In crossfit, there is this epic event known as the crossfit open, which leads to the even more epic event, the crossfit games. Anyone can enter the open, while the games are for the most fit athletes in crossfit. So, of course I signed up.
The open is 5 weeks long, one WOD per week. The first week I was a hot mess, but I pushed through and fell in love, much like my year-long love affair with crossfit. As the weeks wore on, I was challenged in many ways, but none more than the mental challenge that comes from being in any activity that involves competition. For me anyway…
When I start something new, I always have this unreasonable expectation that I’m going to be great at it, like awesomely so. Then, when I’m not, I become disappointed with myself. My thought process becomes, “If I’m not great at this, then why am I doing it?” I know, I know, completely ridiculous and unrealistic, but we all have our imperfections, and mine is striving to be perfect at everything. Maybe it comes from being a younger sister to a brother, who in my eyes, everyone thought was perfect at everything. I spent much of my younger years either trying to be great at something like him, or rebelling against his perfection. It caused me to make MANY mistakes in life, some that have repercussions I’m still dealing with today.
I am the type of person that is SO incredibly hard on myself, whether it be my profession, being a parent, daughter, sister, friend, athlete… you name it. My inner voice comes in the form of MANY people, and sometimes that causes me to believe that what those voices are saying are actual truths. It messes with me, and can put a strain on my friendships and relationships in general. You might think you have no impact on my life, but I analyze EVERY little comment you might make to me, or someone else, or a comment you made to someone else and not to me. It may be ridiculous and abnormal, but it’s a part of who I am that I’ve been working to fix. A part I thought I was making progress with, and then the open happened.
I’ve learned as a parent and a teacher, you have to work hard to keep your inner monologue in check, especially when you have impressionable girls (or students) around everyday. One day I looked in the mirror and had to stop myself from saying, “I’m so fat”, or weighing myself several times in one day, or saying out loud, “I can’t do this”, or not eating for a day because I’ve been eating horribly for a week. I NEVER want to hear my girls say or do these things, so censoring our hiding those inner thoughts or actions that want to come out can be quite a challenge, but necessary.
During the open, I began to tell myself that it didn’t matter that I was doing this. It made no impact on anything. It was embarrassing that I was even doing this, because WHO do I think I am? The last WOD came out on Thursday and I showed up to watch a friend do her workout, and it was amazing. There were people there cheering her on, and she was doing everything Rx (the REAL stuff, like chest to bar pull ups and heavy weights and awesome things like that) and I’m thinking, why the hell am I even attempting this!? I’m NEVER going to be able to do that. I want it SO bad, but it’s not in the cards for me. And if it is, it will take years, and I’m over 40, and maybe I have MS, or some other auto-immune disease that will screw my body up, and really, who do I think I am!?!
There is no fantastical conclusion to this story. In true Liz Campbell form, I became defiant. I wasn’t going to finish this last stupid workout. I was done. I was over it, I got what I wanted out of it. I compared myself to the rest of the world of crossfit, and in the end, I wasn’t that impressed with myself. Seriously. My friend told me, “I don’t think I can let you NOT do this! Aren’t you going to regret it? «No» (Insert incredulous look here.)
In the end, at the last minute, I decided I’d do it. I wasn’t going to try my best, because it won’t be good enough, but I’ll do it, because I’m not going to be a quitter, and what the hell anyway. But I did, and I tried hard, and it still doesn’t feel good enough. But hopefully some day in the future I’ll look back and it’ll mean something. If not, oh well. I did talk to some awesome new people after, and cheered other people on. So maybe I made a difference to them. In my twisted mind I can’t see that I would. But I’ll never know and I’ve learned to accept that unknown in my life, sometimes.
Again, I don’t know what the point of all of this is, but someday I hope I’ll look back and realize that I’m ok, I turned out fine, and maybe there are other people who are just as majestically messed up as me. Maybe then I’ll be good enough for myself, or maybe not. But hopefully I’ll be happy with who I am and I won’t give two sh*ts what anyone else thinks of me.
That’s the end game anyway. 😊