“Life on planet Earth is a gift. And you only get it for as long as you get it.
Then the magic gets blown up.”
There came a point in my life where, in general I didn’t care how I looked.
I didn’t care how bad my acne was, or if my clothes didn’t really match, or even if I didn’t wear make-up. I simply decided not to give attention to what others thought. I didn’t do it because I was impervious to the opinions of others, but because I wasn’t. It hurt to think of how my peers might view me. I was the girl who wore a hood during class for two years so people wouldn’t have to look at my face. Or rather so I could fool myself into thinking they couldn’t, and in turn shelter myself from the barrage of things they may or may not be thinking. Of course, I realize now that it was no more than me projecting my own fears through them, but when you’re eleven you’re just not thinking that way.
The combination of eating junk and life being full of friend and family troubles generated a lot of stress. Not to mention puberty and all its awkward glory. It was a long road, but isn’t it for us all?
That said, overcoming that fear of judgement was a serious hurdle, and it would set a tone for the following years of my life.
I hit another turning point a few years later. I began to care about my body. Again, it wasn’t so much that I cared what people thought (although that would creep in from time to time), but rather about what I was physically capable of doing. Along with my previous discovery I knew that any changes I made, they would be for me. Not to please someone else. Not on someone else’s agenda. For the first time, it mattered to me that I couldn’t run a mile, or do a pull up, or a sit up for that matter. I felt like so much wasted potential.
So tentatively, I began to go to the gym – a place I still frequently avoid – where I eventually realized that I liked running. I would run/walk for a few days, fall off the bandwagon for a couple of months, then start the vicious cycle all over again.
A few years more and I had a wonderfully mad idea.
A half marathon.
Nothing but the pounding of pavement under my shoes, screaming muscles, and the freedom of motion.
And the sucking wind, not being able to walk, and the blistered feet. Yeah, those are apart of that glorious run too.
During my training I realized a final, key thing. Something that crept its way into my subconscious understanding from the day I decided not to care what people thought.
The only difference between thinking “I can’t” and “I will” is perspective.
It was so shockingly simple. Laughable even.
However, you will find far more people ready and willing to train their bodies over their minds.Change is funny in that it is what it is. If you dangle a series of before-and-after pictures in front of a person to buy this-or-that exercise equipment, they spring on it like a duck on a june bug.
On the other hand, mention changing the way you think and you will most likely be met with immediate resistance. More like a donkey stubbornly digging its heels into the dirt.
Change is scary. Change is hard. Change can hurt. Before-and-after pictures don’t show you that. Nothing can prepare you for it, except to do it yourself. However, you can get better at it. Just as with most other things.
It’s a discovery.
Mine came when I trained for those 13.1 miles. I realized I was far more capable than I had ever dreamed. After years of saying I wasn’t athletic enough for this or that, and thinking that my sister had inherited all those genes, I was confidently running five or six miles. Something that if I tried today would have me on the ground sucking wind. The difference between then and now is that I know I can.
Not only, that I can. I will, again. One mile at a time.
Until next time!