If I were in my counselor's office right now, the conversation would go something like this.
me (sweaty, flushed, shaking): I'm a quitter. I actually quit a practice jog today.
c: Okay. Why did you quit?
* I was hot,
* I was jogging faster with this group of strangers than I do on my own,
* I was jogging late in the day for the first time, having spent a couple days caring for a whole lot of extra lives, and I wanted to rest,
* I had just jogged up an incline for the first time
* I was panicking, needing to cry but not being able to
* I was afraid to keep going
* I didn't want to keep going
c: It sounds like you had some good reasons for quitting, but you sound angry. Why's that?
me: Because quitting is wrong. I'm supposed to finish what I start or else I'll never get to where I want to be. How am I ever going to get in shape if I can't keep up with people? How am I going to build my endurance when I can't even overcome that critical voice in my head? I tried, I really did, putting song lyrics in my mind, but I wasn't strong enough. I just kept thinking about the heat and the incline and the pollution and how tight my throat was and everything I still had to do today. I'm always going to have things to do -- it's one of the things I like about life. Being busy, being active. And there I was being active, and I was overwhelmed and I quit.
c: If you were talking to a friend of yours about this -- if your friend was the one who had quit, what would you say to him or her?
me: I'd say it's not the end of the world, and he or she could try again another day, and they should be proud for trying.
c: What if you were talking to your own kids about this? What if they quit? What would you say?
me: I'd tell them I love them no matter what and that I was so proud of them for jogging as much as they did. I'd hope that they'd see how far they jogged on the asphalt next to a train. I'd tell them I was proud of them for getting out there and taking the chance to be with new people on a new course. I'd tell them that it's going through challenges that makes us stronger, and that they'd already done more than half a mile of something which was scary.
c: And what if someone else said to you that you're a quitter. What if it wasn't you putting yourself down, but someone else?
me: I'd get really mad at that person, and I'd want to do everything in my power to prove them wrong. I'd feel competitive. But as soon as I think that, I think of the 5k I signed up for and I get scared. I'm going to be the slowest, fattest person out there. (But I'll be out there, and that's something.) And I'm tired of being slow and fat. (I've never been speedy; I had to hit the softball out of the park to give myself time to truck around the bases even when I wasn't overweight.) I want to see results. I want to be jogging longer and stronger. I want to be lean and athletic. I don't want people to take look at me and judge me to be pathetic. Which is how I felt today during the jog: a fat pathetic loser.
I really don't know where to go from here. I'll keep doing my jogging homework and I'll drag my sorry backside through the 5k. I really want to be able to jog the entire 5k. Right now I can barely jog half a mile.
I know that I've got a whole lot of good qualities. But how am I going to get past my mental block?