I’ve been having two recurring dreams lately, neither of which I would describe as pleasant.
The first one is pretty much your run of the mill nightmare: it involves a packed city bus taking a turn too fast and toppling down a hill.
The second one is more drawn out, and much more specific to my own anxiety. It’s taken place in different spaces, but the base-storyline is the same. I’m in some social setting, like a summer camp or road trip, and I’m surrounded by a bunch of strangers that I like. It’s time for everyone to go our separate ways, so I start asking everyone for their last name & if they’re on Facebook (like I said before, this nightmare is bizarre and personally-tailored).
But no one answers my questions, repeatedly, and just before the dream evaporates, I’m standing alone by myself.
So if we’re gonna get psychoanalytic, I’d conclude that I probably harbor a bizarre anxiety about public transportation, and that I’m terrible at letting go.
A couple weeks ago, one of my best friends told me that he was moving to San Fransisco with his husband. And I responded in classic Spencer style, I’ll throw a party when you’re gone to celebrate. When, in reality, I spent most of that dinner staring at my water glass, swirling the ice cubes obsessively and fighting whatever was welling up in my eyes.
As an adult, I’ve had a bunch of friends move. I’ve even moved myself to Washington, D.C. But this one hit me particularly hard, because for the last couple of years, we’ve spent every Wednesday together, touring the city and shopping but not buying anything. We call it Wednesday Gayday, and in many ways, he’s been showing me how to be a grown-up homosexual. He’s been the gay older brother that I never had. (And if he’s reading this, let me clear: much, much older.)
But all I can picture is the first Wednesday that he’ll be gone.
I was never really one to participate in any form of exercise until my senior year of high school, when I decided to take up running. And the only impetus for that, really, was because I had one of my first crushes on another queer boy, but the attraction was not mutual. It was my first experience in the gay friend zone, and I hated it, so I asked him what it was about me that he didn’t want to date.
He said matter of factly, that I was too fat for him.
That isolated exchange alone fueled me for almost a half of a decade’s worth of exercise. Whenever I thought about running slower, and lifting lighter, I would hear his voice and I could push through. I couldn’t let go of the fact that other people saw me as less than because of my body.
But then, twenty crop tops later, I learned to love myself and my body, and the inspiration wained. Even today, I struggle with having a positive connection between self-image and sweat.
There are many different forms of letting go, all with varying — albeit insecure — responses.
There’s the emotional-sarcasm combination like the one I experienced with best friend. Then there’s the hoarding tendency I have, like the one I wrote about in Problem 3: Clothes, with all of the skinny clothes that I can’t seem to get rid of. And then there’s letting go of the self.
The self that is constructed only in your brain, the one that’s been built by everything people have told you about you, the one that is just barricades to protect your emotions from unduly harm. Typically, the self is simply trying to keep you safe and comfortable.
Even as I write this, I can feel my brain telling my fingers, Whoa, slow down girl. It’s getting a little dark in this corner over here. Why don’t you just write a couple jokes instead?
To which my response is, Frick. That. Being comfortable is worse than being insecure.
At this point, I know I need a change, and that will only occur if I’m agitated, or maybe even a little lonely. Because every time I’ve experienced sorrow, I come out of it a better athlete.
The Crossfit Open so far has been exhilarating and challenging, basically everything I expected it to be. But it was the 17.3 workout that physically took my breath away.
When I first read the components for scaled (snatch squats and jumping pull-ups), I knew that I was going to nail it. Snatches are in my wheel house, and even though I don’t really have any upper-body strength to get my chin over the bar, I figured a jumping-start would make it a piece of cake.
And Jesus, was I wrong.
Luckily for me, Coach Hannah was there to be my judge. There are only a couple of people that can tap into my athleticism and force me into what the kids call “beast mode”. My sister is one of them, and Hannah is another. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve known her since high school, in every shape my body has been in.
Or maybe, and more likely, she’s able to motivate out of a place of positivity. She’s not screaming at me or guilting me into moving faster. No, she stands there, cheers you on, and simply tells you, Only five more reps in this set. You got this.
I went through my journals recently, to see what I did before Gayday. I wondered if I even existed before the tradition, to be honest. But I couldn’t have been happier at what my memory left to the wayside.
In my planner, there was nothing written except three words: Squatday with Hannah.
The only issue is that I’ll probably have to take the bus to get there.