Most of us change uniforms multiple times each day; we have a variety of roles to play. Whether it’s work, parent, or spouse, each of us has a different part at different times. For a long time, I didn’t feel good about myself and my appearance, so I hid behind a boring uniform of generic, loose-fitting clothes, writing it off as “I don’t care about that stuff.” I’m not a fashion plate (at all!!!!) and I lean towards boring solid colors. One reason is it’s easier, the other is that it was a good way to minimize the attention I got. My beautiful, sainted wife has helped me get some color and better looks into my wardrobe; my clothes are better now, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like me – like I’m wearing someone else’s stuff.
My day job is business casual, so I’m in slacks and a button-up shirt right now. Running or working out, I have a drawer of shorts and a drawer of tech shirts I grab from. It’s not always matched; it’s not always a great look – but I don’t care. I throw a hat on and I get to work. That is my “badass” uniform; I am not concerned what I look like when I’m
beating the hell out of myself training.
On race days, I make sure to wear a 1DOS Foundation shirt. Beyond that, I’m just there to chew bubble gum and run fast. Bubble gum is starting to run low, though… The feeling of standing in the corral with your friends and folks you’ve never met, about to charge out of the gate – there’s not much like that feeling in regular life. The cocktail of nerves and adrenaline is heady stuff! Putting on the race bib, the timing chip, whatever it is that day – that uniform helps trigger that competitive fire and reach a level I might not otherwise see that day.
Do Clothes Make the (Wo)Man – or The Other Way Around?
Do you become more confident because of the clothes you put on? Or do you own the outfit because of your swagger? I think it’s a little of both, honestly. When I see old pictures I don’t always recognize myself. That helps remind me of how far I’ve come; it helps me own it today. At the same time there are things I wear, almost like hearing a song, that take me to that time and place. This morning I had my 2018 Spartan Super shirt from the giant mud pit (Chicago!!); and I was thinking about that experience. Going over the walls with Becky, Michelle, and the other first-timers; no way I wasn’t going to finish my gym grind while remembering the way they kept busting it that day!
Recently I have found myself in different roles that made me stop and think about my “uniform.” I had a person, close to me, who I love and respect deeply, tell me that I inspired them. Um… wow. How to respond to that one? I was used to being in one role with that person; my perspective reeled after that conversation. Not sure how to act, what to say, how to wear that “uniform” at all, I find myself reverting to the “just some dude” mode at times like that. Maybe I will own it in the future.
When the Uniform Doesn’t Wear Well
Our roles are ingrained in us for some relationships; we become hard wired to act differently than other parts of our life. If you make yourself less to please others, maintaining those roles, you can crush your own spirit. We cannot be everything to everyone else and nothing to ourselves. It simply doesn’t work.
When the role we play in a relationship becomes an anchor to keep us from moving forward instead of a base to build on, it may be time to look at changing uniforms. No, I don’t mean to cut and run – although sometimes it comes to that – but you need to make sure that you are on the same page with the people in your circle. Change is a part of life, both good and bad; they may be taking your change as leaving them behind. Make sure you help them understand your goals, but balance that with what you need to do for you. Don’t give up the things that make you, you.
Life is messy, and it’s definitely not perfect. The 1DOS shark spirit animal represents the way we move forward, pushing through even when life throws us curve balls. While it may feel like you are failing sometimes, if you take a look at life from a different angle you will see what you have achieved. Focus on the good things you have done, realize your strength, and move forward. Learn from mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. Wear each of your uniforms with pride, knowing that you are giving the best of you to each role.