Live, laugh, cry, repeat.

There’s nothing that has changed my life more than the passing of my sister. She was my best friend, she was straightforward, had the best advice and when she hugged me, she would always go over my 5 second limit. I’m so glad that in her last days, I got to tell her that I love her and hug her for longer than my usual 5 seconds.

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There’s so much that I miss about her. Her warm (long) hugs, her calls and messages to tell me that she was thinking about me, that she loved me or that she was proud of me. One of these ‘I’m proud of you,’ messages came when I was straight out of uni, unable to find a job. I was like ‘gurrrrl, what are you seeing? There is nothing in my life that warrants being proud of.’  My sister then proceeded to remind me of the strength that I had in me, the strength I have in me. She was the one who would help me to see things rationally and with a new perspective. By nature, I am very emotional…just ask my CrossFit coach but somehow my sister Nadege would always remind me to not allow my emotions to lead me. Never make a decision when you’re angry or overly emotional. Whenever she said that, I did not always receive it well. It sometimes felt as though she was telling me to get over myself and sometimes when you want to sulk about life to your older sister, it wasn’t always what I wanted to hear. At times it would feel as though she wanted me to accept whatever situation I was facing and detach myself emotionally. I’ve come to realise that that wasn’t what she was saying. Emotions aren’t evil but being controlled by your emotions was a whole different ball game and potentially dangerous.

What she wanted me to learn was to stop allowing my emotions to control my reaction to every situation or to every annoying person haha. Sometimes you need to give yourself a time out to better assess a situation without the cloudiness of mind that being overly emotionally can bring. I will spend the rest of my life thinking and probably writing about all the lessons that I learnt from my beloved sister. Her life motto was to keep going even when you want to stop, she was relentless and the bravest person I knew.

Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he’s given you. The reason for that counsel is 1 Thessalonians 4:13, where Paul says, “We do not want you to be uninformed . . . about those who are asleep” — about those who have died — “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” So, there’s real grieving, which he expects, and there’s hope. Grieving is real, losses are real, pain is real — really felt, really expressed — and hope is real that changes it profoundly. John Piper

It’s a year since she’s passed and we’re all still learning how to live, laugh, cry and repeat the whole cycle again without her. In the thick of it all, I am constantly being reminded that there is hope, and that as John Piper puts it, changes things profoundly.

C is for community

community noun

  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

One of the great things about CrossFit is the relationships that you make. Now I have to confess, I used to be one of those solo workout(ers.) I hated training with anyone because I felt like they would slow me down, I much preferred to push as far as I could without having anyone in my ear complaining, crying or bleeding…that was until I started CrossFit. You never forget your first WOD…crap, maybe you do! What I do remember is that it was humbling to say the least. I couldn’t believe how little I knew about my body, I couldn’t believe that there were other people who sweated as much as I did haha, maybe not always as much. I had moved back to South Africa after being in the UK for 5 years and I found myself disconnected from old friendship circles. CrossFit seemed to be a more organic way of meeting people. People who enjoyed being fit as much as I did. I must be honest, for the first few months, I would casually slip in just as the WOD was about to start and then leave straight afterwards. Call it anxiety, call it cold feet, call it fear, call it every introverts worst fear, I didn’t want to have to talk to people…I have a love/hate relationship with people.

Sometimes forming new friendships can feel like a job interview…do you like tacos? Do you like eating double your weight (or more,) in food? And if the answer is yes then let’s be friends forever okay! I don’t exactly remember how my friendship with two of my closest and bestest started, but all of a sudden I couldn’t do my usual class and had to slot in with an earlier class…Hmm, now that I think of it, I remember exactly how it happened. I walked into the box doors literally a few seconds into the class and my then coach went into a lecture about how I snuck into the class thinking I could blend in with the kettlebells because they’re black. Two things went through my mind when he said that: 1. I’m not as dark as the kettlebells therefore am I really blending in… 2. Why can’t I think of a comeback? After coach had finished with his lecture, I joined two ladies who I didn’t yet know their names (I know their names now, Sherine and Mon, my faves!!!) and from there, whenever I did class at 16h30, they would be the ones I went to. When the qualifiers for my first CrossFit competition came around, that was when our friendship really solidified. I could hardly believe I had qualified, I honestly saw myself as the worlds worst CrossFitter and they believed in me (I know it sounds so cheesy,) but through that my confidence not just in CrossFit but in life also grew. These two women, one of which is pictured in white (Monica,) in the featured image taken by Sherine (amazing photographer) have become my closest friends. They are my sounding boards, the ones I message when I feel dangerously close to killing someone, they are the ones who have held me up during dark periods of my life. This friendship with them is what fills me with strength and confidence that I can do anything, whether it’s cleaning 40kg, or dealing with annoying employees. These are things that I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for CrossFit.

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A lot of the time, people see CrossFit as some cult, and if it is then I don’t mind being part of it. CrossFit (Fit 5ive specifically,) has been where I’ve found my family, my tribe, my people. These are the people I am most excited to see everyday, the place I love more than anywhere else in the world. These are the people who love me and want to see me succeed in the WODs and in my life!

If you have that at your local box, you, like me, are one of the lucky ones!