Okay, where to start…?
My PT knows I like taking pictures, so asked if I’d be willing to come visit the site where lots of clients were taking part in a sport that could one day be considered as an Olympic one. The plan, of course, was to try and persuade me to take part. Here is your test of ultimate fitness. My trainer does not as yet grasp the real reasons why I’m exercising, that the assumption initially is that ‘oh look, I need validation of my efforts…’
Three hours I stood, taking pictures, before anxiety finally consumed me completely and I had to leave, simply did not want to stay there any longer. My counsellor has now taught me to ask ‘why’ such things happen in these circumstances, and so I did, in the car. Why was I so anxious? Because I was lonely. The feeling of comfort and security I’d felt on Friday had simply vanished and this was difficult, exposing. What had happened?
You could tell instantly the people on the course who were racing for themselves: these two, for instance, the early (super fit) part of the Gym team who didn’t need to have a GoPro strapped to them or be part of a group of others for encouragement. Their race was theirs without the need to be be part of a collective whole. They were comfortable in their ability, something that still needs to happen with me, because being part of a ‘tribe’ has always been a struggle.
I thought it was the concept of FOMO (fear of missing out) that was my problem but actually, it’s far more judgemental. I am the person who suffers from FOBC (fear of being criticised) and that if I couldn’t do the course, I’d simply not be good enough. It didn’t help that my husband didn’t want to come with me yesterday, and an opportunity to talk (which hasn’t really happened for weeks) didn’t take place. That’s why anxiety rose, clear definition to it’s occurrence.
So I came home, got upset when I couldn’t help my daughter with a trivial issue and ended up taking over in an effort to show how helpful I was, cried some more and then had a bike ride, which was a small but definite improvement on the last bike ride, before making my husband stop and make time to talk about stuff because it has been bothering me for ages. At the end he told me he’d enjoyed the fact I’d come and found him to do so.
Only now, this morning sitting here as the rest of the house sleeps does the complexity of what’s now taking place inside my brain begin to really make sense. No, I’m not lonely now, like I was yesterday, and if I find myself in that situation again now I know what to do. I still don’t have a Tribe, I sit on the fringes of many places and actually, given the choice that’s where I’d like to be. This isn’t about feeling like I am a particular type of person.
This is about feeling like I’m being true to myself.
My PT messaged me, after she’d raced, and asked me if I’d been inspired to compete. When I am sent to Hell, whenever that finally happens, it would look and feel like this obstacle course, and I’d be forced to compete it wet and cold for the rest of my days, appropriate penance for the sin of refusing to conform to other people’s perceptions of my worth. I was honest with her: it made me uncomfortable and frightened. Both of those feelings are easy enough to deal with, but I’d still not need to do the course even when they are
When I’m finally comfortable and confident, I won’t need a medal as validation.