My mother’s solution to everything is “go for a walk”
“go for a bike ride”
“get out and do something”
Every single time something comes out of my mouth, or my sister’s mouth, about anything. First response? “YOU NEED TO BE MORE ACTIVE”
Is it any wonder that I feel this intense anxiety about fitness when this sort of pressure is heaped upon me on a near-daily basis?
I was part of my freshman softball team in high school. One day at practice my dad came early to pick me up. We were nearing the end and I had been running laps, but some friends and I slowed down to a fast-pace walk to chit-chat while we finished our final lap.
I got into the car perfectly content, only to face my father’s rage and disappointment at my failure to run and finish that final lap. How could I embarrass myself like that? Didn’t I realize how lazy that made me look? How could I ever improve unless I pushed myself? Did I want to be on third string all season? With that kind of attitude, I could never hope to be the aggressive softball player he knew I could be.
After a while, his yelling broke me down. We stopped at a stop sign and I got out of the car to run the rest of the way home. As penance. As a means of appeasing him. Because I wanted so badly to make him proud of me.
Really, this shit was a typical part of growing up with my father. I’m just now realizing so many things. I mean is it REALLY any wonder that thinking about going out and being active in public makes me anxious when it’s impossible for me to erase all that fucking judgement and pressure I felt and still feel so often?
I love the man to death. I love my mother dearly. I have a great relationship with my parents. I know, I KNOW they only want and only ever wanted the best for me.
But I just can see now, in retrospect, the full effect of living with a competitive sports-focused father who coached my basketball teams and got thrown out of softball games. Who thought I had the potential to be a great athlete, which I never saw in myself, or wanted. Who dismissed my own ideals about “having fun” in favor of asking that I conform to his own ideals based around performance. Around being an athlete, and being good at it.
Now I need to be the best for me. I need to let it all go. I need to get these thoughts out there. I need to start somewhere.