Obsessions and Identities

I go through phases of intensity and focus, and I have found that I like to have things to be obsessed about. Admittedly, it is fun to have a reputation pertaining to the pursuit of my obsession, but it can also been unhealthy. Ultimately, when my obsession fails me (or I fail it), it is hard to break away from this identity I’ve formed with all the pieces of a healthy psyche intact.

I know I’m not alone in wrapping up my identity with my profession, passion, or hobby. I studied at a music conservatory teeming with some of the best musicians in the world, whose lives would shatter when overuse injuries stymied promising careers or bad performances ruined reputations and important networking connections. The mental trauma often outweighs any physical trauma. It is no different for anyone training to be Elite in other areas.

Recently I’ve noticed that people in my life started thinking of me as a Fitness Person, and it has been a shocking revelation for me. I do not yet self-identify as such. Although, when reviewing the symptoms and signs, I will admit that I am a little bit obsessed with fitness:

  • My food intake became focused on nutrient timing; in other words, what food at what time would optimize my workout performance?
  • My schedule became built around my workouts whenever possible.
  • My friends started to confess their lack of gym time to me, as if I was some kind of priestess taking account of their sin.
  • Most of my social media posts are about my gym exploits, which is probably annoying.
  • People in my husband’s line of work refer to me as “the wife that lifts weights.”

The reason I haven’t transitioned into thinking of myself as some kind of fitness goddess is twofold: I want to protect myself from embracing a new identity that may eventually fail me, and I don’t yet believe I’ve achieved “Super Saiyan” status. (In other words, I know how far behind I am from people who are truly Awesome at fitness, so I do not even consider myself close to their level.)

Currently I am enjoying the casual ride as I test the limits of my fitness. Every so often I am trying to convince my inner-perfectionist self that it is not necessary to train for something Elite like the Crossfit Games because I can be a perfectly happy person enjoying a hobby without turning it into my all-encompassing obsession.




Now that this is settled, I’ll see you at the Crossfit Games someday.





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