-Sometimes the start is the hard part. I always find myself feeling judged when I start something new…but typically I am the one holding the gavel! If you had to start something for yourself today that you have always wanted to but you think is silly or unattainable what would you start?
As you start things in life, especially if they are for yourself or your personal gain it’s so easy to talk yourself out of it. I always wonder if I have eaten a very small negative woman as I gained this weight. I hear her voice echo so often throughout every ounce of my body. She often says “what makes you think things will be different now?”, “You really think this is going to work?”, “Would you look at yourself, you can’t do that!”. I have let her win so many of my inner arguments because despite knowing that she is misinformed and knowing my spirit is stronger than that, I am just tired when it comes to proving her wrong just for my benefit. She can’t tell me anything about my husband, my kids, my family, my students or my friends without me sending her blessings as I pray her away and speak positivity over every situation that comes our way. But as soon as I attempt doing something for myself it seems as if this fake voice becomes amplified and I am suddenly comfortably submissive.
She’s really the best manipulator I have ever known. She even turns triumphs into question if you don’t keep her in check. Weighing over 300lbs I signed up for the Disney Half Marathon, almost on a whim. A few close friends were going down for a marathon and I thought “I want to run”. I was actually working on a project at the time for weight loss with a reality show and working with two trainers. One of the trainers felt very strongly about me not training at all for the run because of risk of injury. So I never ran prior to getting to the start line that morning. It seems ridiculous to even say that right? All of my training for the run was walking with my kids in a double stroller and visualization. I got to that start line that morning and couldn’t help but feel intimidated. I very vividly remember thinking that Nike wouldn’t make running pants in my size if people my size could not in fact run! I had no faith in my competitive nature or natural athletic ability; I was very in the natural that morning. If the pants fit I must be a runner!
I ran for five miles without ever breaking stride. When I got to mile marker five I felt like I really needed water so I sort of tiptoe ran through a water station (talk about something you need to practice, the first cup landed all over my chest, I slowed down and became a little more purposeful with cup number two). I remember thinking that I needed to just keep moving forward. I didn’t care if I was the last one to cross the finish line; I just wanted to cross it. So move I did. But around mile marker seven I saw the women with the balloons. They were the people I needed to keep up with if I wanted to keep running, if they got out of Magic Kingdom before me that meant I could no longer run.
I watched them pass me and I felt so crushed. In crept that voice “Ha, I told you so!”; I wanted to lay down and cry. I kept moving though because I thought I had a chance that maybe they would let me go past the check point if I looked like I was still going for it. Well I crossed mile marker eight and there were buses and vans waiting for us to get on so they could drive us to the end. It was the only time in my life I didn’t want a ride and here it was flashing at me while security blocked the road forcing me to get on. I was so sad. My husband, who ran by my side the entire time, kept saying that he couldn’t believe I ran five miles without stopping for anything. I believed him that it was a great accomplishment, so on the outside I was faux proud of myself. On the inside that voice was killing all my half attempts at finding joy. When we got back to the hotel I showered and cried myself to sleep, woke up and cried again because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I am not sure who I wasn’t good enough for; I was the only one who suggested that I run in the first place.
In hindsight, who the F starts their relationship with running by attempting a half marathon anyway? The truth is that voice was wrong. She was quiet for the whole race until I was convinced I wasn’t going to be allowed to finish. Up until that point she was scared and intimidated. I was proving her wrong with every step I took that day. She easily flipped the script and fed off of the steps I didn’t take and used them to chip away at my joy.
Sadly I have never run any measurable distance that day. I really just gave up and tucked that experience away as a loss. It’s been 6 years which seems like an incredible amount of time to have passed. I have learned to harness my thoughts and command them to the positive. I have also learned that it’s really okay to pray for myself and ask for things that I have no reason in the natural to believe that I can achieve. When I look back now think of all the steps I took! I haven’t met too many people my size that know without a doubt that they can run five miles without hesitation. I know I can. I am lacing up my sneakers again with purpose and learning that every step I take is a meaningful one.
What are you going to start doing for yourself to silence that voice today?