Cam Newton: Managing Meltdowns

I bit the dust today. One of those days where all of your negligence catches up with you. One of those days you knew was bound to happen, given the cloud you’d been living on for far too long. Cloud 9 was bound to shift onward. One of those days where the cloud suddenly shifts, the sun falls from the sky, and the thunderstorm burst wide open. And unlike Catniss, the odds were not in my favor.

It down poured on my ass today.

It rained so hard, that for a moment, I couldn’t see past my own tears. I was throwing the towel in. How dare the universe give me all this bad ju ju in one day! I’ve been kind, diligent, and humble even!? Me? Humble?? that’s an accomplishment, folks! I’ve been supportive, an active listener–openly engaging with spirituality exploration, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, all to be rained on?

In the course of my facebook post, I’ve been documenting these moments of constructive feedback. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting little inklings that my season of critique was on the horizon. Small slips are shedding light on dark places in my life. I’m in a place of realizing that I am great at things I love, and God awful I things I don’t like to do…I resist things outside of Cierra’s ideology like it’s the plague. My way, or the highway, sister! Except it was me that was left on the highway this go-round.

I’ve been in the land of desserts. Filling my plate with every proverbial sweet I’ve wanted, with total dis-guard for any veggies. I’ve been sampling desserts from all types of places, my sweet tooth on an optimal high and relishing in every moment of sweetness. Now I have a mouth full of cavities. A life full of cavities. All the sweets are rotting me inside out because I’m not getting any other nutrients. I’m not allowing dessert to be a treat. Instead I’ve allowed desserts to spoil my meal.

I say this to shed light on the space I’ve been in. A space of ignoring what’s good for me. Feeling my “plate” or life, with things I want versus what I truly need. I’ve been spending my time at work, focusing on the projects I love, without attention to the projects that truly have an impact on my employment. Sneaking in and out of the office kitchen with a cookie up my sleeve (literally) so that no one sees the spoken “health nut” demolishing cookies by the dozen! My eyes are bigger than my stomach. I see this “buffet” with all these things I want to try. It’s like I have this unrealistic belief that if I don’t get it all. Right now, that someone else will take it before i get to it. Or better yet, I’ll die before I even get to try it.

I see this buffet and I think, I MUST put everything I can possibly manage on my plate right now so that I don’t miss out on anything! How relevant to the food coaching concept I commonly hear “eat to live versus living to eat”. I’ve been living to eat!

It’s this mindset that has me in this Cam Newton life epiphany.

I’ve been so busy trying to get to the next level, that I haven’t managed the level that I’m at.

I’ve been so consumed with increasing my financial capital, gearing myself up to ask for a promotion and a raise, putting things on my plate as an indicator of my ability to take initiative, that my plate just got knocked of the table and I don’t know where to begin cleaning it up. I’ve been working so hard to have it all in one giant swoop. Forgetting that having it all comes at a cost. At a loss, truly. Having it all takes the fun out of truly earning what you are working towards.

I was in the gym the afternoon- after work- after facing my big giant oops out loud, and sports center was on airing a story about Cam Newton’s pre and post life-threatening car accident. While watching, I thought about my day. How I had several students come to my office today with the sad long eyes of failure. The eyes that say I wish things could have gone differently. I wish I would’ve studied more. I wish I would’ve gone to office hours. I wish I would have done what I needed to do, in order to get to what I ultimately wanted… I wish I would’ve chosen long-term over instant gratification….

I looked up at the television, reflected back on my day, and realized that my world is full of people who are facing life “oops”. My life is full of people who’ve messed up, and guess what? Most of them are still standing strong.

The catch? It’s what they did after the massive f- up that made the difference. I’d argue that Cam Newton’s car accident changed his life. It likely gave him perspective on the unique opportunity he had as a NFL highly sought after athlete. It likely gave him perspective on the brutal reality of life– that in a moment’s notice, everything could change. Forever.

Cam Newton’s story sheds light on the gift were given after the sky falls wide open. After we’ve lost our life vest in the down pour. After we suddenly experience vulnerability and the reality of disappointing yourself all at the same time. The moment when you decide that you know better–and knowing better requires that you do better.

The rainbow is peaking out. It’s still raining, and hell, at this rain, bring it on, I can see the rainbow. I can see that if I can utilize this down pour as an opportunity to check myself. To re-calibrate. To see the lesson the universe is asking me to yield too; that if I can sit tight in the storm, take notes, and make minor changes that will make a big difference, I’ll be doing my own touchdown dance in my life end zone. He will not give me more than I can bare.

Two years later Cam Newton is a different beast. He absolutely has his critics, but it’s when his life seemingly fell apart that he decided that something had to change. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. Is he much more aware of himself, his shortcomings, best attributes, and who/what he brings to the table? 100%.

I finally see the light to so many of my struggles. I get why I’ve struggled so much with my weight loss journey. I see first hand what’s kept me in entry level employment. I understand why I struggled in relationships. When the going got tough, I ran. When the odds were not in my favor, I swerved. When something didn’t go my way, I cried and ate…and ate…and ate.

Here comes the surprising zinger. Just because you don’t like something, Cierra, doesn’t mean it goes away. In fact, if you ignore it, it tends to get louder and louder and louder–loud enough to make you pay attention. I hear you universe. I now see what you’ve been trying to show me in all facets of my life– be it weight, work, and love. Cheers to pushing through more growing pains. Cheers to climbing this mountain versus running away because I’m 5 feet and it feels too big. Cheers to being committed to daily, actively, and purposefully (not perfectly!!) choosing to push through the I don’t likes, in honor of Cierra DAB in that in that endzone, bruh!

Let’s get it.

Mary Oliver


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