Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?

I have become accustomed to the positive feedback and support that I have been receiving from family and friends. I can say, with no exceptions, that everyone has been positive and encouraging. Until Saturday. It was bound to happen. We had people over celebrating my son’s birthday. I was feeling pretty good. Too good, maybe. That morning I was at the gym early kicking my butt on the bike and the treadmill. And then of course there was the wine. Lots and lots of wine. Since I have been keeping the drinking to a minimum, the wine went quickly to my head. I guess I was so use to people telling me I could do it, that when someone actually seemed to think I couldn’t, it was stunning.

“You don’t really think you can do this do you? Do you know how hard it is to kayak? Have you ever even been kayaking?” Which is my biggest fear in this whole adventure. And then, “You don’t expect to win do you?” Since I haven’t thought of this in terms of winning or losing, but just finishing – hopefully with some time left over to watch the Eagles Game, I could honestly answer that question, no. I was so surprised, I found myself agreeing and downplaying my accomplishments. And it was easy, because it felt as though I really had accomplished nothing. I have only been kayaking once, and I’m not confident about my ability. I have no idea what the bike trail looks like, except that it has several switchbacks.  I’m not sure I can do the trail without getting off my bike. And the run is something I have kept out of my thoughts as much as possible. As though running five miles in the morning is equal to running three after several hours of physical activity.

Regardless of what she said, what I heard was, “Who the hell do you think you are? You can’t do this. You are fooling yourself into believing you are something you aren’t. This is not for you.” And so why do I care? Why, when almost everyone else is being so supportive, does the one voice hold so much weight? Why? Because it echoes my own thoughts. There is a large fundamental piece of who I am that sees me as trying to be something I’m not. Someone I’m not. I am the funny woman, who drinks too much, curses too freely and watches football. To do this, and do it well, I need to change a lot. And as if to confirm my own expectations, I drank a lot of wine. A lot of wine. Somehow, feeling that it would make everyone more comfortable if I just stay in my role. I was rewarded with a killer headache yesterday, a binge fest on crappy food and a horrible run this morning.

This morning between miles one and two I was tired and my hips hurt. Between miles two and three I thought my legs might fall off, by mile four I was literally on the verge of tears. By mile four and half I was getting through on sheer will. By mile five, I was of course fine, and pushed myself to do another quarter mile. And I was berating myself for having eaten such horrible food and so much wine. What was I thinking?

I have often thought of the balance piece of this, managing who I am with who I want to be. But do I have to define myself in those terms? There are parts of my life I truly enjoy. Do they need wine or beer to enhance them? And if my habits shift so dramatically what does that mean for the other people in my life? How will this impact my friendships? My marriage? And does anyone have the right to set limitations on what I can and cannot do? Who gets to decide this if not me? Aren’t I the one who gets to decide, to answer the question?

So, just who the hell do I think I am?




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