After tonight’s run, lovelies, I had to scribble down in my notebook all of the things which occurred today and which might be pertinent to the furthering of my (and your?) understanding of The Wakefield Doctrine.
Buuuut because my ‘notebook’ is really my brain, and I rarely do ‘scribbling’, I thought I’d skip the step with paper and ink and head straight for the pixels.
(Before I begin, let me provide a quick re-cap of those tricksy Doctrine personalities and what they stand for:
scott – the predator, the dazzler, the loud-and-lairy, energetic one. Will be funny or sexy but ALWAYS the life of the party. Acts first, (maybe) thinks later.
Likes – other scotts, as long as they know where they stand in the pecking order. Also known to like clarks, as long as they don’t get too cerebral.
Dislikes – rogers. Not so much ‘dislikes’ as ‘eats for breakfast’
roger – the precise, the group member, the one with all the referential authority and desire to fit in. The one in touch with their emotions and most understanding of the emotional state of those around them.
Likes – other rogers. As long as they behave well and fit in.
Dislikes – predator scotts and weird, round-peg-in-a-square-hole clarks
clark – the outsider, the thinker, the one who wants to be in the middle of things but is usually crippled by self-doubt. The one who can come up with a brilliantly devious plan on short notice, and has the balls to carry it out.
Likes – scotts, as long as they don’t overstep the mark. Rogers…from a distance.
Dislikes – no-one, in principle, but often wrongfooted by rogers.
now that’s out the way)
So this bib of mine. The running one, which certified me as a member of the herd and truly one who ‘belongs’ (see ‘All you need is a good bra and a decent pair of shoes‘ if you missed it)
It gave me fresh insight tonight, as I ran to the running meet (I missed a run on Monday and in true overachiever style, wanted to make up for lost time) wearing said bib and feeling like a complete plonker in my neon yellow and reflective stripes.
But as I ran through the (relatively) crowded city centre, I realised something. No-one was giving me a second glance. I wasn’t some chunky lady desperately trying to overcome her weight issues by having a bit of a jog around in the dark…I was a runner. With Running Gear. And clearly, if I had Running Gear on, I must be a Pretty Serious Runner. (I hasten to add – this perspective was totally gleaned from being completely ignored by all passers-by, and my own extrapolations – these observations are totally unsubstantiated, but because I’m a clark, and it suits me, I shall proceed as if I were right, ‘kay?)
So then, my perspective changed as I shifted my paradigm from ‘lonely jogger’ to ‘evident running group member’ and I stopped minding about jogging (and huffing and puffing and sweating) in public. Because that’s What Runners Do. And it was fine.
[You see how the Wakefield Doctrine has its uses as a tool, right?]
And so, even though I arrived at the meet a little late, out of breath and looking like I’d already run several miles (I had), I stood and made some small talk, and in spite of being alone in the group, I was also together in the group, because of the Bib of Belonging. We were all neon together.
And yet, sufficient of the clark-aspect was shining through to ensure that I felt compelled to heed the suggestion given last time by one of the leading roger-runners “You’re too fast for the slow group. Fast group for you, next time.”
I didn’t want to let her down. In spite of a lack of confidence in my own abilities, and a deep concern that I’d end up making a fool of myself, I wanted to prove myself to the lady and earn her…what? Her respect? Her admiration? Her endorsement? The silly thing was, she wasn’t even there tonight!
Regardless, I hesitantly signed up to be in the fast group (who were running a couple of extra miles in the same hour as the slow group) and off we set. I got myself next to the leader and ‘locked on’. I kept pace, knowing that I was probably annoying the heck out of all the other rogers in the fast group, for being such an upstart and presuming that I could immediately take position at the front of the pack. Certainly none of the younger rogers talked to me (though one of the older ones did – I guess time and experience affords rogers more compassion than outrage in these scenarios), but nor did I talk to them. My target, the leader, was good to chat to, and that was good enough for me.
There was little chance to chat, though, for the running was SO much harder, that none of us had any breath left for words. The pavements were well and truly pounded to the tune of 5-and-some miles in 55 minutes. And all the time, an encounter from the time before kept running through my mind:
Roger Leader: How did you find it?
Me: Well, I think I found my limits!
Roger Leader: No…you’re still standing, aren’t you?
So this time as I ran, her voice was on replay –
Breathing ragged, sweat in eyes, knees aching and thighs on fire – “You’re still standing, aren’t you?”
Feet hurting, blisters forming, hair a complete mess – “You’re still standing, aren’t you?”
Calf muscles spasming, heart pounding, head ready to explode – “You’re still standing, aren’t you?”
And at the end of the run, having kept up with the leader for the ENTIRE TIME, I lost the will in the last half mile and got passed by every other person in the damn group. Which was probably as well, for it will have cemented that I’m Not That Good Yet, and therefore Not A Challenge Or A Threat, which might help them suffer my presence more cheerfully another time.
And at the end of it all, I was Still Standing. And the rogers all congratulated me.
And it felt really good. For a clark, the endorsement of rogers can be far more meaningful than that of scotts, because by their very nature, a roger will never individually accept anyone – there has to be a group consensus.
And when it happens, it’s AWESOME, because, as an outsider, the thing I want so much, so often, is to be in, whether that be included, invited, involved…
And tonight, thanks to that Bib, I was.