Life is pretty funny sometimes. Funny in the “life just kicked me in the stomach, then laughed,” sort of way.

The last week threw curve balls my way. Speedbumps, as an ex used to say. From the buying of bootie shorts to revelations of people (past and present) in my life, from complete chaos at work to the invite to a trip to Costa Rica. From thinking I’ve made great progress with my conditioning to the reminder that I really do need to go back to basics with much of my training.. and back to thinking I’ve made great progress, even while I nee..

You get the point.

I’ll attempt to take the important points from the start. You read correctly, I bought bootie shorts. A while back I’d read the blog of one of the lovely ladies from my dance class who did the same thing (though for different reasons) and let it inspire her. I found myself quite intimidated, but no less inspired to try. There was the reason to buy them because I’ll need them eventually for the grip potential. That did play into things. The big part is that I was going to have to start tackling one of my nemeses. My lack of body image.

I tried them on in the dressing room of the store and winced. That they fit wasn’t a problem. But oh, what a vicious sight. Exposed for anyone to see, worst of all ME, was the cellulite, sagging skin that once was pulled more taught over the weight I’ve labored to lose, and saddle bags that reminded me that while much has been lost, there’s more to go.

Welcome to the ridiculously long run-on sentence that overwhelmed my mind. It was painful, humiliating, and strangely empowering. Never before would I have dared try them on. I would have left them to the “skinny little twigs” as I’d harshly call thinner women, trying to hide the fear that I wasn’t “good enough” to wear them.

I’ve finally learned, and I’ll say it: Bullshit. I’ve earned the right to wear them, imperfections and all. There will come a time when I will feel proud of my triumphs without lambasting myself first, but I’ll take my victories as they come. This victory resulted in their “debut” in my Tuesday dance class. I’m putting them on when I exercise at home. Acceptance grows. (Along the same vein, I tried on my bikini top today. Dare I say, I find myself… satisfied.)

Last week also brought a high level of tension at work. I tried to be good and burn off my tension in dance class. It helped minorly. Eventually I persevered and made it through. Dance class brought its own set of stress, I’m afraid. After a brutal and triumphant class Monday, I was left shaken by my need to go back to basics. Here it is: I under-utilize my back and glutes. A part of me knew this, but I thought I was doing better. Enter my conditioning mental gymnastics. Haven’t I done so well in building up, strengthening up? Look at all the weight I’ve lost! There’s been progress. It also showed I’ve learned new ways to cheat. There are a lot of things I need to start doing before I can reach the level I thought I was at. Much like the bootie shorts, this was a bittersweet lesson. It’s given me different determination that will eventually prove beneficial.

In the middle of all this came the opportunity to go to Costa Rica for a week. After the invitation, I promptly jumped through hoops to be able to do it. I triumphed through getting permission for time off at work. My passport arrived this very afternoon, and I found new luggage for a steal. I’ve earned this trip. I’m going to enjoy every moment.

And oh, how nervous I am. Bikini, remember? Bikini, with saddlebags and cellulite.

I worked out briefly this evening after (mostly) recovering from a foolish case of dehydration. I worked out not because I wanted to try and tone as much as I could before the trip but because I want to do right by my training. I finished and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked the woman I there straight in the eyes. My jaw was set with determination, cheekbones standing high in challenge, and there was a faint half-smile of.. approval.