If you had told me 2 years ago that I’d be doing unmodified push-ups and lifting weights twice a week and joining a volleyball team, I would have laughed. I would have told you that I couldn’t do that, that weights are frightening or that I don’t do team sports (I probably still shouldn’t be ssssh).
But I made a decision in September 2007. Two decisions actually – one small and one huge. The first decision was that I was going try to stop caring about what other people thought and listen to myself first. That was actually the small decision. The huge decision was that I was going to move overseas in 12 months. That was huge, admit it. But my small decision was hardly that small either. I realized that I was (still am in some ways) totally hung up on appearances and possible judgements and perceptions that I shied away from doing things in case I screwed up. In case I didn’t do well because 15 years ago I screwed up when I tried that and I’m never doing it again.
Case in point: I got my learner’s permit at 16. I went for a driving lesson with a complete idiot as my driving instructor. She had me going at a snail’s pace in 2nd gear for the entire time and leant out the window yelling “get out the way! Learner driver!” No I’m not joking. I didn’t get back into a car for a year.
Case in point 2: I tried out for my school’s netball team in grade school (yes, I am going back that far!) – my school was huge and had 5 teams per grade, A through E. I tried out and some stupid mother told me that I wasn’t even good enough for the bottom team. I was worse than the girls who were cross-eyed. I never tried out for another team sport again.
I could come up with a million different examples but you get the point. I struggle with not embarrassing myself; with expectations and with perceived judgements. Because they are really perceived now. Nobody tells me that I “can’t” anymore – I do that myself. But I made the decision to stop doing that.
So I lift weights and strive for the heaviest I can lift and still be able to get 3-4 sets of 12 out. I push myself when I realize that I got to 12 easily. I am working on banishing negative self talk when I’m playing volleyball (that’s a challenge and I’m aware of it). But the fact that I signed up for volleyball is a huge step in itself: I opened myself up to potentially screwing up and embarrassing myself in front of people I work with. Huge step.
So I’m proud of myself, even though I STILL can’t serve and get the ball over the net. I’m proud of myself for being a work in progress and becoming someone who tries things instead of wussing out. I’m proud of myself for becoming someone that people ask advice from. That’s kinda huge. I need to remind myself how proud I am when I start letting things get me down and wishing I could hide.