Today was one of those days in which I was reminded precisely of the reasons why I like riding my bike.
This afternoon I went skating for the very first time and got a lesson. A little more than an hour was spent outside in the sunlight with pleasant temperatures, a cheery teacher, and a significant amount of time was devoted to feeling bad about oneself.
I will be the first to admit that I am a terrible starter, and I am not even referring to my level of talent here. When I do anything for the first time, I have this delightful propensity to dial up the volume on my harsh inner critic, unless it is blatantly evident that I am doing incredibly well at whatever it is that I am trying my hand at. When I’m in a situation with other people, when I have the opportunity to judge myself in relation to others, my inner critic tends to become more strident and cynical.
“Take a look at how cool and collected she is. Why do you seem like you’ve never even been on skis? I’ll bet you everything they’re scratching their heads trying to figure out why they don’t offer a “pathetic” class for novices like you.”
Yeah, it’s full-contact criticism with that voice in my head.
However, there are moments when I am able to silence the constant chatter in my head and have a meaningful conversation with myself. Today, I was able to recall a passage from the Lululemon Manifesto, which said, “Do one thing a day that terrifies you.” Check.
Fighting back tears of frustration, I dug in. I tried to pay attention more to what my body was doing, right or wrong, than to the internal voice I heard sniggering at me. I asked for help, and tried not to cry when the instructor was kind.
I practiced for an hour afterward, just trying to get the feel of this awkward new movement, because dammit, it was NOT going to let this get the better of me. Feisty? Nah.
On the drive home, I tried to pull out of the nasty little attitude I’d cultivated and relax, thinking about workouts I loved. Ah yes. Biking. On two wheels, cruising along, I don’t think about which way my toes are pointing, how my knees are bent or what my form looks like. It’s just pedal, pedal, fly.
To read lululemon’s entire manifesto, go here. Their manifesto poster consistently helps snap me out of a funk and reconnects me with the best in myself.