By usual standards my day in London today was a success. I entered four divisions and qualified in all four. That means I get to compete at the Nationals next month for a spot on the Canadian team. I also won three medals today (one of each), and generally competed well. But.
Although it was fine, part of me knows it wasn't good enough. I could have been more fierce. And I should have been. See, I have two significant mental blocks to fight (on top of fine opponents): I tend to play it safe because I dislike feeling vulnerable, and I struggle with what is known as the imposter syndrome, which makes me discount my achievements and blow up my shortcomings.
Neither mental block is particularly edifying. What's worse, they clash with one another and make me feel terrible.
I know I should compete more aggressively. That's what makes the difference between champions and tourists, right? I don't want to be a tourist. I want to be the kind of competitor who makes the other guys say, "oh cripes, she's here, we're in trouble now."
You know. Badass.
But being aggressive and really wanting to win - that's scary. You tend to get hit more often that way, and you're also liable to be hurt more if you do not win. So it's best to play defensive and not set your sights to high.
Except playing defensively and setting my sights low makes me feel, ah, somewhat sub-optimal. Because what's the point of all this training (to say nothing of the time and money we sink into this thing) if I'm going to go out there and say, meh, I've qualified, I don't need to push for gold, silver is enough?
Don't get me wrong. Silver is perfectly fine. So is last place - provided you fought like you meant to win gold, and the other person was better than you. What's not OK is getting silver but feeling like if only I'd pushed harder I might have won gold. That I don't like. And of course I don't like it because it makes me feel like a giant fraud. I mean, what's this competitor doing, not pushing as hard as she should? What a tourist...
So. I had a long time to think this over on the drive back from London (duration: roughly forever). And I've decided 1) I was going to train and compete for keeps, and 2) I was going to be public about it, if only to force myself to do it. Because once I put it out there, once I tell you guys about my vulnerable spots and what the devil on my left shoulder keeps trying to tempt me with, I kind of have to follow through on my resolution. Otherwise I become a real fraud, and that won't do.
Tomorrow is a day off training and I will take it and go to my cottage instead. But Monday we are back to training and it's training, and fighting, to win.