I just like posting this photo of a banner my friend made for my marathon whenever I do something awesome.

I Wasn’t Dumb! Yay!

I just like posting this photo of a banner my friend made for my marathon whenever I do something awesome.
I just like posting this photo of a banner my friend made for my marathon whenever I do something awesome.

I went to the Y last night for the first time in AGES. I’m trying to get better about running, even if I have no one to run with, so I thought I’d hit a treadmill and send the kid’s to the youth gym. We’ve had a family membership at the Y since, maybe 2007? And Donnie uses it several times a week, but me? NADA. Because it’s NEW.

I HATE DOING NEW THINGS. New things = ANXIETY.

I’ve run on those treadmills, maybe 3 times in the last two years. I used to run on them all the time in 2007, when I trained for my first 5K on treadmills. But last night? I was freaked out. NEW! NEW! NEW! And there were tons of people there which means EXTRA people to embarrass myself in front of which means EVEN MORE anxiety.

I found one empty in the back row. I jumped on, put my headphones in, and pushed Quick Start. NOTHING. I tried again, and again. Nothing. I looked to either side at the people on the treadmills and they all stared STRAIGHT AHEAD. NOTHING.

Okay. So, I’m super-freaking out now. What am I missing? How dumb do I look? WHY IS NO ONE ACKNOWLEDGING MY STRUGGLES?

I go to one of the empty ones in the row in front of me. I do the same thing. NOTHING. I look to THOSE people. NOTHING. No one is acknowledging I’m having trouble. There are two reasons they wouldn’t be acknowledging my difficulty.

1) Whatever I’m missing is SO obvious, making me look SO dumb, that no one wants to be the one to point it out.
2) They don’t know either and don’t want to be put on the spot to help me.

I immediately assumed #1, of course. KIM IS AN IDIOT. There is something HUGE she’s missing. This is ALWAYS the reason, right?

But then I tried to re-think that a bit. That’s what I’m trying to do more of…re-think my anxieties before they overpower me. And then I decided, I’ve tried everything! If it were something difficult there’d be a sign! If it was something obvious I would have found it by now! Therefore, it has to be #2…They must not know either. That many people wouldn’t have ignored me if they could help, right?

So, I went to ask for help.

THIS IS A HUGE DAMN DEAL FOR ME. Because that could conceivably be shining the spotlight on my idiocy by making someone come to show me the STUPID thing I’m missing. BUT I DID IT.

I finally found someone to help me and he seemed confused. YAY! It wasn’t something IMMEDIATELY obvious! He walked over with me, pushed “Quick Start” and NOTHING. Of course, the entire time I’m throwing out my insecure disclaimers:

“It’s probably something stupid I’m missing.”
“I haven’t been here in awhile, maybe I just don’t know how to work these.”
“I’m sure the answer is right in front of my face.”

Just so that WHEN it was something stupid I would have already put it out there that I KNEW it was something stupid.

I’m not sure why that makes me feel better. BUT IT DOES.

Turns out? Breaker. And one of the guys who wouldn’t look at me said he was done anyway and gave me his treadmill. Then he said, “They’ve been dead for hours.”

This means SEVERAL people must have done what I did and either A) Gave up or B) Succeeded in finding one that worked. And no one told anyone who worked there. Do you want to know why?

BECAUSE WE ARE ALL TERRIFIED OF LOOKING LIKE IDIOTS.

So, I was proud of that. I made it past the insecure panic meltdown and solved the problem. AND I didn’t even look dumb in the process. I looked SMART because I figured it out.

This ought to make me feel better then next time it IS something really asinine I’m missing.

7 thoughts on “I Wasn’t Dumb! Yay!”

  1. I want to favorite this. Or print it out and hang it from my rear view mirror. Or something. We are ALL afraid of looking like idiots!

  2. Your description is so spot on. I always call it a fear of the unknown, but NEW! NEW! NEW! expresses it better. I have wanted to try running at our state fairgrounds’ coliseum for the past 3 winters but I’m too chicken to go try. It could be just what I’m looking for, but instead of finding out, I stop running every winter and have to restart every spring.

  3. I always tell people if a machine next to me is broken, to the point that I’ve ruined my own workouts because every few minutes someone comes along and I have to tell them the machine isn’t working (which is problematic when you’re trying to do intervals). I also ALWAYS tell the front desk on my way out, so hopefully they’ll put a sign on or something. I think people think it’s polite to keep to yourself at the gym, but there is keeping to yourself and being willfully ignorant.

  4. I wanted to let you know that I’m doing Couch to 5k for the first time (I’ve never been much of a runner) and last night was my first attempt at the 20-minute run, and I did it! And a lot of the time, I was thinking about you and how far you’ve come with your running and how you’ve written that all it takes to be a runner is to run — no matter how far or how fast. I was thinking of those words when scary thoughts like “I’m not a runner! How can I run for 20 mintues with no break?” started to creep up on me. And when my run was over, I actually giggled with excitement, much to the confusion of the people on the treadmills next to me, I’m sure. It felt SO GOOD to face that obstacle and overcome it. And I wanted to come over here and tell you thank you — for inspiring me, not only to give running a chance, but also to not give up when I’m afraid something’s going to be to hard. Thank you.

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