Yesterday started off as a quest to face my fear of haggling. I have an acute embarrassment around money. I have such a fear of looking like a cheapskate, I flash money I don’t have. To me the idea of quibbling over prices or asking for a discount is mortifying.
So when I got an email from a local gym announcing 3 months free membership, if you sign up for a year, I grabbed my chance. I phoned them up and asked if they could improve the offer.
‘Any chance you could make it 4 months free instead of 3?’ I asked. And I’m not joking, my heart was beating like crazy. I felt so cheeky.
The man on the phone didn’t seem put out by the request but was pretty matter of fact in his response: ‘No.’
‘Oh, OK.’ I was a bit thrown but I kept going. ‘What about the joining fee? Could you waive that?’ My cheeks went red. I worried that he’d think I was the cheapest cheapskate. I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t! I was a nice, generous person.
Another straight answer: ‘No.’
‘Oh OK.’ I felt embarrassed.
Another pause on the line. Then gym man pipes up. ‘But we could discount it from £100 to £60.’
Deal done! Hurrah! I’m a wheeler dealer! Not embarrassing at all – I’m just a woman who gets what she wants! What was the big deal? It felt good.
Another fear had been faced.
Then my fear fighting took an unexpected turn. Riding high on that success, I joined the gym and booked in for a spin class that very evening.
Now, I haven’t exercised in 18 months. I went through a period a few years ago of regular gyming. My friend signed up me to a bootcamp, I took to it and got super fit. I wrote an article about how much I loved exercise, how it transformed not only my body but my mind and how I would never stop doing it.
A few months after the article ran, I stopped doing it. Obviously. Heaven forbid I keep doing something that’s good for me.
Anyway, the spin class was only half an hour and I thought it would ease me into exercising again. In the past I’ve been nervous of classes because I worry that I couldn’t keep up, would look stupid and feel embarrassed but the fear fighting has made me bolder.
It turns out I was right to worry.
I should have realised that I was out of my depth just by looking at the other people in the class. They all had calves of steel and were wearing the kind of lycra that you know costs big bucks and does insanely scientific stuff with sweat absorption, body temperature regulation etc. I was wearing old leggings and a vest.
Within seconds my knees were burning, within minutes my thighs were on fire. And that was only the warm up. As the class progressed the others were upping the resistance and hopping up and down in their seats like jack in the boxes, I couldn’t do it. I had to stay sitting and was going puce from moving my legs at a barely noticeable pace.
At one point the Kings of Leon came on: ‘Can we climb this mountain, I don’t know?’ they asked. Well I know. Absolutely bloody not.
It was humiliating. The instructor looked embarrassed for me. The first ten minutes felt like an age. By twenty minutes in I really didn’t think I could last any more. By minute twenty five I’d given up and was just sitting in my seat while the fifty odd year old woman next to me went hell for leather.
I wanted the ground to swallow me up. It was awful. Worse than chatting up strangers on the tube. Worse than getting my kit off in front of 15 people. I kept thinking ‘Why does this matter so much? Who cares if you can’t keep up?’ But for some reason it really did matter. I felt like an idiot and a failure. I felt the kind of embarrassment that makes you want to never take a risk again.
I felt the fear and did it anyway. But I won’t be doing it again any time soon.
[easyazon_link asin=”0091907071″ locale=”UK” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”hemebl08-21″]Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action[/easyazon_link]
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