Surviving Christmas

It seems that I survived Christmas. It’s one of the times in the year that I dread the most, for my own personal reasons. Surrounding myself with strangers who became friends did help get me out of the house, did push me to give it a try. And I did. I had a lovely Christmas lunch last week with the Darsena family who has been so kind as to ‘adopt’ me this past month and let me train with them, making me part of their team asking for nothing in return. I assume some of the people that come my way will not have the slightest idea about how much they have helped me and shaped me.

christmas lunch

It is more frequent than not for me lately to leave the box and let my tears go down my face. I cannot explain it. I care so much for these people that I don’t want them to see me like this and I definitely don’t want to ruin their mood either but I guess it’s the whole mood of the season for me.

And it is so strange to be able to feel all this for people that I just met, for people like Luigi and Licia from CrossFit Lambrate. After all it’s just a box. Just a couple. My landlord knew them and brought me in contact with them so that I have some place to spend my New Year’s Eve and maybe train on the days that CF Darsena will be closed. Unfortunately, CrossFit Lambrate is quite far for someone living in my part of the city that has no car; especially on holidays when public transportation is not as frequent either. So, Luigi contacted me and said they will have a Christmas wod on Christmas day at the box and that I am welcome to train with them. I already knew about the New Year’s Eve wod (and have arranged to rent a car to be able to get to the box and back home) but didn’t know about the Xmas wod so I was not prepared (I mean I had no way to get there); and I quote Luigi’s message “You have come a long way just to come to our city, I can come pick you up with my car and bring you back home, that is no problem. This is what CrossFit is about.” Boom, there went my ‘good excuse’ for staying in. How can you resist so much kindness? It was Christmas, I was in the worst of moods, puffed eyes and all I wanted was to stay in and hide under my blanket. Still I found a reason to get out of the house. I just had to. They were being so nice. So on the morning of Christmas day, Luigi and Licia came to pick me up together with their three adorable bulldogs, Irma, Hercules and Gastone.

lambrate 2

It was like we knew each other and I cannot explain this. It was the same as when I saw Lisa and Matthias waiting for me in Goch, Germany, at the parking lot. I just went up to them and we hugged like cousins that hadn’t seen each other for long. Our 20’ drive to the box was enough to fill in the gaps of the things we didn’t know about each other. The basics. The things that make people who they are actually.

Expected members to do the Christmas wod: 5-7

People that actually showed up: around 20. And guess what. Even more showed up on the 26th.

We trained, we laughed, we high-fived each other and chatted a while. It was nice to have left all my bad mood at home. It was nice to be able to forget it for a while. On the 26th after the workout Luigi and Licia invited me to their home for a typical Italian Christmas day along with Daniela, another member of the box and friend. This meant spending the whole afternoon at the table, eating the delicious cheeses and prosciutto and pasta and panettone and drinking the prosecco and the wine… It was my first Christmas ever spent talking exclusively about CrossFit and about all aspects of it. It was all about boxes, community, coaching, owners, members, you name it.

Early in the evening I was dropped off at home again, thankful for my new friends and the kindness they showed and the way they embraced me, but also thankful I could hide under my blanket again. I don’t know why, but that is how I felt. It is unfair not to be able to write a long post about CrossFit Lambrate and Luigi and Licia, and to have to mix it with my personal ups and downs, but this is how it is for me these days.

After all, I never started writing this blog to become a critic or promoter of boxes. I am just writing about my journey and there are more parts to it than just visiting CrossFit boxes. Yes, there are parts of my life that are not CF related, go figure. I do have a family and friends that don’t CrossFit (just a handful, still very close and dear to me). I do have a heart that I let get easily broken and I do tend to be very emotional and attached to people. Too much at times. I may not always be sharing everything about my life and most personal things, but at least what I write is what I genuinely feel. And I let it go as it freely as possible. In theory, I know it all. I know what to think, what to do, what not to do and what to avoid. In practice, I can’t bother to fix things in my life anymore. I’m trying to let reality be reality. Even if it sucks.

So, since this is the last week of the year, and it would seem to be the best time to clean up some of the mess 2015 leaves behind, I decided to change things a bit.

Till now I was waiting to be invited to a box before travelling to each country. I wanted to have someone wait for me there and maybe host me for a while until I settle down or move on. Wanting to feel safe in a way. On 21/1 I will fly to Brazil, which is no secret, but I think I won’t stay in Natal for too long after all. I think it is time for me to put some limits in the hope that limiting one part of my journey I will free up a part of myself, maybe even feel more free to write openly about more stuff.

This blog is not a job for me, so I don’t want to make it a stressful thing. I don’t want to have to write or be expected to write either (which has not happened so far, but I can see it coming). This is only my diary, a way for me to express myself, write down the things I need to get out of my system, share things or cry out just because I feel lonely. And I can only do it if I am feeling comfortable enough to open up as much as I want. Maybe this is not making too much sense, but I still don’t have things clear in my mind either. I guess all I am saying is, I don’t want to be the person a box expects. Not ‘the boxtrotter’, but Ioanna. Just a drop in. And if there’s a click and I find the community that suits me, I will take it from there and decide what to do as I go along.

In the past month I have heard two things from two completely different people very dear to me, which hurt me very much, although I know it was not their intention, rather they probably wanted to open up my eyes to the reality as they see it. They did make me think hard about what it is I am doing in general with my life and what it is I am doing to myself.

The first one was a friend of my mother who, when I tried explaining to her what I was doing, what the CrossFit community means to me and how I see my life and my journey unravel as I move forward, said something in the lines of “Oh, I see. You are like a stray dog then. Of course people that love dogs will always take in a stray dog and care for it, at least for a short while. And the dog gets attached to its new family and enjoys being taken cared for. But, you know, this won’t last forever cause everyone has their own life to live.”

The second one was a friend of mine, to whom I have been a big pain in the bum lately by seeking his attention and feeling so free to express all my feelings to him that he probably had enough of my nagging but was also trying to open my eyes to reality. He said something in the lines of “I know I said I will always be here for you, but that is a matter of speech. I am not a 24/7 help hotline.” Nobody is really and I know I would have not been able to put up with someone like me for too long either.

I know they were both right and there is a lot of thinking to be done here. I don’t want to be the stray dog in need of a 24/7 hotline. I am angry at myself for giving such an impression, or to put it more correctly, I am mad for having become that person. Cause, this is reality. Cause those are people whom I let see all my flaws and weak points and opened up my heart to and expressed my fears and worries to. So they do know me and they do see the real me and they did have the courage to throw it in my face like that. The question is, what do I do about it now.

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