As the month of January came to a close and the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay drew closer my stress level shot through the roof. Like a crazed animal I tried on clothes to find the perfect combination and freaked out when nothing seemed to work. Add to the mix was the efforts to dress like a team for the actual race. As the week flew by and my sanity dwindled my husband asked me “Who are you trying to impress?” This simple, direct question hit me like a ton of bricks. Who was I trying to impress? I was heading to an event that I been looking forward to for close to a year. An event where I would be surrounded by the most supportive, wonderful women I have ever met. So why was a melting into a pool of insecurity? I was a disaster and spiraling into a though pattern that was pushing me towards the bad habits I have fought so hard to recover from over the years. But, why???
Its been awhile since I’ve sat down to unload the ramblings in my head. I have, and suspect that many others do too, a script that runs internally and hyper-focuses on my faults, fears, and insecurities…you know all those things I wish I could bury or at least ignore. Crazy as it is, we are often our own worst critic and are far crueler in how we speak to ourselves than others. The fact of the matter is I would NEVER say to someone else what I am willing to stay to myself. Truth be told I’m willing to justify and beat myself up yet would be horrified if someone else was doing that to themselves. Not cool! Not cool at all.
Who was I trying to impress and stressing myself out for? Why did I care what I looked like at the Icebreaker? It wasn’t about being “sexy” to turn the heads of others at all. Honestly running is not a sport one can look good at while doing. We get ugly and messy, not an attractive experience at all. At the core of my uncertainty was my fear of being judged by my friends. I know, silly and beyond stupid but it is the truth. I was worried about what they would think and how I would be judged. The opinions of women, whether they are people who care about me or not, matter to me and cause me to go to those places in my brain that I try to avoid.
Frankly, women can be really mean to each other. Those scares run deep and last. The thought of meeting up excited me at 1st, but in the weeks leading up to the relay I reverted back to being a middle school girl full of doubt. I was worried about impressing my team and worried that they would judge me for gaining weight and slowing in my race pace. I pride myself on being a logical, grounded individual…not exactly what is coming across in the days leading up to Icebreaker. The thoughts I was having make me so MAD! I know better.
My Oiselle ladies are amazing and the only one who cares that I am slow and carrying around a few extra pounds was me. Yet, I was willing to bail and wanted to so badly. I wanted so badly to have a reason I could not go. My excitement turned to fear and shame. I crashed into a terrible eating pattern to try and drop those extra pounds and ordered a new skirt to hide. Again, these women are nothing but wonderful – I was doing this to myself…I’m my own worst enemy!
“When you know better you can do better.” No more hiding from the conversations in my head. Undoing this thought process that is sabotaging me is the only way to change. Damn it, this sucks and is awesome all in the same breath. I know that when I shine a light on my demons they have less power over me. So I’m calling myself out…I’m afraid of being judged and feel the most insecure around women. The reality of the situation is I am a major culprit in this insane dynamic, but lets also take a minute to recognize that historically we as women can be vicious towards each other. We could be kinder to and more supportive of each other. When that happens me have a fighting chance to change the script in our head that is destructive. We start with the evil thoughts in our own heads, but too often the individuals around us confirm in some way what our fears are. We tear at each other and add to the problem versus work towards a solution. We are already mean enough to ourselves lets not pile on each other and be mean to each other. I know that this is not an easy task, I’m a high school teacher, I see girls that are awful to each other on a daily basis. My hope is to change the way that I act and put good into the world not only for others but myself. If we speak up and stand by each other there is a chance to be kinder to ourselves and heal some of the scars we have gathered along our journey up to this point. It will start with ME and someday I really do hope that I can show up to events like the Icebreaker and not worry about impressing anyone, just have a kick ass fun time filled with laughter and pure EPICNESS!!!