love others. I want to define myself with how I love God. I want to define myself with how I serve others each day. I want to define myself with how I never give up. I want to define myself by my ability to listen and empathize. I want to actually live and experience and enjoy life. I regret the trivial things I've been caught up in for the last 8 years of my life, but I have learned so much through this journey, and been changed. I've learned so much about letting go, and holding on to the things that matter most.

So ask yourself... what are you letting define you?


  1. You are my hero! How's that for a label ;) I love you!

  2. Megan as your former company captain and fellow Wicked fan it sounds like you have progressed from "Popular" to "For Good." Because I knew you (and your mom and dad), I have been changed for good." Thanks - G

  3. Megan as your former company captain and fellow Wicked fan it sounds like you have progressed from "Popular" to "For Good." Because I knew you (and your mom and dad), I have been changed for good." Thanks - G

  4. Megan as your former company captain and fellow Wicked fan it sounds like you have progressed from "Popular" to "For Good." Because I knew you (and your mom and dad), I have been changed for good." Thanks - G