Embracing Imperfection.

I’m not very good at some things.

Do you like being imperfect? I don’t.

I struggled for years with reconciling who I wanted to be with who I was. That manifested itself in all kinds of shitty ways: ego, fear, avoidance, and unhappiness.

Today, I can reconcile those things. A modest example: I’m an active, fit, healthy individual. Guess what? My body also has serious issues.

My knees are a mess. I have patellafemoral syndrome: loose kneecaps that move out of place too easily during some activities. That and tendinitis in my knees cut my swimming career short in college. To this day I don’t do leg work in the weight room or plyometic activity like squat jumps. I don’t often run, and when I do, I wear braces to help hold my kneecaps in place.

Also, my back is screwy. I carry a lot of tension and stress in my upper and middle back. My muscles are an interwoven web of tightness if left unaddressed. Look at a detailed, layered view of the the muscles of the back and you’ll get my visual if you think about multiple of those muscles tightening up. Related or not: my hips off-kilter, with one hip being higher than the other. Trust me, that’s not good.

All of that is something I’ve had to intentionally work through in yoga. I also went through an intensive period of chiropractic care last year to address some structural issues in my back and hips, supplemented with massage therapy to work out knots and muscle adhesions.

You might not guess those physical maladies based on seeing my Facebook or Instagram activity, or seeing my physical transformation in person, the last couple years.

Isn’t that life sometimes? We get a vision for someone or something based on what we see, which isn’t complete. We can’t or won’t see the hidden struggle; the unknown barriers and demons that shape them in ways we can’t appreciate or understand.

Life is an imperfect bitch and beautiful experience all at once. We have a choice on which one wins the day.

My choice: I don’t do leg work in the weight room or run. Instead, I do yoga, I use the elliptical machine at the gym, and I swim. And I when I hike or do stair workouts (like this gem!), I wear those knee braces to keep impact on my knees manageable.

Speaking of unknown barriers and demons: the health and fitness journey that I had to adapt to my physical reality produced something else. The blood pressure and depression medication I used to take? They’re gone. My doctor was duly impressed when my health improvements let her take me off those prescriptions.

You might be thinking: “Wait, he just admitted to taking medication for depression.”

Yes, I did. I was also in counseling. I was a mess (thank God that changed!). Mental health is a serious issue that we in society don’t talk about or consider enough. I’m grateful beyond words that my transformation punched that problem squarely in the face. You may not have guessed I ever dealt with a mental health issue. Welcome to imperfection.

What about you is imperfect? Are you embracing it or are you trying to ignore it. If the latter, how’s that working out?

What about people you see everyday? Do you know the demons of those you idolize? Do you know the triumphs of those you don’t?

I can’t say I always do. I try, knowing I can never know in full except in those uncommon instances in life when you can truly get real with someone. But, I do give myself the grace now to be imperfect, and focus instead on what I can and will accomplish. I also try to give others the same grace and empathy, which let’s be honest, is not always easy.

I encourage you to be brave and vulnerable enough to give that a try, both with yourself and others people in your life. I’ve lived the alternative, and it’s not worth it.

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