“We are the heroes of our time but we’re dancing with the demons in our minds.” from ‘Heroes’ performed by Måns Zelmerlöw
I am the meanest person I know. Don’t believe me? Well you should.
Here are some of the things that have come out of my mouth in the past week:
You’re a fraud.
Who do you think you are anyway?
You’ll never do it.
Why are you even trying?
Like I said; I am the meanest person I know. Because these are all things I’ve said to myself since last Saturday. I’ve had a whole week of raining down insult after insult on myself and I’m exhausted.
I’ve been fighting it though, because I know these thoughts are untrue and unkind. I know I’m better than that.
Of course I don’t suck.
I’m not a fraud either.
I’m not disgusting.
Actually, I AM somebody.
Yes, I freakin’ WILL do it!
Because I bloody well can.
What brought this on though? What happened to my confidence and joy? Where did my positivity disappear to?
Well I had something of a setback on Saturday, although I’m the only one who would call it that. It certainly put a dent into my confidence though, and then on Sunday something else happened that threw me into a downward spiral of self-hatred and disgust. It was easy to do. It has, unfortunately, been the habit of a lifetime to beat myself up.
But, as I said in my last post about choosing which voice to listen to, I have recently learned that my ‘natural’ state of being hard on myself, of hating myself is wrong. It’s not natural and it certainly isn’t healthy. Which is why I struggle so hard to shut that voice up. I don’t like that voice. I don’t like what it does to me. I want to be healthy in body AND mind. I have to admit though, the mental battle is exhausting. I feel like I’m Atreyu trying to pull Artax out of the Swamp of Sadness. (Here’s the scene, if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Sometimes I win, sometimes the swamp wins. This time I’m relieved to say I’m slowly winning.
What does this have to do with running? Everything. It’s running that gives me confidence and joy in the first place, and this past week my running took a nosedive because of my demons. I have a 10k race tomorrow and I’m not feeling prepared for it, not feeling confident about it and not even really feeling excited about it. That makes me sad because it’s a big milestone for me and I’ve been hoping I wouldn’t just beat my time from last year but that I would utterly smash it. I’ve spent the past week trying to shut the voices up that are telling me I can’t do it. That I should be ashamed to even try. These voices don’t hold their punches, that’s for sure!
This past week, as I’ve battled these voices, I reminded myself how grateful I am that I can run in the first place. I remembered my first ever run and how I could barely last 100 meters before I had to stop and walk. I am reminding myself just how far I’ve come and how my will power, discipline and determination has carried me to this point. I recall the sheer amazement I feel when I finish a run; that my own two legs could cover such distances and take me so far. I look back over my races and remember the excitement of each one, the lessons I learned and the sense of achievement I felt when I crossed the finish line. I look at my medals and know that I earned them and how proud I am of them.
I recall a time when I said I run for the confidence it gives me, because it’s an achievement I can’t negate or brush off.
I remember that I’m not in this alone. I may go for my training runs alone, but I’m not running alone. I have friends, family, colleagues and other runners who encourage and support me. I have a brilliant trainer and a wonderful coach who are both understanding and positive people. If it weren’t for all these people I doubt I would be the runner I am today.
And I AM a runner. I’d forgotten that in the midst of all the demons I’ve been dancing with. But they can go sod off because I’m done dancing. I’m done entertaining them.
I have a race to run tomorrow, a PB to chase and a wonderful charity to support in The Dublin Simon Community. It’s going to be a fantastic day!
It’s time for me to stop dancing and get back running!