Monday, February 6, 2012

Doing Something That Scares Me

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a Chinese Elemental Profile test, which gave insight into personality traits, as they related to the five Chinese elements - earth, fire, water, wood, and metal.

The goal is to have aspects of all five of the elements in balance, however, no one ever really attains that. The test was supposed to give you the element that you had in excess, and the element that you were deficient in, and then give you ways to balance it. However, these were (and still are) my results:

You have an excess in Metal
You have an excess in Metal

Apparently, I'm so metal, that everything else is deficient. I've also learned that the rooster is a metal sign, and I was born in the year of the Metal rooster. Destiny?

What does Metal  mean?
Metal types are principled, disciplined, and structured, always striving to find order in chaos. Masters of inner meaning and ceremony, they love precision, and dislike conflict and disorder. By understanding the internal principles that guide outer reality, they create a world that fits their ideals. It is this ability to understand, deconstruct, and reconstruct high-functioning systems that is Metal’s gift to humanity.

When Metal is in harmony:
  • Methodical, disciplined, composed, honorable
  • Most comfortable working by the rules, within a principled structure
  • Able to find order in chaos, loving neat precision
  • Able to synthesize a lot of information to produce new systems of thought
When Metal is in excess:
  • Rigid, bossy and self-righteous (me? No one has called me bossy for at least 3 days)
  • Perfectionistic to the point that no one can meet their standards (guilty)
  • Distant and detached from others (true)
  • Resentful, judgemental, and controlling (yes, sometimes true)
Metal’s Lesson: The world is not perfect, and neither am I

*Record scratching to a halt* I'm not perfect?!

It gives a lot of great hints - things like surrounding myself with more colors and shapes (really, silver sparkly iridescent is a color!), eating cooling foods, exercising consistently, and the big one: trying something new. *shudder*

"Try something you have absolutely no idea how to do. By forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations where you are not in control and do not know the system, you can help to relieve yourself of Excess Metal."

My anxiety level is rising just thinking about it. I'm actually sweating just writing this.
Maybe this sounds like a good time to some of you, but this sounds like the worst kind of torture possible to me. Not be perfect? Be uncomfortable? Embarrass myself? Be uninformed? I don't do these things. I practice and practice and practice at home in private, until I feel like I can do well in the situation. Fear of imperfection can be totally paralysing.

Which is why I'm going to start doing CrossFit.

CrossFit is a public, group fitness activity that focuses on strength, explosion, speed, and competition.

I am kind of afraid of all of those things.

I am extremely competitive, but I have serious deficiencies in upper body strength, explosion, speed, and in enjoying group activities.To give you an idea, I just ran my fastest 5K ever this weekend - in 35 minutes. That would be like 11+ minute miles, and I was working my tail off. My legs are very strong, but I cannot do a pull up. I can't even do a real push up. I also don't wear bikinis.

The scariest part of CrossFit is that it's not like I can practice at it and get better every week, because every. single. class. is. different. They never do the same workout twice. That means I will be totally uncomfortable EVERY TIME I GO.

And yet - I'm intrigued by it. I know I could be stronger. I AM competitive. I have recently found that I am much stronger in endurance than I thought possible. I am feeling healthier than I've felt in 10 years, now that I've given up on procreation and let my body be post-menopausal. I feel a debilitating amount of fear excitement in challenging myself in a new way. It could lead to building confidence, pride, and hopefully some definition. Best of all, for the first time ever, it's a physical activity that J and I can do together.
 What I like in this picture is not her thinness, or tanness, or perfect hair, but her look of confidence. I want that. So I'm going to try it. I'll let you know how much I shame myself, and how long it takes me to trip, fall down, or hit my head. I'll also let you know how great I feel when I conquer my fear!


  1. oh, i am so excited that you're going to give it a try. i started in august and it is HARD, but i love it. my kids and even big j are going now. its hard, but it shouldn't be scary! first of all, no one is our gym looks like those girls. :) everyone is at their own level and while it is competitive, its also incredibley supportive! we encourage and cheer eachother on through every milestone and accomplishment. when i started, i could not do one pullup. in fact, i wasn't sure which muscles to contract to even DO a pull up and so i just hung from the bar. now i can do a few. same with double unders. just keep going and pushing yourself and before long - voila - pullups. :) xoxo!

    1. incredibly, i mean. :) there should be spell check!

    2. Wow, thanks for the encouragement Mo! I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know which muscles need to do what - that makes me feel better already. :)

  2. Holy heck.

    Good luck with that.

    That is definitely not something I could ever do!

  3. Interesting the things that challenge our "need" to be in control. I find the shivassana (corpse) pose in yoga does that for me. I use the pose to gently challenge my muscle memory with clamors against being in such a vulnerable position!