balance is bullshit! (when you're embarrassed by yourself)

First of all, thank you so much for all of the kind messages on my last post. It reaffirms what I've firmly come to believe : that the world can throw some daunting challenges our way, but we're all stronger and better for being open and honest about them.

Soooo, in that vein, I'd like to write a little bit today about another subject that makes me want to throw my hands over my eyes, a la the monkey emoji : being embarrassed by yourself. And I'm not talking about toilet paper on your shoe-level issues. I'm talking about being ashamed of yourself. The really dirty secret feelings you have when you're looking at yourself while brushing your teeth.

But also, because I went to Miami and spent so much time dragging my boot around Wynwood, I have some cool photos sprinkled throughout. 

The theme of today's post is the idea that it's okay to not have all the emotional answers. And it's okay to feel like you'd like to punch the below mural in the face for being so clearly zen and smug about it, when an email subject made you cry today. (This is hypothetical.) (Nope, it's not.)

 

I know that the recent spike of self-help books, podcasts and Instagram captions tell us that we need to be gentle with ourselves, and recognize that we're doing our best. Hell, I've written variations of that same theme over and over again. But sometimes, that's just not enough - you still feel like crap.

This week, my bib number for Boston landed in my inbox. This week, I also booked a flight for Boston so that I can cheer on my cousin as she runs it. So at the same time I basically solidified my commitment to being on the sidelines - again - I was handed a reminder that, had I not messed it up a second time, the person crossing the finish line could have been me.

That sucks. There is no other way to put it.

I've been pretty open about the fact that I'm struggling right now, trying to find my footing in suddenly murky waters. I've started to explore other workouts, reminded myself over and over that if my biggest hurdle in life right now is a boot on my foot that it's really not that big of a deal, but the cold, hard truth is that my emotional energy is completely shot. Getting out of bed every morning is really hard. Keeping a smile on my face is really hard. I cried in the shower this morning, and also a little bit in the coffee line (thank god for sunglasses) and I still feel like a giant chunk of me is missing. It's almost as if I wake up every morning to realize a piece of me floated away during the night, and after feeling that way since this time last year, I'm pretty much exhausted.

Oh, and I'm also really ashamed. Every time someone makes a comment about me being "always injured," or "injured again" or "maybe you're just not cut out to be runner," a little bit of me dies inside. In my best moments, I'm embarrassed. In my worst, I've decided I'm a complete and utter failure.

My head is not a really fun place to be these days. And any time someone that means well tries to talk me through it, even my mom, or my loved ones, or my friends, I find myself snapping at them - sorry, you just don't understand. And the truth is, they don't. It's about a marathon, but it's not about a marathon. It's about fighting through a year of loss and hurt and heartbreak to be handed more of it. And right now, I'm just really ashamed that I didn't reach the finish line : physical and metaphorical.

 

I listened to a wonderful Creative Mornings talk recently from Katherine Wintsch. The theme was "Broken," which, I'm not sure, am I the target audience there or what? But at one point during the talk - which you should take the time to listen to - she says "balance is bullshit." And I found myself nodding in agreement. She's talking about work/life/etc balance, but also a little bit about emotional balance. And I'm talking wholly about emotional balance.

I believe that positivity and good self talk and meditation and embracing your story, every shitty aspect of it, are so very important. I also believe that sometimes you need to raise the white flag and realize you ain't gonna get back to your sunny persona anytime soon. When that email about my bib number landed in my inbox, I was really embarrassed. I'm so ashamed of myself that I removed everything related to running from the walls of my bedroom and boxed them up until I'm ready to look at them again. I really want to cheer my cousin on, but the thought of being at the marathon in the face of double failure makes my throat constrict and tighten and my stomach drop. 

 

Balance is bullshit. Sometimes, you're just sad. You're just ashamed. And you just need a little bit of a break from trying to push through. 

Watching that bib number land in my inbox was really tough. It was sort of if all of the negative demons lurking inside my head ganged up to launch a missile straight into my Gmail, determined to remind me that no matter how wide I smile in my day-to-day, I've still had to let go of a dream twice. 

I really want to get back to a point where my energy and emotional stability are happy, balanced and aligned. But right now, they're not, and I think that putting pressure on myself to get them together is the wrong call. I'd like to see "balance is bullshit" become a mantra, sort of a rallying cry for those of us who are more concerned with putting one foot in front of the other than we are with figuring out how the latest setback fits into our greater story. Someday, we may. But right now, if a victory for you means successfully blowdrying your hair in between crying into your towel, damn do I feel you. Balance is bullshit. 

I feel like I'm rambling a bit here, but I also feel as if I'm rambling in life. Some days, I'm super ready to tackle this latest obstacle and figure out what it means in the larger context of my "journey." Other days, I'm not- I'm just really sad. More often than not lately, I'm really sad. In the last year, however, I learned that better things almost always are around the corner from being broken. And I'm hopeful that will ring true the second time around.