That feeling of reaching a summit, when those last few hundred feet of vertical struggle is over, there is a feeling of relief, humility, awe, gratitude, achievement – but it is brief, and after a few minutes, it’s time to turn around and go back the way you came. It’s not that the view gets old or that you don’t want to savor the moment, but the goal has been achieved and no matter where you sit, some pointy rock edge is jamming you in the ass – it gets cold and windy and chances are a storm will roll in before too long. Before the journey down the mountain is even over, you find yourself already craving another and reminiscing about the journey up, almost wishing you were still headed in that direction.
It’s no secret. I’ve been flailing.
Anyone close to me lately has seen the signs that I lost my way. I can’t stop thinking about my last blog post – although it contains many complete sentences, it feels completely incoherent. I’m leaving it up to demonstrate that sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the right and positive things, to demonstrate my humanity. The funny thing is, that post took me forever to write and edit and write again, while this one is just flowing out of me. A sign that I’m on the right path.
This is the natural course of these big lessons in resistance. As the pace of change has quickened in my life, I have been resisting instead of remaining open and vulnerable. As a result, I’ve experienced a lot of darkness, confusion, grasping for control, the going down of rabbit holes and general overall emotional flailing. While my unconscious has been busy processing all the disruption in my life, my ego went hog wild, partying and breaking valuables. It’s not all that surprising, but while I was in it, I just knew I was miserable and couldn’t figure out how to get out of it. That’s when I remembered. I have a say in the matter.
When I was in high school, I was attracted to guys who were interested in having deep conversations about philosophy or economics or anything I was curious about, which was everything. The first and last to break me was one of those. He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known and a true original thinker. I met him when I was his math tutor. He was crazy smart but didn’t care about proving it. He introduced me to the author Douglas Coupland and more specifically the book Life After God. I read it at least three times, reveling in the fact that someone could articulate with such sarcastic wit, the existential curiosity that lived within me.
How does a girl who grew up constantly being told “you’re so smart, you’re so pretty, you’re going to go so far in life” spend so many years feeling worthless, only to level-up to imposter syndrome once she gets older? I figured it out yesterday while slow-jögging up Green-Bear, as there is magic that happens when I move my feet in the dirt. Self-worth, for those of us not innately blessed with it, has to be and more importantly, can beearned. While I appreciate the external validation from the well-intentioned adults, it focused on celebrating qualities that were completely out of my control and did nothing to help me develop a sense of value or grow as a person. What I needed was to be taught a growth mindset.
I “used to” have this superstition that if I acknowledged an area of my life that was going well or that I was excited about something, I would jinx it and it would all fall apart. I think I still feel that way to a degree. I keep the things that excite me to myself, especially when they are still delicately taking shape.
I never really considered giving advice on running trails because I consider myself to be very much a beginner. I still have so much to learn. I get DMs fairly often asking about gear and how to get into trail running, but recently someone reached out to me on Instagram, my favorite, favorite community building platform, to ask me for tips on getting into running trails to cope with a difficult life experience. I know a lot about that! I started reflecting on my journey and would like to offer some recommendations based on what I would do differently and what I got right – but mostly on what I do now after getting it wrong. It’s not that tactical, but I promise you, it’s just as important. You’ll figure out the tactical stuff as you go along.
Nobody wants to deal with any of these, but if you’re a human adult, you’ve certainly encountered all of these things and probably taken them a bit too personally a time or two. If you’re me, you have become intimately familiar with each one of them, like a trio of sister-wives.
The One Where She Ran
If you read my inaugural post, you may remember that I confessed to being too intimidated to join any of the RMR runs because it’s a large group of fast and furious runners that are much stronger and fitter than me. I promised that for every comment anyone made committing themselves to doing something they were afraid of, I would join one RMR run this year. Well, this week I attended the first one facing that all too familiar fear of “I’m not good enough”.
I’ve had a cold all week, where every day has felt worse than the last. I’ve been able to keep in good spirits, or at least make jokes, rather than focusing on my suffering. I’ve been spreading this li’l gem far and wide, as it pretty much sums up the last three days of my life.
Congratulations if you made it past that. And sorry, humans are gross.
I choose to be happy!
What does that even mean? It means reducing behaviors and triggers for negative thought patterns that make me a miserable, angsty, shoegazer. It means having fun and surrounding myself with people who make me laugh. It means radical honesty, saying no, discipline, music, and saying yes a lot more often. It means giving fewer fucks and doing what feels good instead of what looks good. It means dancing to Sia at the gym even if I look like a total douche because it feels so good to do things that make me feel healthy and strong, particularly when accompanied by sweet jams. It means making myself a priority. It means having attitude. It means knowing how to avoid falling prey to self-doubt. Most importantly, it means not wasting another minute feeling less-than, unworthy, or insecure.