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I Finally Cut the Red Pepper…and Other Mental Road Blocks

Posted Oct 15 2013 2:39pm

It’s meant to be humorous with a touch of emotional back story. Pretty much how my blog has run for the last 4 years.

This is how it all started:

Raw red peppers are my favorite healthy snack. Like a lot of people with busy schedules, sleep and healthy eating are not always a priority. But to me, when I have red peppers packed in my lunch it symbolizes that my ducks are in a row. That means along the way in this hectic life I built for myself, I SOMEHOW managed to finally make time for my health (eating)  a priority again – which means I tackled all the other areas and kept them organized. Open my purse, BA’AM  - sliced red peppers – and today, it was good day. (queue Ice Cube rap-a-long)

The problem:

I’ve kept the Facebook community updated but haven’t mentioned it on le blog yet. I was injured about 12 weeks ago at taekwondo. With what I thought was a hamstring pull, turned out to be a tendon tear from the bottom of my hip bone (my bum). Fast forward to 8 weeks of physical therapy with Scott Waugh, (PT for the Bruins!! I know, I died too).  My insurance no longer covers my physical therapy sessions unless I need surgery, which luckily is not the case. So  I have instructions to do things at home and I can start doing some light jogging. To me, that translates to running, biking and going back cardiokickboxing. Which is exactly what happened. And everything was FINE. I felt great. I’ve lost 20lbs since June 15th. I’m sure most of it is muscle mass, but I even went down a pants size.

I wanted to ease back in the TKD and I am absolutely not ready physically. I tried and I immediately aggravated the injury. Which solidified one of my biggest TKD concerns:

I thought I would be testing for my black belt in 2 months… it is a very sad reality that this is not even a little bit of an option. I know it is not a race, but I’ve been looking forward to it. 2013 has been very unlucky for me in terms of injuries. The beginning of the year, I wound up in a boot for 2 months preventing me from stepping foot in the dojang. I was able to test for my double black stripe in June and I went in guns blazing to train for my black belt. I felt amazing. Then this injury happened and I haven’t been back since July. Sort of feels unfair. To finally be mentally ready and now I can’t even touch my toes.

Right…so the red pepper thing….

I would buy some red peppers and convince myself I would cut them up, put’m in baggies and pack them in my lunch. Every day.  When i am MOST on top of my game, this is not a chore. This is just a thing that is part of my nightly routine.

Except, I just stopped with my night/morning routines (that pertained to prepping food/healthy eating).  I would buy a red pepper….look at it in the fridge, close the door and walk away.  I’d convince myself I was too tired to cut up that pepper that takes 30 seconds. I promised myself I’d wake up early and do it in the morning.

Except, I wouldn’t. I’d just open the fridge, look at it, close the door and leave my house without lunch, or breakfast or dinner (I have long days). And promised I’d do it when I get back from class/teaching/taekwondo/work etc. Or I’d take care of all of this on the weekends.

Except, I didn’t.

WHY couldn’t I just chop up that god damn red pepper!? And every night I’d go to bed feeling just a teeny bit guilty because I didn’t do it. And at work when I just pounded my 5th cup of coffee for lunch, I’d feel a twinge of guilt because I didn’t eat vegetables today…more specifically – I didn’t eat that red pepper. That I would let rot, throw it away, then buy new red peppers.

How has this become my new very wasteful and ridiculous routine? And I LOVE red peppers. But it absolutely started to get to me, but I just refused to do anything about it.

To be fair, my schedule has consisted of 3am bedtimes and 6am wake-ups. Not unusual for this time of year, but still, it gets to you.

Last night, it dawned me.

This new habit picked up right when I found out I wouldn’t be ready to go back to TKD nor take my black belt test. Without getting too psychoanalysis on it… I gave up.  I just gave up two things I loved,  taekwondo and red peppers. Or at least it felt like giving up.

I played it cool and repressed my utter disappointment that I would not be able to go back to the thing I love the most. I convinced myself that I was ok with all this time off. That jogging would be a good replacement. It’s not, btw.

I was such a sad ninja. And I didn’t even realize it.

Walking by that red pepper every day, was just a visual representation that I was disappointed with my situation and since I was repressing my real feelings about not being able to return to TKD…it just manifests itself in other areas of your life.

Like the Guilty Red Pepper Game….

Last night, while in my 10th hour of writing my paper, it was almost midnight and I decided NOW was the time I stopped being ridiculous.

I could barely see straight and I was beyond exhausted. But I took that red pepper out of the fridge and I cut that mother effer up.


Then I went ahead and cut up a green one, for good measure….


It was a small victory, but I went to bed more light-hearted than the night before. This year has been all about baby-steps to improvement. Learning how to walk again (literally). Understanding this journey isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s applicable any where, but this is my taekwondo journey and processing things properly.

So this morning, I had my first packed lunch in a long time. Complete with red peppers.


Tastes like victory.

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