A million years ago, in my corporate life back in California, before fitness was a way of life, I was the only female on the management team of a construction company. The company owner was a fitness enthusiast (actually, he was pretty enthusiastic about everything, which was one reason why he was so successful and why it was so much fun to work there, but I digress). Anyway, he took a look at the team one day and told us that if we didn’t all get into shape we were all going to die young and life wasn’t all about work, so he was mandating a team fitness challenge.
Now, at this stage in my life, I would probably rather have just been fired. Or killed. I was a heavy smoker, drinker and wasn’t exactly sure my weight because I stopped weighing myself but I couldn’t fit into any clothes in the regular-sized section of the stores (isn’t that just the worst feeling?). So we all embarked on these ‘challenges’. There were different things we committed to, but once a month we had to play one team sport or another. Now, at this point, the best I could do in this endeavor was to log all my food intake daily “Egg whites, toast, salad, water, wine, wine, pizza, pizza, what happened??” and think about hitting the gym while enjoying my post hard-day cocktail and I’ve NEVER been the most coordinated gazelle by the stream so when it came time for game day it was pretty much reliving all the horrible P.E. days of my youth where I was always the last to be picked and the most likely to lose the game for my team.
You see, early on in my life I acquired the belief that fitness and exercise were extremes that only the most elite, gorgeous or insane people engaged in and that ‘normal’ people just didn’t do those types of things. Jogging around the block was suspect and when instant and dramatic results didn’t occur after one session it was perfectly reasonable to abandon the quest. The fact that I was bookish and introverted only added fuel to the (lack of) fire. A lifestyle like this creates a series of self-fulfilling prophesies. A counselor or coach might like to say that I was only projecting that no one wanted me on the team, or that I wasn’t that bad an athlete but trust me, I was there. What being overweight and out of shape didn’t accomplish, overwhelming shyness and insecurity finished the job.
So fast forward a decade or two and here I am at the management team challenges. Hungover, resentful, fat and out of shape. Bless these guys on the team because although they had hearts of gold, they were also fiercely competitive with each other when it came to things that didn’t really matter. So I always got to be ‘the secret weapon’. Being the secret weapon meant that I got to stand WAY out in left field, or down field, or anywhere else where it was highly unlikely I’d get involved in the game. And I liked it that way, because I knew that if I did get passed the ball, I’d fail anyway, and so I was co-conspirator to my own banishment.
Looking back now, that makes me sad. It makes me sad that I was so trapped in that life and that body that I was glad to be sidelined. It makes me sad that I’d have rather been the ‘secret weapon’ than actually get to play and have fun because it was more important not to let anyone else down that it was not to let myself down. It’s good to be unselfish, but pathological self-debasement never got anyone very far. How much sooner would my life had changed if I had insisted on being thrown the ball and actually participated in my own life and yes, even the fitness challenge, rather than make excuse and mental (only) gymnastics to justify staying in my miserable, shi&&y comfort zone?
If you have the opportunity to any little thing to change your perception or your life, don’t waste it. I mean, I’m good now. Everything has changed and life is so ridiculously good now I can’t even describe it. But being the ‘secret weapon’ wasn’t really funny like I usually pretend it was. It was embarrassing, and it hurt. I know what it’s like to laugh at yourself before anyone else can, and I know it doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t have to be thin, or in shape or anything else to start taking back your dignity and self-respect, you just have to stop laughing.
You ARE Limitless!