Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter

Specifics (of Why I Went Crazy and All)

There’s this guy named Jesse who cuts the grass at the steel shop down the street from my house. He always shouts good morning and then very deliberately looks Cowboy and Chief in the eyes and says, “And good morning to your dogs!” Earlier today as I approached the shop, Jesse waved a folded-up packet of papers over his head. When I got close enough, he left his mower and handed the sheets to me. “These are all the bible verses I say to myself on my way to work each morning. I wrote them out for you. It took a long time. And I numbered the pages in the corner,” he said, pointing to a slanty 1 and 2.

And that’s why I love Houston, people.

Now, onto my jitters. So like I said last week, the ol’ nerves couldn’t hang with CrossFit. Now that I have a solid year of distance between myself and the formal gym, I’ve been able to narrow down which aspects of the classes were sending me squirrely.

First, a note: Only once did I ever have a panic attack at the gym. Rather, it would spring up on me unannounced. “Hey! You hanging out watching TV? Let’s PANIC instead!” So while I don’t understand the science behind it, what was going on at the gym was screwing with me to an extent that normal life got dicey.

First of all, the social messes-with-my-mind parts:

  1. Partner workouts. My throat is getting tight even thinking about this. I cannot handle any workout where my performance impacts someone else’s.
  2. Having a workout programmed for me. I imagine this boils down to not feeling in control of my own body. This summer for fun, Benson created an 8-week program for our garage gym. On day one, workout one, I felt my chest tighten. And that was my last day of following the program. For some reason, this didn’t stress me out in the standard classes at 24 Hour Fitness or places like that, but I think that’s because it’s easier to be autonomous in those globo-gym settings. And at the end of the day, I really need autonomy when it comes to exercise. Which leads me to the next trigger.
  3. Having to do the same workout as everyone else around me while being timed. I’m just gonna throw up right here and now if I ever have to do another one of those again. Now that I think about it, I don’t like having a timer going at all, even if I’m alone. But, I am totally good with working out around other people. I actually really like that, but I just want to be doing my own thing that nobody has any input into. Speaking of input…
  4. Encouragement to do anything faster or heavier. Leave me alone or I will straight up cry.

Okay, now that I wrote all that out, I can totally see a theme and have an epiphany: I need to be in complete control of what I do with my body. So there you go.

But it wasn’t all emotional. I know this because I’ve been able to tinker with my sweaty sessions for a year now. Below, some activities I’ve learned to avoid:

  1. Doing any sort of high intensity, fast-paced movements that include heavy weights. That’s like, I don’t know, death. A timer, burpees, and then throw in a barbell and I am going to slap you across the face. These days, heavy weight-lifting is separate from cardio, and both are less intense, and I’m so good with that. Speaking of heavy…
  2. One-rep maxes. I don’t care what my max is. Just here to stay healthy, people. Actually, I only lift about 70% of what I used to. I still feel strong. I still wear the same size clothes. I just have less mental breakdowns.
  3. Two days in a row of any CrossFit style workout. It’s just physically too intense for me. I can exercise two days in a row, and one of them can be a standard (tweaked for emotional stability) CrossFitty workout, but the next day needs to be something more akin to my old step-aerobics days. Or just a hard walk. Or an easy walk. Or thinking about walking.

Other stuff I just hated in general and will never do again unless Jesus comes back and specifically tells me to:

  1. Overhead squats – nope.
  2. Snatches – I will cut you.
  3. Wall-balls – Give me liberty or give me death.
  4. Stationary bike – Once a coach pleaded with me to just burn 3 calories while the rest of the class had to burn like 15 on that thing. I got to 2 and hopped off.

But at the end of the day, even with all this, I’m still glad I ever stepped foot in that crazy ol’ place. Glad I met folks different than me, glad I learned I can squat less than any of said folks, glad I still have the scar on my shin from that one time I fell off a box and kept going.

And with that, I’m off to pray over Jesse’s verses…

Categories: This and That

2 replies

  1. I love that he shared Jesus with you. 🙂 I would tell you, you should memorize one of those verses and say it back to him on the street, but I can see you might have an issue with me telling you what to do (as do I). Love you, Friend, and I am in the middle of reading your book that is about my childhood friend’s step-dad and mom, and I love it. I especially love that I don’t have to imagine what they look like because I already know. It’s a great book!

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