1. the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
…But the nerd in me likes the following definition more…
2. the time rate of doing work or delivering energy, expressible as the amount of work done W, or energy transferred, divided by the time interval t—or W/t.
I’m sure it’s been an extremely stressful time for all of us. I definitely know it has for me for the past month. Honestly, I’ve been burned out mentally (and even physically) for the past three weeks now. I would try coming off of a rest day, usually Sundays for me, and hit a power workout the next day yet feel like I’m hitting a wall no matter how much rest time I had in between sets nor how many sets I downsized to. I’m finally starting to listen to my body so after seeing multiple red flags in my training from day to day, I’m trying to go a bit easier on myself for these next few weeks… or at least until these summer classes are behind me.
Being burned out is not a good sign for obvious reasons but even in the midst of my fatigue and lack of focus, I’ve started to realize my own strength.
Such a paradox right? Life is so hard and sucks at times but there’s always little pockets of hope and growth that you can hone in on if you allow yourself to be open to the process.
Even though I feel like I’m not in quarantine anymore due to my constant schedule of training-work-internship-repeat, this quarantine continues to reveal to me things that were already inside of me but just needed to be unearthed.
I have the power, the ability, the energy to take on all that I’m taking on right now. Do I like my workload right now? Heck no, I could use a week vacation or a 72-hour sleep (I wish I was exaggerating but…). In spite of how tired I am, I’m still going and that’s what matters. Please know that I do have rest days and times I try to unplug during the week, even if it’s for 10 minutes at a time.
In the power equation, energy transferred is divided by the time interval. We all go through moments where 24 hours seems too short of a daily time period. But each 24 hours can be meaningful if you know where to transfer your energy. For me, first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to spend some time praying, reading the Bible, and just sitting in silence. Almost instantly, my to-do list pops up in my head but I make an effort to use my energy in a peaceful way— to give my mind some time to wake up before hopping out of bed. I’ve also taken this approach with my training. I train so consistently and I’m very diligent with how I plan my workouts. That’s power as well. What’s hard for me in this aspect is the time piece because I’m a true perfectionist. It’s something I’m trying to break but I just demand excellence from myself because that’s how I was raised. Track is such a unique sport. As much as I see myself getting leaner in body weight and gaining strength through snatches and cleans, all of that is nothing if a) I don’t believe in my true power/what I can bring to the table, and b) if I don’t know how to exert that power correctly. I don’t mind telling on myself so for right now, my block start is TRASH. Yes, a lot of it is technique work that I need but the other part of it is this power aspect. I have the strength and muscle memory to run a 200m effectively— it’s all about my mental and knowing how to put all that force, all that power into each step as I storm down that track.
I believe I’m unique because that’s who God says I am. I also believe that not a lot of people have the same work ethic as me. And I mean that as humbly as possible. (Let me go on a tangent for two seconds: like I said above, I demand excellence out of myself so ideally I like to train and work with people that haul their asses too. No one can give 100% each day, but I’ll put it like this. I can’t work and aspire with you if you’re slacking around. We all have our moments but if you can only give 79% in a given day, that’s perfectly fine. You just better not give 50%. You owe it to yourself).
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program: Not just during this season of life but just in general. I might be down for a bit but I still rise and get done what I have to get done. I think one driving factor for me is that no one can do the work for me. Faith without works is dead but I can’t sit on my butt complaining how I don’t have training partners or reliable transportation. Those things are valid but I have to choose to rise above those obstacles in my power knowing that I can use what I have– internally and externally.
I have the power to create my own narrative. I have the power to design my training program until I’m blessed with a coach that will help me. I have power just because I exist and my black life surely matters. I have the power to acknowledge and celebrate my own efforts without waiting for someone to finally notice me and give me my flowers.
Give yourself your flowers. You deserve.
We all have it inside of us somehow. It might take therapy and/or healing to unlock that key, like it surely has for me.
In closing, here’s an excerpt from my most recent poem:
“My black life matters.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I’m meant to be here.
Even when I feel like hitting the eject button.
I know my life has value.
I just don’t care sometimes.
Maybe I should lift my eyes to the Heavens more.
Maybe I should pray more.
Maybe I need more healing.
All this shit you juggle.
You think you’re crumbling under pressure.
But you’re still doing the damn thing.
Making it to work on time, making it to your internship, staying on top of due dates for classes, doing your best to sculpt your body into a future champion.
God’s strength just shines all through you.
I realize my black is beautiful, too.
I’m tired of being strong but I really don’t have another option to tap into.
A stressful blessing, if there is such a thing.
My black life matters.
Hopefully to myself.
Hopefully to those that see me.”