Above All, Charity

Moves. 3 rounds:

  • 8 DB complexes (push-up ➔ renegade row ➔ kickstand deadlift ➔ overhead press)
  • 10 supine leg drops to weighted toe touch
  • 15 kickstand deadlifts (left leg only for me)
  • 20 hip extension + 10 hip abduction in plank (right leg only for me)
  • 12 crazy Russian twists each side
  • 10 tabletop sit through

Then some pull-ups on the hang board (on the biggest jugs for easiest grip hehe).

Privilege vs. marginalization. On Thursday evening, my friends Elayne and Tina hosted a “Donuts & Discussion” for their practicum project on Diversity and Inclusion in the BU PT program. It was so simple yet so profound.

Two small groups of 7-9 people each.

In each group: 20-ish cards laid out on the table, each with one aspect of a person’s identity (e.g., SES, ethnicity/culture, language proficiency/having an “accent”, faith/religion, housing status, food availability, experience level, age, educational institution, family make-up, learning ability, criminal background, size/weight/appearance, mental health, nationality/citizenship, gender/sex, sexual orientation, health status, access to healthcare, etc.).

First round: Each person chooses and discusses +/- 3 aspects that make them feel privileged. I chose SES/housing/food availability, learning ability, and size/weight/appearance (I now would say that this last one is a point of both privilege and marginalization for me).

Second round: Each person chooses and discusses +/- 3 aspects that make them feel marginalized. I chose ethnicity/culture, language proficiency (not knowing anything except English as an Asian person), and religion.

It was a very raw, vulnerable discussion in which my eyes were opened to the oppression that many of my peers experience much more often than I ever see. I cried.

My takeaway: The golden rule is never, ever overrated. Treat others the way you want to be treated, and never let assumptions rule the way you act or speak around others. Really understand your own human experience through what others say about/to you; implement the best and root out the worst of it all in the way you treat others. Above all, charity (love).

Additionally, assuming the best intentions of others is a good practice that Tina and Elayne emphasized. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn about the importance and nuances of diversity and inclusion. Although it is never excusable to act on unjust biases, they exist in all of us, whether we realize it or not. So to love those who do not seem to know how to love is essential for the dissemination of this knowledge.

When I wish to increase this love in me, and when especially the devil tries to place before the eyes of my soul the faults of such and such a sister who is less attractive to me, I hasten to search out her virtues, her good intentions; I tell myself that even if I did see her fall once, she could easily have won a great number of victories which she is hiding through humility, and that even what appears to me as a fault can very easily be an act of virtue because of her intention….

– St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Sweetness. John kindly surprised me last night after Mass with my favorite (Boston) carrot cake from Flour bakery! What a Monday, man. Thank you, John.

Obscure favorite part of my day. For me, this is when I pack my overnight oats for the morning. I don’t like to call it ritualistic because oats are not a crutch food that I eat only because I know the macros (I have no idea what the macros or total calories are). I genuinely just really enjoy overnight oats and am 99.9% of the time excited to eat them. Packing them for the next morning is one of the last things I do at night, and it’s low key one of my favorite parts of the day. Quiet apartment (I usually do it pretty late), prepping my favorite breakfast, a break from my studies…

So tell me:

Which items from that list cause you to feel privileged?

Which items cause you to feel marginalized?

What is an obscure favorite part of your day?

Two Women Helping Me to Be a Better Woman

Moves. A super quick upper body workout before class (I got to the gym fairly late).

  • 4×15 TRX rows, 3×8-10 body weight dips
  • 3×6-8 lat pulldowns (I did one set of pistols but discovered that my left leg was smoked just from carrying all my weight lol)
  • 3×8-10 horizontal rows
  • 1×10 plank walkout to elbow plank to push-up (from @daniellegertner)

One passionate and courageous woman. I am blessed to have many friends who are extraordinary women in different ways. I am convinced that God placed every one of them in my life for a distinct purpose, to help me grow and vice versa.

One of these women is my friend, Elayne, a fellow DPT student and lover of all things health and happiness. Her passion and courage in everything she does is unlike anyone’s I’ve known (closely) in my life. She is currently doing a project on diversity in the PT/healthcare world and eradication of unjust biases in society.

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throwback to first year of PT school studying medication suffixes

Yesterday in class we were discussing healthcare provider bias towards people who are obese, and the way she presented her research findings was awesome. I truly felt like I was being called higher to reflect on how I view others either implicitly or explicitly. Elayne is never afraid to call people to betterment, and she works hard to know what she’s talking about, and then she talks about it well. I was challenged in the best way not only to self-assess my biases (as both a PT-to-be and as a Catholic Christian), but also to likewise find passion and courage to call others higher for the sake of what is good and true.

One empathetic woman. Last night I cooked and ate dinner with my friend, Kelsey, a fellow Catholic friend and lover of all things beautiful. We cooked some Italian chicken (i.e., dumped Italian seasoning onto chopped chicken breasts), peppery parmesan quinoa, and roasted veggies and ate it all in bowls and talked for hours.

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throwback to Christmastime 3 years ago

Kelsey and I discovered that we have been experiencing a lot of the same internal struggles and realizations, and how wonderful it was to have shared our experiences vulnerably and to leave knowing that we are not alone. It was a night filled with empathy, awe, laughter and prayer, and I was inspired to continue rejoicing in God in the little moments and to have childlike faith.

These are just two of the many women in my life who call me to be better, and thank God for that.

So tell me:

Who in your life has called you to greatness and excellence? In what ways?

Both Mental and Physical Healing

Moves. Some random single leg burpees with no rhyme or reason right before dinner in my apartment room.

Less mobility and the mind. This period of limited mobility has been difficult, because besides the high impact workouts, I can’t just pick up and even go on a nice brisk walk (one of my favorite things to do). Stairs are a hassle and taking the elevator to the second floor is more of a norm. People drive me places (so grateful!). Such is the nature of healing an injury in your leg.

But I’ve reflected a bit on how my mind has actually healed a lot in these past few years. When I was a freshman in college, I would likely be in a BIG tizzy if I were in my situation today. When I came to college, I did 50 squats every day while brushing my teeth. I only took the stairs. I could count on one hand the number of times I took the bus / train. My step count would be well over 10,000 every single day. I would do burpees as a study break. And this was not even including my formal workout. I fueled myself well, but I knew that I was moving so often.

Let me tell you, I’ve been moving a LOT less these days. I do what I can, and I stay active, but my body hasn’t experienced a “formal” workout in forever it seems. Bummed? Of course! But I have so much to explore in terms of what I can do with 3 of 4 limbs. I can put a lot of my mental effort into thinking about my…plank and pushup form. My left hip hinging motion in a pistol squat. Breathing when swimming.

I have so many resources available to me, so there is no real reason for me to complain. I can also be grateful to say that it’s temporary; not everyone can say that. And I can still eat to my satisfaction. Might be less than usual since I’m just not expending as much energy, but sometimes it’s the same amount of food as before my injury, and that’s okay. It helps me get out of the mindset of “workout = must eat more food, no workout = must eat less.”

“Why does Janice’s face look like yours?” Real quote from one of our (*cough* Asian) students in dance class last night. Like, what!? Boy, in that case, my face looks like yours too! It was comical and I’m not actually mad at this 5 year old boy, but Janice and I have definitely received a lot of comments and questions about our ethnicity and/or relation to each other, especially in St. Louis this past summer (I love STL but it truly has a different demographic and… disposition). Diversity (and general manners? even in adults, lemme tell ya) is a work in progress.

Halloween. I do not have a costume, but one of my favorite embarrassing costumes from the past is a flamingo one year. Oh, and a toucan the next year. Costco apparently stocked up on exotic bird costumes back in the day.

So tell me:

Do you ever have mental struggles when required to back off from exercise / movement?

Do you ever face comments of ignorance re: ethnicity / religion?

Are you dressing up for halloween this year? What are you!?

 

Troublemaker, People Pleaser

It’s been a minute (five whole days seems like a long time to not blog now)! I had a midterm ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Doctor’s orders. Regarding my femur, I had an appointment with the orthopedic specialist on Friday, and he told me, point-blank, “You need to get an MRI,” as well as, “Even if it’s just a stress reaction [vs. a stress fracture], I’d like you to be on crutches for about a month.”

Me: “But…can it be partial weight bearing at least?”

Him: “If you want this to heal quickly, it needs to be non-weightbearing or maybe toe touch for balance.”

Hmph. It’s not so easy being on the other side of the patient-provider interaction…

Troublemaker, part 1. Putting little to no weight through my right leg has proven to be challenging, both mentally and physically. Physically, I carry a CRAP TON of stuff throughout my day, and holding all of that with mostly my arms is like its own form of training (at least I have some alternative form of cardio?). Mentally, it seems silly because my right leg does not hurt at all when I walk short distances. So I can crutch on the sidewalks and then walk completely normally when I get home. I feel…fraudulent. But I know that it’s not about the pain; it’s about the process of healing. I do miss my usual moves and grooves as well.

I’ve been a troublemaker at times, weight bearing and walking on my right leg when I’m in class or in the Catholic center (my argument: “Doc said I can walk household distances without crutches!!”). But alllll my PT friends + John are on my TAIL about using my crutches as often as possible. As they well should be (and as I well should know to do).

People have been incredibly kind though. Strangers offering to carry my bags, people offering their seats on the train, friends walking slowly with me and opening doors for me, John helping me get groceries. The list goes on and on each day, and for that I am grateful. How can I not be happy!?

Physical therapists everywhere I turn. That was this past Saturday at the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts annual conference!! I learned oodles and now have an ignited flame to advocate for PT in new and #innovative ways. PT is so much more than little Alison could have imagined when she entered into this program almost 6 years ago.

Troublemaker, part 2. Over this weekend, I for some reason felt acutely aware of all the times when I have failed others, either my friends, family, or strangers. I felt heavy and ashamed for all of the times in both the far and recent past when I have hurt people out of ignorance, selfishness, accident.

I’m a people-pleaser at my core, which is good in some respects, but my people-pleasing attitude has often been a BIG source of pride for me. Almost 3 years ago, I begged God to help me break down the walls of pride in my heart — to make me more humble. It’s been a slow and grueling process (that can’t stop, won’t stop, baby) of constantly learning humility through my own failures and shortcomings (along with all the usual embarrassments of my life). And of course, God humbles me in the best ways He knows how.

He has allowed (but not caused!) me to make mistakes and see the effects of my vices, which unfortunately results in others being hurt sometimes, in big or small ways. This has made me really dang familiar with big apologies and the sacrament of confession. But this has also made me realize that I cannot perseverate and bang my head over my failures. It’s easy for me to think it’s the end of the world if someone is mad at me or know that I hurt someone. But what ought to be the reaction? Sincerely apologize, make appropriate amends, and do better. Move forward. It’s not about me.

What does “doing better” mean to me? My people-pleasing tendency has not disappeared, but the way I view myself in relation to others has shifted… On the one hand, I understand more the effects of seemingly small instances of laziness or neglect in loving others. This brings me low in knowing my weakness as a human. On the other hand, it helps me to have a healthier sense of what loving others means. It’s not the big, “WOW THANK YOU ALISON” moments. Sometimes it’s silent refrain from certain words or actions on my part — things that the world will never notice but that are truly better in the end.

Food. To lighten things up here…

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I’ve been using leftover beer cheese dip in a lot of my dinners (perks of potlucks). On toast with an egg on top. In leftover rice with egg and sriracha on top. On a spoon.

The photo got cut off, but I tried a pumpkin mochi muffin for the first time with Lauren and Joy last week, and it changed my life. Gooey, underbaked-kinda-vibe that is what baked good dreams are made of. I want to make some!!

One day last week I ate, like, two bananas and 3 tbsp of PB total before noon.

Moves. Besides crutching everywhere (exhausting!):

  • Swimming with Abby. Also aqua jogging without a floatation belt — that’s WORK.
  • Upper body strength
  • Lots of yoga
  • Single leg strength on my unaffected side (my left butt is sore and my right side is just chillin)
  • I tried single leg rowing and that was doable but felt kinda weird
  • Core work up the wazoo

Whatever works!

Halloween costume? Janice may or may not have a boba costume made for me today. We shall see. If not, I’ll be a pirate or something with my crutches.

Wednesday already, what fun!

So tell me:

Have you ever had to use crutches or follow a protocol for something to heal in your body? Was it difficult?

Are you a people-pleaser? Has this affected you in any particular way?

What is a weird way you’ve spiced up leftovers?

Have you ever eaten a mochi muffin?

Do you dress up for Halloween? If so, whatcha gonna be this year!?

 

A Funny Word

Moves: Rock climbing! I’m taking it as a class at BU’s gym, and it has been just splendid. I love rock climbing and had always wished I could do it more often (also to actually use the rock wall at the gym #tuitiondollars), so the extra wiggle room to add this into my schedule this semester was very welcomed.

“Weenie”: One of my friends jokingly used this word on Wednesday to describe herself because she likes to learn (alternative word: “nerd”?). Yesterday while I was rock climbing, my forearms were getting smoked and the skin on my fingers was burning, so that word popped into my head and I said, “I’m such a weenie todayyyy; my fingers hurtttt.”

Then I felt the need to search the actual definition of “weenie.” Merriam Webster says, “(informal): a frankfurter or similar sausage.” On the other hand, Urban Dictionary defines it as, “A scared person who is afraid to take chances or step out of their comfort zone. Usually, this word is used to describe a person who is afraid to go after the boy or girl that they like.” Also, a small male…extremity.

I have been a weenie in the sense of 4/5 of these definitions — all except the last. (My mom used to call me “sausage” when I was a baby.)

World Food Day: This was honestly the first day I had heard of World Food Day (I’ve been living under a rock perhaps), but I dig it. World Food Day was on Wednesday, and it is a day sanctioned by the UN to, “promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.” Pope Francis had a nice message about it — I appreciate that he not only the excess in food consumption  but also the deficiency in food consumption that contributes to an overall broken relationship with food, which is only one (albeit one very good and necessary) physical form of nourishment, charity, and comfort.

Swimming: I’ve committed to going swimming this morning with my friend Abby. I have not ever worn a swim cap in my life but I guess today is the day. Pics to come perhaps. I also have never swam more than 2 laps at a time. #ForTheFemur!

Thank you to everyone who has expressed so much love and support for the plethora of blog posts this week! I am grateful. I think I will take the weekends off, but boy, has it felt great to hop back onto this platform.

Happy weekend!

So tell me:

Have you ever used the word “weenie”? In what context?

Do you like rock climbing or swimming?

Had you heard of World Food Day before this year? It’s okay if you make me feel bad about not knowing about it until yesterday.