Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Ramblings on paralysis, perfection, dysmorphia, and self-sabotage

Let’s dispense with a lot of the tracking and formalities for the moment.  I’ll probably be back later in the week to do my normal recap because I like keeping track of that stuff, but for now, let’s focus on some deeper noodle-probing.

Did I sound a bit unbalanced last week?  Well, I was (am?).  It was super weird.  Consider yourselves my therapists while I lay down on the couch and babble for a while.

My husband and I get along really really really well, for many, many reasons, but one major one is that we don’t sweat the small shit, and when find that we do, we figure out what the problem is and fix it.  We both tell each other to “use your words” a lot.  I believe if you explain the reasoning behind why someone feels the way they do, even if you don’t agree, then you’re more apt to reach a compromise.  If you ask for what you want clearly, you’re much more likely to get it.  An example from yesterday, saying “I put this thing here” is less likely to get me to remember to bring it than “hey, here’s this thing, you are responsible for grabbing it when we leave”.  We’re all guilty of both sides, both being more vague than necessary and also not paying enough attention to infer someone’s requests from something that doesn’t directly smack you on the head and say DO THIS.

So, we’re typically great communicators and truly heated disagreements in our house are rarer than a blue moon.  However, this office thing is REALLY getting bad.  We can’t talk about it without both getting defensive.  His point of view is that it’s not a huge priority, we’ve been busy lately, how it’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be, and our old office in San Diego was messy, so why does it matter if there’s crap on the floor and ten unused monitors on a table?  My counter is that we’ve prioritized other things and I just want to GET THIS DONE, about how if we half ass it I won’t want to spend time in it and it will become a junk room again in a few months and then he’ll be unhappy about it, and how I want at least a semi-uncluttered space to be creative.

We both have valid points.  Within minutes, the office would be technically usable, but there’s still a LOT of junk in it, and from previous experience, junk multiplies.  But, either way, why the heck does this bother me so much I get snippy every time we talk about it?  I’m not a neat freak.  It’s been this way for 10 years.  Why is it like rubbing salt in a fresh wound now?

I found this fantastic article about paralysis by perfectionism, and at first I was like “pssssh, that’s not me, I don’t expect to be perfect”, but it really hit home when I read it.

The office is a self-imposed roadblock to a lot of projects I want to start, one being writing my book.  I write alllll the time, but I can’t seem to make myself spend any time on this book, because, frankly, it scares the hell out of me.  Why? I’d say I have no idea, but I do.  I’ve had “write a book” on my To Do list half my life.  It’s one of those goals I hold on a (pretty ridiculous) pedestal.  I’m terrified that I’ll write a book and it will be rubbish, so I keep making excuses as to why I can’t start.

I feel like this one isn’t so hard.  Once I figured it out, I’m ready to conquer it because that’s just stupid self-sabotage.  I just need to put myself on notice and on a schedule.  Well, I’m committing to it, starting this week.  Booyah.  Go take a flying leap off a cliff, fear, insecurity, and getting in my own way!!!

Let’s delve deeper to murkier water.  I’ve been thinking about the online coaching business, and I actually came up with what I think is a BRILLIANT idea to set myself apart.  However, once I really thought about it, since it involves a lot of me in spandex where I can’t just pick still shots at the angle that makes me look good, my thought was “no effing way, not looking like I do now”.

Here’s the thing – I know I have some INSANE body dysmorphia going on.  I used to wear both glasses and contacts (not at the same time, silly, but switching off about 50/50).  Sometime in the last few years, the way my glasses are curved makes me see myself as a skinnier person in the mirror.  It’s to the point now where I only wear my contacts when I ABSOLUTELY have to because to me, I look 20 lbs heavier and even my go to favorite outfit looks awful so I have self esteem issues all day.

Then, just last week, it hit me.  “Contacts me” is how I look to everyone else, and that kind of makes me ill because I don’t like how she looks at all.  She’s my unflattering race pictures, she’s the group pictures on facebook that you go and untag yourself in, and the girl you see out running and biking and think “awww, good for her”.  She’s the girl that even looks terrible in my go-to slimming outfit.  I give her a break most of the time because she’s still the same badass that covered 140.6 miles in less than 16 hours, but in purely self-image matters, we are at odds with each other.  She can’t be me because I want to like me but I don’t like her and I really just don’t see that changing without weight loss, if we’re going to continue to be real.  It’s resolved by actually buckling down, and looking a little more like this.

Even without my brain playing weird tricks, I know I look like a reverse before and after, with the BEFORE picture being how I look now, vs me 6-7 years ago.  I don’t like how I look, I don’t feel comfortable in most of my clothes, and I knew it would take a while to decompress and stop acting like an asshole after Ironman, but three flippin’ months and I haven’t made a lick of progress (or, that is, I made a little in two months and then erased it all with six lazy days in the woods, which I think is almost worse). That’s just unacceptable to me.  I have to fight SO HARD for this and I’ve lost 3 months with nothing to show for it.

It’s one step forward and two steps back with these things.  I feel like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill for eternity only to have it roll back down and smack it in the face – this is how weight loss has felt to me for the last 7 years.  That’s a long time to spend most every day working toward a goal and actually have it constantly getting WORSE over the years.  Let’s all agree that losing weight is the WORST.

I have a lot more mountains to climb that just my self-sabotaging nature that don’t have to do with my writing aptitude or lumpy body.  I have a veritable handful of unpublished posts laying out a lot of the things that make me uncomfortable (actually, let’s be real… terrified) about this whole process, about trying to put myself out there as a coach someday.  For an adrenaline junkie, for an Ironman, for someone who’s more than willing to get up on stage or get on camera in front of thousands of people, this sounds STUPID.  What on earth could I be scared of?

I’m comfortable at being a badass in the physical sense but some things that normal humans do naturally scare the hell out of me.

  • I’ll get up in front of thousands and talk or act before I’ll ask ONE person outside of my family for help (and even that takes work for me).
  • I’ll jump off a cliff into a lake, but I’ll cling like hell to a sure bet where I’m just comfortable with vs jumping into something new that could be AWESOME.  I’m ALLLLL about the evil I know.
  • I would rather swim bike and run for 16 hours straight than actually call a financial planner to figure out what to do with my money and find out if I can ever retire because I have to call and then go see another human that is going to ask me a lot of questions and I live in a state of constant decision fatigue so that will be hard.  And then, after all that torture, I am afraid I won’t like the result (haha, you have to work FOREVERRRRR!!!).

Yep, I’d probably choose to do every moment of that race over again right now completely out of shape versus most of the adulting left on my list.

At this point, I’d like to tell you how it all became happily ever after and the weight fell off and the projects got done and I stopped being scared of ridiculous things and conquered the world, the end.  But I’m afraid I’m not at the happily ever after.  Yet.  Last week’s To Do list is almost all still there, waiting for me, reminding me that I’m either lazy, or terrified, or both and the future is full of a lot of mundane BS that I have to get through.

However, at least now I’m aware.

I’m not being naggy and petty about the office for no reason.  I’m doing it because it feels like it’s standing in the way of my goals.  It feels like there is a mountain of house organizational menial type bullshit standing in between me and actually getting to work on what I want, things that will actually directly make progress on big long term scary goals.  And it’s frustrating me because I’m failing at something I can actually have some control over, versus something like my weight loss, which feel like the formula for success is 2+chicken=periwinkle blue.

Now, I have decisions to make about how I start chopping the wood and carrying the water here.  Either the way out is through, or I need to put the blinders back on, and find a little spot of zen in my chaos and get to it.


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  1. Katherine

    Thank you for sharing, it’s uncanny how much your post resonated. I have such a war going on with my body right now – and at 47 I thought I was so done with that. If anything it’s getting worse than I ever had it in my youth. I run 50 k ultras , also an ironman v accomplished work wise yet I still have such feelings of inadequacy. I didn’t have those from 30-44 and no clue where this comes from now.

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there. There is solace in shared experiences albeit with strangers

    • If I find the answer, I’ll let you know. 🙂 For now, I’m trying to eat a super-human volume of cleaner food to fuel my workouts instead of junk and be patient and persistent for the physical side of things. I definitely don’t have the rest figured out!
      Quix recently posted…A little sunshine…My Profile

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