The sadness behind her smile

To be blunt and to the point, I’m having a shitty night.

I’ve been thinking about all the changes I’ve made over the last year. The endless effort and courage that has gone into making these changes.

The tears and the heartache it took to recognise and accept where I’ve been lacking in my life. Confronting myself with the things I’ve done wrong and the people I’ve hurt and taking ownership of my mistakes.

Walking into therapy each week and smashing through more walls and looking deep inside at the darkest parts of me. The countless hours spent reevaluating my life and where I stand. Facing my biggest fears and having the courage to take another step forward.

I’ve done all this and so much more. And I’m so proud of what I have achieved. I’m so proud of the person that I see in the mirror now. I’m the person I always knew I could be. The person I always dreamed of being.

But as I sit here tonight, all I can think is “What was the point of doing all of this?”

I’m still alone. I’m moving to Brisbane by myself. I picked up my keys to my new apartment today and the smile it gave me faded so quickly as I walked out and realised I had no one to share this joy with. I had no one to text. No one to call. No partner that was eagerly awaiting to hear from me.

And I can sit here and think rationally and know that all the work I’ve done is so worth it. And I can state that I am proud. And I know I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and be good again and be excited about the move and excited about the progress I’ve made. And I do know what the point of it all was.

But there’s that little voice nagging at me that just keeps repeating “What was the point of all of this when you still end up alone?” And it just won’t shut up tonight.

It’s making me so sad and frustrated and hurt. It’s making me question everything. It’s making me wish so badly to have my old life back. My life wasn’t meant to be like this. I don’t want my life to be like this.

I’m sad that today should have been exciting. But I’ve been wearing a fake smile all day. Pretending everything is ok. Putting on a brave face to hide the tears in my heart. Wearing that mask to hide the sadness that’s in my eyes.

Hiding from the sadness that’s behind my smile….

Letting go.

It’s at this point in my journey where I’ve realised I’m holding myself back from moving forward. And that’s because I’m holding on to people and things that are no longer good for me. But I just can’t seem to let go.

 

Is it fear? Worry? Self-doubt?

 

Probably a combination of all three and so much more.

 

Why is it, even when you know deep down that someone or something is no longer good for you, or doesn’t hold that place in your future anymore, you just can’t seem to take that final step and cut the strings? You hold on for dear life even though it causes you so much heartache and draws out the process of moving on.

I’ve recognised recently that I’m doing this with a few things/people in my life. It’s such a confronting thing to accept. And even harder to be honest with myself with the reasons why I’m still holding on.

The reality hit me because I’m moving next week. And I’m so excited about this change and my “new” life I’m beginning. But it also slapped me in the face, that I’m leaving my old life behind me.

I know that in taking this kind of step in my journey, I can’t take my old baggage with me. I’ve spent the last 6 months unpacking it all. Unloading the grief and the trauma. Spent countless sleepless nights stressing over it. Shed millions of tears and spent hours crying until there were no tears left. I’ve hit the darkest moments of my life where I genuinely thought I couldn’t cope any longer.

But in this time I’ve also worked tirelessly to heal from these losses. I’ve sought help from my therapist and spent hours upon hours with her to learn new ways to cope and new ways to heal myself. I’ve taken the time to take care of myself mentally and physically and found a routine of self love that has made me stronger and happier. I’ve found the strength to face my fears and confront these dark shadows in me that I’ve always allowed to rule my life. I’ve completely surrendered to this process.

The biggest thing I’m realising, and the biggest fear I’m facing right now. Is the fact that I have to let go of my old self. I’m no longer the person I was when I moved into this apartment. And I can’t take any of those bad habits with me. I have to force myself to start fresh. I have to believe in myself and be confident in the fact that I’m strong enough to do this without falling back into self hatred and self doubt. That I now have the ability to put my own needs on par with others rather than self sacrificing and putting them first.

I love the quote “If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” This is the process I’ve been following for my new self. I can’t bring the old me along on this journey anymore. She’s bleeding onto the new me. Trying to work her way back in and hindering my process. And I can’t allow that to happen anymore.

I have to be brave and let go of the old me completely.

There’s also the issue of my ex. It’s been 7 months since she left me and during this time I’ve been filled completely with anger, hurt and hate. I’ve focused completely on trying to continue the relationship with our daughter and fighting to see her. That I’ve never stopped and taken the time to actually allow myself to accept that it’s over. I’ve grieved the loss of our family, but I’ve never grieved the loss of our relationship. I’ve never analysed how I actually feel about her. And it pains me, and I’m embarrassed to say, I still have feelings for her. I’ve been so distracted by the hurt, that I failed to see that love was still there.

We spent 6 years together. We have a beautiful daughter and were trying to have another. I truly thought we’d be together forever. As much as I’d like them to, those feelings don’t disappear quickly. The only thing that will allow me to heal and let go of those feelings, is time.

So moving forward into my new life, I can’t just turn off these feelings, but I can choose to let go of the hope I’ve been holding onto that things could be different. I’ve been holding on because I know how much it will hurt to let go. But this process of holding on is also hurting me much more than I’ve realised.

I have to be brave and let go of her.

There is another major factor that I’ve been holding onto that is hurting me, but I can’t even find the words to talk about it now. But I know in my heart that I have to be brave and let it go as well. I have to let go of the hope I’ve been holding onto that certain things could have turned out a different way.

This stage in my journey of letting go, is the most confronting and also the scariest. In a way it feels like it’s the final stage in the process. Not that I believe my journey will ever be over. I wholeheartedly believe now, that our lives are one big journey that should be cherished and looked at as a journey, not just a way of life.

But this feels like it’s the final step in this cycle of my journey. Like I’m coming out the other side of the most difficult and heartbreaking moments of my life.

It’s scary because I don’t know what’s on the other side. Fear of the unknown is making me want to hold back. But the exciting thing is, that the old me would have put off taking this step. Would have allowed fear and self doubt to take over. But the new me, yes she still has those fears, but she’s embracing them and facing them head on.

I’m excited for the unknown. I’m looking forward to seeing what is around the corner for me. And I can sit here with confidence and know that whatever challenges are thrown at me, I can conquer them all.

All of this makes me realise that letting go doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be rewarding and refreshing and also open up so many amazing opportunities that you would never have had if you’re still looking backwards and holding onto the past.

So from now on my focus will be aimed solely at my daughters favourite movie quote “Let it go.”

How running saved me

In 2013 I completed a half marathon and I was fitter and healthier than ever. I had just left working in the fitness industry and was in a new relationship. Within a few months of feeling on top of the world after reaching such a huge goal that meant the world to me, I was 10 kg heavier and wasn’t training at all. This carried on for the next 5 years. I had periods of really feeble attempts at getting back into training but always made excuses and would fall back into laziness again. 

It wasn’t until after my last surgery where I was laid up in bed and couldn’t move and I hated myself so much, that I finally got the burning urge to train again. It was actually killing me to not be able to do anything and as each day passed I got more and more frustrated. I was busting at the seams to get started but I knew that I would have to take it easy and start back very slowly or I would injure myself and end up giving up again. 

My very first ‘training’ session was literally a 10 minute walk. Not only was it painful and uncomfortable as I was 2 weeks post-surgery and I still had glue holding my belly button and 2 other cuts together, but it was also uncomfortable mentally. I was feeling so depressed and grieving from the miscarriage and didn’t want to leave the house. So getting outside was a real struggle and was totally overwhelming. But I did it!!!

It was hard to not put pressure on myself and push for more but I made sure to only focus on the positive. That I completed my first session and had taken a step forward. I had to keep reminding myself that it didn’t matter how slow I was going, but I was finally going. It was around this time I set myself the goal of completing another half marathon. I had 10 months before the Gold Coast Airport Marathon was happening. Game on. 

I didn’t tell anyone for a few months that this was my goal. Fear of failure was making me keep it a secret and I didn’t want to add any pressure to what I was already feeling. My training was still going very slowly but I was loving it. I was finally feeling like me again. I was looking forward to training and would actually feel “itchy” when I had a rest day and normally ended up going for at least a walk. 

My first “run” was around the block when I was still living in Runaway Bay. 3.2 km that took me 34 minutes!!! I could have actually walked it quicker but I set myself a goal of running the whole way without stopping so I didn’t care how long it took me, I just couldn’t stop. The feeling I got when I arrived home was like euphoria. I was so proud of myself. And it really enforced the fact that you have to set little goals along the way and be proud of each of those steps you take. 

It was around this time the rest of my life started to fall apart and running has literally saved me and pulled me out of some seriously dark places. It felt like hitting this goal was the only thing I had to look forward to, the only thing I could control. Every other part of my life it felt like I was a puppet on a string, I was having to do what everyone else wanted. But running was my thing. No one could take that away from me, no one could control that part of my life. I was training every day without fail. I couldn’t stop. And I was loving every second of it. My body was starting to change. I was feeling so much fitter and stronger and was feeling a lot of pride in myself for sticking to it and staying focused. 

During all of this I was strict with taking care of my body, mainly out of fear of getting injured because I knew that running was the only thing keeping me going, but also because I wanted to get the best out of my body. I was stretching each night, using a foam roller, taking magnesium, eating good nutritious meals and I ending up adding yoga into my nightly stretching routine as well just recently which I actually really love doing and am seeing the benefits already. This doesn’t mean I didn’t treat myself. I’d started drinking alcohol again after 5 years of barely drinking at all, and I’ve had a few pretty big nights. Plus I was doing a bit of comfort eating too but I never allowed myself to feel guilty for it. I was training hard and as a whole was eating well so I definitely deserved some treats too. Taking the guilty thoughts away from treating myself made a huge difference. Normally I’d beat myself up thinking how I’ve ruined my progress, and would comfort eat even more. 

At this point in time I’m up to 16km runs. It’s still a pretty challenging time in my life, and I’m battling every day to keep my head above water. I’m also trying to find a way to manage the not so positive comments that always seem to follow when people step up and achieve something.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some amazing feedback and have been truly humbled by some of the comments of people reaching out and sharing their journey with me and saying that I am inspiring them to start training again. These comments have led me to actually start this blog and be more open about my journey and I’m doing my best to focus on them as I deeply appreciate them.

Unfortunately these days there is always negative comments thrown in as well and I do my best to not think about them but some days they get the best of you and bring you down. I don’t believe any of the comments are thrown at me to intentionally cause harm, but it’s just the usual of people not thinking before they speak and not realising how hurtful certain things are. Being called a skinny bitch by ‘friends’ because I’ve lost weight and being told I need to start eating KFC….. it hurts. Being told oh you have it so easy because you were born fit…. it takes away from the hard work I’ve put in. 

Maybe I’m just super sensitive at the moment, but I really believe if you see someone stepping up achieving something and you don’t have anything nice to say about it, then don’t say anything at all. I’ve even had someone tell me I won’t make my marathon goal by going vegan. Apparently eating meat is the only thing that lets you run these days?!?!?

I’ve lost weight because I’m training a lot which obviously naturally occurs. I’ve also not been able to stomach meat for the last 8 weeks or so after reading an article on live animal exports so I’ve completely changed my diet to almost Vegan (I still indulge in chocolate now and then). I’ve also been struggling to eat because my stomach is in knots from the stress I’m under. The last 2 weeks I’ve also spent 3 nights throwing up, again I think from stress. So calling me a skinny bitch and telling me to go and have a big feed, really doesn’t help people!!! It also doesn’t help by telling me you wish you had it ‘easy’ like me. Trust me, none of this journey has been easy. Every fucking day has been an absolute battle. Every step I’ve taken has been through enormous effort and willpower. I wasn’t born fit. I am fit now because I have shown up for myself every day without fail for the last 7 months and I have busted my fucking ass running and training. This is not fucking easy. 

And I know it appears I’m naturally motivated so it’s easier for me than most. But it’s come to a point where running is saving me from all the shit I’m dealing with. It’s the one thing I can control. The one thing that manages to shut up my inner critic for awhile. That’s where my motivation actually stems from. Which isn’t a very pretty place.

As of right now there is 109 days and 19 hours until the run starts. I’m so excited and keep wishing that I could do it now so I can achieve my goal now instead of waiting. But I know something like this is about the journey of getting there, not just the accomplishment at the end so I’ll be patient and keep working hard and keep showing up for myself. I also know that the struggles I face will make the finish line so much more meaningful. 

Just the thought of crossing that line makes me tear up already. It’s going to be one of my greatest achievements to pull myself out of the hardest and darkest place of my life and to turn it into something positive and life changing. 

To everyone that has passed on positive feedback, I thank you for your kind words and I love sharing this journey with you and knowing that you’re starting to change your life too. To the few that have been not so positive, I thank you for putting that fire in my belly to fight harder.