Comparison is the thief of joy, or "is everyone resting without me?"

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

It's not often that I find myself in a place to say that Facebook changed my entire existence, but apparently that's the mindfuck in which we find ourselves cause ~2022~.

I don't talk about it a ton, mostly because who needs to hear it from another rando on the internet, but I workout. Consistently and maybe often (depending on your definition of often) both because Trump's election in 2016 fucked with my head, and because the pandemic onset in 2020 left me with a desperate desire to have some tiny morsel of control over my life/have markers for the beginning and end of my work day. As someone who gets bored easily I've run through a few different programs throughout the years, and in 2019 found myself drawn to the philosophy behind NOBS, created by Lucy Mountain. But even with the allure of no body transformation pictures and a focus on strengthening yourself with a customizeable program, weight training was a hard sell. It's repetitive and boring and at times just hard with what feels like no reward (yes, yes, increased strength and functional mobility is GREAT but with no endorphins it all just feels like sweat and pain to me. Don't @ me). Only recently though has a post brought to my attention that maybe I'm just doing it in a way that's not wrong, but certainly not the best for my personal goals.

In the connected Facebook group, a fellow NOBS home guide follower asked about a move and what muscle she was supposed to be feeling/working during it. Y'all, the comments. THE COMMENTS. 90% of them were just people saying they hated it/couldn't do it/replaced it with another move because the one instructed didn't work, to the point where even Lucy Mountain said she was considering switching it out because the feedback was so poor. I'm not sure what it says about me that I never thought NOT doing the move was an option. I just went ahead and followed the instructions as given, even if I was miserable in the moment, because if I could do it that means I should be doing it? Right?

I've spent a good part of the pandemic finding body positive instructors, often fat, mostly women, of a variety of disciplines, and taken their classes. Listened to their words on life, how they navigated the often toxic culture around movement, and how to appreciate one's body for what it can do but also balancing that against what you want to do with it. If I don't want to feel super sore for the next 48hrs, or fuck, if I'm just tired/not interested, maybe taking it easy is the path that works best for me and there is no inherent moral value in the decision.

And the impetus for this post was just how majorly this realization came to a head during my recent run following Yoga with Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga. I always have a kind of a push pull with these, because there's always a point where I am just tired and don't want to fucking hold another plank even if my life depended on it, but it all really bummed me out this year. Adriene's verbiage on "think about how you face hard things" or to "whisper to yourself I am strong" didn't hold a candle to Natalie (of BodyPosiBarre) telling her classes to thank their bodies for what they did for us today. It paled even more in comparison to the post-it of rapidly scribbled words I've had taped to my monitor for the past year:

"If you are practicing, and finding joy in your practice, then you are perfect."

Shannon of Fringeish, another yoga teacher I found on Instagram, said this is in a Live with Jill of Room to Be Yoga and it rocked my world a little bit. Not every bit of movement I do is joyful, but I would like to find a place where the majority of it is, and holding my knee to my chest in plank trying to "tick tock it" back and forth just like Adriene, and failing, is not it. I think that in the absence of group classes and the ability to well, judge, my ability against my peers, the only thing I can follow is the program or the instructor and I don't know how to not do that at 150%. I don't know how to find my own path in the thing that I'm doing, how hard I should be working, and I am very bad at resting. But I'm starting to get the feeling that this is a me thing, and that it's not what other people do.

I'm not sure it's very radical to say I don't know how other people workout, but I'm not sure I do? Like in this world of extremes, what does the average person feel when they're moving their body intentionally? I don't have endorphins during or after a workout, so do other people feel tired or angry or sometimes miserable (I'm working on not doing things that make me miserable, just FYI)? I guess I just always went in to something thinking that if I could do it as shown I could, even if it was really hard or wasn't fun. Isn't that like all working out? Because so far the only thing I've successfully quit is Couch to 5K, and that was because I deliberately told my brain when I went in that if I didn't like it I was "allowed" to stop. And now I'm suddenly worried that I'm the strange one and had no idea because we only have comparisons for the best and worst, not the average person who just wants to move their bodies sometimes.

Latest Instagrams

© Good Red Herring. Design by FCD.