Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's not you, it's me.

Today I did something I've never done before.

Don't worry no laws or commandments were broken.

I walked out halfway through an aerobics class. It wasn't because I was injured, tired, or lazy. I just didn't like it. Let's make this clear: I like exercise. I like sweating and moving and pushing myself. I just don't like doing it in a room with a bunch of other people. And as I was grapevining around the room I suddenly realized that there was no reason for me to do this. So I left. I took my water bottle and went to the treadmill. And boy did I have a good run. Because that was exactly what I wanted to do.

When I was in high school, I "played" volleyball. By playing I mean I put on knee pads and served really well, and of course was an 5'11" intimidation force at the net. Until they got a look at my 2 inch vertical. Anyway, I hated it. I hated the coach. I didn't like the drills. Team sports and I don't do well because even if I am nowhere near the ball, I am almost certain that everything is my fault. I am too much of an internalizer to handle team competition. We were in a playoff game, and if we won we would head to the Regionals. Everyone was cheering, and hoping. Me? I was on the sidelines praying we would lose, because that would mean the season was over. Suddenly I thought, "Why am I doing this to myself?" We lost. And I turned in my kneepads. And yet still, I have led a fairly productive life.

I too often sign up, join in, and play along because I am certain that I should. I should like something. I should be good at something. But, what if I don't? Aren't there plenty of people who like volleyball? Can't some other section of the female population handle the quilting demands of the world? I certainly hope so. I am all for stretching, striving, and growing. But, if I don't want it, I'll hate myself for failing at it. If I want it, that is a whole different animal. If I want it, failure is a part of the process. If I want it, I'm in it for the long haul. If I want it, then I will make it happen.

So, I'm sorry Body Attack teacher. You are a very nice person who clearly loves group exercise. But, I'm a solo show when it comes to sweating. I have lots to learn and offer, but I'll learn and offer more if I do it my way, rather than the way I think I should. And the same goes for you I'm guessing. So, consider this our permission slip to let go of the "should" projects and embrace the "I've always wanted to. . . " ones. This will be much more fun.


  1. Good for you! I once walked out of an aerobics class when I was at BYU. I was trying it out and it was so jam-packed with people that I felt like I couldn't breathe, much less move. After about ten minutes of asking myself, "why am I doing this??" I finally up and left. It felt great.

    I often wonder how much easier our lives would be if we were more honest with ourselves and did fewer things out of a sense of overblown obligation and spent more time doing the things we really love. Hmmmm. You've got me thinking again!

  2. I like hearing your perspective about group sports. I have a feeling Sophie is this way. She doesn't seem to like competing in groups; it makes her feel bad and self conscious. She definitely internalizes things. I have a hard time relating because I really enjoy team sports (volleyball being one of my favorites :) and a healthy competition.
    I've wondered if I should push her towards things she doesn't feel comfortable with to try to help her "get over it" or if I should let her do things she is more inclined to (like individual sports/hobbies). I think you helped answer my question a bit.