From Flustered to Fierce &Free&Fun&Friendship&Fitness

Welcome to the very first blog from November Project Columbus!!

I’ll be honest… writing the very first blog feels a lot like leading the first workout way back in August 2018. Yeah, sure maybe I’ve got a vague idea of what things are supposed to look like, but I’m still shitting my pants. Even while writing this, I’m not completely convinced that anyone will read this. Maybe it’ll just hide on the internet forever for some random person to find it in 3045. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! 

In the true fashion of how I start things, this might be an awkward blog. But HEY! It definitely won’t be as awkward as the first workout was: `

(Shoutout to Jackie Keller and Phil Pemberton for still coming back after that workout where we were probably outnumbered by homeless people in that park. #perseverance)

But look how far we’ve come: 

And that’s what I feel like this blog is for, to see how we all got here and the struggles that we all face, in the workout, life, or otherwise. Just one more way to bring us closer together as a community in Columbus and much further. 

First, let me tell you why I come to November Project and why I felt so strongly about it being in my life that I started a pledge tribe in Columbus. The first workout I went to was in October 2017 at NPLAX with my dear friend Adam Kaufman. I introduced myself and got the *clap clap* that some cities do, but I knew that this was going to be exactly like every other group activity I had ever done. NO ONE would remember my name. Maybe someone would try, but why would they remember? Typically it was too hard to put in the effort to remember. The beautiful Maggie Reiss, current leader of NPWLA, came up to me screaming, “WAIT WAIT, ONE MORE TIME! TELL ME YOUR NAME ONE MORE TIME!” I told her and moved on with the workout that was completely kicking my ass, and stopped thinking about it. A few minutes later, I passed her again and she screamed, “YOU’RE KILLING IT SATKARTAR YESSSSSS!” And I straight up was like wtf… there’s no way that screaming lady remembered my name. But what REALLY blew me away was that when I came back a few weeks later, she STILL remembered my name. 

Simply put, that was everything to me: To be seen and acknowledged. She took the extra time and effort to remember my name and probably even practice it, which I understand is a barrier. Isn’t that we all want in life? To be truly acknowledged and seen? To be seen beyond being a number in an institution and deeper than the labels we slap on ourselves to better categorize each other – that’s everything. If someone was going to take the time to remember my name, I was going to get my ass out of bed and come again. 

The more I showed up, the more I cared about the community aspect of it. NP was a community that I could show up and be who I was that day, with no expectations or judgements. It was a place that I could take on something that felt like an impossible task with a bunch of other people. I looked up to a lot of people who were more fit than me, but the people I found even more inspiring were those that were slower than me. I swear their faces would show up in my head when I felt like giving up because they had a face fighting to get up that hill that said, “I AM GETTING UP THIS FUCKING HILL AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME EVEN IF YOU TRIED!” They were huffing and puffing the entire way up and down, but goddamn they fought in a way I’m not sure I had seen before. Especially when I first joined NP, I hadn’t been going to a gym or working out. I was out of shape, so when people passed me it was SO easy to be like, well… whatever, they were just born fit and it’s easier for them. But seeing the determination in everyone’s faces at NP, I couldn’t say that anymore. Everyone was pushing themselves and SO much more importantly, everyone was pushing everyone else around them to be the absolutely best that they could be. 

Fast forward a year later when I was leaving for medical school in Ohio, where there was no November Project. With all of the chaos that was about to ensue, I decided that I would grant myself this one thing to take up non-school time. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of it, but everyone needs something to keep them sane, and I decided this was going to be my thing. (For those of you that have been in NP for a while, you’re probably like… did she really just use “sane” and “NP” in the same sentence?) 

I won’t lie to you and say that it was easy or super fun all of the time. I had my people that I leaned on in Ohio and also elsewhere for support (shout out to Maura from the Maui Project). But I also worried that maybe Columbus didn’t need this community. And who was I kidding that I would be the one to bring this kind of community to a new city? I was a medical student, so I didn’t have a ton of time, and I also knew absolutely nothing about the fitness scene in Columbus. I was worried that I had started this all in vain and honestly, with a little too much arrogance. Adam, my LA friend who first invited me to NP, asked me at some point if I really wanted to keep going with the pledge process, and I couldn’t tell him anything else besides the fact that I would be so much sadder without it. It was consistency. It was people I looked forward to seeing every week, even if it wasn’t the 50 people I was used to seeing at NPWLA. It was something I needed especially while going through a pretty aggressive depressive episode, trying to adjust to a new state, and getting back into school after working. It was the one thing I looked forward to in my week, even if I also had hella anxiety about it going well. (Don’t worry everyone, I swear this blog will have a happy ending. Push through lol)

Now, I cannot tell you how grateful and joyous I feel about what the original Crushing it Columbus has morphed into. We’ll always be crushing it IN Columbus but now we go by a different name and we wear that name with pride. November Project Columbus. A name that connects us to 51 other beautiful cities all across the world. With this name, there comes responsibility. And as a leader, there are absolutely times that I show up with butterflies in my stomach, wondering who’s gonna show up, how many people will brave the weather, whether everyone will get a good workout. I want to make sure that everything is perfect: the workout, the burnout, the bounce, the weather (RIP not being in LA anymore) because I know that you guys give everything you have during the workout, and I want to do the same. Because of this, I sometimes show up with some anxiety, so when I see a newbie standing in the corner, I understand how nervous they feel when they show up, not knowing anyone, wondering if they’ve gotten themselves in over their heads. Everything that we do at NP takes a sense of determination and motivation. Even showing up. *Especially* showing up. Conquering our fears and negative thoughts. Battling sleep deprivation and the cold bite of getting out of bed. It’s difficult, but it’s possible. For every single person, it’s possible. We just have to make the decision to show up for ourselves, for our community, for our health. In everything, the hardest part is always taking the first step. But once you do show up, the energy and passion of everyone who shows up will fuel you to the end of the workout. Because you’ll no longer be alone.

There are many things that November Project means to me and it often changes each week. Right now to me, leading NP Columbus is… privilege. I am privileged to lead the most amazing humans in the city to be the silliest, goofiest, most supportive and fittest versions of themselves. I get to intentionally see people and repay the favor that Maggie gave me a few years ago. No, I don’t always get everyone’s names right (shout out to Monica Waller who had to tell me her name at least 7 times before I remembered it), but I damn sure try because I NEVER want anyone to feel anonymous in our community. You are seen, you are heard, and you are appreciated. Not because you’re a number but because you add substance and diversity to our group. Whether you show up once, or every few months or if you are one of our regulars, I appreciate you and how YOU have shaped this community. I will show up every week and give everything I have, but at the end of the day, this is all possible because each and every one of you show up and make our community better. That is everything.

Do good, Columbus.


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2 Replies to “From Flustered to Fierce &Free&Fun&Friendship&Fitness”

  1. Woohoo! Way to nail it Satkartar!! This had me in tears.

    Isn’t that we all want in life? To be truly acknowledged and seen? To be seen beyond being a number in an institution and deeper than the labels we slap on ourselves to better categorize each other – that’s everything. If someone was going to take the time to remember my name, I was going to get my ass out of bed and come again.

    Thank you for your dedication! LG

  2. Yes!!! Love this!! Thanks for sharing. 😊 I’ve only been going to NP Cbus for a few weeks, but it’s quickly become something I look forward to. And this blog tells you why-all the peeps!! Cheers to community!

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