Facing Myself: Choosing Strong Over Tough

Yesterday was a bad day. Not for any individual reason, just overall yuck. Maybe it was the bullshit hormones from stupid PMS. Maybe it was because I haven’t had a job for almost a month, and I don’t do well with idle time. Maybe it was because I miss my friends more than anything and it’s really, really hard to not have a tribe here.

More than likely it’s because I’m alone. I have “people,” but it’s still just me. My cousins are here and I love them dearly, but I’m alone. And it’s a VERY necessary alone. Because it’s forcing me to face myself. Over and over. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. It’s just me. Figuring it out. Figuring myself out. Facing myself.

I’m a competitive person. I like to be good at things, and I really like to be the best at things. When I’m not good at something, or it’s not going well, I tend to quit. Doesn’t matter what it is, I quit. Relationships, blog posts, sports, all of it. I’m not proud of this. But it’s who I’ve been for 31 years, and it’s something I work towards changing every single morning I wake. It’s something that’s actively changing right now. And it sucks.

Even as I write this, I’m really sad. Not myself at all. Or at least, not who I’ve worked so god damn hard to become as of late. (I’m blaming the hormones, because crying three times FOR NO REASON before noon isn’t my style.) But even though it’ll make me a bit more sad to write them out, here are my “almost a quitter, but I swear I’m changing” examples.

Yesterday I walked into CrossFit and you could feel the buzz. People were talking about it. This WOD (workout of the day) was going to suck. I happened to be there at 5:30, which happens to be the biggest class of the day. Our coaches decided to make it a partner WOD. Exciting because it means half the work, right? Not for me. For me it means paralyzing anxiety due to not being good enough. Now add in that I would be slowing someone else down because I took a zillion days off and suck at CrossFit. Recipe for mental disaster.

I was paired up with a sweet girl who I adore, and it broke my heart to hold her back. I watched myself get pissed off and I broke myself down internally, and others saw it, too. I’m embarrassed to say that not only did I speak rudely to a coach and my partner, but I wanted to throw my jump rope, drop the bar, and walk out.

I even had that thought process. “Just quit. Say fuck it. Walk away, grab your stuff, and go home. It’s not that bad, you can just cancel your membership.” But I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. So I stuck it out and every single second sucked and we were less than a 50 meter row away from being done when the time cap hit.

We didn’t finish.But I stayed. I was disappointed and angry at myself and embarrassed at my behavior. But I stayed. Even through the embarrassment and insecurity, I stayed. And I will continue to go back, even when I’m hating everything about it. I’m staying.

I have a relationship that I can feel changing. Someone I love SO much and have been through everything with, is pulling away from me and I can feel it. Texts unanswered, short responses, not reaching out the way they used to. It hurts. This has happened with us before, and sometimes it’s necessary. I know that. We’re complicated and ridiculous and beautiful and wonderful and so many other things. My gut response is to just end it, as I’ve done so many times before. Delete the number, delete the Facebook friendship, delete the text messages, just…be done.

But I’m not doing that. I’m staying. I’m remembering that we’re all on a journey here and it’s messy and uncomfortable, and sometimes things get weird. So instead of being petty and immature, I’m allowing it to be what it is right now. They’re still in my prayers every day, and I know we will figure it out. We always find our way back. I’m staying.

Facing the ugliness in myself isn’t easy. I’ve spent a very long time denying it, or pretending to be okay with it. Thick skin, you know? Tough. But I don’t want to be tough. I want to be strong. And the difference between tough and strong is admitting to my faults. Seeing all of the ick inside me and instead of pushing it down, allowing it some room to grow, to change into something else. Something good.

Facing myself isn’t fun. It’s difficult and painful and sometimes it takes away from all of the sunshine I’ve been working into my life. But it’s necessary. The only way to find more light is to walk through the dark. The muck. The flaws.

Quitting makes me tough.

Staying makes me strong.

Denial makes me tough.

Facing myself makes me strong.

I choose strong.

And I hope you will, too.

Cheers! CasC
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