Warning: this blog post contains adult language.
Further Warning: This is a "personal" blog post. Sometimes I cathartically write for myself, to myself. To justify my feelings to myself and link my thoughts to other media that supports my thinking. Like a scrapbook page ;-)
It is not intended to offend.
When you're a woman on a mission, people aren't going to understand you. They aren't going to get you. The whole neighborhood may think you're strange. They will think you're anti-social or "intense" maybe even a bitch.
You're up early, training. People think what you're doing is "recreational." Maybe even selfish. How dare she take time to go to the gym, get on the water, or hit the trail when she should be socializing, cooking, or kissing other peoples' asses is some way. Because that's what women are here on earth to do, right?
Funny story: last year Stephanie and I were staying in a small apartment complex in Hood River, OR. I could tell people were interested in us. The way they're interested in a caged tiger at the zoo. A mix of curiosity and caution. The complex organized a cook out for the inhabitants to be social. They all kinda knew each other already, it could be that they were trying to coax us out of our den to study us further. Sadly, they used the wrong bait. They had wavy chips, red hot dogs, and some other cheesy, greasy carbs. If you've ever tried to feed your dog spinach (oh, cute, the human is trying to feed me human food) and seen his reaction, that was the look on our faces. But I digress.
We had just finished up a double-down, that's when you do 2x 8 mile Viento runs back to back, and snagged some dinner-to-go from a local eatery. As we approached the complex, sweaty, smelly, tired, and EXCITED about relaxing in the cool apartment with our NUTRITION we caught sight of the "party."
"I forgot about the fucking paaarttyyyy...."
"Dude. I do NOT want to go be social right now. I'm beat."
"Agreed. Let's just wave and walk by. It'll be fine.."
But we didn't just wave and walk by. We realized that they would think we were complete, selfish assholes. Stephanie hit the gas pedal in the van and vroomed around the corner out of sight. We staged an elaborate plan where I was on the corner looking out while she whipped the van in quickly and we ran around the back of the building to sneak into our room.
This probably took more energy than us just waving and walking by. But we were scared. Yup. Scared of what people would think of us. (As my husband later pointed out, they probably already had plenty of thoughts. Her Crossover Symmetry straps around the door looked like they could be an elaborate dominatrix setup, and we were constantly using power tools to massage sore muscles and groaned occasionally when we would foam roll a tight spot... We didn't have the energy to expend explaining what all the groaning, thumping, and door straps were for anyway.)
I have an odd feeling, though, if we were raised as men we wouldn't have been as worried. We would have confidently walked up. Said, "Hello. We're very tired from training, being professional athletes, we must go eat and sleep now." and walked away without a care in the world. (although, people may have still thought the door straps were a bit suspect!!)
But we didn't. And as much as we laugh about sneaking through the back alley with food with some of the people at the party obviously seeing us, it just makes me think.
Men don't suffer from this stereotype when they're driven. People accept an intensely driven man as being focused, they support him and even stay out of his way.
When a woman is intensely driven we're delusional (crazy, as the ad from Nike claims). People think we're selfish for doing our workouts, and wonder why we're not stopping in front of each house to chat up all the neighbors if we're out for a recovery walk.
Why am I not dropping off home made cakes and pies at Christmas?
Why did I skip brunch?
Why am I not at the neighborhood potluck?
I hear them talking.
Automatically, if I'm not their best friend, they see me as an outsider. Something to speculate.
But I'm NOT antisocial at all. I have friends. I have family. And I partition my time appropriately. I give time to the people that I care about. Unfortunately for neighborhood hens, that isn't them. I value the time I take to cultivate and nurture the relationships I already have. That isn't selfish. Its what successful people do. They schedule their time and spend it where it is needed on the things that matter to them.
This also doesn't mean that I don't have time to make new friends, quite contrary. I just am not going to take the time OUT of what I'm doing to do something different. I'm not going to join the neighborhood fantasy football bracket thingy. They're probably not going to come paddle. I don't judge them. Why do they judge me? If you paddle, and come paddle at the same time I do, you'll quickly realize how open and friendly I am. (Probably too open and friendly for most)
Bottom line is: These people will always exist.
They have NOTHING going on in their lives. Let them speculate. Let them cluck about like the hens they are. Let them sit around and find things to hate about you because hating you makes them feel better about how insignificant their lives are. The fact that they even have the time to think these thoughts sums it up.
Because... you're not thinking about them. You're out there grinding out the hours with lots of skin in the game.
Don't give 2 shits. Don't even give one.
Keep moving. Stay focused.
Continue the thinking: Power Moves by Adam Grant Chapter 3 on women in power is quite interesting.