Note – occasionally I write posts about my relationship with myself. This is one such post. It’s about my relationship with my Saddlebags. You can search “Saddlebags” to catch the history of these posts, or go here for the entry prior to this one.
I hate going to the dentist. I have a past childhood, former adolescence and present adulthood so filled with dental trauma that I know I’ll never get over the all-encompassing fear I face every sixth months of my life. Seriously.
When I was a kid, I had four permanent teeth removed for braces, I had four wisdom teeth removed prior to getting braces (plus a little piece of my jawbone – they had impacted, and having no where else to turn, went downward…into my jaw), cavities galore, more shots than I’ll ever be able to count…I puke when the dentist tries to give me laughing gas. Can you tell I’m serious here? I really, really hate going to the dentist. Now, I’m in the process of getting crowns because of all my cavities and I’m only finished with number three. I have to get seven. I also hate it when people tell me dentist stories…and I’ve just put you through an entire paragraph of mine. Oh my heavenly days – please forgive me! I have a point. Really…
My point is that I fear going to the dentist. I hope that’s clear. But I have realized since last November that I’ve been fearing going to the gym, practically at the same level of intensity…to shake my saddlebags, remember? I mean I really worked myself up on how hard it was going to be to start a workout regimen again, and I had to literally drag myself into the gym the first time. After generating so much lactic acid that I became nauseous and spent some quality time over the toilet, I decided that working out wasn’t just scary – – it was horrific. So horrific that it took me six full days for my muscles to quit aching from the first workout. I recall not being able to sit on the carpet during Thanksgiving because the prospect of getting back up meant moving my legs, arms and abdomen and that would induce pain…Pain!
But I went back to my second workout the last week in November. And although I couldn’t schedule another workout to save my life with Brennen in December (truly, our schedules just weren’t clicking…), I did go back twice before Christmas. I worked with Molly and during the second session I spilled my guts. I told her how scared I was, how out of shape I was, I confessed that I probably wasn’t going to do anything to help my body unless I had already paid for it and was going to avoid the guilt of having wasted money. I told her my life was too full of work, school, professional commitments, this blog…I mean, you would think I was a Catholic and she was a priest hearing someone who had avoided confession for years. I walked on the treadmill and for fifteen minutes I told her all the reasons why this wouldn’t work. But, Molly must have heard them all. She basically just said, “Okay, we’ll start with baby steps.”
And we did.
I went to see Molly again last Thursday, and just finished a session with Brennan today. I’ve decided two things so far: Molly designs workouts like a girl, and Brennen designs workouts like a guy. That’s a completely unfair observation, but it’s what I’ve decided and I’m sticking with it. Molly really concentrates on “my core,” getting my stamina up (she has me within one setting on the treadmill to where I’ll have no choice but to jog), etc. Brennen usually focuses more on weightlifting and developing muscle tone – legs, arms, shoulders, back… With the two of them together, I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds.
But there is something keeping me from the very best of both worlds, and – – – we’re back to my fear. I was trying to break down my fear today on my drive home. I’ve decided that I suffer from the workout-related Fantastic Fear Trifecta:
Fear of going to the gym – I believe that I excel in attempting to talk myself out of all the reasons why I really shouldn’t go to the gym. Some of them are personal…I just really have a hard time doing things for myself. It’s easier if I’m committing to others…which is PART of the reason why I can make myself go there – I don’t want the trainer to waste their time showing up and then me NOT. But the other part is that I always have the hour way bigger in my head than it really is. I fear the bigness and the badness of the workout. The thing is…it’s not big and bad. It’s just hard. I can handle hard. I just have to keep telling myself that: Yes, it’s going to be hard. But, it’s not “bad,” or “big,” or “horrific.” Just hard.
Fear of STARTING the workout – Sometimes when I change clothes and sit on the carpet covered benches in the girls dressing room I want to hide. This is the next spot where I get hung up on a mental fear-wheel. I don’t want to start. It’s related to the same thing as the “fear of GOING” to the gym, but the fear of starting is a little bit different. You see, if I start…then I’ve committed to finishing. I’m scared to commit to finish…which brings me to the final leg of the trifecta.
The Fear of FINISHING the workout – Sometimes, even in the middle of a workout…even when the trainer is saying, “Do you need to take a break? How was that – do we need to back it off a little? Can you handle a little more?” Even when they’re doing everything they can to keep me in control of what I’m doing, I still get the heebie-jeebies. I think to myself, “Maybe I can’t make it. Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe it’s going to get harder…” So, the fear of finishing kicks in, sometimes twice or even three times during a workout, and I have to push through that.
But when it’s over, I’ve now noticed, that the NEXT “Fear of Going” is just a tiny bit smaller than the previous time. And the NEXT “Fear of Starting” is also a little smaller. And the NEXT time I struggle with the “Fear of Finishing,” it’s either one time less or not quite as long as the time before.
This has NOT been easy. I’ve now completed five workouts and they’ve all been tough. But, I keep going back.
I’m still scared. I have a workout this Thursday and I’m already dealing, just a wee little bit, with the “Fear of Going” phase. But I’m going. I’m going, I’m starting and I’m finishing. And THAT, my friends, is how you work on a relationship with yourself. Even if you scare yourself to death.
P.S. Go HERE for entry #3, “I Don’t Know Myself Anymore.”