Like many adults, I have a problem with consistency. I get excited about certain things in my life, and then when I get closer to a certain date or deadline I choke or drop out. This happened to me recently with a half marathon that I was training for. However, not only has my consistency lead me to drop important things in my life but has to lead me down some paths where I have learned to not like my actions or decisions.
Last Septemeber I ran my first half-marathon. The end of school and entire summer, I worked pretty hard to get myself to where I wanted to be. It was hard, but it was exactly what I needed at the time. I was coming up on my year of being diagnosed with fibro, and I wanted to do something to show that I was more than my disease. So, I trained and I ran. I was slow as hell, but I did it. I realized that I liked running. Running made me happy, it relaxed me, and I always felt more focused. But, after the half–my body did not want to do anything active for a long time.
I was going to the gym, but I felt that I needed some sort of push to make me want to do more. I would do yoga, but for some reason, I never thought that this was enough. I felt that in order to make changes in my body (which never came) or really feel like I was working out, I needed to completely exhaust my body.
So, I signed up for another half-marathon in March. At the time I felt that I needed a program to keep me going. So, I started training and since it was winter, I was inside a lot of time on the treadmill. I had a hard time focusing, and thought it was just because of a stationary. I still felt great, but I was also getting bored. The nicer it got, the more I went outside. I would run, but I always was annoyed that I wasn’t doing better or that I was too slow, it was becoming really toxic for me.
Then, I got a sinus infection–the blessing in disguise. I was so physically weak from being sick, and I also wasn’t allowed to take antibiotics until a week after I went to the doctor, which forced me to sit out for an entire week. After getting back to work, I wasn’t patient with myself. I was annoyed that I was slow, I was annoyed that I couldn’t improve, I was pushing myself too far.
See, with me and my fibro, I am not sure that my day is going to be like anymore. The weeks are hard to work out because my energy levels decline, and my pain gets a little worse. Half of the week I am struggling to keep my eyes open driving home, let alone run five miles. Usually, I was able to push through it and often felt better after the workouts. But, I think I was pushing myself too far, too fast. Six days a week to work out physically was taking its toll.
One Sunday I was running, and I was having such a hard time getting into it. I was supposed to go seven miles, but halfway through…I just hit a wall. I called my mother and told her about the anxiety that I felt with running. I started to cry–what at first was causing me good health and happiness, had started to do the exact opposite. When I told her, I felt like my soul has been unburdened, I relaxed.
However, I also felt this overwhelming sense of, “Here’s another thing that I don’t follow through with again.” I started beating myself up immediately for not seeing my training until the end and feeling like a failure to myself. The self-doubt was setting in, but I had to learn to combat it.
Following through with things has always been a problem for me–making promises, but not always keeping them. It’s like a tell someone what they want to hear, in order to just to have them leave me be. I am so quick to just get someone an answer, or do something…but not actually think if this is something that I want to do. And, I know where it stems from. It goes back to a complex that I have created for myself. I am afraid and I have anxiety about letting people down–I want to be a person that can be relied upon and trusted. However, I create these situations where I agree to something that I never wanted to do in the first place (or…agree to something that I didn’t realize or was never told it was a huge commitment) and then end up having to back out.
I think of so many times that this has happened to me, and have felt back every single time that I have done it. But, I notice that when I am fighting with myself during these decisions–I am always looking for approval and justifying why I should or shouldn’t do something. I don’t have confidence in actions or in my decisions. I rely on people to tell me what and when I should do things, and I am always constantly worried about disappointing people.
However, there is something that all of these things have in common–I am only thinking about myself. In my life, many people have told me, consistently, how selfless I am. And, I think that’s a great compliment–but, at some point in my life, I have turned into a martyr. Or, at least I think that I am. While I volunteer my time and energy for things, I complain about what is being asked of me–depending on the situation. Or, if there is something going on, I usually am quite judgmental and think about how I would have handled the situation. In my actions of selflessness, my intentions and attitudes are at time selfish.
It’s like that meme out there, “Washes one dish in the sink: I am the backbone of this family.” I laugh because I think that. Seriously, I clean up the kitchen once for my family, and I am criticizing the little that my middle brother does. What the hell is that? All of these thoughts of self-absorbing and worrying about what other people think of me is actually a perception of what I think of myself. I have been riding on a high horse for a while now, thinking that I am above reproach–and when I do something completely normal or mess up somehow, I am worried that people are going to criticize me or come up with reasons that they shouldn’t.
I have been thinking about this since I went to a Penance service last week before Holy Week. I was sitting in confession, talking to my priest, and I told him how angry was becoming with the people around me. I have been judging them and had selfish reasons for things that are not typical of me. I have been showing it off and telling people how selfless I am so I can avoid criticism.
But, where has that gotten me? I am exhausted. I am tired because I am trying to maintain a life that completely exhausts me…I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I just need to stay in my lane, and focus on the things that matter the most. And, for once a for all, eliminate the things in my life that don’t add anything. I need to not be afraid to say no, I need to have the courage to walk away from places or relationships that are not serving me or helping me a better person. And, I need to not focus on what people think of me and just do my damn thing.
Because the day is too short to be spending hour after hour being miserable and doing something that you hate.