Yesterday, I ran a marathon. Not just any marathon–a trail marathon along the north shore with an 11,000 foot net elevation change and a relatively high potential for falling off a cliff (or at least a REALLY big hill). Yesterday, I ran my heart out. I felt strong and confident. I ran with a hand so swollen I couldn’t grip a cup at the aid station. I ran with physical grace as I bounded through the woods like a freaking deer (though that may have been just in my head) and spiritual grace as I checked my ego when I fell (all five times) and when I got passed by a 9 year old and a 90 year old. I pushed myself harder and further than I ever have with the possible exception of childbirth. I ran with joy and a smile and a humility I’ve never encountered. I am not one to use the term blessed lightly so believe me when I say I ran blessed and felt it in every step. Blessed to be in a body that gave me the freedom to run something so wild and beautiful. Blessed to be supported by family and friends who love me and give me the space to train for these races. Blessed to be alive and to just be me.
Yesterday, I was my own best friend. I was proud of myself, patient with myself and most importantly I was kind to myself.
Then today came around and all I feel is fat. In the span of less than 24 hours I went from being my own best friend to being the meanest of mean girls to myself. Where yesterday I saw power and strength today I see flab and bumps. Where I once saw the success of a badass runner I now see the failure of an additional 10 lbs. I wish I could blame the emotional whiplash on the runners high and subsequent crash but that’s sadly not it. Let me tell you what it is.
It’s fear. Pure, simple fear.
Mean, hypercritical, impossible me comes out when she is the most scared. And judging by the volume of her voice, she is terrified. Mean me is terrified because tomorrow I am a free woman, ready to take on the hard work of figuring out exactly who she is. She knows that she’s been doing the work all along but tomorrow it becomes real. Tomorrow there is no marathon to obsess over, no daily work grind to define me in a way I never wanted. Tomorrow there is no excuse not to write, not to put myself out there…not to fail miserably.
But fat? Fat is easy. Fat is known. Fat is comfortable… a soft place to land (pardon the pun). Fat is the story fear tells and I know exactly how it ends. I’ve lived it time and time again. It’s a story I reject this time around but my brain hasn’t 100% caught up and still finds itself ensnared in the lure of fat/diet safety.
Fear is a liar and I’m calling it out. I don’t know exactly how I’ll push through but I will. I have to because that mean girl living in utter terror of her own power is my past. I can give her a mental hug and tell her I know why she is the way she is…fear makes us do stupid things. I can forgive her and even thank her someday for teaching me some valuable (if painful) lessons. But that B needs to stay in the past because she can no longer be the main character in my future story.
One thought on “The Story my Fear Tells”
This is an incredible piece. Honestly, I think most people go their whole lives without understanding what you’ve just articulated here. It’s so much easier to focus on these outside things, things that we can manipulate in short periods of time and go back and forth with. Sounds like you are in position to fight through your fear and take on what you really need/want to face. Good luck on your journey!!