“So how did you do?”
How do I explain how this was my favorite “last place” of all? How does that make any sense when validation is supposed to be about a scorecard? Four shows now and four last place finishes, but my truth now is…
IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER.
It’s been 11 days and when I think of my time on stage, I’m overwhelmed with JOY. I felt a little like this after my first show in 2012 because that one was truly a celebration. I didn’t feel much of anything except a little frustration after my 2013 show. And, as many of you know, the 2015 show was a kick in the gut. Every insecurity I had about participating in this sport was validated that day. To come back from that, I spent two years doing intense introspection that led to some inspired changes in my teaching practice. Had I not had that humiliating experience, I doubt I’d ever understand how a fixed mindset can poison everything we attempt to do. That experience helped me understand how some of my students feel – hopeless to break through and change anything. Lost track of the number of books I absorbed. I even took an online class on mindset in mathematics and could relate everything I learned back to my personal experience as a new, 50-something, athlete.
So how did I do?
Wonderfully! I did wonderfully. Almost every goal I set for myself was achieved. What I’m most proud of is how I improved with posing and how I choreographed my own routine, kept it private until stage – and it didn’t suck! There is still much left to do. That’s exciting because I’ve proven to myself that I CAN improve. After that 2015 experience, I fought a hard battle against the “what’s the point” bullshit-on-a-stick I was handed.
I can’t imagine that winning something will ever feel better than this feels. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Don’t misunderstand – I’m not “making lemonade from lemons” here. A couple weeks before the show, my mindset switched from thinking of this as a competition to thinking of it as a performance. I met every performance goal I set for myself. I worked hard on it and I saw it in the pictures and videos. I didn’t lose my composure or crack under pressure. It’s very possible that I will always be moved into the last position after the symmetry round because my symmetry sucks a little bit – so be it. Judges do what judges are supposed to do. But I really don’t care anymore. I’m up there DOING BODYBUILDING! So much joy in that!! I will set my goals and I will give the people who paid to watch bodybuilders the best bodybuilding performance I can muster up on that day.
I understand that being an underdog and winning would make for a great story, but I don’t think that’s my part to play. Because I put in the work and participate in this sport publicly, someone somewhere borrows courage from me (which I’ve borrowed from others) to deal with their own health issues. I never set out to be a social media fitness person and I’ve actually become more of an introvert in real life since all of this attention has landed on me. I go to the gym, I do my work. I go to work, I do my work. But every so often, I suit-up and step-up to a mark taped on a stage and do a bodybuilder performance. I don’t know why it fills me with joy – it just does and I’m grateful!
I made this video to celebrate the experience. It took a little time because I really don’t know what I’m doing with this sort of thing, but I am learning as I go along – as is true for most everything I am doing these days. If you followed the events of the day on Facebook as Michelle and I were posting, you’ll recognize most of what’s in here.