“My talent for leadership, I imagined, would place me at the head of vast enterprises which I would manage with the utmost assurance.”
Today at my book study we began Bill’s Story. What popped out for me was that in addition to alcoholism, Bill and I share a propensity for grandiosity. I graduated Cum Laude even though my major could have been 2-for-1 Thursdays, and I came out of college much dumber than when I went in. I was always able to cram at 3am, regurgitate the information on a test at 9am and get an A. I was born that way. Within the structure of school this made me feel really gifted, superior and entitled. I’ve always been told I was so smart, and somewhere along the line I came to believe that a lucrative career and glamorous life would probably fall into my lap just because I was so amazing.
Let’s be honest, I’ve never worked very hard for anything. I’ve thought that every job I’ve ever had was beneath me and I treated them that way. I somehow thought I could successfully coast through life. This approach stopped working once I graduated college. I struggled to get a job and once I got a job, I just couldn’t figure out how to advance. I mean, didn’t anyone notice how smart and awesome I am? The truth is that I had a crappy work ethic, bad attitude and was a little socially awkward. These three qualities basically spell ruin in the entertainment industry where I’m pretty sure the recipe for success is endless hours, relentless positivity and the ability to pretend like you actually give a shit about other people.
My attitude and drinking deteriorated side by side, and I decided to give up on the job thing. It just wasn’t working out. With the blessing of my husband I quit my job and got pregnant a few months later without the blessing of my husband. Kidding… sort of. Anyway, motherhood conveniently solved my career problem for the time being, except that I carried my beliefs and attitudes with me.
My most dreaded WOD’s (workout of the day) in CrossFit are chippers. Chippers contain high reps of many different exercises. The other day we did one they called “Dirty 30” because it was someone’s 30th birthday.
30 Box Jumps
30 Wall Balls
30 Kettle Bell Swings
30 Ab Mat Sit-ups
30 Walking Lunges
I didn’t like it. I like a 7 minute WOD. I like lifting a very heavy weight once or twice. I was the last in the class to finish this WOD, partially because of my fitness and partially because my mind really gets in the way. It says, “Look how many more you have to do. You’ll never make it. This is too hard. It hurts. What’s the point anyway? CrossFit is stupid. Fuck these people.” They are called chippers because you chip away at them, one rep at a time. You don’t have to worry about 30 burpees, you just have to worry about your next movement. One foot in front of the other, just keep going. I fought myself the whole way, but I did eventually finish. Each little rep added up to one killer WOD.
I’ve really never experienced this before. I’m always going for the big bang. I’ve never been interested in making a small, consistent effort at something until this last year. AA has taught me the value of trudging and that has been solidly reinforced by CrossFit. And what amazing results I’ve gotten on both fronts. Not because I’m the best or because I’m perfect, but just because I show up and keep going.
And I have faith that this is beginning to spill into my everyday life. Trying hard at things I’m not naturally gifted at (like cleaning or playing Power Rangers) is a pain in the ass. A lot of times I get really overwhelmed just by the amount of stuff that there is to do in a day. The laundry, dishes, organizing, shopping, cooking, bathing, bedtime, etc. It’s endless and relentless. I don’t like it, so I spend a lot of time avoiding it by waiting for my Facebook feed to refresh or playing Candy Crush.
The other day I was getting particularly overwhelmed and petulant. I was standing in the kitchen and suddenly I had this thought/voice come into my head as clear as day. Out of nowhere I heard, “What could you do right now to make tomorrow easier?” And just like that I stopped pouting and did the dishes.