It is 1.55pm on January 1st 2013 and I am pissed off. It wasn’t supposed to start like this! I was supposed to wake approximately 6 hours earlier, hop down to the local football pitch, run 3 miles around the track, skip home, blog about it and then, over some sliced pineapple (my languorous fruit of choice) be smugly perusing the list of resolutions I’d resolutely made the evening before, and faithfully abided by, all before 10.30am. Instead I stand in the kitchen, bleary-eyed, and blinking in disbelief at the clock face, trying to fathom how I could have possibly slept a mammoth 13-hours away, rapidly calculating all the hours of productivity of the brand spanking new year I’ve wasted and then, accepting the mess of a morning and my destructively insatiable sleeping habit, allowing myself to seethe with regret and an overwhelming sense of failure over a great big bowl of weetabix and LOTS of sugar.
The morning progresses thusly, and the longer I sit there, feeling rotten, the harder it is to summon the will to get up and start anew. It’s as if some perverse, nihilistic part of myself is holding me there, sabotaging my entire day minute by wasted minute, wanting to prove to me that I’ve failed again. Gradually, this defeatist line of thinking seeps into every facet of my life, draining me of confidence and in its place, flooding my nerves with anxiety, fear and worry. All my hopes and dreams are at once infected. Somehow ‘I failed in my resolution to wake up early this morning’ becomes ‘I’m a messy, lazy, hopeless person who will never achieve any of my goals’. If I can’t wake up at a reasonable hour of the morning (or indeed any hour that is still technically considered morning) how do I ever expect to become a regular contributor to an online fitness community? If I’ve already broken as many as 3 fairly modest resolutions I’d optimistically made a mere 10 hours ago, then it is simply impossible to imagine that any director would trust me to fulfill the commitments of a role in their film projects. If, an hour later, I still can’t summon the urge to drag my ass down to the pitch, get over the fact of one morning stolen from my human experience due to excessive sleepiness and just RUN dammit, then all hopes of someday penning the most epic, cat-based adventure motion picture to date with ‘REAL LIVE CAT-ACTORS!’ are surely extinguished. It may seem unlikely that the above corresponding events correlate, influence and condemn each other to failure but in my negative state of mind they unquestionably do. Henceforth, I become unbearable to those bold few who dare try and console me. My mother’s well-meant but feeble words of comfort to ‘take it easy, relax, it’s your Christmas holidays’ are shot down and dismissed forcefully on the basis that it is NOT Christmas anymore, I have already relaxed so much my relaxer is sore, and it cannot be called a holiday when, having not worked for the past 2 and a half months there is nothing to holiday from. Esther and Jerry Hicks’ The Power of Deliberate Intent is unceremoniously flung across the room in anger, sure as I am that I did not ‘deliberately intend’ to oversleep by a whopping 6 hours. It all comes to a head however when, after an hour and a half of hair-stroking, hand squeezing and stoically deflecting the endless stream of negative thoughts I project, my sweet-faced and inconceivably lovely boyfriend sighs and asks whether there is anything, anything he can do to help and I snap back ‘Leave me alone! You can’t help. Just give me space’, that alarm bells sound and I realise that the beast has been unleashed! Horrified with myself, I watch for a few minutes as the bf silently laces his shoes and quietly retires, leaving me and the beast to fester together in peace. I can’t stay still a moment longer. I have to run.
Down at the track, half an hour later I am still skeptical about this plan and stubbornly resisting the idea that exercise will make me feel any better. The new year is still ruined. I’m still incapable of sticking to my commitments. Having not run in the last two weeks, I probably won’t get very far without having to stop for frequent breathless breaks. Negative thoughts that try and tell me I can’t do anything continue to whirl around my head as I begin to stretch. Nevertheless, I am here with nothing else better to do so I start to run.
It’s tough, of course. The ground is wet, the sky is grey and the wind against me is stinging my eyes. I grow tired much sooner than expected and almost stop right there. In the happy, heated, post-Christmas haze every slight twinge of discomfort feels like a bloody assault on my senses. I have been rudely awakened from hibernation by the biting winds and my own burning lungs and it hurts! For whatever reason, I keep going however and it is not long before I start to feel the heaviness lifting, the anger and frustration abating as my breathing evens out and I start to establish a rhythm to my running. At points I sprint and let all that negative energy well up inside me, til I’m fit to burst and then I use it as a propellent to push me forwards fiercely pounding the pavement, before it tires and expires and I slow to catch my breath and resume a steady jogging pace again. I continue in this manner of experiencing and overcoming physical obstacles at intervals and feeling their healing benefits for the next 40 minutes. By the end of that time I am exhausted, sweaty, mud-spattered and frightful to look at, but I feel good again. I feel calm, alive, refreshed and ready to give 2013 another chance.
I guess now is a good time to introduce myself. My name is Evanna Lynch (but please call me Evy – we’re friends now:) ). I’m a 21-year old Irish girl living in sunny LA with my two housemates Devin (who you met earlier this week) and Katie. Some of you may know me from the Harry Potter films in which I play the role of Luna Lovegood. I am like her in many ways; I am curious, creative, open-minded and sport the brightest blonde hair imaginable (sometimes in photos taken in the sunlight my features get bleached out entirely by the brightness of my hair). My most favorite activity in the world is reading, though I find time to act, write, dance, bake, watch adorable cat videos on youtube, hang out with friends and I am also an occasional yoga teacher. In general, I am a homebody, and a very docile creature.
But then I have this crazy side. A side which I have already exposed to you in the above passage, which I have affectionately referred to as the ‘beast’. It’s this side which is responsible for my most intense, overwhelming emotions, the kind that inspire me to imagine and write bizarre stories and that urges me to dream big. It’s the side that enables me, when seized with an exciting idea for a story to defy exhaustion and keep thumping the keyboard til 3, 4, 5 in the morning and that also causes me to enter into desperately addictive and devastatingly time-consuming relationships with beloved video games for sleepless days at a time. It, too, is the side that is responsible both for me denying the odds, flying to London and pushing through to get the role of my favorite fictional character of all time, and for me falling into the grip of an eating disorder for a solid 2 years when I was 11 years old. As demonstrated, it can manifest itself either in a very destructive or very creative energy. And it is my absolute belief that every artistic person has this craziness inside of them. Cos, honestly, you have to have a screw loose to do what we do. To forego a steady, dependable and financially sound job in order to pursue a whimsical idea or burning childhood passion that no one else of sound mind supports you in?? Yeah ok, you’re totally normal. *heavy sarcasm* But seriously, it’s necessary -this craziness- to sustain our belief and drive long enough to produce beautiful, original, inspiring works of art for the world. It’s so important to embrace it. The only pitfall, is that, being such intuitive, awake and sensitive souls, we often fall foul of our own negative and hyper-critical minds.
Although I’m not going to go into detail about it here, (I have done so in the past and there is no need to dwell on reflections on the past) I want to cite my eating disorder as an example of a time when I let my inner artist, my crazy person direct its energies towards the most negative end of the spectrum. For 2 years I let myself succumb so entirely to the destructive, negative, paralyzing thoughts that I dulled all my creative urges at once. There was no room for art or play or exploration in my life. It was miserable and joyless- the beast had got the better of me. When I finally came out of it, after several long months of treatment, the beast was still there, the energy wanting to be used and I knew I had to find a creative use for it, or I would fall back into destructive habits. In a sense, I made a deal with my crazy side, to work with it, not against it. To use it for something invigorating and fulfilling and beneficial, so that angriness would no longer hover around my being. It was around this time that I began to use exercise and physical activities in a more effective and energizing way. I realised all the amazing, fun things I could do and achieve when I was in a fit bodily state. I discovered Dance and Yoga and Zumba and Running and weight-training and how the consistent practice of each and every one of these activities unlocked physical barriers for me that in turn, miraculously, unblocked mental barriers too and made me feel almost invincible, ready for anything. Gradually it became clear that regular exercise and keeping that one commitment to my body gave me a way to use that wild, restless, frustrated energy that, untended can do a lot of damage, into something that was healthful and helpful to my being.
To this end, exercise is an incredibly important part of my life. It helps me stay grounded, focused and every day it faithfully helps me overcome the mental hurdles my mind fabricates. As a knock-on effect, making a habit of working out first thing in the morning, every morning has given a sense of structure and order to my day that is imperative to establish in the life of an actress who works sporadically and who given the choice would otherwise sleep in til 3pm and feel really crap about it afterwards. I have a fairly consistent regime of working out in the gym or local park 5-days a week with my awesome trainer, Samir, who always makes me work to my fullest potential mentally and physically. I do yoga several days a week and take jazz dance classes with some friends whenever I can. As a new year’s resolution, I have also pledged to attend Aerial fitness circus classes (even though yes I know I am twenty one and my otherwise agile body has missed the narrow window of being physically eligible to become a trapeze artist) and am looking forward to tracking the progress I make on this here blog. Melissa, Devin, Sam, Dave and I have each come to this website with a different backstory, different methods and different aims related to fitness, all under the great umbrella of Fitting IT In. My wish is that each of us find at least one person in the community who shares our approach and can support us on our fitness journey. To sum up, my approach and the content of my blog posts will be focused on the healing mental aspects of physical activity and the ways in which fitness can empower you in every area of your life. In general, I hope to avoid using numbers, statistics and dietary guidelines in my posts. While I understand that some people need the structure and precise goals to motivate them, personally I don’t find that stuff helpful or inspiring and instead cultivates in me a competitive, obsessive streak that leaves me perpetually dissatisfied and unhappy with myself. I don’t believe in dieting or that exercise should be grueling. What I believe in is making a longterm, sustainable commitment to your body that can be maintained on a daily basis and that allows us to access in any measure that amazing feeling of invincibility and ‘I CAN do it’. That is the simple sentiment that I hope you will take from my weekly posts.
So excited to get this started!! Good luck, Fittie-fam! xxx