She’s #JustHappyToBeHere [MTL]

Bonjour/Hi, I’m LC, and I’m the very grateful and equally stoked, new co-lead for November Project Montreal. I’m a teacher, originally from Edmonton, currently in Montreal working on a Masters of Arts at McGill University. I do research in teacher education and also, peer mentorship for individuals with spinal cord injuries. Prior to this, I was a teacher and community volunteer.

I was introduced to November Project in Edmonton, Alberta by Jen Ference in 2014. My business partner/bestie asked her for an interview and she agreed to participate… as long as we came to November Project. We knew nothing about it, but we got up early on a Wednesday morning anyhow to run up the Royal Glenora stairs… in the dark… with dozens of other people. It was rad, and I remember thinking: “They do this all year round?” It intimidated the heck out of me.

In considering how to introduce myself, I wondered how best to approach the telling of my story and what brought me to leadership with November Project. My current research requires me to inquire into the lives of people and how they tell their stories. So I decided to try and tell my own, for my benefit as well as yours, to introspect into what brought you here, to the perfectly rad place you’re at,  ‘cause I’m a giver. 😉

To put it bluntly, the thing that brought me to be a co-lead with November Project Montreal is a commitment to doing things I suck at. This role is very exciting… and it’s not not intimidating. For me, NP has come to be a likeminded group of people that are committed to their own physical wellness and an inclusive sense of community in equal measure. To have the opportunity to lead a group of people that crawl out of their warm beds to workout with us every Wednesday at 6:30am is an honour and a privilege. I can confidently say that I am well equipped for the task, because I have an extensive track record for not being very good at a lot of different things.

I’m not kidding. I’ve sucked at all kinds of things! Growing up on a farm in rural Alberta, my main physical activities were equine related. I rode horses, competing in local open shows throughout the province. I was perhaps the least enthusiastic/competent student in gym class, but I got pretty good at riding horses. However, in high school, I began competing in show jumping, and man that was humbling.

I had this giant horse named Handsome Pete and we were the worst. At 21, I flew over that horse’s head more times than I can count, while 7 year-olds on ponies took first place in the same division. Nevertheless she persisted and we got better… this example was part of a pattern I was able to replicate in other parts of my life. The cycle consisted of ambitious intention, terrible execution, and stubborn persistence leading to eventual success. You might think I’m being sarcastic, and I am, but that doesn’t also make it true.

In my early twenties, I wanted to get fit. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to run, because running was hard (for the record, it’s harder when you refuse to do it). There were three fitness crazes on the rise: Zumba was out due to a considerable deficit of natural rhythm. Hot yoga was cool, but it was really messing up my spray tans. So, I went to CrossFit… because I had a Groupon.

Say what you will about CrossFit, but that was the first time I began to see myself as having athletic potential. I learned to climb ropes up to the rafters, wield a barbell, and run… 500m at a time. There were more than a few moments when I wanted to quit… but I felt the power of community encouraging me, committed to my achievement of my own objectives. When I wanted to stop, I drew support from those around me. That was the beginning of my tapping into the power of the collective.

My growing respect for the power of community enhanced my appreciation for what November Project offered. Not having a background in sports or athletics, I struggle at times in new situations. I worry about my ability, my speed, my belonging… NP doesn’t emphasize any of that. Everyone is welcome, wherever you’re at, you #justshowup and you belong. You pick your own pace and your own goal and you come to adult recess while the city is still sleeping to start your day in the most positive way I know how.

Those are the reasons that when I moved to a new city, I sought out November Project. Maybe you have a different reason that NP is your chosen morning workout, and I’m thrilled for you. I think the diversity of NP members is a testament to its multitude of connection points, bringing people of all abilities, intentions, and experiences together. Traveling to different tribes has confirmed this conception of NP for me. As a result, in the past year, I have made wonderful friends and crushed tons of new fitness accomplishments I didn’t know I was capable of.

I will continue to take on new challenges, NP leadership among them, because there’s a lot of satisfaction in showing up for yourself… and for others. My expectations for myself have shifted in recent years to be less about performance and more #justhappytobehere. That little hashtag gives me so much freedom from the performance anxiety I am susceptible to as a stubborn, and occasionally agile, perfectionist. I’m not about to let worries about not being good enough stop me from the opportunity to show up for myself and my tribe.

In the spirit of #justhappytobehere, I’ve done my fair share of experimentation: adult gymnastics, diving, rock climbing, snowboarding, equine vaulting (google it, so cool), synchronized swimming, moutaineering… I’m a registered yoga teacher, and CrossFit level 1 certified. I’m game for (almost) anything, because time and time again, I’ve proven to myself that I can. Additionally, being #justhappytobehere has helped me to connect meaningfully with others, encouraging them in their pursuits and I am so stoked to have their influence as inspiration.

So, to my tribe, I bring the sincere belief that everyone is welcome, I’m so happy you came. I promise to #justshowup, even when it’s dark, and/or cold, and/or wet to greet you warmly. I vow to keep doing things I’m bad at, knowing all it takes is a little effort to become a badass. And I swear I’ll always be #justhappytobehere, grateful for this opportunity to share something that has given me so much, with you.

Thank you for this opportunity and for all the potential we have in continuing to grow and strengthen the November Project Montreal tribe.

Forever grateful, and super stoked,

– LC

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One Reply to “She’s #JustHappyToBeHere [MTL]”

  1. Hey LC, I write a fitness column for the Mtl Gazette and would love to talk to you about the importance of community to your exercise routine. I’m on a deadline, so if possible, can you reach out today?

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