#REVtribe: Kathy Flannery

Posted on September 10, 2018 in REV Community

WE asked. YOU answered! The #REVtribe submitted stories on how REV inspired them to step out of their comfort zones. Turns out, the #REVtribe is what makes REV so freaking badass. Tune in each Monday as we share one of YOUR stories in hopes to inspire the entire tribe to dig a little deeper and most of all to give you the courage to live the life you love! 

As we sweat, we become. We become: One Team. One Heart. One Tribe. 

“GEAR UP MOTHER F@%CKER.  WHY ARE YOU PLAYING SO SMALL?  WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?  IF YOU CAME HERE FOR EASY THERE’S THE DOOR!”

Two years ago if you told those words would one day inspire and ignite me, I would have assumed you bumped your head.  And, If you would told me I’d also be willing to pay money to get out of bed at 4:30am to hear them, I would have offered you the number to a good therapist.

Maybe a little background for clarification.  Four years ago, I turned 65 and retired from my job as director of clinical operations for Healthcare for the Homeless.  I loved my job, but now I wondered how I was going to keep busy.  It’s worth mentioning that at the time I was 120 pounds overweight and taking medication for both high blood pressure and type II diabetes. I guess it’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re busy helping other people prioritize their health needs.  That’s a lie.  It’s anything but easy.  Navigating the “normal size” world as an overweight woman provides constant reminder that you literally don’t fit in.  Shopping malls, airplanes, restaurants, even your desk at work are a constant reminder that the world was not constructed with you in mind.  And never mind the looks you get in public.  It can be very isolating and shaming.  I knew I wanted to make some changes, but I had no idea where or how to start.

My son was (and still is) very (read: obsessively) into fitness.  He suggested that I start by just walking a little each day.  Reluctantly I took his advice and started by just walking to the corner every day. I started losing weight and felt better than I had in years.  Maybe my son wasn’t so nuts after all.  Well, at least about fitness.  Before long, even more weight started dropping off.  Ten pounds.  Twenty pounds.  Thirty pounds.  Fifty oh-my-god-I-don’t-have-to-shop-at-Lane-Bryant-anymore pounds! Soon, I was able to stop taking insulin and my blood pressure meds.  Then, my son asked me to go to a spin class with him.

Screeeech, wait.  What?  Those people are insanity in spandex, they’re like REAL athletes.   Besides sweating in a dark room with strangers with techno music wasn’t exactly on my bucket list. I had never been into working out or sports, but I figured why not, what did I have to lose?  Besides I could spend time with my son who loved it there, so I took a chance.  Fast forward two years and now nothing can get in the way of my spin classes.  My family and friends know not to call or disturb me on Sunday at 12:30, as I am reserving my bikes for next week.

I can’t say I loved it at first.  It was challenging, but the new me loved a challenge.  And through the guidance of Esther and the rest of the REV staff I’ve learned that I’m capable of so much more than I could have ever imagined.  Not just on the bike, but socially and spiritually as well. I’ve learned it’s OK to “just do me” because above all else, I’m enough.  I’ve become the kind of person who sees the glass as half full and then uses it to hydrate so I can go one. more. mile.  I like the person I’ve become and cherish the friendships I’ve made.  When you’re overweight and feeling bad about yourself new people and places are scary. They represent possible judgment and rejection. I don’t have to live in fear anymore. Now, when I walk into a room, instead of wondering if the people there will like me, I wonder if I will like them.

Thank you for providing me with I’m Kathy Flannery and I AM ENOUGH.

-Kathy Flannery