Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E43: Weightlifting and Career Shifting with Jo

February 8th 2021
Marybeth and Marcia chat with Joann (@bbmeatball), a powerlifter turned olympic lifter living in her studio slash gym apartment in Colorado. Jo was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, switched... More
this is disabled girls who lift. We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours. One podcast at a time. It's mary beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Mhm. Mhm Hello. Hello folks, Welcome to yet another episode of disabled girls who lift. Happy to have you if this is your first time welcome. If you're back again, also welcome um this is Marcia from south florida on Seminole tribe land. Hey all, it's mary beth from northern California, blessed to be sitting on a colony land And we've got a guest returning us today. You might remember them from panel of spoons, episode 32/33. I think we got so many episodes. I can't keep track, but Joe Siciliano um is very close to me. They're in colorado springs colorado um lifting for about three years now I think, um now into olympic weightlifting.

Um, they, you know, talk to us a little bit about how they were born with kidney cancer, diagnosed with chronic asthma allergies, M. S. All the things. So, so happy to have you back, joe welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Thanks so much for having me back. I'm excited. So what have you been up to since? Um, when was the last time we all even spoke like, this was back in March, april rate. No, it was, it was when I was time now. Yeah, it was when I was in this apartment. So it's definitely after uh june or july even. Yeah, I'm losing track. It's been a year since last month. Yeah, write myself a day. It is every day. Yeah, it's been a long, a long week in a minute. But when we spoke to you, you're in a new place, that is a studio apartment slash gym, right? Yeah, so my old apartment, I used to live closer to Denver and I, my ceilings were so like low that I could put my whole hand on the ceiling.

So when it was, yeah, I don't know how I did that. And uh so when Covid hit, I immediately went out and buy one out. I mean ordered online and go out at all. Uh I ordered about like a squat rack in a bar bell when I was able to actually find one. And uh so I could do like power lifting, I can squat bench dead lift inside, but when I went to do the olympic lifts, I had to take all of my gear out and lift outside. Um so I moved out of the apartment that I was in and I moved into the studio apartment. Um And yeah, I've been here ever since and it's nice because the ceilings are high and I can lift inside, I don't have to keep going in and out all the time. Yeah, and to be honest, this is my favorite desk setup, joe is currently in the squat rack and we can see it on the side.

That's amazing. Uh Yeah, so this is my office. I so I lift in my squat rag and then so my studio apartment is like you know 300 square feet. So My I built right away um an Olympic weight lifting platform an eight x 8 uh square and it takes up about 80% of my apartment, so like you walk in the front door and it's like my platform and then I have a tiny kitchen and bathroom and yeah I mean that's priority strings all you needed. Yeah so like uh I have a closet um in my bathroom that I'm able to like store. I sleep on a futon. So every morning I roll up my futon um so I sleep in my squat rack also and then I you know I have a little desk here right now, I'm on my futon right now, so on my rest days I just like leave my futon out um and pull out my desk.

So it's my where I lift where I sleep um where I eat, where I do work, where I everything is the literal embodiment of like those gym fitspo posters right? Like lead lift each sleep. That's actually what joe's doing like in real time, this is my bed frame. So I use my spotter arms is like my night stands and uh yeah it's nice. I mean I'm probably going to keep doing this after the gyms are open because yeah it's a perfect use of space. Yeah I mean you're seeing all those many homes and freaking beds going into the walls, pulling out kitchen counters, all that stuff. And you were able to d I Y. At yourself in a state that's freaking impressive. Yeah, I mean it's it's kind of iffy because the ground is kind of uneven, so kind of lifting on uneven ground.

But I just tried to supplement with a lot of like unilateral work so I don't get all, you know, fucked up. But being in a garage like maybe even it might be better off than the garage because that pretty much of the bars roll away from me. Yeah, I just don't have any weights fall. Anyone you're sleeping. I mean we got we just had an earthquake here. But I think Colorado, you're fine. Yeah, no, we're fine, we don't have those here. So does that mean you're not working at all or you found something to work remotely because you just had a huge career change before this, which if nobody knows you, nobody knows what the hell I'm talking about. Right, start from there and then tell us what you're doing please, Please. So uh 2019 also was difficult for me. I saw the beginning. I Okay before that I graduated from a university in Michigan at the end of 2017 and I after that I moved to Colorado after applying to a bunch of PhD programs and I ended up working at the University of Colorado uh in Arora, working as a research assistant, doing cancer research and this is like the job that I, you know, put all, you know, went to school for four years straight and like do all this stuff and you know, got my dream job.

My boss was uh my p I I should say it was like the head of the cancer biology PhD program, which is like the program that I wanted to go into. And yeah, everything kind of lined up for me and I did that job for about eight months and I realized I just didn't, I also, by the way, uh when I first moved to Denver I got a job working at a gym. So I was working 40 hours a week doing cancer research. And then at night I was working part time um just working the counter at this gym and before I got this job doing research. So I graduated uh December of 2017, I started getting into lifting, like I found lifting uh in January 2018, right after I graduated, when I had to actually get a gym membership and not just use the campus gym.

So I got into power lifting. And then Shortly after like I figured out one big weightlifting, so that's I started weight lifting uh at a snap fitness and like a strip mall, just as 24 hour gym. And I don't know what I was doing at all. But I just really really enjoyed it and I thought about, you know, uh becoming a coach and I, my whole thing was like this was never presented to me as an option being a woman. It was always before that I was always running on a treadmill. I was running Uh 30 miles a week in my, when I was in school because it's the only thing I knew. How did the glasses, zumba type things, you know, like I went on the treadmill and I just fucking ran, just blew my knees out and it was just, I just wanted to be like small and like tiny and petite and you know all that ship and uh here and stuff.

Yeah, so um so that was the only thing I really knew how to do and I didn't know how to do it. Obviously I injured the ship out of my knees and all this other stuff. Um So when I found powerlifting, I was like wow, I actually don't like running at all. It's this is like something I told myself I like doing. But um cardio sucks, especially with asthma like uh had a uh do a lot of albuterol before I went for a run just so I didn't die, you know, just going, you have to just like, oh gosh yeah, so I started power lifting and I was like cool, I don't have to do cardio and like my body is like changing really fast and like, I'm able to do things that I wasn't able to do before, like this feeling of power, it was just so profound and I wanted to teach other people how to do that um or I like thought about it, you know? Um so then in March of that year, so I started lifting in january and then March, I got diagnosed with that mess and that's when I was like, oh, so this is very new for you.

Yeah, so I got diagnosed in March 2018, No, Yeah, Uh and I started getting all these like weird symptoms, the my last semester of undergraduate and I kept going to the doctors, I would get these like, weird, like I would wake up and half of my skull would be numb and my neck would be numb and all this stuff and I kept going to the doctors and I was like, what is happening to my body? And um I saw a nurse practitioner at first and she was like, oh well we don't know, I was like, okay, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool. Thank you. So I was like, having, you know, having my skulls check. Yeah, and I was like, also I have this like, neural itch on my ear and I was like reading about it online and like pub med, not webmd and I thought I was like, maybe I have m s So I went and I told the nurse practitioner that she's like laughed at me and she's like you don't have any family history of M.

S. Like you're young, you're young. That since when was that A criteria? Like that's not and it's rare, it's rare, it's not also so anyway so she's like so what's like bothering you? Is it like the numbness or is it the itching? And I was like they don't like but I just want to know like what the fund is going on, you know? And she's like well well here's a prescription for some Benadryl and I was like okay this isn't a histamine itch, like I have allergies and eczema. Like I understand what histamine, I just feel like this is something different. And so anyway it eventually went away right what I was having with a relapse of sorts and uh probably about a month later um I was like going into my final semester and I was at work, I was a tutor at the time and all of a sudden like a muscle in my stomach just kind of pulled me down really forcefully and I was like that's fucking weird.

Um And then like the right side of my body after that just became numb. So I was like okay this is weird. So I went back to my doctor and like I was having these other symptoms like I would run and then after I got done running, like, I would get this like, weird tunnel vision, like blindness kind of an issue. And I went to my doctor and I told her about it and he was like, oh well, like, don't run. I was like, what the fun dude? And he was like, I think I might have M. S. And he was like, no, no, no, Like, um, you know what they say, medical school when you hear hoof prints or hoof sounds like think horses, not zebras. And I was like, messaging even that fucking rare number one, It's number two, the shit ain't normal. Stupid. Also, like, zebras have hooves sometimes it's zebra, honestly, truly, and it just makes no damn sense because you didn't help me, like, okay, horses, Cool, great, but I still have this problem, right?

So he's like, oh, well, it must be um, anxiety, depression and I was like, yeah, dude, of course I have anxiety, you know? Of course. Right? So he's like, so here's a prescription for PROzac. And I was like, okay, cool. So I took PROzac helped my depression and anxiety. Great, uh didn't help with my M. S symptoms, but eventually the symptoms went away, right? You recover from a relapse. So I thought that my anxiety was super bad and I was like, damn, that's crazy. Like, I didn't realize how anxious I was. I didn't feel anxious, but I took the PROzac and then my symptoms went away, so, Okay, cool. It's not M. S. Put it out of my head, man. You got a hell of gas lit? Yeah. So the next time I had a relapse, I've got into a little bike accident, I flipped over my handlebars and bruised my ribs and I it took some time recovering from that.

And then um I started lifting again when I felt okay to do so. And then um the next day I was like, I squatted like two days in a row and I thought I'd injured my spine somehow. I thought I had like spinal compression. So I woke up one morning and my uh pinky and my ring finger and both of my hands were numb and I was like, that's kind of weird. But I was like, well this follows you, seven derma tone, like that makes sense, is where I put the bar on my back, Like, probably injured myself lifting. So then the next day happens and then, you know, three of my fingers and then four of my fingers and then my hands are numb. And then all of a sudden it was like really just like hard to do things that normally wouldn't be hard to do. Like, just I would just be like winded, Like just like doing like riding my bike, not up or down the shoes. Some bullshit, like.

Yeah. Yeah. So then eventually, so I still thought I had spinal compression at this point because like M. S. I don't have M. S. Have anxiety depression, right? So I went to I was supposed to go to work and I worked right next to the hospital, so I was like, I'm just gonna go in and get this checked out really quick. They probably just need to like flip me upside down, and I'll be I'll just go to work after that. And uh I went in and by the time I went to the hospital uh my whole body was numb from the shoulder down, like, it felt like I was a floating head, like, I could not feel my body in space at all. And uh I went and I had an MRI before this also uh and I got my optic nerve checked out, and they didn't find any lesions, so it was just like, I don't have M. S. You know? So I went to the er and they're like, well it's a start an MRI just to like, see what's going on, and I was like, sure, go for it, like, I'm fine.

Yeah, I was like, I just had an MRI but if you want to do another one, go for it was done in like, a year. No, I got really lucky. This was like, within six months of my symptoms and being diagnosed, which like, I know a lot of people can be years and more, I mean never sometimes. So um I was really persistent and bugging my doctor and having him listen to me and uh so I got my memory back and those fucking chud comes in, I'm waiting for my results. And he was like so we found some lesions and I was like so have a seat. Just was like you've got some lesions also could you watch sex in the city last week ways? And I was I was like okay. I was like that's normal though, right? Like people have those is fine. And he was like go uh normally it's you know seen in patients with M. S. And I was like big uh was that word again?

Yeah so I was like okay. He was like yeah they left and I was like holy function? Yeah. So I was just like sitting in the er by myself like I thought I was just going to get checked out really quick. Get flipped upside down and then go back to work. And then he was like so we're gonna admit you to the room and we're going to start you on steroids and you know we talked to all these people involved on this lady comes in after like right after I got diagnosed and she was like so how do you how do you feel? And I was like I want to kill myself. And she was like oh okay. Um should we like do you need like a special route? Like you know should we be like watching out for you and like put you in the sight you know, I was like can you put yourself in my position for like two seconds? Like how would you feel if you were in my position? You know what, I'm not gonna do anything. But you just asked me how I felt after I got diagnosed with this disease that I thought I had and kept being denied and turned away and all this other stuff.

So Yeah, so that was March 2018. Uh So I struggled a lot with just like you know that whole identity shift and what's important to me versus what's not important to me and all this other thing, right? When I was supposed to start my career, right? This thing that I just graduated school for thing that you spent this whole time, why is that cats are passionate? But anyways this team, this is something like this whole time mentally preparing yourself like this is how my life is gonna be. Yeah and yeah, so I had all these plans and woke up and life was like you thought exactly like I was like I'm going to go to undergrad and then I'm gonna go to PhD school and then I'm gonna have my own latin, like I had this whole plan and after I got diagnosed I was like fuck plants, you like the funk is a plan, you know? And so then I was like um you know I really like lifting and I really like teaching other people how to lift and like all this other stuff and I didn't have a coaching certificate but like my I spent 5 4 years uh I tutored anatomy and physiology and like I was all into like creating materials for how to learn all of this stuff and uh so I had an understanding of how the body worked just not in the exercise science way.

But I was like I can take this information and put it towards coaching and have like a science based approach to how I coach. So uh so anyway fast forward I got this job didn't like it. Um uh You know I wasn't just wasn't fulfilling at all and like there's a lot of pressure being put on me. It felt a lot like grad school even though it was an entry level position mm And I was still you know coping with all these other things and so I was like I you know eventually it was like a mutual decision like wasn't a right fit this and that so I was like okay I need to pivot you know? And so now I can pivot to the thing that I that I wanted to do to begin with. Um Or you know played around with the idea of so I started uh studying for the N. S. C. A. And in the meantime I got a position uh as a barista. I just learned how to make coffee just to pay my rent and my bills and all that stuff so that That ended up being around the end of 2019.

And while I was studying for the N. S. D. I was presented with this opportunity to train at this um like a studio gym where I would train and then I would just give the owner cut of whatever for my training session was. And I started taking clients off February of 2020. And uh yeah and I was like everyone like 2020 half and I like went to this club in Denver and I was like 2020 is coming to my fucking year. Like my ship together. Like I just like pivot. I made business cards. I mean a website like I was like this is gonna be my fucking year and on it. Yeah I just got dumped on like super hard so the gym so I was working at a studio gym and I was also shadowing this other gem that I was training at. And I was like going to one of the weightlifting classes and then seeing um after two shadow my coach.

And in october I got my usa w uh certification. So I was like certified to teach olympic weightlifting. I bought like insurance for uh you're all set up. I was like yeah like ready to go. I you know I opened up my business started taking clients. I immediately had three clients and I was like dope. Um So then when the pandemic hit uh I was like cool. I was like we can just like let's just stay home for a couple weeks, everyone we're all going to you know wear misc, we're all going to the distance and then we'll come back, welcome back after this and everything will be cool and we're naive. Yeah. What was I saying? Oh so the gym, so the gym both of that I was shadowing at and the gym that I was um training my own clients that they both shut down permanently done.

And I got the news in March or like after like april april is when they shut down. So I was like okay, so I don't know what I'm gonna do now. Like you know like I don't want to do remote coaching because I'm just I'm just starting out, I don't feel comfortable doing remote coaching, especially with like a next call, kind of a different skill set also. Yes, that's not what you trained doing. It's like teachers now they have to do the zoom shit. Like that's not what they've been doing this whole time. Of course you're not going to excel in it, right? And like I was doing like the at home zoom workouts at the beginning and it's just like you know like crossfit type work. I was like hit and all this stuff and like I wasn't coaching that. So like it didn't make sense for me to do remote, you know? Um, and I didn't, I like did a couple workouts with like a friend over zoom, but it wasn't, it was more so that we could just motivate each other to do it, but it wasn't something that I was motivated to pursue.

So, um, yeah, and then I was working at the barista job, didn't close down, but we served primarily like the nurses and the doctors at the hospital and I was like, Be so like, I'm not like, I'm not doing like I'm not doing, I'm not risking my life for $9 an hour. There's absolutely no way. So, um, I was finally able to file for unemployment in April. Um, and then my, I had a motorcycle that got stolen um in front of my house, so which was great because I still owed money on it And I just lost my job. So I was able to pay off the loan and then I got about $4,000 respect from my insurance claim. That's what about my, yeah, that's what about my squat rack and all my gym stuff. So I got, I like locked out. Um, things are like finally like turning around with, uh, like a new direction.

So I before like I realized that I can't coach anymore and, and then there's also like the logistics of health insurance. So right now I'm on Medicaid and Colorado's Medicaid is like phenomenal like I wish everyone had Medicaid and Medicaid ID in michigan as well. But Colorado's is like amazing. And the thing about Medicaid is you either have money or you have Medicaid. So that was also kind of this factor that I had to play, uh, you know, make a decision about and I was afraid If you make like $1 over the minimum, then your health insurance gets shut off and then you're responsible for buying your own medics, you're your own health insurance. I'm sure you're yeah, this is where they penalize you for being poor. It's like be dirt poor and you can have this Medicaid, be a little bit more than dirt poor and you're going to be in debt now Goodbye.

Your employers are like not responsible for your health at all, even though they, we put you in the risk. No, but you could work, you would have to work. I mean, I know what Colorado's law is, but for the most part, if you're not full time, like W2 employee funk off and then you've been, then it could be the world's shittiest insurance that cost For $500 a month and then you find out you still got to pay 40% of everything anyway. It just doesn't sham. So it's either like don't have any money or have like a bunch of money, like there's no, you're not allowed to be in between. So that's like, and I mean, so I, when I first got diagnosed I started taking the compact zone, which is the three time weekly injection. And um, that was, I mean that was a hassle because you have to refill it every month and there's like, you have to get prior authorization, they have to talk to your insurance company, then you have to talk to the air pharmacy and it's like a production and you have to do it every single month.

And, but I was able to transition over to oak service, which is a once every six months. So I don't feel once every six months. But The thing about oak service is without insurance, it costs, I think it's like $137,000 gone. Yeah, paid for my education with it. Yeah, it's just, and it's like two doses and each dose is like 10 ml. So for 20 here. Yeah, it's just like so I have to say on Medicaid otherwise, like I don't know what insurance is gonna cover my, one of my medications also just one, just one, right? As hundreds of people don't realize you just like, you just want to stay at home and just complain. Why don't you just get a job. Well, fighting for my life, my job has to be able to support my health, right? Can't then I can't take that jump like what you want from me, right?

And that was like kind of the thing that I thought about with personal training is that like damn, I'm either going to have to make a ship ton of money or I can't do this like, you know what I mean? Like I mean they're going to have to make a bunch of money so that I can actually pay for good health insurance, not just the required health insurance. Um Or I have to be a barista, you know, and make and make ends meet and make enough money to like pay for my rent and my bills and literally that's it, like nothing else. Um So I thought a lot about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to go back to and For a long time like 2020 just seemed like just, you know, I look towards the future and it was just great. Like I couldn't see anything at all. And uh I recently had this idea to get into coding and and learning how to code.

I signed up to do this boot camp that I guess is hard to get into. It's called flat iron. It's like one of the many bootcamps that you can go and pay for it, you have to pay for it. But I'm I'm waiting to hear back on Tuesday, a financial committee is meeting. So I'll either get a full ride or a partial ride. But it's like so flattering, it's really cool because they cater towards uh diversity. So diversity of rates and um gender in calm. Like so the more you can check those boxes, quote unquote the more. I don't know. We'll see. Yeah, but even so I mean it's $15,000 I think and it's 15 weeks. It's expensive. However. Mhm. The promises, this is what they say. Once you become software engineers, this is what they teach you how to do. You'll start off making around $60,000 a year and then it goes up from there based on experience.

Whereas when I was in research, I was making 40 41, and then I would cap out at like 49 before. Um I don't have to get my masters degree and go into another 50 money just to get more money to do the same work basically. So with software engineering it's $15,000, but then you can just keep growing based on how much experience you have. So that's kind of the direction that I'm going to. And it's like a job that I can do remotely, which I think this thing doesn't say. Yeah, not to mention there's just so many job openings in coding, like everything on top of everything has to do with software, new apps, new websites. Yeah and Denver is like we have the Denver tech center so it's like a huge uh tech hub. So it feels like a smart thing. and it's also like um when I was looking at the program they hire or they take on a lot of like artist musician types and I'm both. And so I was like, I think it'd be really good at it and then I've just been spending the past two weeks just like doing the work like the pre work before the boot camp and like learning how to write code and learning how to, how is that working?

Like big brain time. Because I know for for me and this new body like learning something new is is a task like deviating from a set schedule and a set things with me to do for my brain isn't hard. Like I changed my phone, I changed my laptop and I bought a new camera and I'm entirely lost these past two months. Like everything is ship, I've forgotten everything, I'm gone, I'm not on this plane. Like how does, how are you learning how to code? Just casually? It's fucking hard. It's super hard. Like it's learning a new language and um well you know, learning different syntax which is like the grammar of coding and yeah, it's hard, especially like when my days were just like I wake up whenever I want to take my dog for a walk and then I'm just like I lift and uh that's about it. Sometimes I'll draw or you know make music but I didn't have a schedule.

So like right now for me like the idea of having a schedule is like, oh it's crazy, it's okay. I spent an entire year like just floating in the ether of like playing space time. Good morning. Don't know. Anyway, one day it's like, it's just like I got a planner for the first time in the year I wrote a sucking plan. Oh damn. Like just feeling like super optimistic writing things in a planner and shipped. Like it's in it, but it's like this is what I was afraid of too, is that I would get so used to like not working and not learning new things and not doing things but like this was my life, my life before Covid was waking up at four o'clock every morning and working until uh eight at night like damn like 40 K. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, like that's what I'm saying. So like I mean it was interesting to go from working that much to working nothing at all.

Like that was like I think the first week of lockdown I think I just laid in my bed and ate peanut M and M's like for the whole day. Like I did not like I would leave my bed to pee and whatever but like I was just so like lost and I think this is the most relatable that the world will feel on this podcast. Like Yeah like the massive change or the flip of all of our lives and that was like, yeah, I mean, if you're sucking high risk, if you're not high risk, then I don't know, I guess you don't get to travel. Yeah. At least for the folks that have lost jobs and had to change industries and whatever, they'll have a better perspective or understanding of how somebody with a new disability or flare up of a disability has to deal with ship like this all the time.

Any day you could wake up in your world changes. Yeah. And like having to just quick change plans, you know what I mean? Like when you're not expecting it to happen, but sometimes I feel like the people that are having these changes plans and having this perspective or the, a lot of the times the same people um, that are already experiencing that and you know, in their health in many different ways. I feel like, I know a lot of people that, you know, um, I don't have any sort of illnesses or anything and I mean, they had to switch to remote work um, which is a change. They have to wear masks when they go inside. That's a change. But there's definitely a spectrum, like I think covid has definitely impacted everyone right in some way, but not equally.

No, that's for sure. Not at all. You are marginalized. You got, you got some extra work from Cali that's for sure. Yeah, I'm definitely, and it's like, not only has my life has changed so dramatically and drastically in such a short amount of time. I lost, I lost a lot of friends, a lot of friends that like I thought were like really cool and like woken on board with all this and uh it just I don't know if you guys have had the same kind of experience, but when this pandemic first happened, um I was kind of like sliding into a lot of GMOs being like, where's your mask at? Like, what are you doing? You know? And uh instead of having a conversation about it, they would just block me or like tell me, tell me to block them. It was like there was no conversation. And these are people that you actually know. Yes.

Yeah. Yeah. These are people that were all about wearing masks and you know, when everyone was locked down there like we're all in this together and send each other push ups and shipped to like maintain insanity. And then as soon as things started opening back up again, it was what happened to you, we're all this together. Like it's invisible. I don't see it. It's not happening to me. That's where they're at today. Like right now, it's the worst it's ever been at least at the time of this recording, right? But ship is not we're not in lockdown over here. No, like at these numbers last year, nobody was going to the bar to watch fights, right? Yeah right. There's I mean there's house parties all around me like yeah, what you got bars open where they're showing fights and floor. Yeah. Last night was some McGregor fight or something. And I see like all people that bars are open restaurants are open.

It's so crazy. They're just cool in it. Like should I ain't nothing changed. I'm giving me hives just thinking about it. Like think about even the NBA right? Like the NBA is back. We had numbers less than this and they were in a bubble right? For what change now. They're not in a bubble. Yeah, it's just this whole Covid tested every single day. But it's also not like these New Year's works celebrations, other holiday celebrations are trying to keep everybody feeling quote unquote normal. But in media we're seeing everybody unmasks and just drinking having a great time. Like representation. No, and I think it's almost worse than like I like the people that are like covid deniers and they're like all the numbers are inflated blah blah blah. I can't talk to you. We don't live on the same planet like whatever. Like I don't even try with these people but the people that are like, oh I take the pandemic seriously. Like I get tested frequently.

I wear mask indoors and I'm like, okay, you have to wear a mask when you go to the store. So like thanks for doing the following the law and second like you must know that just because you get a negative test doesn't mean this is what trump. Did the person that you hate? This is that was his tactic was to get tested frequently and that didn't work out. So I don't understand why you think that you and your situation is different. So it's like, but it's those people that do that, it's like they're so impossible to talk to because they they get it, they care, you know, like they don't, they're not wrong because they care about the pandemic. So it's like you're not Covid deniers, like we're we care about the people, but also I don't want to wear mask at the gym because then it's hard to breathe, but you can't, you're not the same person so you can't be both Norris or I'm going to hang out with families, family members and friends in the holidays, even though we live in a million different states, like, oh, but we're in a pot though, so it's okay.

I got tested and you know, it's fine. I really had somebody tell me that like it was december, it was december. I got tested before. Thanksgiving. Thank God I'm fine bitches december. What are you doing today? Yeah, no, I had to go, I had to go pay for gas inside of the gas station and there was a guy not wearing a mess talking to the uh you know the person at the dusting. I already got Covid, the doctor said I wasn't like, there's no way for me to get other people sick anymore. Have you not heard about the thousands of cases where they got Covid again? You dumped? Also, there's like, I'm gonna go get gas at the 70 six. Yeah. It's just, I don't know. And so that was like, kind of, uh, you know, play a factor into like when, when it is okay and when we're all vaccine and things kind of return back to normal and we're able to go out and be in society again with society, you know, not lets us, but like we get vaccinated and they don't have a choice anymore.

They have to deal with us now. Who are my friends going to be, who am I going to work for? You know, like, where am I going to give my money to? I live next to so many really cool gyms, but none of the people in the gyms are wearing masks. So it's like, why would I give you my money? Why would I support you with my funds? You don't support me as a person. Exactly. So like, that's kind of what I'm trying to uh, cope with right now. Same people are like having competitions and strongman events and I'm like, I don't, um, you know, I did Highland games, like once before things closed. Um, and they're still going right now. And I'm like, when things are quote unquote safe. Like I don't know if I want to go back to that because at the end of the day like y'all didn't give a ship. I'm usually the only black person at these things thinking about like besides the fact I don't know what the is wrong with my body, I'm black. I'm probably gonna die like in a hospital. There's like, it's like one extra thing I know that these white people aren't thinking about their just like I just wanna have fun.

I should be able to be fit. You know, you've got to be able to exercise, have health for fighting and you know strengthen your immunity actually like you know like these are the people, I'm like I don't write well that's the thing you go back to that right? Or like this idea that like the people that are high risk for covid or the people that would, well not only just stay home but like those people are a different group than the people like what are the gym, right? Because if you go to the gym then healthy if you like places that are healthy and that was like for me that was a lot of um having to explain over and forking over that just because uh I lift and I am thin that means that I'm not high risk and I have nothing to worry about. And it's just like listen, it's like yeah, it's like I just wish that more people knew what it was like to not be able to breathe, just feel like just for like a minute, know what it's like to not get air into your body.

How terrifying and like I went to the hospital um last november, I was in the ICU for an asthma attack and I almost didn't fucking make it and um had Uber to the you are actually because I ship, I didn't want to wait for an ambulance because I think it would, I would make it. And I remember like crawling like crawling into the Uber and like when you're having an asthma attack, when you're like you're so close to just sucking dying, you know like time just move so slowly and you just everything moves really slow and time has just started. I got to the hospital which is like really close, thank goodness and I like fucking crawled into the yard. Uh I couldn't talk right because you can't breathe and I was just like pointing to my wind pipe and they're like okay, they like put me in this room right away and uh this guy was like, have you ever had to be intimated before? And I was like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, like the idea of being intubated was like so just terrifying to me and he was like okay well like you know, we'll put you on albuterol and hopefully you respond to it and I did and like necessary thing about asthma is that you, I was taking albuterol um you know, I was waking up at night and you know, trying to get air into my body and it was just kind of like this downhill battle before I had to actually admit myself to the emergency room and just like the how fragile your life is when you're not able to get air into your body, like I just wish more people understood what that felt like um before they have to actually get Covid and experience that, you know what I mean?

The worst part is is it's this facade that because they're wearing a mask, they can't breathe and suddenly all of their rights have been revoked and they think they're experiencing the same thing. That's, that's what pisces me off the most. Well, a lot of them too, I realized are like self proclaimed asthmatics and I'm like, oh ship you do, like, if you actually, like, I'm not saying they don't have asthma, but like holy sh it, like, you really don't want Covid then like, I would rather have fun just like do it dude, like, I don't like wearing a mask either, like, I would prefer to not wear a mask, but I would also prefer to be alive, like asthma, like on a hierarchy, I put that pretty high. So yeah, it's like that above the inconvenience of a facial covering, you only have to wear Like if you have asthma, like you shouldn't be going too many places to begin with. Like I don't fuckingo so like me taking risks right now, which I don't do anymore says, you know the numbers are what they are.

And also we have a new strain in Colorado that's more contagious than the very contagious virus. Um so I used to take a little risk every once a week. I used to go to the 7 11 and I would buy a pint of ice cream and some candy and then I would go back home. That was like that was my risk and I don't even do that anymore. Like I don't go to places I haven't been in a a room indoors with another human spending time in a year. Like, so when I hear other people and not to like, you know, everyone's suffering is valid and you know, everyone suffers in different ways, especially with Covid, but it's like, damn dude, like please don't, please don't complain to me that um you know, you're sad that you didn't go to Mexico this year, just like, just don't, don't, don't, don't complain to me that you can't go on vacation or you can't do like I'm literally, I've been in isolation for close to a year now.

Like no human contact and you're in solitary confinement because you can't trust the world because I happen because of other people's act exactly. I and people like me are paying the consequences of other people that don't think the consequences fall on them. A lot of the times they don't and that's I mean that's just being a selfish um No, it is if they can't see it, if it doesn't literally affect them. Like if in their little bubble world view, it really doesn't, it doesn't really hit, just doesn't. So I mean I've made kind of my peace with it definitely during the beginning of everything. I kind of like lost my ship a little bit a lot of bit and uh I like deleted my instagram permanently and like, like I was just like I can't look at it and um now if I see something I don't like instead of having a conversation about it instead of like losing more friends and you know having arguments, I just like mute people and I just like make my social media just things that I like, you know, and that's been really helpful.

Um for a while I like just got off of social media and that didn't really help with feeling isolated. So social media is okay. It's just you know, make sure that you curate it to be things that don't upset you. Yeah, it's definitely triggering right now to see people just out and about hanging out taking group group photos like huffing and puffing particles in each other's faces. Yeah, I just I just need them now. Like it's sign these from like years ago trigger me. Yeah. Like if I see a group picture and you know when somebody writes under like, oh, this was pre covid Yeah. Yeah. It's changed everything. It's not it's not really cool that we have to think of all these extra things and people are just like, I just wanted to hang out with my friends. Like it's just getting old. It's getting old. It really, I think, I don't know, a lot of people, you know, mental health is obviously really important and a lot of people are doing things that they normally wouldn't do and they know that they, you know, things are unsafe, but they're like, you know, my mental health blah blah blah.

I I just had to do it and it's like, I don't know how do you guys cope with like, like I get that like I get the other people's mental health is important, but there are so many outlets, you know, there are some different, there's different things. Um Actually that's a really good question and I'm gonna hold you on that for a sec because we're going to put a sponsor moment here. We're just going to pause for literally like three seconds and then I'm also going to take that moment to think of a good answer. Okay, okay, okay. How do we cope? How do we cope with feeling like the fatigue of this pandemic is the question right over this pandemic. Or you're over isolation, cabin fever, cabin fever, Having to spend all this time with your kids and your husband, your partner, whoever, like 24/7, that kind of mental health. I just think everybody honestly like the biggest problem is that people just suffer from a lack of perspective and they cling on to think like the moment that this happens and things aren't normal anymore.

You can't say like, oh well I need this and this and this to be like, no, nothing is the same. So then you're coping like they can't be the same. Like it doesn't make sense. So it's like things are evolving and you're trying to stick to the same thing and hoping for the same result, of course you're going to go nuts, like of course you're you're going to have a breaking point and say funk it, I'm going to the bar because that's all that you ever created for yourself, right? Like there are really people that just cannot and it, I don't know maybe that's just how I, how I view it. I just feel like it's a lack of perspective and people don't like sitting with themselves. Like right now you've been, you've been literally forced to sit with yourself. Um but there are some people like me who let's say their jobs got cut down, my hours went down because kids were like, I don't want to see anyone extra, but eventually it's back up and I'm working again, right? Like that hasn't changed. But yet my other coworkers are still there. They're leaving their house every day risking right?

People that I work with or the people that even I employ, they're leaving the house every day risking their lives working. But yet because they spent how many months cooped up and now they get a glimpse of outside, they're like, I don't want to spend time by myself anymore and they're going out to restaurants and whatever and whatever again. And it's like, but it's like it's okay because the business owners are allowing it. The governor is allowing it. That I think that's poor representation. It is you're not ensuring that you're putting so like the person that's serving you the food had to make a choice. Do I get this paycheck or do I stay home? Because you decided I can't find any other ways to cope. I need to go to a restaurant. Like you made that decision worse for them. So that's kind of what I mean, lack of perspective. Like the idea of going on a vacation right now. Like no. Yeah. I just like when I think about a pandemic, when the first time I ever learned about pandemics, I was like damn, this is like the worst thing that could ever happen to humans.

Like the worst possible thing, I hope I never have to live through a pandemic because I can't think of anything worse than a pandemic and now we're here and I'm still just like damn, this is like the worst thing ever. And everyone's like I don't want to eat my spaghetti indoors. And it's like, what are you talking about? Well I want to take my instagram pics on the beach with 200 other people. Know the worst thing that like something worse than a pandemic is a pandemic with technology. Exactly. And This idea that like you just have this entire world to explore and you can't go back to like 5 10 years ago. we're just like how privileged we are. Like I'm like my mental health is like you know touch and go but like I'm okay, I get everything delivered. I have streaming services, I can watch whatever I want.

Like I can talk to people on video like there we have the technology to adapt. Like If we're 1920s when the last pandemic happened. Like yeah we're not waiting for carrier pigeons. Like. Yeah like it's like considering that we're in 2021 now. Like considering the technology that we have, it's okay. Like stay home. You know, sit with the demons in your head become their friends. Like talk to people on facetime, take up a new hobby. Like it's okay. Like it's gonna it's okay. Like man, I tell you, I tell you one thing though, this has truly made B. C. That I have been an introvert this whole time and I saw that I was not. I'm just happened to be social. However, I am totally fine. Like this whole pandemic people are like, oh my god, I miss you. You want to hang out? Like, I mean, I guess I get to you like a park.

You stay over there, maybe next weekend two months later. Like, you know, there's nothing in me that's like, oh I gotta call someone and hang out. But I see people doing it literally. Like I have a cousin who is literally hanging out with some buddies at somebody's house every single day. Damn dude. Like a different person. Yeah. And sometimes different houses in the same day. And like it's a pandemic. Like thanksgiving. I have family members that would go to each other's house and then they go to a party. Mm hmm. Yeah. They're not. Even parties exist like I just, I don't see them here. Oh no. They're popping Oh yeah, they're here. They're here for sure. We're all in the same group though. In that like I'm okay with losing friends, even family members through this thing. Like the last year and a half has been nothing losing friends and family because of Yeah. Not even just the pandemic. But all of the politics that have ensued through it. Yeah.

Politics y'all are fucking dumb. I'm sorry. People are sorry. Oh my gosh and I know for you mary beth on the same wavelength is like even sometimes after you deal with death, like that changes things too. I know not everybody, Some people just carry on. Like it didn't happen, but at least for me, like when people die that are close to me, I'm like, I can't wake up and just live my life. Yeah, but then that and then politics and then pandemic, like I don't look at anybody like every everything that happens just turning on more lights and I'm just like, no, no, no, no, no, no, not you. I mean it's not a bad thing. I mean I feel for extroverts right now, I thought I was social, you know the same way. But like I hung out with one of my friends when the pandemic first happened and they were like, well go like to this park and we'll hang out and I was like, All right, do that. And I like hung out and were like 25 ft away and like both had our masks on because like, I just, you know, wasn't taking any risk.

And uh afterwards I was like, damn, I could've just not did that, you know, I'm okay if I was at home, like, I feel like the added value to my money for I was like, I'm just like tired now, I gotta nap for two home. Especially at the point when so when we all got bamboozled like, oh it's getting better, phase one, phase two, blah, blah blah. Especially at that point when people were like excited. Like the first week that golf courses were open down here. People have never golfed in their life were like Yeah. Like that's the part where I started to realize like mm exact something about me that I thought I knew. Yeah, I managed concert venues of 3-8-10,000 people and I was absolutely relieved that I didn't have to be like an essential worker out there with.

I like I know it's shitty that are performing arts and just live concerts have shut down for the time. But Oh, thankful that I am not putting my staff or myself at risk just because people want to watch live music or like it's okay Washington home for a little bit. I think the people that get to me the most uh like talking about death or just all this separation of people. Like is that people think they know what's right for you. Yeah. Uh They know what's better for your mental health because it suits. There's as an extroverted like I think I'm an extroverted introvert if that makes sense. But like You can't tell me that it's better for me to hang out with 12-15, 20 of my family members to cope with whatever is going on. Like no, I think it's okay. Especially when the consequences are death.

Like there's just nothing, what a consequence is death amount. And for that I'm out, what is worth it. I just don't understand like I can't think of anything. There's a lot of things that I do miss, you know I miss going to the gym like I missed the atmosphere of the gym. I have to lift in my fucking apartment with like all of like olympic weightlifting to where like I can't bail, I can't bail in my apartment. I know like thought in the back of your head you're not gonna you're not gonna perform the same. Exactly. So like damn, I miss like being able to lift inside of a gym and not having to worry about whether I'm not going to like break everything in my life if you know I mess up, you know or just like the motivation for other people. The gym was like that was my community and I lost that but it's like nothing is where like even though gyms are open, this is not worth it, it's not worth it. It's not the value is not there. And I would have liked to be home way more than than I am now, honestly.

Oh but I just, I'd be so stressed out if I mean the only time I leave my house now is to take my dog for a walk and then I come right back home. No I'm the I'm the person that's like you know that joke that's going around like this pandemic is all the people that do all the work on the group project. Like I was that person in real life and I am that person now. Like, you know, it'll be somebody's birthday or some ship and then people are like, we're gonna get together and I'll be like, all right, So where have you been in the past two weeks? Um What kind of mask you have on and reading indoors or outdoors? Are we doing this or that? Okay. We're gonna is that how many chairs do you have? Okay, well, you know, I'm just gonna come by. I'm gonna wave that. I'm gonna leave it be asking when I'll get there or you know, like as soon as I turned the corner they're like, oh, you put your mask up just here like Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And that's the thing. It's like, that's why I don't I just I just don't know. These are these are obligation things that I don't know.

Even at talking about it now, I'm like, I might just say funding from that one. It's a lot. It takes a lot out of me. Yeah. I mean just with the anxiety of like, do I have Covid like, do I have to watch out? Like, I just can't I, you know, I know that I don't have Covid because I know for sure that I have no worse certain I don't have to worry about that. Like it's just there's nothing, there's nothing there's nothing that would make me want to feel that anxiety of, well, I have to go to the hospital and there's no more beds. Yeah. Damn. Dude. Like no ventilators. Like everyone's going to need a ventilator. Oh yeah. And how many are there? No, there's like literally pediatric hospitals with adult patients right now. Yeah, There's like once the vaccine comes out and and the various doesn't mutate again, which probably well, yeah, we will.

I don't have my, I do not have my hopes up. I don't know what the future is and people always say back to normal, what's normal gonna be, who knows? All I know is that I don't like anybody and I'd rather be in my house. That is all I have concluded from last year. Where are you guys all? So I got a bar bell. Some plates were good. But you know what's interesting though? And because both of you guys have been like the Covid jim scramblers, right? I've always had a garage gym or at least before. Covid. That's right. Um But so it's kind of interesting because I'll see. So like you having a bedroom that is a gym right? Or mary beth like scrambling to get pieces and pieces like, oh, I got a lift and I'm like, I have it and I still don't feel like I'm not, I'm not like killing it in the gym right now. No, I'm not killing it in the gym, but it helps maintain it.

It's just weird. You, you know, it's just a part of my routine. I'm not like preparing for like any competitions or anything. I'm not even like if I lift and it feels good, then it's good. Like I'm lifting now more for my own sanity than I am for anything else. Because before I got the equipment that I did and I was just like doing lunges and burpees and ship. Don't say that here. It was here. I just, I feel better. My symptoms, uh PMS symptoms are better after I left. So, I mean, it's a health management, you know? Yeah. And you know, damn well, we're not going to do cardio. Like this is my cardio is doing squats, squats to my dumbbells or doing a olympic weightlifting on my porch. Like this is my cardio and I got to keep that immune system going. Yeah, that's pretty much where I met, I guess I'm saying it's just weird because that's how I feel like in my head.

But then also I'll see people that are posting like, oh my God, it's my first time back with a barbell and whatever. Months and like I missed it. And, you know, I might myself be here with my garage gym and like I've worked out in three weeks because I felt like ship, like, should I feel how this person's feeling because I don't, no, I think honestly, it's also just the act of having it. Like, I know, I've got stuff and I am not like, what is it? I'm not denied that right to exercise when gyms were taken away from us, you know, like we felt like, oh ship my whole life is falling apart, just having a borrow from other people like, you know, they're damning that you can or can't control, you know, I'm not going to touch it for three weeks. You're good. Yeah, I'm really excited on social media. That's how I felt when my first piece of equipment that I got um was a barbell and I was like, just like to be able to just like touch it again, like all my callouses went away and I was like, wow, I feel so good to just touch it and like get familiar with these movements that I'm so familiar with because it was taken away from me, I don't know how it feel if it was always available, I think yeah, it was me and once I was some like having it, being taken away was really difficult, but Marseille is something that you had to a lot was like you had maybe two or three competitions in a year now we haven't like, I feel, I feel like I haven't competed in so long that you would be missing out on, but you're not because people in florida or shit.

Yeah, so yeah, I don't, I could have, I could have, I could have gone to stronger nationals in october um, I could have competed in the big florida, There's like a couple of like cannon florida strongman events kind of thing. I could've done both of those in the, in the winter. Um, there's some next month I could be doing those highland games are popping. I could be doing all of those, but I don't want to be a part of that. I don't want to pay. I don't want to give any money into that. I don't want to hang out and smile on the faces of those people. They don't actually give a ship. I don't. So yeah, some para lifting meets opened up in Cali too, but I'm not like racing my way down. I don't, it's indoors sing in this calendar year. I don't, No two enclosed. It's going to have to be a solution. I think when we're all able to come out of isolation, there needs to be like gyms that open up that are just made by, you know, people like us that we're uh, you know, put away for so long and we can only accept other people that were put away for so long.

You know, I just have to be to make our own ship. Yeah, like I can only, I'm thinking about, so when I moved to Colorado springs from Denver, like, I don't know anyone here. Like, I'm not sure during the pandemic. So it's like even me going out and trying to find new friends like, okay, once I find out that like you are the reason that I had to stay home for, right, right. It's gonna be really hard for me to be tough. Especially those jeans don't enforce freaking masks. No, it's so dumb because they think about it. The thing I'm talking powerlifting is indoors, right? Sketch period, right? But Strongman and Highland games are outdoors and it really could be done like it would still be at risk, right? But let's say when the numbers were quote unquote lower and we were, how many, you know, under this percentage of positive tests per day and we're in that period, like you could actually run that safely. You just need a big space. Nobody's making that effort.

Strongman events are outdoors. Strongman events are why any everything anyway, But everybody's help close to each other. Everybody's closed. Everybody's crowded. Nary a mask in sight. Like it's not just they don't care. They don't really care about that. And then there's also a big chunk of who's in strength sports are cops and firefighters. And first responders. So not only am I looking at people, they don't give a sh it about wearing mask and think Covid is fake. They're probably got blue lives matter in their bio now too. So I'm like, hmm. I think I'm good. I don't know. Yeah. Oh my God, I'm separate when I get there, but for now I'm like, I don't I don't know if I care about any of you guys because you guys don't care about me. Uh huh. Yeah. No. And as first responders as first responders, you're going to respond to the community who is in need of your help and you are if you are like exposing yourself at these freaking events, what the fund is the point?

That the same thing with my family? Yeah, that's true. If you think about it ethically speaking, that is an unethical thing to do. You are exposing whoever your patients are. Yeah. Whatever risk that you're taking, you bring it with you to your work place. Like it's pretty unethical if you think about it. So I have the funniest situation happened up here where like a fool. I'm gonna say friend Of a friend hosted a pretty big like Birthday Party. Just family. But you know, family could be like 60 people, 40 people. And somebody caught Covid a week later and found out that 30% of the partygoers also caught Covid and the host was so pissed. Blamed it on everybody else but herself. It's like what is he throwing a party in the first place and you are a nurse. You are a first response.

Don't blame your party goers for not telling you they had Covid don't know that your patients at risk to everybody who came in contact with you had your party. I went to work the next day. Like just because you get a covid test or just because you got the vaccine doesn't mean other people catch it like, come on. Y'all so hot as miss. It's an entire mountain. The whole hot mess. I can't, I cannot. Well, we'll see. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there. For now. We're just, you know, hanging out at home, having fun. A fine. That's great. I have pets. The hardest thing about it. Honestly, it's not really the staying at home. It's just watching other people not like they just don't fucking care whether you live or die. That's like, that's, that's, that's the hard, but like it's a challenge for me.

Yeah. Other than that, like I wouldn't be, you know, I wouldn't have figured out where I was going to go next if I wasn't able to spend 10 months inside my own dumb head, you know, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. You know, so good things have come out of Covid and being isolated. It's not all terrible. Um, yes. You know what keeps me at least me alive this podcast even before Covid, we've been doing this remotely. I've never met Marcy a in person. That, that's great. Yeah. So we have this to look forward to. That's right. All right. I think that's, that's uh, that's a lot. Yeah, we did. We did good. We covered a lot of, I think, yeah, we could always talk some more, but for this recording. Yeah. I just felt like my goal is I want people to listen to this and think that I might be talking about them because I'm probably, yeah, if you think it's about you probably it is a little story.

I have to say teams. No, we don't. People know what they're doing, they know who they are. I don't need to people like that. Well with that, is there anything you want to leave our listeners with I think for stay home um and be diligent about your own health because no one is going to uh look after you the way that you will look after yourself, Whether that's staying home, whether that's bugging your doctor a bunch of times like, you know, your body, you know what you need to do in order, you know, to get help or to, you know, stay mentally. Okay. And don't let other people try to tell you otherwise. That's right. Mhm In a circle for that. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some love. Don't forget to subscribe rate already.

Review of our channel. We're on Apple podcasts, Spotify player FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who lift hi mm

E43: Weightlifting and Career Shifting with Jo
E43: Weightlifting and Career Shifting with Jo
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