Sometimes, I think my brain works in reverse.
Whenever I get emotional, or have hurt feelings, it’s difficult for me to step outside of the situation to reassure myself of where I am in life. It’s difficult to brush it off and fill my mind with encouragement.
A few weeks ago, I posted about a comment made by someone close that absolutely devastated me. Instead of using that comment as motivation to get fired-up, gung-ho, and yee-haw about getting healthy, I let that comment slow down what little momentum I had. In fact, I let that comment move me backwards instead of forward.
How dumb am I?
I’ve certainly thought about going to the gym, eating healthier, and reaching out for the additional support that I need…but then I would immediately talk myself out of it. I caught myself thinking, if I go to the gym today they’ll just think that I did it because of what they said, or, if I pass on desert they’ll take the credit for influencing me to change.
I thought my way out of taking steps I was already planning on taking, and actions I was already planning on making before these comments were ever made!
Now I realize, who cares what people think!
Who cares if someone else thinks they’re what’s causing me to change! Deep down inside, I know it’s me who wants to better myself. It’s me who wants to change, and it’s only me that can actually make it happen.
It doesn’t matter what people say, whether encouraging or discouraging…I have to do this! I have to be the one to change, regardless of any influencing factor that surrounds me.
I hope that I don't come across as not appreciating the support that I have received from many people. I certainly don't mean that I don't value the encouragement that I gain from many friends, and from you. In fact, at times, encouraging words have been the only thing that kept me going.
I simply mean that mentally I need to prepare myself to be dedicated to this journey, regardless of what I encounter along the way. And that includes both the good, and the bad.
What frustrates me is that when I was younger I had the type of determination that I need today. I didn’t care if I was good at what I was pursuing—I pursued it to become better at it—then I pursued it to be the best. I was competitive. I didn’t just want to play volleyball, I wanted to be a starter on the varsity team. I didn’t just want to be a pitcher on the softball team, I wanted to be the fastest pitcher of any team we played.
Volleyball State Championships, 2001, Senior Year High School
Did I accomplish each thing I set out for? No, but it didn’t matter. That was never the point.
What mattered to me was the fact that I was actively working toward being the best. I just wanted people to see me jogging down the road, climbing bleachers, shooting hoops, or on the mound so that they would know that I was a training athlete.
I took pride in being an athlete, and all that came with it. I loved wearing athletic gear, getting a new pair of sneakers, and finding fun ways to pull my hair out of my face at game time (you’ve all seen the funky braids that girls can come up with). I loved that feeling of exhaustion that came after giving it all that I had, and that feeling of pleasure that came when I realized that I still had more energy to burn afterward. I didn’t drink a carbonated beverage for 6 years straight because I knew it would slow me down, and I loved looking for alternative options whenever my family would eat out.
Basketball State Championship, 2002, Senior Year High School
In my mind, these things made me stand out—they made me feel special in some way. It’s not like I was doing anything that others weren’t doing, but I felt like I belonged to something bigger than myself, and that made me feel pretty-dang-cool. Just watch any athlete competing at the Olympics, and you’ll see it. It’s in their eyes. It’s in the way they walk, sit and stand. It’s in the way they hold themselves.
That’s what I had…and that’s what I lost.
Basketball State Championship Game, 2002, Senior Year High School, US Airways Center (Home Court of the Phoenix Suns), We Won!
What happened? Where did that pride go? Where did I lose that drive to push myself each time further, longer, and harder than the last?
Did I kill it? Can I get it back?
I don’t exactly know the answers to these questions…but I hope with all of my heart that I can relight the fire that used to be inside of me. I hope that I can somehow find even just a tiny spark that will light the ignition. I pray that I can retrain myself to ignore everything else, put my game-face on, and deliver a performance on the court/field that eliminates all questions of my capabilities.