But. Lately I feel compelled to leave story behind, wherever possible. A few weeks ago, I participated in my first triathlon (it was a run-bike-run because the pool was under construction). Not only was it my first triathlon but my first race of any kind (barring the compulsory stuff in junior high). I never ran in my life before I was 40. This is not an exaggeration. I NEVER ran. I was the kind of kid that liked to read books and watch Bewitched, not run and sweat. In my twenties, I did a lot of yoga, walked, and lost weight but never ran. I was planning to write a blog post about the triathlon, but never quite got around to it. I just was not particularly interested in my own story.
I came in last in the triathlon, and there are several possible stories to tell, considering that fact. One is a sad story about how this completely demoralized me. Clearly, this story is false. Another is a story of triumph -- unathletic, nerdy girl discovers her hidden potential at midlife, re invents herself, and finishes a triathlon, despite the emotional struggle of being last. I could tell this story, and give it the hero's journey slant, but I won't, because I don't connect to it in any way.
I've become a lot more aware lately about how my own stories about my identity have held me back. I have always identified as someone who NEVER QUITS. If I had to walk 100 miles, I would, unless I dropped dead first. But I never thought of myself as someone who was strong. This made weight training difficult at first. At some point I just gave up the story. I didn't pep talk myself. I didn't repeat mantras. I don't tell myself I'm strong. I just gave up the story of "not strong." My workout record demonstrates I am strong, by most standards, but it's not a story I need to hold onto. I am working on giving up the story of being "not fast," when it comes to running. I don't need a story of being "fast." I don't need a story at all to become stronger, faster, and maybe someone who quits a little more often because some things need quitting.
I recently participated in a weight loss contest at work. I didn't win, and didn't expect to. I set a goal of losing 18 pounds and lost 14 (in 18 weeks). I went from a size 12 to a size 6. When you factor in weight training, 14 pounds can have a much bigger positive effect than you would imagine. I have no story about this -- it's just something I did. I don't have a good photo from the start of the weight loss contest, but the one on the top is fairly representative of where I was at the beginning of March, with "after" photo on the bottom (from July 16).
What is the opposite of story? I think it's just living life, one moment at a time.