Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Facing Fears

Hello, world. It's been a few months.

When I started this blog, my hope was not just to be another crafting/sewing blog; I actually wanted to write about my thoughts on things. Even though the lack of entries may make it seem like I've forgotten about this blog -- or worse: have no thoughts, I actually think about this blog on a daily basis. I'm just really crappy about actually sitting down and writing anything.

 For several years now I've felt this push-pull for and against blogging. I want to have an interesting public blog, but I struggle with putting too much information out "there" about myself. But I digress.


 Last year, I decided I wanted to play house league soccer again. I played for 2 years in 1998/1999 and although I liked it, I suffered such bad anxiety before games that I had to stop playing. I've never been the athletic type, and growing up as a preteen in 1998-1999 when Nike and Adidas were staples of every cool kid's non-gym wardrobe, I was very self-conscious about my lack of athleticism. It didn't help that girls that age (12-13) become unbearably competitive about everything, and being totally non-competitive as a person, I just couldn't handle it anymore, so I happily quit.

 Unfortunately I didn't end up playing last year because I thought I was moving to Windsor. This year when it was decided pretty early on that I'm staying put for the foreseeable future, I immediately signed up again for soccer.

 And then the nerves began. The regret began. The temptation to just not show up to any games, to forfeit my $175, began. It felt like rusty, old feelings in my system were being salvaged from the attic, dusted off and brought back into the light. It felt like 1999 all over again.

I've had problems with anxiety my whole life but now that I'm a bit older and can recognize when I'm being irrational, I've gotten pretty good at talking myself out of anxiety. The soccer nerves were difficult to combat, though. Most of my nervousness was a fear of the unknown. What if I'm really terrible at soccer? What if everyone is really good and resents me being on the team? What if the unbearable female competitive thing is even worse now? These were things I could never know unless I faced them.

I'd like to say I had totally talked myself down off the ledge by the time our first game crept up on the calendar, but I'd be lying. The good old pre-soccer stomach ache even joined me for the drive to the pitch (a soccer term my dad helpfully reminded me of).

Without a long story about my first game, everything turned out fine. What a surprise, huh? Since my league is 27+ up and I just turned 27, I'm the youngest person on the team.  Most of the other girls are in their 30s, some in their 40s. Most have kids. None are professional soccer players. None are particularly competitive. All are super friendly. As soon as I heard everyone bantering about how out of shape they were, I instantly relaxed.

After the game, one of my new teammates said to me, "I hope you're not the super competitive type, because that's not what our team is about." Sweeter words have never been spoken... Well, until they asked me to join them for drinks at the bar after (a regular post-game tradition).

I'm now extremely grateful I didn't play last year, because there's a chance I wouldn't have been put on the team I'm on. Our team is exactly what I was hoping for, I almost want to call up the league coordinator and thank them personally.

As I drove away from my first game, I was actually a little sad I was going to miss the next 2 games while I went to Mexico. In one day, I did a complete 180. And those 1998-1999 nerves are safely tucked back where they belong, in the past.

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