Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who Is this Girl?

Yep - that's me on the left and my good pal, Mindy, on the right.  We decided during our junior year of high school to dress up for halloween and go trick or treating (duh, free candy!).  Of course, the obvious selection for halloween costumes were the free football jerseys from our boyfriends and the tights and pads from Mindy's brother's football careers.  (May I mention that these pads we are wearing are from when they were, oh, say elementary / middle school age.)  If you can look past the awful bangs, you'll find this stick figure of a girl (I mean, come on, look at those forearms! I was really flexing, here!)... all 105 pounds of me at that moment.  I did everything to gain weight, mostly fulfilling the large appetite I had and drinking a few extra strawberry shakes (and the halloween candy I mentioned above).  To further add to the irony of the big, tough football player I was posing as, a few select individuals called me 'Buff' through the high school years, and I always explained it with a laugh by saying, "It's like calling a big dog Tiny."  All of that to say this:  if there was one thing I am not, nor have ever been, it is athletic.  These costumes were funny because, well, look at me.  They didn't call me 'Buff' because I was so toned up, but rather because I was stick thin and weak.  I never really had any reason to work out, mostly because I was always trying to gain weight, not lose it, and because I was too afraid to ever compete in any kind of sport, which brings me to this:

FACT:  I squalled my eyes out in the 6th grade after getting my first 'D' on a math test (although I still got an 'A' in the class. )

FACT:  I planned my high school P.E. schedule around the physical fitness testing, because I knew I couldn't pass. 

FACT:  One of the most vivid memories I have of fighting with Aaron came after a day at the gym when he was trying to get me to bench press a bar on an incline, and I just knew that I couldn't do it.  I was mad, he was pushing me and he was mad... it got ugly really quickly.  (BTW - ended up I was capable of benching the bar...)

FACT:  I did workouts for three months over the summer to play basketball my freshman year of high school.  I never missed one.  Then, when tryouts came around, I never even considered going. 

FACT:  The only organized sport I have ever played was softball... for two years in summer league.  The pressure of batting was enough to turn me off. 

FACT:  In the time span of about 6 years I successfully quit 3 dance classes, gymnastics, band, and well, the previously mentioned softball team. 

Do you see a trend?  I'm a quitter at heart, and as an adult I've finally figured out what it stems from... the fear of failure and embarrassment.  Of course I didn't want to do a physical fitness test, I didn't want confirmation of what I already knew in my head... I was a failure.  Of course I didn't try out for basketball after doing all of the work for it, I felt like everyone else thought I was horrible, and what if I screwed something up?  That'd be embarrassing!  I never want to fail in front of people.  

And I've mentioned this over and over and over in my blog, because it is so much a part of who I have always been.  It is so much a part of my thinking, regardless how small, every day.

Here I sit now, in this whole reinvention mode, wanting to change the little tendencies about me that I hate... the ones I don't want my kids to see and apply to their own lives.  I want my kids to know that it's not only okay to fail, but it is encouraged!  How will you ever know what you are good at, capable of, or suck at if you don't at least give trying a valiant effort?! 

And so I did something tonight I never thought I would do (and to be frank, never really want to do again, either, though I'm going to):  I joined a kickboxing class.  It's more like a kickboxing group.  There are only four of us, and it's four people I really trust, but even just the thought of working out in front of the instructor (who I also happen to be good friends with - though he was my first kiss in fifth grade ;) lol)  intimidates the, well, crap out of me.  I'd rather work out with Jillian in my own living room, and if I fail no one has to know it but me. 

But the truth is I need the accountability of the group to keep motivated.  I also need to prove to myself that I am strong enough, not only to be successful at this (which could easily be debated if that is even possible), but also to endure the many failures that I'll have to overcome to be successful... (like when punching you always start with your left hand, Alicia... duh)

Let's face it, 10 minutes (and that's being generous) into the work out, I found my legs giving out on me and me laying on the mat... how's that for humbling for your first experience.  Everything in me resorted back to that little girl who hated getting up to bat... the little girl who squalled with the 'd' on her math test, but rather than cry and run away (like I so desperately wanted to), I stared that scared little girl in the face, and I said aloud, "I will finish this," and I did. 

Now don't get me wrong, I came home and collapsed (fairly literally) on our futon and barked an order for Aaron to get me a glass of water, cold towel and a trashcan in case I threw up, but I finished it.  (Working out shouldn't really make me this miserable, should it?)

And so three days a week I'll face the fear of screwing something up, embarrassing myself, not understanding or even being capable of performing a feat, and people thinking less of me when they see, without doubt, how very weak and nonathletic I actually am. 

And I hope through it all that I get stronger, physically and emotionally, more confident, and regain a better grasp on the idea that people don't really care all that much whether I'm an amazing athlete or a 26 year old stay at mom trying to lose a few inches around her waist and get rid of the remnants of a 10 pound child's growing place all while having a good time. 

Until next time -

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