My favorite quote about excuses is, “excuses are for those who need them.” I try to live my life in a way that does not necessitate making excuses; if I don’t want to do something or fail at something or want to avoid something, I try to be upfront about it – not skate the issue.
That said, I also have a hard time saying no – which means I get myself into situations that I absolutely dread, but have already committed to, and without a solid excuse cannot remove myself from without a great deal of guilt. Case in point: Velocity Urban Attack 4.
The Urban Attack is a local obstacle race not unlike a (heavily) watered-down American Ninja Warrior. From the moment I saw the course being built at the mall down the street, I was intrigued, and when I realized it was only $25 to give it a run, I signed up.
The morning of the race rolled around and I was confident though completely terrified; the few practice rounds I did before my start time were mostly successful and while the obstacles were challenging, they were not impossible. My turn came up and I went for it, monkeying across bars, climbing ropes, swinging from poles, and finally, slamming my hands down on the oh-so-gratifying red buzzer to signify I’d finished the course.
I was one of only a few women to finish that day and it felt good – but lo and behold, my performance was actually good enough to get me into the finals, held two weeks later. The week in between I spent in Japan, alternating between stressing out about whether I would race again when I returned to Singapore and just enjoying myself with an ultimate overindulgence of booze and food (see below: bowls of ramen as large as my head and gyoza for days).
Reality came back when I returned from Japan and the question remained: would I commit to revamping my performance that weekend, or would I bow out? The pro/con list rattling around my head looked something like this:
- could win actual money dollars (first prize was $1500 cold hard cash)
- physical challenges are kind of my thing
- adrenaline keeps you young (eh, reaching…)
- already completed the course; no fear of total failure
- no additional cost to just try
- trying to be strong role model for my clients and others
- absolute terror at having to face the course again
- feeling of impending doom over possible injury (I failed to mention above that I got my leg caught on one obstacle and had a huge, deep cut for about 10 days)
- adrenaline is overrated
- deep-down knowledge that winning was very likely out of reach
- nagging fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt that creeps in with all unknown and/or stressful and/or challenging situations like this
So yeah, while the pros were very tangible, sensible things, as you can see, the cons were very intangible, improbable, and often pointlessly worrisome things that I am always trying to tell my clients not to concern themselves about.
But can you guess what I did?
If you guessed “let the fear consume you and skip the finals even after going all the way down to the venue and actually signing the liability waiver,” then you guessed correctly. I went all the way down to the site, registered as a finalist, and signed the form – then walked out the door, bailed, and never looked back. I still have no idea who won that day.
Excuses are excuses, and mine was an amalgam of fear, worry, and some deeply-rooted concern that I would either make a fool of myself going up against all these spry young girls, hurt myself past the point of my insurance coverage, or both. So I didn’t show up.
I am not sure what the full point of me writing this post is; in some ways I suppose it’s cathartic to let my readers and followers know that despite the image I try to project on Facebook and Instagram I am not always the warrior princess; I am not fearless; I am far from the podium winner on lots and lots of things I do in life, even though I prefer to highlight the ones in which I am (don’t we all?).
When faced with obstacles in life we have a choice – go through the course, bruises and all, or turn around and bolt away to safe space. Some days you’re the warrior; some days you’re the weak – and while I hate the situations that make me the latter, I know that sooner or later, I’ll have my redemption, and feel like my strongest self again.
Just don’t make me climb that damn rope again.