Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
- May 22, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 144: Sara & Ryan Hall
- May 19, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 143: Motherhood Mondays with Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, OB/GYN & President of Saving Mothers
- May 15, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 142: Jen Ator, Women's Running Editor in Chief
- May 12, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 141: Motherhood Mondays with Colleen Lubin, Creator of Not Quite Knocked Up
- May 8, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 140: Carolyn Su, Creator of @diversewerun
This Endless Positivity
I can’t stop bouncing and wiggling today.
As soon as I finished my workout this morning, I’ve had this nonstop energy that I can’t burn off. I figured I’d hit an afternoon slump, but it never happened.
Instead, I jammed my way through my shower and getting-ready routine, bopped on the subway, and actually danced down 14th Street to my office. Then I sat in my chair at work all day, blasting iTunes previews (I CAN’T COMMIT TO BUYING AN ENTIRE SONG SOMETIMES AND I LIKE TO PONDER IT FOR A WEEK OR THREE FIRST…Brian finds this quality of mine “charming” and “so annoying” and “oh my god it’s $1.29, please just buy it so I don’t have to hear 90 seconds of the same song over and over, why are you being so cheap?”) and begging my coworkers to have dance parties with me. And then I ate a bunch of Starburst, so I had even more energy. I am probably annoying the piss out of people who have to deal with me. So sorryyyyyy.
During my commute, I felt like Christopher Walken in that music video from that thing with the people (Moby?), but with more style, i.e. sweet janky white girl shimmy shakes and a very stiff lower body. But yeah, I’ve had this bouncy energy and I haven’t ever done coke or drank coffee before, but is that what it’s like? Is this coffee? Because it sounds awesome. I want this forever.
I am absolutely brimming with happy energy and positivity. I have this hopefully infectious joy running through me at all times lately, and I do not hate it.
Let’s go back in time.
As you may know, this wasn’t the case for a long time. It was the opposite case. The saddest little case.
I was sullen, depressed, frustrated, and miserable. I knew the root of my problem — being sick — and since I didn’t feel I could control my disease, I chose not to bother trying to control my mindset either. I coped the way I wanted to cope, not the way I knew I should cope, and I allowed myself to bask in my night-sweaty misery.
Eventually, as my health took a major turn, my mentality followed suit. The shift came in the springtime, and suddenly everything was in bloom. Some of my abandoned optimism was returning.
The new job certainly helped. The new atmosphere, new commute, new lunch options, wonderful new coworkers — it was all crucial, and all played a part in helping me return to my [cheesy phrase alert] best self.
But I was still my old stressy self in many ways, freaking out about such minor things, like if Brian didn’t make the bed absolutely perfectly (last person out of the bed makes it — which is why I always set my alarm for five minutes before Brian’s), or if I left the apartment oh-so-slightly later than I’d hoped for work, even though no one really cares what time I get in so long as my work gets done. And of course, at the time, these freakouts were warranted and not at all crazy! Oh, Ali…
But, like I said, things shifted. Slowly in some ways, but seemingly overnight in others.
An especially influential shift for me came when I started attending November Project workouts. I fell hard and fast for this group.
I look forward to the Wednesday and Friday morning November Project workouts all week. I’m so happy to be there, and I’m sad when the workouts end and we all part ways to go about our busy days. I love this ever-growing community, and I just can’t believe that the people I’ve met are so genuinely good. It’s not a catty group, nor a cliquey group. It’s straight legitimate goodness. With some swearing. Exactly my style.
[I know I’m repeating myself a bit here from previous posts, but is that OK? Can I hype just once more, and you’ll stick with me? Maybe even come to a workout or 12 with me to find out for yourself? Thanks.]
Each Wednesday, the co-leaders (John and Paul) select someone worthy to win the Positivity Award.
It’s all about the good attitude, the support, the positive vibes you bring to the group. I tend to complain a lot during the workouts because running the bridge is so hard, and burpees are the worst, and on PR Day we have to run fast, and I just want to play and dance.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmingly shocked to receive the Positivity Award last week, in front of 100+ of my newest and dearest friends. (I was also terrified, because the award is handed off with a gentle toss from one week’s winner to the next, and catching flying objects in front of a live audience is one of my great fears, like hairless cats and Stonehenge.)
I wasn’t in a good place when I started attending NP workouts. I went because I was healthy enough to exercise, but my head was still in a very negative space. (Did I really just write “my head was in a negative space?” Who am I? Is this the yoga talking? I should start swearing more in this post so you know it’s still me, Ali.)
I went to these workouts to do just that: work out. But along the way, I’ve found so much more than good sweat. I’ve found this whole world I didn’t know I was missing, and that I didn’t realize I needed. It’s this endless cycle of happiness, of support, of positivity, and of really motivating energy. I have had a wonderful network of incredible friends since moving to New York City, but this group gives me a big something extra.
When Paul presented me with the Positivity Award, he talked about how I’ve made an impact on the group since the first workout I attended, and how I’ve had a great attitude the whole time (he must not be around when I’m trying to get out of doing burpees and opting for half-assed tricep dips instead). He also mentioned my dance moves, and it’s nice to know that those have made an impact as well.
The second my dear friend Emily tossed that stick my way (yes, I caught it!), I felt changed. And yes, I am fully aware of the cheesy sentiments behind everything I’m writing today, but I hope by now you know I’m really being genuine and not making this shit up or exaggerating.
Getting the award was validation. I’ve wanted to be my “old self” again. I wanted that girl back for so long. And now I was getting publicly recognized for being outwardly happy, positive, and a good influence.
November Project and its people…they are game changers. They turned me around, and they brought me back to life. I may have seemed happy and psyched at that first workout, but I wasn’t. I was forcing it, hoping the positivity would follow suit. I don’t have to force anything now.
My NP friends have made me laugh on my sad days, and they helped restore the confidence I came back lacking. My fitness was shit when I went to my first workout in May, and I barely made it over that bridge once. On my first PR Day, I completed the workout in a little more than 21 minutes. Today, I finished in 17:50.
My new friends have supported me, pushed me, and reassured me that “you can do this,” when I am definitely thinking, “No, I can’t, and you suck, and you’re so fit, and I’m a wimp, and I’m horrible, and I’m dead.” They believe in me every single day. This kind of support, especially once you venture into adulthood, is rare and special, and I feel so fortunate to have found it. It is a judgment-free zone, like Planet Fitness, but it’s free and there are no elliptical machines. My dad goes to Planet Fitness. He loves the elliptical machine.
When I first heard about the Positivity Award, I thought the concept was cute, if a bit gimmicky. Cheesy, even. Such gouda. But that wooden stick completely affected me this past week.
I carried it with me everywhere.
It was a constant reminder to be kinder (that rhymed), more empathetic, to friends and strangers alike. I wasn’t a total dick on the subway. I held more doors for people. I rushed less. I think maybe my posture was better. That might have been unrelated, and more tying back to some underboob chafing issues. I don’t know.
The Positivity Award made me a better person. It made me more positive.
I passed the award on this morning to someone incredibly worthy and amazing (an honor in itself), but I still have an imaginary stick with me at all times. I will name it later. (Maurice. Space cowboy.)
The best part?
It was only a few weeks ago that I was still hating myself, frustrated with my abilities and my misbehaving body. I worked to regain my confidence, and along the way, I let this group of once-strangers bring out the best in me.
I have this huge NYC family now. I have so many “I’ll be there for you no matter what” people to call on that it’d be hard to choose an In Case of Emergency. (You’re my #1 always, Bailey.)
Thanks for bringing me back, NP. I’m practically dripping positivity (no, that’s sweat), and it’s the best feeling I’ve known in years. Really. Years.
In my next post, I will try to do some sarcasm and complaining and swearing, lest you think I am crapping glitter ’round the clock over here.
J/K THAT IS WHAT I’M DOING, GLITTER AND RAINBOWS AND MINI PONIES. And giraffes. And sloths. Maybe a baby harp seal, too.
I will always say that I hate having Crohn’s disease. And I do. It’s a real bitch. (There’s the swearing!) I hate what Crohn’s has done to my body, and I hate the way it’s affected my loved ones. But man, those shitty times it brings really really really do make me love these kickass times.
So I guess it’s not all bad.
I’m no longer mad at my disease. How’s that for positivity?
DO YOU WANT TO PLAY A HAPPY GAME WITH ME? Something I like to play with my coworkers is “tell me three feelings you are feeling right now.” One of my [male] coworkers was appalled by this. His response: “Three feelings?! There are only three feelings that exist!” According to him, there is only happy, sad, and angry. Can you name more?