Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Crossing an invisible line

Tuesday night. Am I the only one that seems to have certain absolutes about life that, when I approach them, just intimidate the heck out of me? Let me give you some examples of what I mean.

I have only been under 212 pounds twice in the last six years and the last time it happened, I was on my way up, not down. When I approached that landmark number on the scale, along with the sense of pride and accomplishment came some trepidation as well. I know how to be when I weigh more than 212 pounds, but I never really mastered handling myself when I weighed less than that amount (which is probably why I eventually crossed back over the line and gained it all back). I was scared, and then I did it and I went a few pounds further just for good measure. Life is good, nothing bad happened, and no monsters have assailed me as yet.

I have to stop right here to say dear God, it's raining AGAIN! I thought it was supposed to let up? Seriously, folks, this has ceased to be amusing and we've all stopped saying our usual, "well, but we need the rain." We need about 10 inches a year. We've had 21 since Christmas. And it's not stopping. Someone MAKE IT STOP. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes...

With my workouts, there are certain milestones that have huge emotional baggage attached. One such milestone is the transition from walking to running. I have always loved running because it makes me feel light and graceful which, especially for a girl that's always been fat, is a feeling to be treasured. Just thinking about making the transition, however, makes me a little crazy because I know that it will mean I can't pretend that I'm not strong, not capable. Seeing any patterns?

Essentially, what I'm looking at here is a fear of success. Both stories - both milestone moments - are invisible walls representing success for me that, once scaled, leave me out in the open without my protective coating of failure to cloak me from the gaze of others. And, if people notice me and I'm successful...well, what would I do then??? What indeed.

I've never been able to handle success or praise or any sort of positive attention, no matter how deserved or sincere. Never a problem with the opposite - criticism, failure, and condemnation are my long-time companions - but success throws me for a loop. I don't know what to do or how I'm supposed to react when good things happen, but, for the first time in my life, I know that I'm going to figure it out.

I'm done playing down my successes so that others won't feel slighted. No more tossing aside compliments because they don't fit with the stereotypical "poor little fat girl" image of myself I've been buying into since I was a little girl. Success is all about living your life with zest and with passion and you can't do that if you're afraid to be noticed. The next time one of those invisible barriers pops up inside my head, I'm going to walk right up to it, knock on the door, and walk through the threshold with my head held high. I can handle success in the same way I'm handling everything else - one foot in front of the other, one minute at a time.

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