Keep Up With Me

Week of August 27th

I have more books than trophies. I have more books than eyeshadows. I have more books than friends. I have more books than shoes, than socks, than freckles, than gray hairs, than veins that are currently visible in my body. I have more books than anything else that I have in my life. I’ve read most of them. By the time I finish graduate school, I will have read approximately 80 books. I will have written tens of thousands of words. I will have made my brain explode, my eyes cry, my heart beg for mercy, my fingers fly. I will have learned more about me than any therapist could have helped me to see. That’s not to say my eccentricities and idiosyncrasies will disappear. I’ll probably acquire new neuroses to drive myself and everyone around me crazy. But that keeps life interesting, right?

Anyway, the three pillars define me: reading, writing, and bodybuilding. And they all come to a head, come to my head, next week with a combination of a school deadline and peak week. My stomach just shape-shifted into a fish and flopped at the mention of that timeframe. I took a year after I competed in Arizona in 2017. I thought I would step on stage sooner. I thought I would do a show in May, June, July, August. But no. My mind said, “Not yet, grasshopper. We aren’t ready.” I still am not sure if I am ready. My body seems to be. But my mind still wants to tap the brakes, maybe even make a pit stop to check directions, make sure we are on the right road.

I wonder if that’s why I procrastinate. I know I don’t put things off out of laziness. Well, except for procrastinating on folding my laundry and putting it away. That’s pure disinterest and laziness right there. But for other things, I think I procrastinate because I’m sometimes not 100% sure what I want to do or how I want to do it. It seems that the pressure of a deadline creates clarity that an infinite abyss of time cannot provide. As I get closer to the day that I’ll step on stage in Arizona again, I find my mind letting up on the brake and pressing the gas pedal a bit more. I have reminded myself of my why: to be better than the best me that I presented a year ago. It has nothing to do with anyone else. When I step off of the Arizona stage in 12 days, the knowledge of the results tucked into the crevices of my brain, I’ll still have more books than trophies . . . no matter what placing I earn. That puts things into perspective for me. A year ago, I was feverishly finishing a short story and essays for graduate school application deadlines that collided with peak week back then too. That dual responsibility helped keep me grounded, helped remind me that the drive is more important than the destination sometimes. With that in mind, I’m almost ready to reach the speed limit, merge onto the highway and join the traffic. Rest assured, I will do my best to keep my packed car in my own lane.