“Go!” the man behind me yells, and I drop the 15lb weight and start running. I take a left, run around the corner of the weightlifting mats, take another left, and straight in front of me is a giant camera lens. My friend Brian is taking pictures.
I grew up in a creative, musical family, with few athletic ambitions. I played Little League and some soccer as a kid, but my heart was never really in it. My mother told me once that I was just never “very aggressive in sports.”
So when, as a 25-year-old adult, I took up CrossFit, I think some people were surprised. When I started to love it, I think I was surprised.
Now, after three years off and on, I’m still not that great at it. But I like trying hard, working hard, pushing myself to be better.
Hit play again on the opening scene. It’s the third (and last) workout of the day at my second ever CrossFit competition. I am fighting for air, I am sweating like a sumo wrestler, and I still have almost ten minutes to go. My friends and my parents are watching.
I see Brian’s camera lens, and my brain has a one-second-long argument:
“Ugh. I don’t want pictures when I look this awful.”
“Oh, come on. You’re working hard. You’re supposed to look like it.”
“But the way I look, I should be the champion of the world, when really I’m dying and still mediocre.”
“Well, why are you here?”
“To have fun and work out.”
“Okay, then, genius. You’re working out already. Now have fun!”
This is the picture Brian takes:
This week’s life lesson for Ashleyne:
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
I fail. I make mistakes. I write things that aren’t that great. I say stupid things. I make decisions that turn out to be terrible.
And if I take myself totally seriously, that’s a lot of pressure. I have to perform perfectly, react perfectly, and be the best at everything.
But if I’m willing to laugh, to be ridiculous, to be a punchline on someone else’s rough day, then the mistakes are not such a big deal. Those failures are just little things.
I am not what I can accomplish. So I might as well have fun, loosen up, and smile for the camera.
Now, sometimes it’s really hard to smile. If that’s the case for you this week, maybe another of my “don’t take yourself too seriously” moments will help.
Here’s a photo series of KJ “helping” me with a photo shoot for a fundraiser at work:
Let’s look a little closer:
May you stay dry and enjoy a good laugh this weekend, my friends.