[Documenting a list that’s been a long time in the making – asking myself these same few questions over and over on repeat. Because sometimes I need to research and contemplate things for a while before pulling the trigger. Like a few days … or weeks … or sometimes like a decade. Whatev.]
1. Ok so you want to help people. This is a way to help people.
I do want to help people – this is true. I especially want to help people who are where I was, because I understand what it’s like to live in a body that feels like it’s no longer your own – as though it’s this separate entity you fear and hate and desperately try to pacify. I want to help people find their way to restored health and an overall improved quality of life. I am trying to create a life that’s about service to other people because that’s the only thing that’s ever felt right for me. Maybe this is another way to do that.
2. But what the hell do you know? No one will want to work with you! You’re certainly not perfect.
Certainly not. I’ve always had the idea that personal trainers need to be basically flawless, perfect human specimens who are at a peak level of fitness at all times. Full disclosure: I am none of those things. I am not ever going to be any of those things, and there may be some people who wouldn’t want to work with me because I don’t look good enough, or I’m not thin enough or fit enough or whatever, and I can’t control that. But I’ve been fighting and clawing at the notion that I need to be perfect and flawless to be considered “good enough” – just, like, in general. Good enough to be a human, I guess. Good enough to be seen, and to be loved, and to simply exist. So I’m also trying to fight the notion that I somehow must be perfect in order to help other people. I don’t think that’s the way it works.
3. Well, you are passionate about this. Right?
Oh, I am. I have been passionate about fitness and exercise ever since I started actually moving – like, moving beyond the absolute minimal amount of effort necessary to survive the day. Intentional movement! I started with such a low level of fitness that I could only make it through 10 minutes on the treadmill, or six minutes on the elliptical. I built slowly and added lots of other stuff along the way. I love it all. I love the way it makes me feel, and I love all the benefits that come along with it – especially what it does for my mental health. I don’t know what I’d do without it. I definitely think that, in terms of just weight loss, it’s mostly about diet; I’d guess it’s about 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. BUT in terms of overall health – both physical and mental – it’s just one of the best things you can do for yourself. Strength, flexibility, feeling powerful, feeling proud of yourself – I could seriously go on and on but you get the idea. So yes. Yes I am
4. But you’re too old to do this now. You should have done this 10 years ago.
This is a weird one. It’s weird because many of the people in my life who I love and have developed the strongest bonds with also happen to be older than me – usually 10-20 years older – and one of the reasons I’m able to connect with them so well is because they live young, no matter how old they are. They play and have fun and learn and challenge themselves to improve; they don’t give up or shy away from doing things just because they’ve reached some particular age. And whenever I start to hear a hint of that voice creeping in to their narrative – “well, maybe I might be getting too old to keep doing this” – I am quick to call them out on it because it’s usually bullshit, and they know it. So it’s weird that this has crept into my own life. Am I too old to do this? Will people be dissuaded from working with me because I’m too old? Will some people prefer to work with someone in their 20s? Probably. But, again, see #2 – I can’t really control that, but I can choose not to let it stop me. (And frankly, I was in no place to be doing this 10 years ago, either mentally or physically. I was just starting to figure shit out then.)
5. And you’re not smart enough to learn the material or to pass the exam.
I have literally been telling myself this story since I started school at six years old. Stop. STOP. Just stop. You are wrong this time and you were wrong all those other times, too. In fact, I don’t think you’ve ever been right. I understand that you’re trying to protect me from failure; I understand that your underlying message is that if I don’t try, I can’t fail. But here’s the thing: I just passed a finance and accounting class that I knew nothing about going in, and in which all of the material confused the fuck out of me, and that I TOTALLY HATED EVERY MOMENT OF AND HAD ABSOLUTELY ZERO INTEREST IN OR PASSION FOR. I didn’t just pass. I got an A. So at this point I’m going to guess that I’ll do OK with a subject that I love and am passionate about and already know a little bit about and in which I’m enormously committed to succeed. So thanks, but you can stop now.
6. Ok, so even if it were a good idea, you’re too busy for this right now aren’t you?
Yeah. But you know, I plan to be busy for a while. Like … until I die. I plan to spend every day of the rest of my life being really, really fucking busy with learning and growing and challenging myself to improve and just generally squeezing this life as hard as I can to get every last bit of juice out of it.
So now? Yeah, now’s good.