Friday, September 21, 2012

What Does an Athlete Look Like?

Tomorrow will be the fourth month in a row that I'm testing in kickboxing. There are those who think that I shouldn't be testing this quickly (myself included, at times) between belts, but I have to admit that the challenge of doing so definitely keeps me motivated, and striving to become a better me. At some point, this will no longer be possible as I will need too many classes to test each month, but in the meantime, I find myself debating whether or not it's a worthwhile cause to continue to do the tests each month for as long as I can. As I have mentally debated this over the past several weeks, I've often thought that there is no real reason for me to be pushing myself like this. What is it that's spurring me to action, exactly?

As I've been pondering this very idea, Sam brought to my attention something that I found odd, but intriguing. We were discussing the hang up that I have about the "6 month time frame" with losing weight and working out. I'm always fearful during the 6-8 month marker because in the past (as I've mentioned before) it is the point at which I generally give up and go back to my old ways. We were discussing how things feel different this time because it's not a "diet" that I am doing, and there's nothing to "go off of." I've viewed this as a change in life that's maintainable - which was the whole purpose. Still, I have my doubts because when one is crossing into unknown territory, it can be frightening - even if I'm aware of what can and has happened in the past. As we were having this discussion, Sam uttered something in the middle of a thought that stuck with me. He said, "Well, you're an athlete now." I laugh just typing it, and I laughed aloud when he said it while we were chatting.
I'm not an athlete. I've never been an athlete. I'm uncoordinated, unskilled, clumsy, awkward (at times), have always been picked last for every sport I've ever played - not to mention being overweight and the limitations that brings. But, the thought stuck with me, and I pondered it a bit more. An athlete? Me? I suppose it's possible. I train several hours a day, I'm often healing some sort of "war wound" from training, I'm aware of when, what, and how often I'm eating, and I have goals for myself. I'm becoming better at the things I'm doing, and finding ways to challenge myself. Is it possible? Am I turning into an athlete? I honestly don't even know what to do with that thought. I'm not the athlete... I'm the fat girl, who's not good at sports. The latter title seems much easier to accept than the former, and I'm trying to determine why.

The eternal optimist when it comes to others, I find the stark opposite to be the truth when it comes to myself. I am happy to cheer on others, and know full well that they are capable of anything they put their mind to doing, but I can't seem to believe the same for myself.  It's not as though this is restricted to the current situation either because it runs across all areas of life. I doubt everything I do and expect that what I'm doing is never good enough to call myself "fill_in_the_blank." I'm not an athlete, I'm not an artist, I'm not strong, I'm not a cyclist.  It's as though I have some kind of never-achievable idea of what it is I should be in order to call myself by whatever title. But, the reality is that I am all of these things, and the only one who doesn't yet believe it ... is me.

Some day though... one day, I will know that I am an athlete and I'll have the confidence to proclaim it out loud.


  1. You are absolutely an athlete. I was one myself (or thought I was) back when I lost all that weight before. You've inspired me to give it another go.

    1. Cecily, It's so hard sometimes to see ourselves the way others do. I struggle much more than I thought I would with everything - from being called "an athlete" to someone telling me that I "look so good." I know that I have a long, long way to go and I suppose it is, at least in some part, why I find it difficult to accept these types of statements from others.

      It's definitely worthwhile to try again. You are so worth it! It's not at all easy, and I'm convinced anyone who says it is, is just lying to others and maybe themselves. However, we get one life (as far as I know anyway) to figure this out, and I want to do it in the best way I can. I keep reminding myself that I don't have to be perfect every day, but if I can just improve a little or do one thing right, maybe I can slowly change the way my mind wants to work. I'm no expert, certainly, but I think it's completely doable.


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