Name: Stephanie Cedeno
Occupation: Clinical Social Worker at a High School
“Used to be unhappy, Used to be negative, Used to suffer chronic pain because of Arnold-Chiari Malformation (brain and spinal birth defect), Used to feel hopeless, used to worry, used to be severely overweight. Used to.” -Stephanie
Stephanie has overcome a lot (understatement of the century). The odds have been stacked against her since birth and for a while she admittedly gave in to her pain and categorized herself as a “medically incompetent person who would never find relief”.
Stephanie’s transformation did not happen overnight and it was far from easy. She weaned herself off of her pain medication, drastically changed her diet, got involved in CrossFit, and slowly but surely she transformed from the inside out. Though her overall gains in physical and mental strength have been beyond impressive, today we are going to celebrate a single “miraculous” moment.
“I am living proof that if you honor your body it will honor you in return.”
Stephanie’s email to me began with one very long sentence that ended with five exclamation points. I honestly felt like she was running at me full speed through the computer screen barely able to contain herself as she shared her exciting news with a total stranger. And I am just as excited to share her news with you…
OH MY GOSH EVERYONE I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED I CAN’T BELIEVE IT STEPHANIE WAS ABLE TO LIFT THE 44LB WHILE DOING THE TURKISH GET UP!!!!!
Whoa whoa whoa…. You may be asking: Who is Stephanie? What is a Turkish Get Up? Why are we so excited? And then you’ll think back to the day that you got your first kipping pull up, your first muscle up, your first _________ (fill in the blank with random physical task that you didn’t even know existed three months ago). Ahhh yes, now you get it.
CrossFit presents challenges that first appear to us in the form of looming impossibilities. As it turns out, they are the greatest gifts. Have you ever hated an inanimate object? Cursed a wall ball? Whipped a jump rope at the wall? Slammed a barbell to the floor like you were sending it to the core of the earth? I would guess that this is how Stephanie felt about that 44-pounder for a very, very long time.
But NOT today. Today that weight, that formerly extremely intimidating piece of steal, became a prop in Stephanie’s personal victory dance. We were not there to see Stephanie’s Turkish Get Up but because we have all “been there” in some way we can appreciate the beauty of this moment.
At the age of 20 Stephanie struggled to lift her own 10lb dog. For better or for worse, this is probably a memory that will never leave her. It is a moment that planted a seed of fear and self doubt but it also planted a seed of fortitude. Eventually Stephanie’s strength of will outgrew and overpowered the fear and self-doubt.
“There are no limits to what our bodies can do. I was given limitations as a child, teen, and young adult because of a medical condition and I labeled myself just that and lived as just that, as a person with chronic pain, both physically and mentally.”
“Now, I am alive and living this life moment by moment, mentally and physically healthy, without limitation, without these negative labels, just me, Stephy!”
Stephanie chose to have her customized gift inscribed with the word IGNITE (as in CrossFit Ignite) because it is her experiences here that unlocked her potential. Congratulations Stephanie, keep at it girl!
Stephanie’s Blog: http://stephyfullofgrace.tumblr.com/