One year ago today, life threw me an interesting curveball. ‘Twas the day I walked into the Clubhouse at Mark Fisher Fitness and began my first day as an intern.
One year and a day ago however, on any given week you could find me at my survival job: waiting tables at an Italian restaurant in Chelsea — a job I had already committed 3.5 years of my life to in order to make ends meet in between theater gigs. Although being a professional slave wasn’t the career of my hopes and dreams, it did put wine on my kitchen table and a roof over my head and it was stable, comfortable, automatic. Dare I say, utterly mindless. Basically, anything you’d ever want out of a survival job. Which is why it was also emotionally draining.
Any thing mundane and passionless in life that requires a sizable sacrifice of your precious minutes on this earth is a thing worth reassessing and ultimately eliminating.
I had been living with this nagging feeling of wanting to get out of said rut, but I felt stuck. I needed the money. I didn’t have time to learn an entirely new set of skills. My brain power and energy was elsewhere: school. I had made the decision two years prior to hang up my LaDuca’s and leave my performing career in pursuit of higher education. Since aggressively tackling post-bacc work at Hunter College, I continued to serve wine and pasta to the upper crust in Chelsea because frankly? It was easy. And it was really overwhelming to think about taking on a new job amidst balancing school. But, even so, I wasn’t happy. I knew I wanted more. As the months went on, I felt more and more like I was wasting time; throwing away valuable hours of my life (and gifts!) on this survival job. But still, I countered, I needed to afford rent and tuition. And wine. Bleugh.
So I continued to swallow my unhappiness, my stress and my pride, and on particularly bad days I would hide in the bathroom during the lapse of time that occurs after clearing dinner plates and before taking dessert orders and spontaneously burst into tears.
As a creative diversion in March of last year I decided to take my passion for a healthy lifestyle and start a blog for fun. The idea sprung in response to friends and family coming to me with questions about nutrition and fitness. I thought, why not cultivate it into something that I could blast to friends and family, and maybe a few others might be interested a long the way. And so, here we are over a year later, and BeStrong.BeFit has reached nearly ONE HUNDRED COUNTRIES (Um, that’s a lot of countries! I don’t even think I could name 100 countries off the top of my head without cheating. Who knew 100 countries even existed on this planet? I can’t be alone in this…) But more importantly, I realized how passionate I was about this field (health, NOT geography), spreading awareness and knowledge about something that truly mattered to me. And so, I started to fantasize about exploring a path in the world of fitness.
Shortly thereafter, I decided to take life by the horns.
I spent most of the time at work hiding in the coffee station (instead of crying in the bathroom) looking up Craigslist ads for fitness jobs. Listen, I’m nothing if not resourceful. Please, pay me while I secretly search for other jobs to get me the hell out of here. (Sidenote: I’m being reeeeeally dramatic. Things at my restaurant were not THAT horrendous. Well. Aside from the 1099 incident that cost us all thousands upon thousands of dollars last tax season, but let’s not go down that road. I actually love my restaurant family like family to this day. It had just become so personally unfulfilling that in those last months all I could see were oppressive shackles when I walked in the door instead of meatballs). I found a few listings for fitness jobs that would provide training since I had no previous experience other than my years of dance and a great attitude and a brain in my head. But I had no idea which gyms or modalities were legit and I needed guidance. Which was blatantly evident when I nearly responded to the ad for instructors at Tracy Anderson. Thankfully I dodged THAT fraudulent bullet. Jesus, take the wheel. So naturally, I reached out to the first legit fitness guru that popped into my mind, my friend Mark Fisher. He was incredibly helpful, as one would imagine (and in less than 24 hours of my reaching out, DUH) and gave me valuable feedback on how to forge onward in this new pursuit. “However”, he said, “We are starting our very first internship here at the Clubhouse, accepting three new interns to learn the ropes around here. It will start in April. If you are interested, it might be something worth applying for!” (Or something like that. Not a direct quote.)
So I closed my browser on Craigslist, immediately applied for the MFF internship, and a few weeks later received the glorious call from Mark Fisher himself telling me I had made the cut. #bookedit #soblessed
And then. My life started to change.
The more time I spent at the Clubhouse, the rosier the tint on my glasses. I started looking at life differently. I began learning incredibly valuable interpersonal skills that I could apply to every aspect of my life. My relationships began to change for the better. I shifted my focus to all of the good around me, and as a result, goodness continued to flow into my life. Work became more manageable because I had a new goal. A new approach.
It was simple yet revolutionary:
I WAS HAPPY.
Small things stopped bothering me so much. I even stopped ranting on Facebook about the MTA hang-ups on a daily basis (Yeah. You’re WELCOME). I began reading more. Learning. Growing. I drank the juice, ya’ll. And it tasted goooooood. This was a culture, this was a group of people unlike any other, and I felt so lucky to be but an iota of the madness.
And now, I feel even luckier, because today day not only marks the day I started my internship, but also marks six months since I officially walked out of the doors of my restaurant for good and onto the team at Mark Fisher Fitness as a Ninja Instructor. It’s not only a matter of where I’ve been on this year-long journey, but where I see myself going. And that is infinitely exciting.
I carved a path. I bravely marched on. And beauty and wonder and opportunity continue to unfold around me as I go, simply because I trusted it would.
I think the key element to take away here:
DO THE THING YOU THINK YOU CAN NOT DO.
Just do it. Find a way. Take a gulp of air. Leap. Build the plane on the way down. Life is far too precious to waste on something you are not passionate about. Lack of stability or security, or the black abyss of the unknown might scare the bejeesus out of you like it did me. But guess what? You will never know what is waiting for you on the other side if you don’t take that first step. And will it always be easy? Hell no! Will it take effort, and dedication, and lack of sleep? Probably. Very very likely. But will it be worth every second, to finally realize your true passion, to finally find your happiness? Absofuckinglutely.
So. Take that first step. Because, guess what?
Your future is waiting for you.
**Endless thanks to Mark Fisher and my entire Ninja Team and Ninja Army for trusting me, loving me, teaching me, inspiring me. Every day. You make me so much more than 1% better.**