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2020 – Aug, Sept, & Oct Reflection

Athena Perez

January 20, 2021


August 7th was one of the best days of my life. The paperback had just been released after weeks and weeks of learning the ropes on Amazon and publishing platforms. I learned a lot and will definitely be making some pivots for book number two. But as they say – you don’t know what you don’t know?

My basement became somewhat of a “shipping central,” and book loads were getting mailed two or three times a week.

By the second week of the month, we had the garage all hollowed out, the sheetrock and plywood were installed, and every weekend was dedicated to getting a little more progress completed.

I monitored my emails like a hawk to be the first to know when Rogue would have more stock available. I learned fast if something came back in stock and it wasn’t ordered in the first 30 minutes of receiving the email, you would promptly be shit out of luck.  Slowly but surely, I gathered up all of the essentials, one brown box at a time, courtesy of UPS. Greeting the UPS man when the heavier packages started arriving became a daily laugh because he sure liked to give me hell for making him work so hard.

#Webelong started campaigning to see if we could get brands to agree to carry larger sizes for CrossFitters, and it became something I was very passionate about. I was disappointed with non-responses; however, I also understood it might not be in the finances or even preference wheelhouse.

On the last day of the month, Good Morning America aired my story. I was grateful that mental health was kept at the forefront of the story on such a gigantic platform. I was incredibly thankful to receive such an opportunity and gift.


During the first week of September, Scaled Nation CrossFit was officially born. I could open the doors if I wanted, and I couldn’t have been more proud. My initial excitement to get it up and open was still there, but I could tell that I was pumping the brakes emotionally.  I wasn’t ready to be a public place and wanted to take some time just for me. I wasn’t sure for how long, but I also knew there was a lot for me to learn. I didn’t know anything about being a box owner, not a clue. I thought I had it all figured out, but I didn’t.  I learned in therapy all those years that when we have pause about certain things, it becomes an opportunity to listen to what our hearts are trying to tell us. It’s that stuff in our gut. Our gut knows everything {{laughing}}.  I didn’t know why at the time, but I decided that it wasn’t going to open yet. I just wanted time to figure everything out.

Most of September was dedicated to zone meal cooking and working out. I actually took some time off work for the entire month of September and October just to sit and listen to my thoughts. Truth be told, I was exhausted, and I was wearing down. I had a TON of ideas and all the different directions of things I was excited about and all of the things I wanted to do. The problem was that I was one body with two arms. My head was bursting at the seams, and all of my ideas wanted equal attention. Let’s just say that’s not possible unless I was somehow able to add ten more hours to every day.

I was working my butt off trying to tackle surgery weight once and for all. I cooked, worked out, and planned my ideas. It consumed nearly every hour.  Many times during the day, I would just walk out to the box and sit in the middle of the floor and just look around.  I would stare at the equipment and walls…In complete awe.

I finally decided to start with a small group of people to learn to be the coach and owner instead of the student. Classes were small but happening several times a week, and I was nervous as hell, but here I was doing it.  It was fun learning the day to day stuff; scheduling, accountability, learning more coaching cues, learning to better my communication.


By the middle of October, I wasn’t feeling right. Something didn’t feel right at all. I hadn’t lost a single pound after almost 8 sweaty weeks of diligent effort. My face kept breaking out into itchy rashes, and I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out what I was having allergic reactions to. It got so bad that I wouldn’t even leave my house for a few days because my face was so wrecked with tiny little burning dots. What in the heck was going on?  Why wasn’t I losing weight?  My cycles had been entirely non-existent since surgery, and the doctors told me that might happen but that they would come back. They never did. Most women would celebrate such an absence, but I have always known this was never a good thing.  I thought for a while maybe my hormones were all out of whack; I honestly didn’t know, so I started the rounds of doctor’s appointments trying to get to the bottom of it.  I had blood tests, hormone tests – everything came back normal, so they decided to send me in for an ultrasound. I would have to wait for the results on that.

I tried to keep my mind off it and kept to the #webelong, community, and box efforts. I would do my usual scrolling on social media, and I can’t say I ever noticed it too much before, but for some reason, I was noticing it everywhere. We were getting closer to the election, and I started seeing all kinds of stories and posts that sounded like, “if you like this candidate, or if you’re voting for this person, unfriend me right now.”  The sad thing is that they were serious. Was this really happening?

I started getting various messages on the #webelong page to start “calling people out.” Call people out? When did this become the mission? “This box owner just posted this; you need to call them out publically.”

Social media, in general, was starting to feel a little toxic. Slues of comments on various articles I was reading saying the most horrendously mean things. Part of me felt like I had just walked into the twilight zone.

And then there was the flag. I have a flag outside my house. I have flown a flag since I was old enough to vote. I walked down to the mailbox one morning to get the mail. I saw the same woman I see most days walking her dog. I never knew her name, never spoke to her but saw her almost daily. I smiled and waved and grabbed my mail when I could see her walking closer from the corner of my eye.  I said, “Hello!”  She pointed at my house and said, “So you’re one of them.”

Confused, I said, “One of whom?”

“You’re one of them.”

She was still pointing her finger, so I turned around, trying to understand what she was trying to convey. I didn’t see anything unusual about the front of my house, so I turned around and said, “One of whom”?

“You’re a nazi”!

And just like that, she walked off. I stood there and watched her continue to walk her dog. I was so taken back I didn’t even have words. I just stood there by my mailbox with a dumbfounded look on my face and my eyes welling with tears. I honestly had no clue what I had done, nor did I understand that a flag outside my house would mean anything. There were a dozen other families in the neighborhood that all had flags outside, just like me.

I truly felt like I had entered an utter land of confusion.




  1. David Jakes says:

    “Land of confusion,” indeed. But it’s worse than that, I’m afraid. We are now in an era of “soft totalitarianism.” Not gulags and torture, at least not yet. But if you don’t subscribe to the approved orthodoxy of unquestioning wokeness, there will be consequences, including social isolation, cancelling, loss of freedom of speech, and reduced or eliminated job opportunities. All in the name of being nice and “inclusive” and therapeutic, you will abandon logic, reason, and your religious beliefs in favor of what the new ruling elite class demands you acknowledge as truth. Buckle up and decide if you will go along with it, pretend to agree with the lies, which is ultimately just as bad, or resist. And so it goes.

  2. Ellen P says:

    The viciousness of social media got to me 7 or 8 years ago and I dropped it. So, I miss out on your instagram posts:(.

    You got me at the cliff-hanger of the rash and lack of weight loss. I look forward to the rest of the story.

    • Athena Perez says:

      It can be can’t it? Im learning more and more about the filters I have to use when I’m on it. 🙂 Love the fact you follow along, I appreciate you.

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I’m Athena Perez, a Christ-loving dog mom and CrossFitter who has lost over 200 pounds on a long journey of self-discovery. I’m obsessed with sharing everything I’ve learned to help you too!  

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