Personal development; it’s the reason I went back to school. It’s the reason I tend to overanalyze things I do or say, and it’s my motivator during this transitional period in my life. For three years I felt like I was living in limbo. Everything always seemed to be up in the air. Fate, life events, a catastrophic alignment of the stars, whatever the force was, it simply didn’t want me to be able to get comfortable or feel secure. Because I’ve got this optimistic brain, I look back on the last three years and I see the happy times. I see what I did right and how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve become a good mother, a reliable provider, and someone who knows her own value. So when I look back, I have to believe that there was a reason I wasn’t allowed to grow comfortable and settled.
To put it quite simply, I wasn’t done “growing up”. I can admit to myself now that it’s going to be a lifelong process, this “growing up” business. I’m the type of person who wants to put down roots and be settled. But that also means that I have a tendency to stagnate and give up a large portion of my personality. Just because I want to put down roots, doesn’t mean that’s a natural desire for me. My inherent desire to explore and create, to jump without looking and dance in the rain have been overridden by the events in my life that have caused a deep desire for stability. And they’ve been at war with each other for years.
I’m slowly learning how to appease them both; my sense of adventure as well as my need for security and stability. Part of it was learning that I really, truly can rely on myself. The other part, the harder part, is learning that I can rely on others when needed. I don’t have to do everything myself. I can trust others to handle some things so that I can have time for myself. I’m still in the baby steps phase of that but I think I’m progressing well.
I no longer feel guilty for going to bed at 9pm, or going to the gym and putting my son in the daycare room, or asking someone to babysit him so I can go out. It’s getting easier to ask for help. The amazing part is how much better I feel about myself now. It’s not about looks or my physical appearance. It’s a happiness with me that comes from deep inside. It started about a year ago and it’s really bloomed the last two months or so. I feel like I can conquer the world. I can make a decision to do something and just do it, without worrying over every little detail. I can dance without feeling like someone is judging me. I can look at the world, and people in it, without superficial judgment.
I went to the gym yesterday in a form fitting workout tank and capris – an outfit I never would have worn without a jacket of some sort for fear that people would judge my fat arms, post-pregnancy belly, or jiggly backside. Even two years ago before I put on weight, I wouldn’t have gone out in public in that outfit. I wouldn’t have cared that I completed 5.2 miles on the elliptical in 56 minutes. I would have worried about who was watching me while I was doing it. I wouldn’t have stopped to pick up dinner where I actually had to go inside while sweaty and slimy from my workout, still in my workout clothes.
But this week, I did. And it’s been empowering. Because now, when I want to do something, my first thought isn’t “what will other people think?”; it’s “how accomplished will I feel when I’m done?”. So, to that end, I start my running program this weekend.
I know the connection here might be difficult, but if you knew how much I hate running on a treadmill you might understand. See, I have to run outside to pace myself properly. Where others can see me. In broad daylight. I have to go to a runners store and run on a treadmill in front of an expert and get my feet fitted for proper shoes. There is the possibility for judgment lurking at every step. And… I. Don’t. Care.
That felt good enough that I’m going to say it again. I don’t care about how other people judge me. I care how I judge me. After my 5.2 miles I wasn’t winded. I could still breathe normally, a little heavily, but steadily. Today, my legs feel great. I’m not sore or stiff. I want to keep going.
I’m registering for Warrior Dash tonight. 3.1 miles, 12 obstacles, lots of mud… last year I was an envious spectator. This year I’m doing it. I don’t care if it takes me two hours to complete it or if I have to go completely alone. I don’t care if people watching laugh when I slip and fall face first in the mud. I’m doing this for me.
At first I thought I’d do it to rub it in HIS face that I could but I was wrong. He has nothing to do with this, except maybe that I no longer fear that he’ll judge me. I’ve wanted to do these things all along but I was too afraid. I’m not afraid anymore.
I’m going to conquer the world – or at least my little corner of it – and nothing, no one, is going to stop me from being the best me I can be anymore.
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not” – Andre Gide
- Making Great Choices – With Confidence, Part 2 (simple-pleasures.org)