Pull up a chair and grab a tissue

4 08 2010

Seriously you’re going to need it.

To know me is to know that up until 7 months ago I was a severe introvert. So severe that going out with people who I considered my good friends was difficult for me to do. It started when I was a small child during elementary school. I wish an adult had intervened when they saw me in kindergarten throwing a tennis ball up against the wall day in and day out, alone and removed from the other children during recess as this would become a daily practice for the next seven years until I went to junior high school. As I became a young adult, I would have one or two friends that I hung out with and that was it. I knew everyone in school but only in the context of sharing a classroom together.  Going to school / work became my social outlet. I considered my co – workers some of my best friends but when they wanted to leave the confines of work, I froze. I passed up housewarming parties, birthdays, weddings…you name it, I missed it.

Five years ago, World of Warcraft became my social outlet.

I paid $15.00 / month so that I could log into a virtual world and be connected to other people without the social anxiety of having to face them in real life. It started out simple enough. I played for an hour here and there. By the end of the first month I was playing upwards to four to five hours a day. By the end of my fourth year playing, I could easily spend ten to twelve hours a day during the weekends. I would get up two hours early  on work days just to log in for a bit and get that social fix that I needed. I was more comfortable interacting with a fantasy world than I was interacting with the world around me.

I’m changing that.

I’m taking myself way out of my comfort zone on a daily basis because this LCJ just isn’t about losing weight. It’s about making Life Changes to becoming a healthier person: Physically, mentally and emotionally. For some people it really is just about losing some weight. A little change in the diet and add some exercise and that person is on the path to success. For me, if all I was doing was changing my diet and adding some exercise, I would fail miserably. Every decision / choice / thought I make / have  must  be done consciously. Even those decision / choices / thoughts that seem to keep me from moving forward. I’ve had some bad days. I’ve had some days where I needed a serious reality check but I’ve learned to stay in the moment and then move on. I don’t linger any longer on what I did to fail but rather what I can do to succeed. One bad decision / choice / thought  is a) not bad and b) just a decision / choice / thought.

One of the hardest parts of this LCJ is leaving the fantasy world  (the proverbial tennis ball/wall) and putting myself out into the real world and learning how to be an active part of my community (I’m the adult intervening now). I’ve met some pretty awesome people along the way and get to share my story with some of them.

Yesterday I shared my story with Abe.

I’ve watched Abe for quite a while at the gym. He’s a very heavy man. In the beginning he would get there super early in the morning and head straight for the treadmill. Hoodie and all. He wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. Come down the stairs, step on the treadmill, look straight ahead and then immediately vacate the premises when finished. The cool thing about Abe? He comes back day after day. He hopped on that treadmill for close to two months and just recently started working out with a trainer. Yesterday’s workout with the Godfather was especially brutal. Halfway through our hour together I needed to take a lap around the gym to get my shit together and I noticed two things about Abe:

He was using a weight machine.

He wasn’t wearing a hoodie.

I walked past him and thought this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I turned around, walked up to him and said “I’m really proud of you for not wearing your hoodie in here. I know it’s a hard step to take and I just wanted you to know that I know it’s a hard step to take“. He laughed and said his trainer makes him take it off and that he didn’t think anyone would notice.

Oh I noticed all right.

I didn’t have much time to talk to him because Godfather wanted to get back to kicking my ass like no one’s business but we exchanged names and that brief but very important acknowledgement that we’re part of the same battle. Every time I see him now I’m going to make sure to say hello. He doesn’t realize it but he’s a soldier in my army now.

An Army set forth to save my life.

To save his life.

To save your life.

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39 responses

4 08 2010
Kerrie

Tara, another fantastic post. Keep up the good work…:)

5 08 2010
263andcounting

Thanks Kerrie! 6 weeks till TrekTri!

4 08 2010
Meegan

What does it mean if instead of crying, I stood up on my chair and yelled “hell yeah Tara!”?!

5 08 2010
263andcounting

It means I’m worried that you’ll fall off so you be damn careful!

4 08 2010
Suzanne

Thank you for another inspiring post. It rings so true. Especially the co-worker part. People just gave up asking me to do things because they knew I’d say no and give some lame ass excuse. Anything to avoid the panic of a social situation. Love reading your blog!

5 08 2010
263andcounting

They stopped asking me too. It became sort of a joke around my parts. In hindsight, it really hurt my feelings but I did it to myself.

4 08 2010
lorogirl

Brava Tara. Brava.

5 08 2010
263andcounting

Thank you Marcia, thank you.

4 08 2010
SeattleRunnerGirl

Sheesh, this crying in public has to stop! Tara, this is an awesome post because not only does it show how far u have come physically, but mentally/emotionally, too. Plus, u are paying it forward. Rock on, my friend!

5 08 2010
263andcounting

My life is all about paying it forward now! What I have I need the rest of the world to get.

4 08 2010
jord

No tears here, either. It was more of a goosebumps moment a la Braveheart at the end when the guy wants him to beg for mercy and instead he screams “FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM” right in his face. Not the bit that happens right after that, though. You know, that overwhelming urge to go kill some Englishmen totally crazy in a good way.

Can I be Gunny? But with more hair?

5 08 2010
263andcounting

Oh man, when I see Godfather today I’m going to try and sneak in a FREEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOM!

4 08 2010
Tweets that mention Pull up a chair and grab a tissue « 263 and counting -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Seattle RunnerGirl, Tara Martin. Tara Martin said: Pull up a chair and grab a tissue: http://wp.me/pNupM-gg […]

4 08 2010
Sarah @ Fat Little Legs

That is awesome. I am the same way. I avoid people… I avoid crowds especially, but I am trying so hard now that I’m rid of most of my weight to change myself as well. My next BIG step… joining a group exercise class (shutter).

5 08 2010
263andcounting

no no no don’t shudder! Do it! I started taking classes a few weeks ago as part of my “get active in my community” program. It was super scary at first but now I’m just part of the class. Take a class you’ve been dying to take (mine was Spin). It was pinnacle for me. It will be for you!

4 08 2010
Merry

Damn it, the word “awesome” has already been used. Also “fantastic” and “brava.”

At this rate, I’m going to be reduced to saying “ditto.” Argh.

Also, thank you for the heads up about WoW. It sounds exactly like the kind of thing I would get wrapped up in. I already spend too much time Internetting. (Can I make up verbs on your blog? Is that okay?) I’ve started pruning my blog reading to the few blogs that really make a difference.

So I’m planning to keep reading your blog.

5 08 2010
263andcounting

Not only can you make up words, but I will be implementing said words into my daily use ASAP!

The more I tell people about my addiction to WoW, the more I’m finding similar stories out there.

4 08 2010
Chris

I was an introvert for the longest time..and I love hoodies and never thought much about it…
Maybe it has something to do with hiding the hands.
Good post.
Glad that dude took off his hoodie.
Glad you are making your way out into the world.
I wandered into it a year or so ago and you know, it isn’t that bad out here.

5 08 2010
263andcounting

He reminds me of Tony over at Anti Jared. I have a closet full of hoodies (12 at least) all too big. I’m too connected to them and what they represent to give them away. I’m afraid they’re going to find there way to another person hiding from the world.

5 08 2010
jord

All of them are too big but you still want to keep them? Can I turn them into something you can use?

6 08 2010
263andcounting

Do share!!! Oh wait, I’ll see you on Sunday. You can share then.

5 08 2010
Sarah

Ah the hoodie. How I love mine… the hood, the pockets… one day I, too, shall shed mine.

Glad you aren’t hiding anymore in the WoW or hoodies! Keep it up!

5 08 2010
Meegan

Okay so here’s a new challenge my trainer came up with for me: BTW can you help me come up with some kick-ass name for my trainer? I just keep referring to him as Trainer and seems pathetic when he is indeed Godfather worthy…

My trainer says to me this morning: after you’ve completed your new program (its about 6 months long) you should take some cross fit classes…
**My brain exploded** I think no freakin’ way could I do that (do you know what those are?) not just the physical part, but the crazy-buff-fit people community part. I’m going to have to marinate on this one for a while – but 6 months out I might actually be willing and ready to tackle that fear. Give it a good kick in the ass-balls.

6 08 2010
263andcounting

I totally want to do some crossfit stuff…but then I wonder if I’m already not doing a little bit of that with the Godfather. You will do so awesome with crossfit Meegan and in six months you’re going to be way more than ready!

5 08 2010
Rita @ The Giggly Bits

Thank you so much for sharing that. Introverts unit. I think on one hand it’s nice that there is an outlet like that because otherwise we might do nothing social ever. But on the other hand, you;re way too cool to not be out in 3D.

6 08 2010
263andcounting

Awwww, thanks Rita. I’m starting to be pleasantly surprised at how much I like being around people in 3D.

6 08 2010
Rita @ The Giggly Bits

And oddly enough, the more we are 3D, the less we are 3D, go figure.

7 08 2010
263andcounting

Whoa…so right!

5 08 2010
Carina

Did you get married to someone you met through the game, or is it someone you just met in the last 7 months? At least you have one other person to be social with! I feel like I go through phases where I like meeting people and seeing friends, and other times when I’m a homebody, but I’ve lived with someone (now married to that person) for about 5 years, so even during my anti-social spells, I guess by definition I was still social since there’s someone else in my life.

6 08 2010
263andcounting

No my husband and I have been together for 8+ years now. Even when playing the game I never really got to know anyone. And you’re right by definition I guess he was my social outlet.

5 08 2010
tricia

It’s weird because I feel like I’m a really social person stuck inside a body that is scared to leave the house. Everytime I go somewhere, I have to deal with stares and ridicule and it makes me wanna live my online fantasy land life and never have to deal with the real world ever again. I used to be in chatrooms for like 6-7 hours a day, even more when I wasn’t working. Loneliness kills…I’m so glad you’re breaking outta that shell. I think there’s probably way more people out there dealing with similar situations that you’d ever think. Bigger than the KISS Army even, I bet!

6 08 2010
263andcounting

Tricia, there is nothing bigger than the KISS army…NOTHING!

6 08 2010
Ed

Tara, You are too awesome. I totally know where you are coming from. I am a recovering WOW addict. There were times that I would rather play WOW than do anything. I think I even called into work a few times to just keep playing.

Very dramatic with the hoodies! I love it!

keep rockin! Invite Abe run with you!

6 08 2010
263andcounting

Oh I’ve called in a few times to keep playing too. So Sad….

7 08 2010
April

Amazing, seriously. I can relate to the hoodie thing so, so much.

8 08 2010
263andcounting

I still have every hoodie too. I was able to give up almost all my clothes when I started losing the weight. I keep a pair of pants from each size for photos but the hoodies I just can’t seem to get rid of. Almost like a security blanket.

8 08 2010
Daily Blog News | The Giggly Bits

[…] 263 and Counting – Tara wrote a really amazing post about hiding from life and how in the journey to find her waistline, she found herself.  It’s fantastic and why we all work so hard at this.  Enjoy!  Also, she’s raising money for Team in Training and if you can spare a bit for a good cause, head over to her fundraising page. You can donate any amount once you click “donate” so even if it’s a couple bucks, pay it forward people, have one less coffee next week. […]

21 08 2010
success warrior

i am reading through some of your older posts and i really like them. this is great and i loved i am an athlete.

20 02 2011
Dear Tara… « Life Changing Journey (LCJ)

[…] first 10k because you were scared. They like to tell the rest of us about the day you decided that building an army behind you was just as important as building a strong body. The best story they like share is when you decided […]

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