The day it all fell into place

So I completed the half marathon. It wasn’t pretty. It was one of the worst runs of my life actually; but crossing that line made everything else that I had been working on, click into place.

For those that are just discovering my blog, here’s a bit of a back story behind why I set this goal, and also why I started my blog. I hit the lowest and darkest point in my life after 3 miscarriages and my partner at the time walking out on me and taking our daughter. Everything that I loved in my life, I lost. I felt like my life as I knew it, was over.

It was at this point where I felt this burning desire inside me to run. I used to be a runner and had let myself go and wasn’t exercising at all. I set myself the goal of doing the Gold Coast half marathon. That was 10 months away and my first “training” session was a 10 minute walk that almost resulted in a panic attack and needing to get back into the house as soon as possible.

Fast forward 10 months. I’d run over 700 kilometers in training sessions. I’d had shitty news from my Physio only a month out from race day that I had a tear in my glute and needed 6 weeks rest, and the week leading up to the race I had a huge emotional break down. But one thing that didn’t happen, is that I never gave up. Not once did it cross my mind to not be on that starting line and give it my all. Not once did I lose track of my goals. I certainly had to adjust them a few times to accommodate a few road blocks, but I was always going to do whatever it took to cross that line.

Because it had been a gruelling journey just to get to the start line, the week leading up to the race was always going to be emotional. I thought it was bad at the start of the week when fear and self doubt set in, but the worst happened when I started to look at the positives of how far I had come. I was so over come with pride, it was over whelming. Only 3 days before the race, I tried to go for a 45 minute run; I lasted 4 minutes before literally having a break down on the side of the road.

Things weren’t looking pretty, but I knew it was coming. I knew that the last week was always going to be tough and that it would bring up a huge amount of emotions that needed to be released.

By Saturday I was feeling good. I was ready. I had a few moments of panic over stupid things that really didn’t matter, like the fact it was raining and I was worried that I wouldn’t be warm enough wearing just a sports bra and I should rush out and buy a singlet. As if that was going to make a difference. But I could step back and recognise that this was just nerves, and I’ve always seen having nerves as a good thing. It means you care about what is going to happen.

I woke up Sunday morning, everything went smoothly. Getting dressed and putting my racing bib on I felt calm and focused. I got dropped off about 1 kilometer from the starting point and did a slow jog to warm up. I felt strong and mentally ready.

Waiting around for an hour before the race actually begins is tough. The atmosphere is bouncing with nerves and excitement and it’s hard to not lose a lot of energy getting wrapped up in it. There was a few moments of thinking “I should have done this or that.” “Why didn’t I train this way instead of that way.” Panic and fear that tries to steal your thunder. But standing in the crowd ready to run, I remember taking a deep breath and thinking “You’re ready. You’ve done everything you possibly could. Enjoy the moment, it’s yours.” I felt a huge sense of relief and clarity. I knew in that moment, that I had come to a full acceptance that whatever happened after that gun went off, that I was proud of what I had already achieved.

I started off at a blistering pace. I hate starting off fast but again it’s hard to not get wrapped up in the energy around you. The first 13 kilometers I was sitting around the 4:30 – 4:40 pace so I was 100% confident that I was going to absolutely smash my goal of sub 1 hour 45 minutes. Then things started to go wrong. I had felt a tiny niggle around my hip at the 9 km mark but it went away so I ignored it. At 13 km the pain started. It was a deep throbbing pain that started in the one area where my injury was, and slowly started to spread across my back and down my right leg.

My physio had told me that if I can run through the throbbing pain then that was ok, but if I felt any sharp, stinging pains I was to pull out immediately. Panic set in big time. I knew there was still a long 8 km to go and with every step the pain was spreading.

At 15km I stopped to spew. I’d had a full protein shake instead of my normal half because I knew it was such a long wait before the race started – lesson learnt, stick to what you normally do before a race. It probably didn’t help either that I was getting myself into such a high state of panic thinking I wasn’t going to hit my goal time.

By 19 km I had stopped probably 5 times to try and stretch, and had to walk for a few hundred meters. My hip had completely seized up and I was basically dragging my leg and walking sideways. Then the tears started as I looked at my watch and saw the time click over to 1 hour 45 minutes. I felt like I had failed.

I’m finding it hard to find the words to describe what happened over the next few minutes. It felt like hours were passing. I was at a cross roads. Do I walk away? Do I keep pushing?

There was a million thoughts racing through my head and all I wanted to do was scream at them to shut up. I just wanted a moments peace. I just wanted the pain to stop. I just wanted it all to be over.

It was having that last thought that clicked me back into gear. I had worked tirelessly for 10 months to get to this point and in 2 short kilometres, it would be over and this was my moment to reap the rewards for all that hard work. I started a slow jog again and started to take in the crowds. The last kilometer the streets are lined with supporters and the atmosphere is amazing and something that words could never describe.

By this stage the pain was so intense it was taking my breath away and the tears were flowing freely. I was doing a weird shuffle run and my leg kept giving out on me. The crowd picked up on this and suddenly I was hearing constant shouts of “come on Jess you’ve got this, don’t give up.” It was incredibly overwhelming and humbling and an experience that I’ll never forget.

As I turned the last corner I saw the finish line and panicked a bit as I thought I’d missed seeing my family. Then I heard my Mum scream “Go Jessica.” I turned and saw them and felt the most immense amount of pride and accomplishment. I waved my hands and gave them a fist pump. Then I focused on the finish line and crossed in 2 hours and 1 minute.

This was it. I’d done it. I’d battled the most horrific traumas and overcome so many bumps in the road and I never gave up. The last 10 meters I kissed my neck lace that Mum gave me after my first miscarriage. I looked at the sky and thought about my 3 angel babies that I lost and I cried. Oh man did I cry. As I crossed the line it all came out. My legs finally gave way as well and I hit the deck. I don’t know how long I sat on the ground and cried but it felt like an eternity. The emotional release was intense and all part of the process.

I finally stood up and started taking it all in. It was breath taking. The other runners were a mix of pure raw emotion like myself, and also crazy with excitement and sense of achievement.

Seeing my niece and daughter coming up to me was another huge moment. I grabbed them for dear life and cried again so with so much pride. Lexi is only 3 so she really didn’t understand what was going on, but I remember crouching down and holding her at arms length and I could tell in her eyes that she knew this moment was huge but that she didn’t fully comprehend what was happening. She was fascinated with my medal and wanted to wear it which again made my heart bust with pride.

It’s been 4 days since the race as I sit here and write this and I still don’t think I’ve fully processed it all.

I look at the person I was when I started this journey and I barely recognise her. I’ve spent endless hours in therapy working through everything I have spent 35 years bottling up. I’ve looked deep within myself to find out who I really am and who I want to be. I’ve embraced what I used to see as flaws within myself and now see them as parts of me that I love. I’ve accepted who I am and have grown to love this person.

Moving forward I know my journey isn’t over. I will continue to grow and learn more about myself. I will have bad days and relapses into bad habits that I used to have. But I now know that I can handle whatever life throws at me and that is an empowering feeling.

So while I completed the half marathon in probably the ugliest way possible, all that matters is that I crossed that line and achieved my goal. And the most incredible part of it all, was the journey I took to get there. The transformations I made to grow and heal myself. The person I discovered inside myself that I had been hiding all these years. The friendships I’ve made since starting my blog and sharing my story. It’s all of those things that matter most, not the actual run.

The journey of 21.1 kilometers will last a lifetime and I will always look back on that moment as one of the greatest achievements of my life.

The end….and the beginning

So I started this blog 4 months ago and this will be my 24th publication. I began writing as a form of therapy to help release some of the shit I was struggling to deal with, and publishing these thoughts turned into a different type of therapy in itself.

I’ve not only discovered so much about myself along this journey, but so much about those in my life and also total strangers that have reached out who have been touched by my words. It’s been such an eye-opening and utterly amazing experience that I will look back on and remember for the rest of my life.

I’m honored and also shocked to say that out of the thousands of comments I have received, not one has been negative in any way. My biggest fear in releasing such personal information and admitting to my deepest struggles, is that I would receive negative feedback from trolls and or people who just didn’t have anything better to do than to try and tear someone down in their moments of need.

Every comment has been filled with encouragement, support and an outpouring of love. I’m still blown away by the kind and heartfelt words people have taken the time to send me. I’m still speechless by the stories that people have shared with me about their struggles and how my words gave them the courage to step up and make changes for themselves and to face their fears.

I can’t begin to describe how much this means to me. I’ve been through the worst 2 years of my life and faced things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’ve allowed myself to be raw, vulnerable, brutally honest and sometimes pretty blunt. I sometimes felt so alone and lost that I thought I’d never make it out the other side.

But I did make it. And to the thousands of people that have come along this journey with me and left words of support, I could never find the words to thank you or to show just how much I’ve been touched by you. I sit here racking my brain for a way to describe it, but nothing works. No words seem good enough. All I can say, is from the bottom of my heart I thank you and I will never forget your kindness.

I’ve written in past blogs that as I go through this journey, I find old ways of getting me through are no longer working for me and I have to rediscover something different. This is one of these moments. And unfortunately, writing these blogs just aren’t giving me therapy they used to. I’m struggling to find the words that used to come freely. I’m finding that due to the enormous changes I’ve made and the new techniques I’ve found to deal with my emotions, I no longer need to write so much down. I have found a way to deal with these things in a much healthier way so that they don’t get on top of me to the point in which I need to write to release all the emotions that come with the struggles.

I’m by no means at the end of my journey or self-discovery. But I have reached a point in which I feel comfortable tackling things before I get so overwhelmed like I used to. I still have little relapses where I fall into negative thinking patterns or get overwhelmed by the smaller things in life that shouldn’t bother me so much; but the difference now is that rather than falling into a rut of being anxious and over emotional for weeks, I can now face the issues that triggered me and lift myself up within hours or a day at the most.

I can take a step back and recognise why I’m reacting a certain way to something that triggered me. I can sit with the discomfort or pain and allow myself to feel it so I can then move forward and heal from it, rather than fighting it and then having it completely take me over.

This shows just how much growth I’ve made over this journey and all I can do is sit here and smile (with tears in my eyes). I look back at the broken form that I was when I started this and I just want to hug her for being so brave in finally facing her demons. For finally stepping up and asking for help. For finally having the courage to take her power back from the abuse she went through 25 years ago. For finally admitting she wasn’t living life on her terms, but was living to please others.

I will never forget my struggles or the journey I’ve been on, but my focus now is solely on looking forward, not backward. The hardest part to begin with was that I had to look so far back to face the trauma’s that had affected me, in order to deal with them and heal from them. Now the hardest part is trusting in myself and knowing that I have done the hard work properly this time, rather than skipping through it and getting hit with it all over again in a few years time. Deep down I know I have and I tell myself this whenever the fear sets in.

So moving forward to the next stage in my life is all about helping others to get through their journey’s. Having so many people reach out to me and share their pain and difficulties and confide in me that my words helped them, was so humbling. It made me feel like I was finally making a difference in the world, one tiny step at a time. I want to do more of this. I’m not sure what that looks like at the moment or how I’m going to make it happen, but I know that I feel a stirring in my gut to make a difference and I’ll do whatever I need to in order to do it.

I know I’ll probably still feel the need to release emotional baggage from time to time so I will occasionally add to this blog. I just won’t be doing it on a regular basis anymore.

I’m also turning my words into a book. My goal is to delve deeper into these blogs and really discover the fundamentals of what caused me to end up the way I was. And to also share on a deeper level, the techniques I used to get through and pull myself out of hitting rockbottom.

Once again I can’t thank you all enough for the support and love you have shown me. I can’t wait to share my book with you!

For those that have reached out to me to share your stories or for guidance, please don’t hesitate to continue doing so. I’m always available to chat and I’m great at listening.

And as this part of my journey comes to an end, the beginning of another is just getting started and I’m so excited to see where it takes me.

So much love to you all xoxo

Conquering my mountain

After 8 long and tortuous months of what felt like hell every day, I feel like I’ve finally gone through the worst of it. Finally reached the summit of the mountain I’ve been climbing on this journey.

I was broken as a human being. An empty shell. I was shattered to my core and I honestly spent a long time thinking rock bottom was where my life was going to be from that point onwards.

So many people told me it would get easier. That things would finally get better. But I didn’t believe them for a second. Things just always seemed to get worse. Every day was a battle in which I kept getting hit from every direction. It was relentless.

When everything you’ve ever wanted in life gets taken away from you, it destroys your soul. Your purpose for getting up each day and even managing the basic tasks in life seem too much and are overwhelming.

I truly felt that this feeling of hopeless and despair would never leave me.

But slowly and surely, it has. Step by step I’ve bought the light back into my life. I’ve built myself back up from the roots of my core to find a whole new person that has been hiding my entire life.

I’ve discovered me. The real me. Not the front that I’ve always put on. Not the image of who I thought I was expected to be. My masks are gone. My walls are down.

It wasn’t until I walked back into my new/old job a few weeks ago, that I realised just how much I have actually changed. I worked there about 18 months ago when the beginning of this downhill slide of my life started, and walking back in was pretty confronting.

I was terrified of slipping back into the same old patterns I had when I was there last. Of hiding who I was. Of having my defensive walls set firmly in place and not allowing many people to get close to me.

I’ve been walking around thinking how different everyone is this time. Everyone seems more open and friendly.

The harsh truth that I had to face. Was that no one there has changed. They’ve always been open and friendly. It was me that was different. I’ve changed.

I used to walk around with this massive defensive wall up. I was so full of shame and my confidence was so low, that I would walk around with my head down, not wanting to make eye contact with anyone. My life was falling apart so I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone. I didn’t want to share any of the shitty things I was going through. I was hurting inside. I was breaking. I was fucking angry to be honest.

I’m ashamed to think of the person I used to be. Work colleagues would try to interact with me and I’d give nothing in return. They probably had the impression I was a grumpy bitch. And I guess I kinda was back then. I’ve been trying to not think about how I was back then as it’s embarrassing. But I know there will come a time when I have to own it and accept it for what it was. A coping mechanism.

It was all I could do to get through each day. I was fighting an internal battle that I was loosing control of. I could barely function enough to get through the basics. So when it came to trying to build new relationships in a work environment that I was new to, it was just too much.

I walk into work now and I love it. The work is still the same, but I’m getting to know some amazing people who were always there. I just wouldn’t let them in. It feels like a brand new job. Brand new people. But in reality nothing has changed a bit. Except me.

I’m finding this in so many aspects of my life these days. Because I carry myself differently, I actually walk around with my head up instead of pretending to be looking at something interesting on the ground; I’m finding that I have so many different experiences. I actually interact with people. I don’t hide from small talk. I don’t run away from new experiences.

When I stand back and look at this mountain I’ve climbed, I can’t be anything but proud. I’ve gone from despair and hopelessness, to now feeling nothing but hope and excitement for what the future holds. I feel like I have the strength to stare life in the eyes and say “What’s next bitch?” Because I know that whatever is thrown at me from now on, I can face it head on and tackle it with confidence.

I’ve been through the worst and finally hit the summit of the mountain, and now I get to reap the rewards and experience the absolute joys in life. I now get to see it from a fresh pair of eyes and thrive in this brand new world that I have built from the ground up. Just like climbing an actual mountain, the views up here are endless and the path I take from here is mine to choose.

My vulnerability is no longer my weakness.

Brene Brown is my new hero!! Her talks and books on vulnerability are brilliant. She is hilarious, blunt and at times it feels like she is reading my mind. Everything she said resonated with me so deeply.

There is a passage in one of her books where she talks about when she was on stage and asked the crowd, “How many people struggle with vulnerability because they see it as a weakness?” Of course most of the crowd raised their hands.

Then she asks “When you see people on stage how many people thought they were being courageous?” Again the crowd raises their hands.

I don’t know about you but standing in front of a crowd would have to be one of the most vulnerable positions you could put yourself in. I’m pretty sure 99% of society would all say the same. And we all see that as being so courageous, yet still see vulnerability as a weakness.

It blows my mind!!

How is it that we can admire these people for their bravery in leaving themselves completely vulnerable, yet when someone opens up about mental health struggles, or opens up about having feelings for someone or wears their heart on their sleeves and shows emotions; people look at them as if they are weak.

In all of these examples, people leave themselves completely vulnerable. Open to rejection and criticism. Yet one side is admired and the other side is judged so harshly.

I’ve felt both sides during my journey and after hearing that example from Brene, it’s made me realise that all this vulnerability I’m showing is not a weakness at all. I see it now as pure bravery and strength.

On one side I’ve received so many messages of support and admiration, not only by friends and family, but total strangers. I have been told how brave and courageous and strong I am to be able to open up and be so raw and honest with my struggles and trauma.

And I’ve also seen the other side where I’ve showed emotion and cried in front of people, and they’ve seen it as a sign of weakness. Criticised me for not being strong enough to hold on and cry when no one is around.

This makes no sense to me. How is it that I’m brave for writing about crying, yet when people see me cry, I’m viewed as weak??

Another quote from her book “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness, will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

This resonates big time with me. The last 6 months of my journey has completely revolved around exploring my darkness. I’ve dug deep and gone to places I didn’t want to. The deepest darkest places I could find.

And while discovering this darkness, it really has illuminated the power of the light within me. As I’ve healed my darkness and allowed the light to shine through, it’s opened my eyes to a whole new world out there. A whole new me that I didn’t know was inside of me.

See I’ve always put myself into a category that made me feel weak and powerless. I’m one of “those” ones. The reserved, the emotional, the thinkers. One of those ones that always gets called depressed. That always gets called rude. That’s looked down upon because we get nervous in social situations.

As I empowered the light within me, I started realising that all of these traits I have, are not weaknesses. They are my strengths.

It’s a strength to be reserved. It allows me to sit back and analyse situations before jumping in head first. It allows me to watch people and their behaviours so I can determine who I feel comfortable socialising with.

It’s a strength to be in touch with my emotions. Now that I have learnt to handle the stronger emotions I feel, it gives me a sense of strength to ride these feelings and embrace them. Yes I still cry. Yes I still get upset. However I no longer allow them to completely take hold of me. And I love that I feel emotions so strongly. I’d rather love incredibly deeply than not at all.

It’s a strength to be a thinker. Now that I have found ways to stop myself over-thinking situations, I actually really enjoy my deep thoughts that I have. Especially when I’m running. I explore deep within my consciousness and discover things I never knew about myself. I analyse things I’ve heard or read and discover how I feel about them. It’s fun and exciting now rather than tiring and draining when I was over-thinking situations and conversations I’d been in.

I’m not actually depressed and I’m not actually rude. (Ok yes I can be incredibly rude sometimes when people deserve it) however I’m social situations I’m not being rude by not talking much. I get incredibly nervous in crowds and especially around people I haven’t met before. But this doesn’t make me rude. And yes I have previously suffered from depression however in the words of my Psychologist;

“You’re not currently depressed. You’ve suffered many losses in a short amount of time and you’re grieving. But you’re seeking help and making changes. You’re motivated with running and setting new goals each week. When you’re in a stage of depression you don’t take these steps.”

Just because I’m in introvert, doesn’t mean I’m depressed. Just because I don’t feel comfortable in social situations, doesn’t mean I’m depressed.

Looking back on my life I realise I’ve always been so ashamed for being “different.” I’ve spent countless years wishing I could be extroverted because I thought that was normal. Hoping that I can wake up and suddenly feel powerful in crowds, to get a rush from meeting new people and to feel on a high after being in social situations. I’ve always believed these people are stronger than me. Braver than me. Better than me.

But now that I’ve released this light inside of me, I realise that they aren’t stronger or braver or better than me. They are just different to me and that’s ok.

I now love the qualities that I have. In my previous blogs I’ve discussed this and stated I now accept who I am. Which was a huge step. Now I feel like I’m starting to embrace my qualities. Starting to love them and be excited by them.

I’m seeing my own vulnerabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses and it’s a powerful feeling.

Having the ability to be vulnerable is risky, scary and fucking hard. But it really is the only way to achieve anything and to move forward in life. It’s such a courageous thing to do and the feeling of empowerment you receive during the process is like having the brightest light shining from within you.

It’s a beautiful and brave thing to experience and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

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.”

Guilt, shame and self-blame

I read an article recently that if you’ve been in relationships where difficult things were hidden or not spoken about, this causes you to feel shame and loneliness about struggling through difficult times. That also 90% of my generation grew up in a family structure where children should be seen and not heard, has caused us to try and mask our emotions instead of release them.

 

It seems to be, that the common perception of society these days that showing emotions makes you weak, especially for men. I don’t understand this concept at all because opening up and showing emotions is one of the most difficult things you can do. You leave yourself vulnerable and open to judgement and criticism. How is that being weak? I have been doing this more than ever these last few months and it has been the most difficult process I’ve faced. 

 

I’ve just come out of a relationship where I was belittled almost every day for being “weak” and “too emotional.” I was laughed at. Told I was being ridiculous. Told I needed help. She even said that the only reason she started dating me was because she thought I was broken and she wanted to fix me. Wow what a confidence boost that is. If I had a dollar for every time in that relationship I heard the words “There’s no point getting upset over anything, just have a bottle of wine and get over it” I’d be a millionaire.

 

Looking back and knowing that I’m so much stronger now than I was then, I know I’d never stand for such disrespectful words to be spoken to me. But when you’re in that cycle, it’s so hard to stand up for yourself and get out. When someone literally laughs in your face when you get upset, it makes you feel so utterly worthless.

 

A few days after we found out I’d miscarried the first time, she saw me upset and her exact words were “Urgh what are you crying for now?” My response “I’m upset because we lost our baby.” Her response “Well crying won’t change that so get over it and we can try again.”

 

After our second loss I was sitting on the kitchen floor bawling my eyes out. I couldn’t believe it happened again. My oh so loving and supportive partner walks in “I don’t want our daughter seeing this so I’m taking her over to Mums so you can be alone and have some space.” So now we’re teaching our daughter too that it’s not ok to show emotions??? And tell me who in the world would want to be alone after finding out such news?

 

After our 3rd loss I cried in front of her once. Then I shut down and hid my emotions because I couldn’t cope with being made to feel worthless and stupid again. So I didn’t grieve properly. I just blocked it all and threw myself into running.

 

I can see now that her way of blocking emotions and not dealing with the difficult parts of life, is the easy and “weak” way of getting through each day. I found that blocking the grief was so much easier than dealing with it. 

 

I used to do that before I learnt to express my emotions and having a lifetime of built up shit that I didn’t deal with, led me to a point in my life where I felt I could barely cope. I had such a back log of emotions that I had blocked, that when I finally started releasing them it was incredibly overwhelming.

 

When starting to release these emotions and deal with them, I realised just how much shame and guilt I carry for even feeling these emotions. And that makes it so much harder to deal with. The feeling that there is something wrong with me just because I wear my heart on my sleeve. The feeling of guilt and that I’m a burden on the people in my life. The feeling of shame that my life isn’t “perfect” like certain others that put on a front pretending that their life is perfect.

 

No one’s life is perfect. Everyone feels emotions. Everyone has bad days. Everyone feels sad sometimes. Everyone cries. So why it that the people that are real and show these emotions is are labelled as weak??? And the people that hide these emotions and are “fake” about their lives, are celebrated???

 

Again it just seems like society is going backwards. We value people being fake over people being real. We belittle people for showing emotion rather than celebrating their courage to be vulnerable. We give more credence to materialistic goods rather than time with people we care for.

 

The self-blame that I have always put onto myself is something I struggle with every day. I’ve found it easier to take responsibility for other people’s shitty actions, rather than having the courage to stand up and say no it’s not ok that you treat me that way. When you carry so much shame and guilt, it almost feels better to take the blame on yourself, because your self-worth, and self-confidence is non-existent. You feel like you deserve to be treated that way. And when you’ve also done this your whole life, it’s hard to break the habit. 

 

What I’ve realised very quickly that there is three ways people react when you finally step up and start voicing that you don’t like being treated a certain way. 1. They fight back and try to put the blame back on me by bringing up my faults and trying to bring me back down again. 2. They defend their actions and try to blame others or make excuses for shitty behaviour. 3. They reflect on the situation and will take responsibility for their actions and apologise whole heartedly without making excuses. 

 

What I’m working through with my therapist is how to accept that all 3 responses are ok. That some people aren’t ready to admit when they have hurt someone and that is ok. That is just the place they are in right now. It doesn’t make it ok that their actions hurt me, but its ok that they aren’t ready to take responsibility yet. It’s really difficult to find a healthy balance between recognising that their actions were not ok, and accepting that it happened and moving forward, but it’s something I’m slowly working through and getting used to. 

 

This journey is teaching me so much about myself, about others and about life in general. I’m experiencing every emotion under the sun, from pure bliss to absolute heart break and endless despair. What I’m realising is that even though making changes and leaving yourself vulnerable is the hardest thing I have faced, I would rather face it and conquer it and go through all of these difficulties, than staying the way I was. I’m sick and tired of not being true to myself. I’m sick and tired of letting people walk over me. I’m sick and tired of taking on all the blame from others. 

 

Making changes is hard, but you know what’s even worse? Staying the same!!! 

 

 

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.