Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's not always rainbows and butterflies

Last night I had a meltdown. Looking ahead at the WOD programmed for today, I saw that it was a lot of handstands and wall walks. I cannot do a handstand. Inversions of most kinds terrify me. The last time we had handstands as a skill in CrossFit I stood and watched everyone else attempt them, too afraid to even get near the wall.

As a chubby kid, I didn't even bother trying to do the cartwheels that other girls performed so effortlessly. I'm a much stronger person than I used to be, but the idea of being upside down still intimidates me. I decided to confront my fears and practice wall walks in the safety of my bedroom last night. My arms couldn't even support my body weight in the plank position with my feet on the wall. Suddenly something I avoided due to fear became something I was physically incapable of doing. I lost it. I have tears in my eyes again just writing that. It was no longer "I don't want to", it was "I can't". "Can't" fucking sucks.

Lately running has faded to the background of my workout routine, with CrossFit becoming the priority. When I sat down to give thought as to why that is, it was clear that I'm consumed by comparing myself to everyone else. As much joy as running has brought me, it also brings heartache. I've attended one too many group runs that promise to accommodate all paces, only to be left plodding along by myself. I see people around me getting faster while I struggle to maintain consistency. When I have a bad run or don't hit my goal paces I somehow associate that with my self-worth. It's a slippery slope and lately my response has been to dig in my heels and say "I don't wanna."

Enter CrossFit: I've never lifted heavy weights in my life. As a beginner to anything, there is initially tremendous growth. I have progressed well with my lifts and as a result I've grown more confident in my abilities and in the strength of my own body. I think that's why last night hit me so hard. I know I'm not even close to doing things like handstands or pull-ups, but it really upset me that I couldn't simply place my feet on the wall and support my body weight with my arms. I felt inferior. I felt weak. Then I got angry at my body. If only it was smaller, maybe then I could support its weight. Ugh shut up, brain.

The reality is that there are people larger than me who can do things I can't, and size has nothing to do with it. I may not be able to rattle off 10-minute miles but I can run for 12 miles without stopping, and that's pretty fucking cool. My legs are so strong because they used to carry an extra 60 pounds of ME around. And my arms may not be able to support my weight yet, but they allow me to hold a barbell over my head without dropping it on my skull, and I'm pretty grateful for that too.

Someday, I'm gonna do a handstand.