Update: Turns out “all the free time ever” has not allowed me to keep my apartment clean or binge watch Netflix, but I have spent lots of time cooking some pretty bangin’ meals.
Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about perceptions.
I have never been coordinated. I was terrible at sports when I was younger, and I was pretty much always among the kids who were picked last to be on teams at recess or in gym class. I used to consistently be one of the last people standing in dodgeball solely because no one considered me a threat so they wouldn’t even try to hit me and get me out. Granted, I wasn’t too great at hitting them either.
So it should go without saying that I’ve never considered myself to be athletic. And for most of my life, I wasn’t perceived to be either.
Except now I’m an aerialist. And I’ve performed. And I’m also a runner who’s training for a marathon. And I pole dance. And I do ground and partner acrobatics. Basically, what I’m saying is, I do a lot of athletic things. And to the people I work with, who have only known me since I started doing all of these things, I am athletic.
To me, that is weird.
This all started a few weeks ago when some of my coworkers asked me to play ping pong with them on the table in our break room. I promptly informed them that they probably didn’t want to play with me because I have no hand-eye coordination and am absolutely terrible. They didn’t believe me.
“But you do crazy stuff on fabric hanging from the ceiling way high up in the air!”
“That doesn’t take hand-eye coordination, though…”
“Really? Cause it’s pretty intense.”
“Really. The silks aren’t moving and I don’t have to figure out where they’re going to end up and then move a hand to do something with them that ideally also makes it go a specific way.”
We played ping pong anyway. I was, in fact, terrible. THEN they believed me.
But the conversation stuck. As I said before, for most of my life, nobody had ever considered me to be athletic. Even though I danced, did gymnastics, and played tennis (poorly), I never thought of myself that way either. It just… wasn’t something I was good at. I was smart, not sporty.
Except it turns out you can be smart AND sporty. And that’s something that never occurred to me until I realized that other people thought I was good at sports. Even then, my first reaction was, “Me?! Good at sports?! Ha!” Except, oh wait, I can do a lot of pull-ups… and I do spend several hours a day doing aerials… and I did just run seven miles…. And then it was, “Wait. Am I… am I actually good at sports? I think I’m good at sports!”
It was like if Baby Spice woke up one day and realized that she was actually Sporty Spice. (No, I will not be ashamed of my Spice Girls reference.) It was a major breakthrough – and all because someone didn’t believe that I’d actually be bad at ping pong.
And you know what the best part is? As it turns out, with practice, I’m actually a pretty mediocre ping pong player. 🙂