One of my favorite books as a child was New Kids On the Block: The Right Stuff … Now y’all know the secret to my brilliance (and by brilliance I really mean overcompensation for my Attention Deficit Disorder… see, I can’t help the tangents, it’s a dagnabbed disorder!) Okay, I never owned any books about NKOB… I’m really referring to The Little Engine That Could.
For those who spent their childhood summering with the Amish, The Little Engine That Could is about a little engine (d’oh… OBVIOUS ALERT!) who was asked to pull a much bigger train over a large mountain. No one thought he could do it, but the engine succeeded in pulling the train over the mountain by chanting his motto: I Think I Can!
That background out of the way… early last summer (2010), I still weighed over 400 pounds… walking long distances was still quite a task for me due to my “large” load and out of shapitis. So, I stuck to my short walking routes… they had to have an incline of no more than 1 degree and I’d have preferred to use a wheelchair. I remember one day last summer I thought I’d try this new road. I liked it because it was off the beaten path, had some fun countryish scenery, and little to no traffic! Bonus… unless I happened to want to get run over by a bus. So, I took off up the road. A few steps in and I discovered that the incline was more like 45 degrees and heck if there were any wheelchairs sitting on the sides of the road (I looked!) It became pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to make it all the way to the top (only about 1.5 miles long, but uphill and I wasn’t used to lugging my tucus up anything that wasn’t flat). Fifteen minutes into the walk and I hadn’t even been a quarter of a mile… I was sweating profusely, so out of breath I thought I might hyperventilate, and my legs were cramping up so badly, I probably could have joined the circus as the amazing cramping leg lady! “Nope… no way… can’t do this!” And so it was… I turned around and walked downhill back to my car.
I quickly forgot about that road. I’ve been walking at least 4 to 6 times a week for a year and a half now, slowly building up my strength and stamina as I was shedding the pounds… forget you, FAT ZAPPER 3000! Inclines/hills/mountains still make me nervous… I’ve conditioned my brain to automatically tell myself I can’t do it… I can’t do it… I’ve tried before and I couldn’t do it. I revisited that road this past Saturday, thinking, maybe I’ll make it halfway up and then I can use a wheelchair to coast on down again… 15 miles per hour my rear recepticle. You ever seen a fat woman going down a hill on wheels? She ain’t going 15 mph, I tell you that much! I took off not thinking much about it… the previous time I’d tried it, I was second guessing myself with every step. This time, I just enjoyed the scenery… and before I knew it… I was up at the top looking down on the minions of I can’t do its I was so fond of chanting last summer.
Pretty sure I sat against that barbed wire fence at the top (um OUCH!!) and shed a few tears of joy. I accomplished something that was nearly impossible less than a year ago… and it gave me confidence. Confidence to try tougher hills (put away the rappelling gear… I ain’t that crazy confident… I think you need more muscle than bird bumps!) I also learned that my attitude should never be I can’t or I think I can. It needs to be changed right now to I know I can! And that’s that… I’m the little engine that couldn’t, but can now!
Question of the Day: What is your next desired accomplishment… your mountain?