Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Assaulting the Wall (and Other Small Defeats)

I think too much. I cast my mind’s eye inward and constantly sift and weigh. I magnify my faults and insist I could always have done better. I make small of my achievements and belittle my spirit. Humility is a virtue but so is honesty especially with yourself.

I’ve been working out. Part of me believes I am working very hard. The narcissistic critic in my insists I give in too easily, that I take little things and magnify them as excuses and that I could always have given a little bit more.

Sunday, as I lay on the ground with the dry heaves, my inner voice wondered where the water I’d been drinking was and what had happened to the meal consumed only 110 minutes before. Surely, if I were really that taxed, they would be there on the ground before me.

Monday, as I contemplated another 3.5 minutes of pure torture on the stepmill at level 5, as my heart beat blood fit to burst my veins, as my legs screamed they could no longer support me, my inner critic assured me that I could do more if only I were just a little stronger of spirit. And as I collapsed at the base of the machine, without the will to continue and managed only to stand for that last 3.5 minutes of shame, my critic raged, ranted and railed.

Slowly, as I work to quiet this voice who belongs in the pantheon of inner speakers and who exists to spur me on to greater heights, but only when he is one of many speakers and not the one, holding sway in some endless filibuster of the soul, as I work to give strength to other voices inside myself, my inner champion, my herald, and all the other facets that combine to make me whole, as I work to combine all of these into a healthier whole, I find myself attempting this compromise: if I can set myself a target before I start, then it is ok to stop there, but if I set my target too high, I must kill myself to attain it. I know this is not healthy. I know it cannot be sustained. I do not know how to give in gracefully, before I go to far, before I tap reserves best left untapped and before I deplete the very resources that I am trying to increase.

Is it possible, like the bull in the ring, to run myself until my heart bursts? I’ll never know because I don’t have the mental stamina for it. I but wish I could stop for reason when instead I stop in shame. I am not Atlas to carry the world, nor Thor to drink the sea. I hope only to be myself and as strong as I can be.

If I look at my larger progress, it seem clear I should not be ashamed but when I look at my smaller failures they seem to be all I see. If you know how to look past the small barriers to see the heights that you have achieved, please, share your secret with me for while climbing the mountain, I feel blind to the vistas and see only the ridges behind and before me.

No comments: