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.

7 comments:

  1. Bang,
    I'm getting a couple of things from this that you may be overlooking. First, in part of your post you're comparing yourself to others and you're unhappy. In other parts of your post you're comparing what you CAN do to what you couldn't do until you worked at it and you're proud. Keep working - it takes time. Second, re-read the "about me" section under your picture. Notice phrases like "work-in-progress" and "my goal is to challenge myself". You wrote those things quite a while ago. Do they still apply?
    Those two ideas combined simply mean this: You're moving your focus from running to Crossfit so your expectations of success should reflect changing sports. You're new at your sport again. You're making progress and you still have your running accomplishments to be proud of. Soon you'll get that handstand but for right now recognize small gains and adjust your goals. Give yourself some confidence!

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    1. Thanks Rilla! The goals in my bio definitely still apply. I know I'll always be a work-in-progress and I'll also always have a bit of the Veruca Salt "I want it NOW" mentality. I think part of my problem is I want it ALL now. You're right, I've been focusing more on strength than speed so it's natural to see growth in one versus the other. Thanks for the perspective!

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  2. to this woman your 12 miles is more than pretty fucking cool---IT'S FUCKING AMAZING

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    1. Thank you, Carla! You're fucking amazing, so that's high praise coming from you. :)

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  3. It's scary & disheartening to face something and realize you "can't" do it. But I'm glad you're looking at can't as a starting point. There's nowhere to go but up; you'll get that handstand!

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  4. I can't offer you any quick fixes on wanting to do a handstand or pull up but I can say that there will be times like this where you don't feel like you are improving fast enough. When those times happen take a look at pictures of yourself when you started your journey in 2008 and then more recent ones. You have come a long way and there are going to be times you get down but don't let it! Forget group runs or workout sessions for awhile and go it alone if you can. You are competing against yourself and not anybody else!

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  5. "I can't." We run into new obstacles in life, every day, in a hundred different ways. The obstacles and challenges that we come against Do Not define us. How we respond to them will define us. "I can't." Is that hanging your head down in defeat, or do we use that as a challenge and rewrite the phrase. "I can't, YET." For too many years I said, "I can't," and would turn away. In way too many areas of life. Then somewhere along the way, I found the power in that one little, 3 letter word. "Yet" turned my defeat, into determination. I started finding out that many of these "I can't"s, were just in my mind. Some are still beyond my reach, but many have fallen to "Yet," and have become resounding "I CAN!"s! I read in this, a growing strength and determination that used to not be there! I'm reading about a woman who is staring down her demons, and winning! - BryanB

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