25 Nov 2014



– freedom from harm or danger, the state of being safe

– the state of not being dangerous or harmful

– a place that is free from harm or danger, a safe place

At Outpost, you are safe.  Ashley (age 17) has been a member at Outpost for 2 years. Currently she’s applying to colleges and submitting the following essay to represent herself for admission. Let Ashley tell you about how Outpost changed her life…..

“I live in the written world. The world where you make a statement, but are not present to see reactions. The world where I can coherently phrase my thoughts, my theories, my emotions, without the fear of having to repeat myself whenever one says, “Sorry, I didn’t hear you; could you repeat that again?”

I never fear the vastness of an empty page. I always find a way to fill it out, to use every corner and inch of it, either with well thought out phrases, monologues of raw emotion, or delightful doodles in a quick style that I have been perfecting for the past six years. Here, I am not defenseless. I am not weak. I rely on my passion for formulating stories and conveying emotions through fictional characters. I am not alone. My weapon is my pencil; my shield is made out of everything that is inked in the sea of blank spaces.

This written world I constructed is where I ran to when I muffled the voice that has tried to escape through the crevices of my teeth, where I could escape the distorted version of reality I had. I truly believed that I could trust no one, and I decided to live in isolation. I did not want to get hurt by criticism because I believed my thoughts had no value in the real world.

But I could not live like this anymore. I wanted to stop running from this dreadful feeling. I did not wish for it to restrain me any longer.

In order to overcome this fear, I needed to submerge myself completely outside of my comfort zone. So I enrolled in a CrossFit gym (Outpost). A gym where athletes constantly make conversation with each other and ask about your day. A gym where the coaches watch over every single athlete and ensure their safety.  Where we, as athletes, grow together and become each others’ support when we are struggling to finish the workout of the day.

It was a challenge. My sensitive ears were not used to the cacophonous clanks emitted from the dropping bars, nor were they used to the hum and laughter that drifted from conversations nearby. I was not prepared for the cries of encouragement athletes usually gave each other. It was noisy, overwhelming, and a bit scary. Despite the discomfort I felt from this situation, I knew it was essential for me to experience.

At times I was the center of attention. Cheers were frequently directed towards me. They only wanted to motivate me, but instead it freaked me out. It was something that I had never experienced from others before. I was reluctant in accepting the attention, the help. It was something I had tried to avoid for many years.

But in that CrossFit gym, the voice that had been compressed for so long was found. My fellow athletes, my friends, helped me regain my self value. They never ceased to remind me of all the accomplishments I have achieved since I began. I arrived as a weakling. I could not pick myself up after failing at a difficult task; I doubted myself and my abilities. I feared taking risks and uncomfortable changes. It is because of them that I have become more confident in myself. I have lost the fear to seek help when I have a question.

I still live in the written world. It is still my place of comfort and reflection. It is where I can fluently express myself. But I no longer dread the discomfort of voicing out my thoughts as I used to. I no longer wish to remain in exile from the world around me and the CrossFit community I learned to love.

Sometimes, you just need a change to occur in your life to let you see the things you’re missing out on.

I know I did.”

                                                                                                                                                          -Ashley Carvajal


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