Thursday, August 17, 2006

the Many Faces of Double-barreled Athena

In which I write about my split personality.

Actually there is no such thing - the proper diagnosis is dissociative identity disorder. In any case, I find that these days there are any number of personalities I may exhibit, depending on the circumstances. If you're an expert in this area, I will tell you that these aren't in any DSM-IVr, but I insist that they exist due to evidence that supports their existance (see Scientific Athena, below). Besides, I say so. (See Mrs. Athena, may I? below) I just try to balance them so that no one aggravating side of me takes over.
Sweet Baboo is ever so patient with all of it; perhaps, as a mental-health professional, he finds it challenging and interesting because he doesn't really have to fix it. He can just study me like a funny little monkey that he's stumbled upon in some field somewhere.

What follows is a field guide to those personalities:

Gung-ho Athena
Very competitive. She obsessively spreadsheets her arch-rival's stats, analyzing the possibilities, crunching the numbers. She whispers things to Myles, like, "Look, she's wiping her nose. Bet she's got a cold - I can beat her!" or, "Her form is all wrong!" She obsessively reads Runner's World, and HerSports, hoping that somehow reading about running will pick up where training left off. She spends a great deal of time planning her training, and sometimes even does some training, too, before reverting to Whiney Athena. Gung-ho Athena loves how she feels right after the race, when she's savoring the feeling of completion and triumph.

Athena in Denial
This version completely negates the necessity of training or how competitive she really is, by saying things like, "I don't want to wear out my legs before the race next week," or, "I don't care how fast I am, it's finishing that counts". Or, "It doesn't matter how fast I am, I just want to enjoy myself." Then, when she doesn't place, she says things, like "Well, she's younger than I am," or, "She's been doing this longer, and she's naturally Athletic," or the oft-used, " This Athena loves people who agree with her don't try to snap her into reality.

Mrs. Athena, May I?
This is the teacher in me. She tells everyone what they should be doing. She's Miss Bossy. She has a hard time turning it off when she leaves the classroom, and when she knows she's right, why should she? She corrects other people's behavior, tells them that they are driving the wrong way down the row in the parking lot, and that they Can't Smoke Here. She even tells other people's children to behave. IN public. With the parents standing there. Sweet Baboo worries constantly that someone is going to haul off and deck her. Mrs. Athena loves well-behaved children and most importantly of all, well-behaved adults.

Southern Belle Athena
Sometimes confused with Whiney Double-Barreled. She fusses over the freckles, feeling sticky, sweat, and - ew - the smell of triathletes fresh from the field. She gets excited by really waterproof mascara and the 4% cream her doctor just gave her to bleach those damned brown spots on her face. She'll blow training because her head hurts, she can't find the sunscreen, or she just mixed a pitcher of margaritas and they're better if drunk while still fresh, y'all. Southern Belle Athena loves cute running skirts, and she hates most sports photographers, because they make her look fat. She also wishes running shoes were cuter for a size 8.5 foot.

Scientific Athena
This one is mistaken for Gung-ho Athena. She obsessively spreadsheets, but she also fixes people with a stare and says things like, "there's no evidence to suggest that is remotely a viable solution to this problem." She sneers at most sci-fi, saying things like, "that would never happen." She snorts at alternative remedies, saying things like, "show me the data."
She's kind of an amalgam between Mrs. Athena and Gung-ho Athena. She studies current research on sports nutrition. She loves CSI (the show) and sudoku.

Whiney Athena
Whiney frets over every little itch and twinge. Her butt hurts. Her feet feel numb. She's tired. She didn't get her 9.5 hours of sleep. Whiney doesn't push through the pain, or feel the burn. The burn hurts, and she's all about comfort. She likes her run temp on a slightly breezy, overcast day, with the temp between 55 and 65 F., she likes her bike windless with nothing more than a grade 3 hill on an overcast day with the temperature between 65 and 70 F., (and both of these with humidity between 25 and 50%) and she likes her swim open-water on sunny days with the water temp between 70 and 75. She wants all those conditions in every triathlon; that's not too much to ask, is it?
Whiney Athena loves lying on the hammocks in the shade, with the humidity around 20% and the temperature at 72 degrees F.

Whiney Athena scares me. Sometimes I think she's taking over.


  1. HEY! I just noticed that Redman is only 35 days away!!!!

    Are you ready?? 8)

  2. Don't remind me. I've got two weeks until I start tapering. Yikes!

  3. Too funny!

    And I am in the same teaching boat you are in. I teach ED/BD students and i have no right to complain. I work from 7:45 to 2:45. I teach reading, so I have pull outs and push ins. it's a beautiful job and it allows me to train (when I'm not haveing a lazy pity party)

  4. What those psychologists arguing about MPD and DID missed, is that thinking of oneself as multiple is a really useful way to make whatever issues one needs to deal with more manageable.


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I'm sitting here, looking out the window.  I did 3 miles this morning.  Big whoop.  After recovering from CDiff last month, I got a cold...