slow learner

the first time i heard those words was when my first creative writing assignment of my junior year of college was being handed back to me.

my professor’s words slammed into me banging around my brain ripping holes and leaving bruises only i could feel but amidst the whooshing air of that tornado of words, i caught a snippet of what she said after that.  though she wasn’t the nicest of teachers nor the best nor the most tactful, this time, her words weren’t meant to harm. they were meant as an observation.

and it was true.

she’d noticed a big difference in my writing from one semester to the next which was why she chose then to unleash her opinion.

before that moment, the only feedback re: my style of learning was receiving an A or B (okay, maybe a C in math). those letters were general and uncomplicated and simple and rarely showed how much hard work or time i’d spent (or not). i’d always known numbers weren’t my thing but to have a creative writing teacher point out something negative was a blow.

it threw me off course.

while in the weeds, i remembered something. after a long day of high school + sports practice, i would always always always go directly up to my room. i didn’t realize this was a habit nor did i consciously decide to do so nor did it occur to me this was something odd because i was unloading my books/homework/sports equipment/decompressing from my day, etc. in fact, it wasn’t until my mom told me she’d expressed her worry to my aunt A that i realized this was slightly unusual behavior.

upon hearing this, my aunt A laughed and said, of course. abby’s an introvert. she recharges her self/energy by spending time alone.

i’d always thought an introvert meant someone who was shy or a loner or something.  i was (still am) shy, but i’m also very social. i can often be found with friends and family, which didn’t fit with my understanding of what an introvert was, so this new (and very correct) definition opened my eyes. after a long day surrounded by dozens of people at all times, i was merely recharging my batteries.

as i peered up out of the you are a slow learner weeds i realized maybe being told that was like being told i was an introvert. maybe this wasn’t a bad thing but rather a new way of understanding how/who i am.

the second time i was told i was a slow learner was earlier this week. i was in the middle of doing a power clean lift and the coach was studying my movements. he’d already corrected my form during earlier instructions of how to do the snatch (tee hee) lift. i pulled the bar up (which was wrong) and into position when i realized my bottom half also landed incorrectly. i adjusted my angles and the coach, seeing my (delayed) thought process at work, applauded and said those “slow learner” words to me.

this time, i (put down the weight and) nodded.

granted, if i was ever a fast learner, it was in a sports capacity which is probably why i’ve always gravitated towards sports. weight lifting (in a crossfit arena) is completely new and foreign and i’m learning types of lifts done in the olympics and am way beyond out of my comfort zone (which is another post in and of itself). form and technique are the two most important things here, but the movements are so unnatural to me if i’m not literally thinking about each individual step as i make it, i lose it. trust me, when you’re holding a kettle ball or a barbell with heavy weights or you’re in a handstand holding your own body weight, it’s not the time to lose focus, form, or technique.

but it’s difficult holding such strict concentration when also struggling to lift heavy things and count reps and listen to the coach and decide if you can do more and compare your progress to those around you and you’re still lifting and it’s still heavy and am i almost done and wait, how was my form on that one.

it’s exhausting. it’s exciting. it’s difficult.

just because i know i’m a slow learner doesn’t make it any easier to accept that fact, especially when you add in my perfectionism and my competitive nature… SO instead of thinking about the ways and pace at which i learn, i should probably start trying to figure out tricks to get my brain into gear faster because this is incredible, is it not?

any tips or hints? are you a slow or fast learner? visual or auditory? does practice make perfect? how do i practice without a barbell at home? should i drop and give you twenty?

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2 Responses to “slow learner”

  1. lindagrimes Says:

    Wow, that picture is impressive!

    Me? I’m an auditory learner–things I hear stick in my head better than things I just see.

    As for you being a slow learner … well, it’s just another style, isn’t it? It takes me a while to fully absorb and apply new concepts, too. I like to fully digest new things before I commit to them. :)

    • abby mumford Says:

      The ways in which people learn is so fascinating to me. The mind is a wondrous creature.

      And so is the body.

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