I always thought I was an introvert because I tend to be shy, something I’ve somewhat overcome, but at my core, that’s my tendency. However, I’ve had to reevaluate this assumption, based on this definition:
Introverts tend to not know what they’re going to say until they know what they’re thinking, whereas extroverts tend to not know what they think until they hear themselves say it. —JP Sears
I do think there’s a sliding scale for whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, but based on the above definition…I’m an extrovert! A shy extrovert, but still…an extrovert.
I have to talk things through before I can understand how I feel. The other person…doesn’t have to say anything. I need to give my thoughts a voice for me to be able to process my feelings. If there’s no one to bounce my thoughts off of, I’ve found that journaling and blogging have been helpful.
This blog was supposed to be a platform to showcase my writing. But I didn’t write the books I thought I’d write. I didn’t publish the stories I thought I’d publish. I got bogged down in self-doubt and feelings of not being good enough. However, this blog helped me in ways I couldn’t have predicted. It gave me a sounding board, a way to hear myself think. It allowed me to meet other people who, like me, were wrestling with their feelings. It’s been a scary but rewarding journey.
Recently, I’ve made a few discoveries about myself, about why I self-destruct. It’s changed my life. It’s scary to face your fears, to face your past. One of the things I’ve discovered about myself is that I don’t except nurturing very well. I do things to help others, but I don’t take care of me. (I don’t allow other people to take care of me, either.) I use food to nurture myself, especially when I feel bad. This doesn’t mean I always make poor food choices. Some of these choices are quite healthy, but it’s hard to admit that food is my primary way to self-medicate, to make me feel whole.
I realize that a LOT of my choices have been emotionally based choices, rather than logical, healthy choices. I feel like I’m not good enough, so I self-sabotage when things are going well. I don’t see myself as an attractive person, so I have a hard time accepting the body I’ve been given. I’m afraid that everything I care about can and WILL be taken away from me at a moment’s whim, so I tend to distance myself, to remain emotionally unattached, as a way to protect myself because I’m afraid. ALL the time. I make most of my decisions out of a place of fear and anxiety.
This is still new to me, but I’m putting this on my blog, using it as a sounding board. And yes, this feels true. So…the next step on this journey of mine scares me to death. It’s taking a step completely out of my comfort zone. Tommorrow, I’m going to tour a gym that’s right down the street from my home—within walking distance. (Made plans with the gym yesterday.)
I have often made fun of people who go to gyms. I’ve said, “Why do I need a gym when I have a sidewalk right outside my front door?” But Michigan winters are pretty brutal and the summers are like muggy ovens. This really hinders my ability to go walking or bike riding a good six months out of the year.
In my delusional thinking, a gym membership would be significant. It would be the first time I actively chose to make my health a priority, to nurture my body and take care of it so my heart can function more efficiently. In the past, I’ve exercised for weight loss. Even if I said otherwise, I was lying to myself. I wanted to lose weight because I didn’t like my body. But, I’ve been doing some significant emotional homework the past couple of weeks. I’m still raw and fragile, but I think this could be a way to actively nurture myself.
There’s a little girl inside me who wasn’t athletic, who never felt capable. She was always picked last for dodgeball, and softball, and any other sport. The other kids made fun of her. They called her names. When I worked as a Furniture Sales Manager, I felt really good about my abilities. I learned how to carry a queen size mattress. By myself! I felt strong. I felt more comfortable in my own skin working in that environment than I’d ever felt in my life. I still didn’t like my body, but I was proud of what I could do, of what I’d become. I was as strong as a lot of the men I knew. But it’s been almost three years since I’ve done that kind of work. I don’t have the muscle tone that I used to have. I feel tired a lot of the time. I feel like I’ve aged ten years in the past three.
In my mind, a gym membership is the first step towards me taking back control. I couldn’t control losing my job. I couldn’t stop the other kids from making fun of me. (That little girl is still hurting.) I can nurture my body, and take care of it, and take steps to allow myself to feel like I’m physically capable once more. I don’t need to be able to lift a mattress, but I’d like to feel comfortable bringing groceries in the house. I’d like to feel like I’m physically able do the things I need to do.
This is such a scary step for me. In my mind, the people who go to gyms are the same people who teased me as a child. I feel like I don’t belong in that kind of environment, with people who take care of their bodies. I feel like those people are better than me. Logically, I don’t think I’ll be laughed at, but I am intimidated. To go into a place like that, on regular bases, to say that I am worthy of a strong, capable body…that’s terrifying!
I couldn’t have done this in my twenties or thirties—too scary. But being in my forties has some advantages. It’s FAR easier to talk to a pretty, twenty-something-year-old, without feeling like I’m inferior. I’m old enough to be the mom of a twenty-something. I don’t need to compete with them. I don’t need to dress like them. My body doesn’t need to be perfect. That time of my life is over. (And good riddance!) My focus isn’t about having a “bikini body.” I just don’t want to feel winded going up and down the stairs while carrying a batch of laundry.
Wish me well and share your thoughts!