In the space of Facebook comments and text messages, sometimes people take my updates at face value. I dream about things beyond my ability or beyond what I’ve done so far and it scares me deeply- yet you can’t convey the fact that conviction and fear of failure are often simple bedfellows in a 140 character tweet or a simple blog post.
Three months ago, I made the decision to move back to California. I also made the decision to start running. I fell in love with races, I fell in love with horizons I hadn’t even seen yet with my own eyes in such a long time- the long off horizons of dreams not yet realized. It’s been exciting- just like when you fall in love with a person, the beginning is always exciting and new…before the “OH SHIT” factor sets in, it’s all possibilities.
I have a tendency to reach for things, crazy things. Life is short. Be completely crazy. Raise money for charity: water, totally crazy. Decide to pack up and head west, yep, crazy. Sign up for a half marathon and then dream of running a full marathon (that’s 26.2 miles, omg) Let yourself see “where things go” in your love life, your personal life, in your body, your mind, what you have to give- again, INSANE.
One of my favorite things is in life is to defy what’s possible. I wish I could say “what’s possible” includes winning Olympic Medals or walking on Mars- but truly, there’s something more powerful. Sadly, “what’s possible” doesn’t even get that far- it doesn’t defy time or space, it’s simply the space we have trapped our abilities within our own heads. We placed boundaries on ourselves from childhood that are ridiculously stupid- ”I’m not beautiful.” “I’m not strong,” “I could never give it all up and start over.”
Each of us carries around the burden of the boundaries we set on ourselves. It feels lighter to cast them off and look at your naked self- but it’s scary as hell.
Of course, there are two sides of boundaries- the boundaries that keep us trapped inside, and the boundaries that tell us that parts of ourselves are off limits.
A few months ago, I told myself I was healthy. I was fine- no questions asked. I said “You don’t need to be a marathon runner to look great or be healthy.” That’s so true, you can be anybody you want to be and be your best self. You can be healthy in a variety of shapes and sizes, but truth was, I wasn’t. I had put up a boundary up around myself that getting real with my abilities and truly owning this body, reclaiming it, was off limits.
I can’t even tell you how many times I could “run if I wanted to,” I just didn’t want to. There is something completely shitty and totally amazing about admitting when you actually take time to face the little white lies you tell yourself and face your truth. There is no better evidence that you’ve lying to yourself to protect your ego when you realize you can’t touch your toes (and it bothers you) and that you’ve signed up for a race beyond your current ability.
Sure, without walls, egos get totally bruised- but at least you can take the energy devoted to boundary building to actually doing something.
There are days when facing your truth hurts like hell. Then you come out the other side of it with less shallow ego and more true grit to back it up.
I set up a wall around assumptions I didn’t want to touch. The boundaries I created kept me from examining that I really wasn’t as in good shape as I thought, that I wasn’t quite happy with how I looked or felt. I put up that wall so I didn’t have to look beyond it, I could just assume my self-image and my physical capabilities were “fine.” If you don’t see it, it ain’t there! HA!
Right now is a time of great transition and a healthy dose of challenge. I’ve torn down boundaries that I thought kept me safe, but in truth, just kept me in denial.
There is nothing more vulnerable than admitting you’re naked without boundaries. You have to examine your boundaries every time you apply for jobs, train for a new goal, make decisions to embrace and reject, to hold on and to move on. You have to tear down the boundaries that are holding you back and you have to give yourself ample time to attack the boundaries you’re desperately clinging to for security.
So, in the array of tweets, Facebook posts and email updates to the people in my life- everything looks rosy from the outside. Hell, it even looks rosy to me when I write them, I’m excited by new challenges and blazing new trails. I’m frustrated, curious, excited and exhilarated and yes, exhausted simultaneously.
I started writing this post because I knew it was time to admit that the honeymoon phase is over, it’s loving dedication at this point. I’m still hunting for a job that will fulfill me, training for my half marathon and chasing the sunset by heading west in over a week- I’m a bit overwhelmed but ready.
I started writing this post to say those things, but I finish it to say that if you’re feeling these things too- you’re not alone. Don’t judge your insides by someone’s outsides. In the abbreviated space of a tweet or the happy pictures on Facebook, there’s a lot that can’t be said. Many of us are still unfinished.