A Return from the Void

Well, the last four weeks have been "a real challenge," as I like to say about things I hate dealing with. (See also: setting up automatic bill pay, remembering to bring my laptop charger with me, and responding to emails promptly.) But I'm getting better about not waking up with clenched fists or staring into the faces of the people around me — bus drivers, my grocery store clerk, the lady who swipes my card at the gym — and wondering: Did you do this? Did you vote for the rancid macaroni and cheese man who is our president elect?

When I was volunteering for the Hillary campaign, we started each shift by introducing ourselves and stating why we were there. My answer was always the same: I was there for my parents. All this time, I thought if I could help Hillary win, it would be a tiny way of paying them back for sacrificing everything and moving to a country that still doesn't champion their success. I wanted to prove that hatred couldn't triumph, that more people in this country valued and respected them than didn't. The day after the election, I apologized to my parents. 

But life continues to go on, even when wallowing seems like the best option. I loved this essay from America Ferrera: How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic

One day as I was miserably running laps, my coach Jerome said to me, “I don’t know what you’re saying to yourself when you reach that pole, but you need to change it.” I was annoyed and exhausted, but mostly I was creeped out. Was he psychic?! Every single time I passed that pole and looked up to the last 100 meters of my lap, the voice would start to scream: Who do you think you are? You can’t do this! Just stop and accept you’re a failure!
It occurred to me then that if I really wanted to make it through this challenge, I needed to rewrite my inner dialogue.

When I first started running, I always replayed Jillian Michael's mantra in my head: "Pain is fear leaving the body." It did not make me run faster! Or even enjoy running or training all that much, because lol duh, focusing on pain is not inspiring at all!

Then the weekend before a race, I read advice from Olympic track + field hopefuls. I decided to give Jillian a break and follow Kaitlin Goodman's lead:

"Be brave. There’s a point in every race where you can choose to really push yourself and dig deep or back away from the challenge. Make the choice to be brave and take risks, and you just might surprise yourself and do better than you’d even imagined!

Kaitlin's advice is SO corny, and yet — I ran my fastest race while thinking about her words. Was it all because of Kaitlin? Definitely not! But I enjoyed the race so much more. So now I'm trying to apply her advice to the parts of my life that aren't spent in sneakers. That means swapping moping for taking risks, like showing people my work and staying out late, inviting myself to things and recommitting to my word count goals. It's slow going, but going all the same. 

Words written this week: 734