#18: My Entire Personality... Not that everyone needs to know
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Let’s face it, working out is my entire f***ing personality. Especially these days, I’m either asleep, eating, thinking about eating, at work, meeting new people or at the gym. When I type it out this way, it seems like I’m doing a lot—I am busy and in a great place right now. The problem arises when new people ask me what I like to do or what I’m passionate about, and the answer is lifting. I put so much energy into fitness and navigating the struggles that come along with it. It’s not only about the hour and a half in the gym. It’s the thought process to get to bed early, make the workout plan, eat protein, motivate myself, have proper recovery, etc. Then comes the constant struggles and pride in my body and capability.
Let me be clear: The problem is how much I talk about fitness, wellness, and learning how to censor myself before other people realize I only have one personality trait, not the fact that I only have one personality trait. I’m doing what I want and these are the consequences I face—I just don’t want everyone else to have to face them too.
As I meet new people and we exchange details of our lives, I constantly have to sensor how much I talk about the gym. Several people ask me, “What do you do outside of work?” Or, “What other hobbies do you have besides working out?” I honestly have no answer. I want to look at them like, “I’m here with you now making friends, that counts right?” Occasionally, I can think quickly enough to remember to tell people about LEGOs or finding new places to eat, but I think it makes me sound closer to the ultimate nerd.
You might wonder why it matters what I say as long as I’m genuine, but I’m afraid it won’t come off as genuine. I NEVER want to be the person that brags about how much they workout or thinks they’re better than anyone else because they can lift more. It’s such a turnoff. I couldn’t care less how many hours someone else spends in the gym. More isn’t always better anyway. I work out for myself, and I compete against myself. I might want to put more weight on the bar than the guy next to me in the moment for an ego boost, but I will never feel the need to spend 3 hours at the gym just because my desk mate does. I’m competitive, but not insecure.
My 11th grade English teacher warned us never to stand in the “circle of fear” before an exam. The circle of fear is the group of students that are talking about how much they studied, what they think will be on the exam, if they’re nervous, etc. Nothing positive comes from these conversations. In fact, it breeds insecurity and nervousness even for the most prepared person. I’ve been in similar “circle of fear” situations about diet and exercise. There’s always someone talking about running at 4am 6 days a week, another person talking about the time they ate carbs last year, and someone else saying that they never workout when everyone knows full well they workout the most. This is a nightmare. I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I think I’m better because I follow a certain routine or make certain lifestyle choices, nor do want to feel inferior to someone else because they’re doing more than me. There’s a difference between saying there’s nothing wrong with eating carbs and knowing that there’s actually nothing wrong with it.
It’s a double edge sword. My solution to avoid the circle of fear is to not talk about the gym at all, but how can I not talk about something that occupies my mind so much? How do I avoid giving into the temptation when someone mentions it or asks about my hobbies? I don’t quite know how to convey that I’m genuinely in love with lifting and how it makes me look, but that I still have struggles and want to learn.
I’ve learned that it takes a certain kind of connection with someone to be able to speak candidly about fitness, appreciate what they have to say and be heard. Engaging in these kinds of conversations is my guilty pleasure --- This blog exists so that I can discuss whatever I want (mostly with myself) and make sure that my opinions are clear for anyone who happens to be curious. I wish I could say that this outlet is successful in keeping me from talking about fitness, diet and exercise in daily life, I spend so much time writing about it these days that I’m even more engaged. If I’m not at work or any of the other listed activities, I’m probably writing these posts.
I get so excited when someone else mentions the gym that I want to gush about it, and it can get out of hand or turn into a fear circle situation quickly. So many people can just go to the gym, go home and not talk about it nonstop. Why am I like this? Is it an underlying insecurity that’s sabotaging conversations into fear circle conversations? I’m also aware of those people on dating apps that make absolute sure you know that they workout. I used to really despise this, and I still do for the most part, but now I understand why. I do want to find the people (as friends) that mention it because it means as much to them as it does to me. So far, that community only exists on Tik Tok, but it must exist somewhere based on the sheer volume of videos I see.