Being good at something, being bad at something, and kicking its ass anyway
Sunday, June 23, 2013
It has been becoming more and more the case over recent months (and years) that for the most part when I exercise, I feel GOOD. Damn good. I feel good about doing something for myself. I feel the satisfaction of sweat. Of a job well done. I feel stronger..like I move a bit differently, and every so often (particularly with cardio) I feel downright zippy..like I could do cartwheels..which would just not be a good idea..but feels like it. And if I had a bad day or am feeling not so great about myself for whatever, its an almost instant booster shot..that if all else fails I did at least accomplish that much that day. Neener bad day.
This is so different than how I felt about about deliberate exercise nearly all the time for so many years, that its a revelation. Seriously.
As a very young kid, I did what all little kids do...I ran around the yard, I played tag, I road my bike, I played at the jungle gym. I played batman, or jungle survival, and raced all over the yard, swung from ropes making tarzan sounds...and it was FUN FUN FUN...a joyful experience.
But then at some point you get a bit older it starts to dawn on you, that maybe you aren't as good at this as some of the other kids....and Being Good At Something..is important. Being not good...is A Bad Thing. . You get picked last. You can't hit the ball. And no matter how hard you try you can't ever run fast enough to get to the base in time, nor run around the gym for 10 minutes non stop. Sure as hell can't climb that darned rope.
And maybe you get really lucky and get a taste of that oh so unforgettable feeling when the instructor has to hold your feet (and only YOUR feet) to do situps in gym...while a room full of kids ALL snickers and smirk in the background...waiting That feeling that feels so so bad you just wish the floor would open up and swallow you whole. And 'they' never really explain to you how you can getting better at hitting balls or climbing ropes or even situps.....or show you improvement is really are even possible. It seems an inate ability everyone else seems to just *know*..already.
.....And so the idea of exercise and movement starts to become more associated with feelings of inadequacy and shame, rather than a joy of doing it for its own purpose. Deep seated deep running feelings. So you start to avoid some of those things that make you feel bad.
And somewhere in there you start realizing too that movement can also be for a purpose. This Thing Called Exercise. And Exercise can be for the purpose of losing weight. Fat. Which is A Bad Thing. And a thing you have..that not all kids (not even most, back in those days) had. So you Should Do More Exercise. Because you have this bad bad thing called fat. That (or so goes the popular mindset) you got from Doing Something Wrong. And thought you may not consciously complete the dotted line..this Thing Called Exercise becomes like a punishment.. An unpleasant and rather difficult thing you need to do almost as penance..
Who wants to think of something they've done "wrong"...so you do your best to avoid all thoughts of that Thing Called Exercise too. And then the longer you don't do it, the more discomfort and difficulty you have when you finally do try...and then all those feelings of shame an inadequacy circle around again.
That's what it used to be like.
[Story above is my own experience and is not meant to imply its a 'thing' for all or even most others of a more than desired weight or less than desired fitness level, though I'd be interested to hear from others with similar]
Not sure why it feels so different now. Perhaps because now, at this age, I know I only have to participate in what *I* feel good in. No one, ever again, is going to have the power to force me climb a stupid rope . There is no longer any competition with anyone but myself. I only have to answer to myself. Perhaps its the inspiration of several friends who, though still in the plus-size range., can do 100 pushups... triathlons...bellydance with far more endurance and skill than other women half her size. Or the inspiration of the many bloggers I don't actually know ...who have leveledup their fitness into running full on marathons or other impressive feats of ..many with significant weight loss, and others with not, but all impressive.
And one other rather big and more recent revelation....
Its okay for things to be hard.
Really and truly.
If you do something and its hard...it doesn't mean you suck, it doesn't mean you need to beat yourself up for just being where you are, for it not being "easy" for you, for whatever the fitness equivalent of "dumb" is.
If you do hard things.... they get easier. Huh.
And if you then find more hard things...you continue to improve.
I've known this for so long about music, languages, math, cooking, coding....why it took my thick hard so long to learn this about fitness and exercise...I don't know.
And that many times...
EVEN FOR REALLY FIT PEOPLE
....some things they do....somethings they deliberately choose to do...
are REALLY DAMN HARD. (RDH)
and they struggle..and they don't beat themselves up, they grit their teeth and say f-you RDH thing, I'm going to kick your ass....and they keep doing them..and they kick RDH's ass..and then ..FIND ANOTHER EVEN HARDER THING.
Because that's how you level up. That's how they become really fit people.
Duh. Why it took this long to realize..I have no idea.