The Journey: Making decisions others don’t understand


By SAMANTHA BRAZIE, Special to The Paper

How goes it, Paper readers? If you’ve been reading the Journey for any period of time, you get that I write a lot about self-care and mental health, A LOT.

One of the reasons for this is that we tend to be our biggest critics. We lean into internalizing all the dialogue that has been told to us and discussed about us in our life before we can figure out who we are ourselves and that can really eat away at a person. All of us have inner demons, regardless of how it looks on the surface. So this month’s column is what I’ve learned from Simone Biles.

There sure are lots of strong opinions about Simone’s choice to withdraw from the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health. I’m going to go out on a ledge here and say there aren’t any Olympians reading my column this month, therefore there isn’t anyone reading this that has done the work an Olympian has to be one of the best of the best athletes in the world. Having said that, I’m sure there are lots of competitive people and those that like to live vicariously through these inspirational humans.

I can’t even imagine the amount of stress Olympians are under. Not only have they trained for this pretty much their whole lives, but the entire world is watching them. They are representing their respective countries and not only want to win but make their country proud of them. Can you even imagine the mental toughness they have to have to even get to qualify for the Olympics? I’ve been through a lot in my life and have overcome a load of obstacles, but I sure can’t imagine being in their headspace. Add COVID precautions, no fans in the stands and whatever other restrictions they have as the cherry on top and it sounds like some extra special version of hell to me.

For every flip done in this competition, there are thousands if not more done in practice, many of them ending with scrapes, crashes, and near-misses. If their head is not in the game, it can cause far more drastic consequences, so I ask you – did she take the easy way out? Has she shown us that it’s ok to be soft? I think not. Olympians … athletes in general … are human. They have all the same struggles and insecurities that we do except Simone Biles has those while spinning and twisting through the air. I don’t think anyone wants her to be seriously injured because she can’t focus … oh but by the way, her body – her choice. There’s that.

So before we cast judgment on other’s choices, let’s take a moment to realize that we are all human and have made lots of decisions that people didn’t understand … but maybe, just maybe, not in front of the entire world.

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” — Fred Rogers

Questions? Comments?  Email me at [email protected].

Photo credit – Instagram: @simonebiles

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