I started reading yet another YA dystopian fiction book a couple of days ago; Divergent by Veronica Roth. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m loving it so far. Anyway, there’s this great part in the book where Tris, the main character, is discovering what it means to be Dauntless (one of five factions). She had always imagined the Dauntless to be fearless, but the reality is different:
“I used to think the Dauntless were fearless. That is how they seemed, anyway. But maybe what I saw was actually fear under control.”
Recently, someone asked me what I was afraid of and there wasn’t really anything that came to mind, barring losing people I love. But as I thought about it more, in the context of the quote above, I realized that I am actually afraid of a lot of things. The difference is I don’t let it control me. Or at least I try not to.
A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a running class in an effort to get faster. As soon as I did it, I regretted it. I know I’m a slow runner, but I don’t worry about it because I just go by myself and no one is paying attention to how slow I am. But then I had to go and sign myself up for a class that was going to put my slowness in the spotlight.
Last week was the first week. Work was crazy. I didn’t bring my running clothes with me because I thought I’d have time to go home and change. In hindsight, I think this was my subconscious way of getting out of the class. And as it turned out, I didn’t make it. I did the workout later. On my own. In the comfort of anonymity and solitude. And I was relieved.
Now, I’m an adult. I have a job. I pay my own bills. If I want to throw perfectly good money down the drain because I’m too scared to follow through on a class that stretches me way outside of my comfort zone, in theory I can do that. In practice, however, I can’t.
So this week, I made sure I was ready to go (it helps that my coworker is taking the class with me…it also hurts because she’s a much faster runner than I am). And it was every bit as scary and difficult as I thought it would be. And unlike soccer, I didn’t discover that my skills are actually much better than I anticipated. I was just as slow as I thought I would be. And yet, at the end of the class, I felt good for facing my fear and just doing it.
Does that mean I’m excited for next week? Of course not. But will it be a little easier to at least want to do it? Let’s hope so because I’m doing it either way.