All this self-reflection is cool and all. I remember being told that one must take the good with the bad. That phrase is much easier said than done. The hard part is the application of behavior after said reflection has happened.
As long as I can remember, I have had (and continue to have) sore loser tendencies. Not the most attractive quality in any way, shape, or form. The monster still remains. One silver lining is I now am able to keep my mouth shut and remove myself from a situation when things get too hot for me to handle. This has taken many years to do and is not easy to this day. I’m at this point where I make an effort to catch the jock settings before I am exposed to it in hopes to be aware enough that when the hypercritical, egotistical side comes, I can check myself (inside and out) and do something about it. Right now all I can do is remove myself from the environment. No sense in finding another punching bag who has no idea what they’re in for.
Playing the vain-blame-game is an all time low move, no matter the circumstance. Stewing in this can lead to a lull in progress. I have stewed for years at a time, trust me, this sucks and there is no way to put a positive spin on the matter. Self improvement is not gradual steps in the right direction. It is a jagged path that may have a few quick steps forward, but can be just as easily be met with a step or two in the opposite direction. It is finding some type of comfort when dealing with this, despite the planning that was involved, the data that was recorded, the emotional investments made, that what separate the childish jocks from the more normal human beings with more control over their emotions. Some can flesh out the cause and effect in a polite and effective way. Others have to find a quiet space to be alone with their thoughts and vent in whichever way they feel is necessary (can you guess who has to do the latter of the two?)
But hey, gotta take the bad with the good right? Me “taking” the bad manifests itself through isolation. That seems to work for me so I’m going to stick with that right now. I am completely comfortable with not saying anything when I do not have nice things to say. From there, things will build up depending on the situation, but usually pass with time. A conflict lies when your analytical train of thought is running on all cylinders to prevent this moment of embarrassment from happening again, while your physical and more emotional sides are moving at a glacial pace to reset for the next encounter. Cue anxiety, cue impatience, cue anger, then tie it all together at the end with self loathing. This has been my life for as long as I can remember and remains to be that way.
The good news is self-awareness is how I am able to begin to keep things in check. A balance of all these emotions is paramount when the going gets tough. I sincerely admire how women are able to be cheerleaders for one another and keep the environment (in this case, we are discussing competitive cycling) from reaching that toxic but fragile state. I am taking a lot of mental notes now that there has been an increase of female presence at bike races. I am cheering for you cheering on your peers and fellow cyclists. With that being said, fragile masculinity is a tricky thing to navigate. Here’s me continuing to take these small steps forward despite going through the same pitfalls I always seem to find myself (while keeping the trite, inspirational speech to a minimum.)
until next time….