Queering the Triathlete (and Other Discomforts)

A Melancholy Zebra determined to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

An Error of Magnitude

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I operate on the principle of “More”: Faster. Stronger. Smarter. Better. Just….more. Always more. Take more classes. Work more jobs. Volunteer more time. It’s like someone hooked Dory on speed and told her to just keep swimming. GANGWAYYYYYY!! I don’t know where I’m going but by god I am going to gogogogo!

I think the truth is that I’m afraid of what will happen if I stop.

Training Hours (past 7 days): 14

Joints Repositioned: 2

Pain Level: 3 or 8

This post was originally going to be an update on my aerial performance this past weekend, but I don’t think my posts will ever be that simple! Nevertheless, I performed in a group silks piece and a lyra piece; the lyra piece went quite well. While I’m not a champion aerial artist or anything, I have a very different style from the other people in the studio. Many of them have their splits, so their lines and poses are gorgeous. I’m Pretzel Girl, so I barely have my splits most days, and my lines look more like knots. Solution? SPIN FAST!

While none of the friends I invited turned up to watch (the shits…), many people I never met came up to tell me how much they enjoyed the spinning and dynamic aspect of my part. (The video above shows approximately half of my involvement, but it’s my favorite half.) So, yay me! Yay lyra! Yay being strong enough not to yoink anything out of place erstwhile!!

But if I stop to think about it, I conduct most of my life this way (or it gets conducted for me): top speed. The entire pie. Take anything and increase the magnitude by a factor of ten, and that’s how it goes. If I’m not doing ten things at once, I’m miserable and bored. (I’m not doing ten things at once at the moment. It’s problematic.)

If I’m going to hike, I’m going to hike several thousand feet up a ridge and climb a rock along the way.

If I’m going to do a triathlon, it’s going to be the Arch to Arc.

If I’m going to go to grad school, I’m coming out with a PhD.

If I’m going to be enamored with a topic, I want to talk about it and analyze it for hours upon hours.

If I’m going to be hypermobile, I’m going to have freaking EDS-II/III.

If I’m going to feel an emotion, it’s going to be off the fucking charts.

And if I’m going to fall in love, god help me. …no really–God help me because she’s leaving in just over a month and a half.

So, I half-teasingly consider myself an error in magnitude. I say “error” instead of something a bit more cheery because… well… up yours. I don’t know what is going up yours or where “yours” is, but it’s going there.

So, relatively fresh off a successful performance and heading into a Half Ironman this coming weekend, and my Dory-on-speed head is swimming in frantic circles trying to make sure it all stays in one place. I was watching an episode of Babylon 5 (again) on the treadmill (again) doing 30-sec speed intervals, and Garibaldi said something that resonates particularly well:

“No one knows, but I’m afraid all the time. What I might do if I ever let go.”

Thank you, Michael Garibaldi. Or rather, thank you JMS, since he wrote the bloody show.

I’ve “let go” before in a variety of ways, most notably in a silent meditation retreat two springs ago. I think I wrote about it here. It has been a while since I have had to sit alone with myself for that period of time. I don’t particularly like being alone with myself, which likely explains the GANGWAYYYY!! imperative. However, I’m beginning to think that I’ve been away too long, that I need to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down and take a good look at myself, not unlike a kid in Time-Out. “Now you just think about what you’ve done, and don’t get up until you’re ready to behave!” 

Pity that my schedule (and likely budget) shall not allow me 10 days to go sit on my ass navel-gazing anytime soon.

And one last Babylon 5 quotation because it truly is a terrifying yet strangely placating thought:

I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, “wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?” So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.


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