Hey, my name is Kathi and I am the least graceful or sporty person known to Man.
I once broke my leg because I slipped and tripped over my own feet while trying to run. I tore a ligament badly by falling into a tram. And the one time I tried to compete at a sport I broke my boat and never made it back to the finish line. This list is not even close to be finished, but you get the gist.
I suck at any kind of physical activity. That includes walking. Or standing.
These, my friends, are the first two paragraphs of an article I wrote for and published on the Ebster some time ago. In this article, I basically talk about all the struggles that come with working out. But there was more to it than just struggle. Which is why you’re reading this article right now.
These two first paragraphs up there were written before I started into what I then called the week of horror. It was written at a time when I thought the only things I would get out of this experiment were going to be stronger muscles, a permanently red face and a hilarious article for the Ebster. Well, it was a hilarious week – more or less. I did have a red face – without a doubt, every single day. I was complaining, trying to cheat on intense exercises, got yelled at but also motivated by my friends and training buddies, but most importantly: I was getting fonder of exercising by the day. I know. Weird, right? The thing is, I was actually enjoying being with people I love every day and doing something good for my body at the same time.
The big revelation, though, came on Wednesday, three days into working out. Here is an excerpt of the notes I took that day:
But there is no time to complain, as I am yet faced with another problem. Getting out of the car while still looking graceful. It doesn’t take long until I realize graceful isn’t happening today and I barely manage to wiggle my weak, aching body out of the car without falling to the ground. B stares at me blankly. “I don’t understand how you made it through almost 23 years of your life like that”
This in itself is not much of a revelation. You’re probably thinking “Ok, we got it, you’re clumsy, deal with it” The thing is that I am always joking about being clumsy. My friends are, too. And it’s completely fine. I don’t have a problem with it. The thing is this: I have been using it as an excuse. An excuse not to work out. An excuse not to try new things. Because I am clumsy, so I won’t be good at it anyways, right?
That day, while I was swimming in my own, old-lady-like style, I watched the professional swimmers around me. And I started to realize how badly I actually wanted to know how to swim properly as well. Or how to do any other kind of sports or exercise properly, for that matter. And then it hit me. All these years I haven’t been trying new sports because I was scared. Scared of failing. Scared of looking stupid and embarrassing myself. It’s that simple, yet really sad. I’ve been holding myself back from trying something new because I was SCARED?!
This is not at all the person I want to be. I’ve always thought of myself as a fearless chick, chasing adventures far from anything I knew, taking risks, deliberately getting myself into uncomfortable situations just so I could grow from them. And now this. I guess I am not at all the person I thought I was.
This fear of looking stupid, embarrassing ourselves in front of others; it is so… What is it exactly? Irrational? Scary? Sad? I think the word I’m looking for is limiting. We are limiting ourselves to comfort and security while missing out on everything life could be if we just took a shot. (Literally. I was super into basketball for a while – ok, more like two days – back in high school.)
And you know, the thing is that, if you think about it for a while, this fear of looking stupid is just so downright stupid itself, it’s ridiculous. Because every single person on this planet has their own baggage to carry. And everybody is scared of something. We’re all comparing ourselves to others, so much so that we completely forget about the fact that they, too, are flawed human beings like ourselves.
We are all flawed and there is nothing we can do about it.
What we can do, though, is trying to overcome our fear of embarrassing ourselves and to just go for it.
So, I say we all go out today and do something we are scared of doing. Go to the restaurant by yourself, if that is what you would like to do. Finally ask out that crush of yours. Go and learn a new language. Who cares if you are sitting by yourself? Who cares if you are open about your feelings? Who cares if your accent isn’t perfect? If anything, people will be impressed by your courage. And you will be, too. You’ll grow and learn and even if it is an awkward and uncomfortable experience to make, you’ll get over it. And it will be so much easier next time.
Pep-talk to myself and all of you out there over. Excuse me, while I’m going to enroll for a kick-boxing class. Or something else. We’ll see.
Let’s conquer our fears and this world.
Oh, and: Don’t forget to have fun.
Photos: Katharina Binder
Editor: Kärt Mättikas