Alright, let’s take a break from the hamster wheel of positive image-building and get this out in the open: I mess up a lot, do bad things, sometimes on purpose with full knowledge that I shouldn’t be doing them.
I’ve been doing this Bible study lately that really convicted me about the need for honesty and openness among people in the church. And I see this with application even beyond the Christian community. What is the point of trying to hide where we screw up? We all know we do. I can see perhaps hiding it when it’s not edifying, and certainly not talking about it more to the point where it’s glorified in the wrong contexts (“omg I got soooo wasted last week” etc) but there is a time and place to be honest with ourselves and our human condition that we do bad stuff.
I try to be really positive on here and on my Facebook and Twitter pages because nobody likes to read whiny posts all the time. But positivity can often mean a lack of honesty.
Honestly: I let negative thoughts crowd out beliefs and faith, I get offended when people ignore me, I fight with my brothers, I’m late for class almost 50% of the time, I get dissatisfied instead of grateful about life, I slack on maintaining friendships, I skip workouts, and I indulge in the sin of gluttony when I surf the internet into the wee hours of the morning instead of doing homework, or you know, going to sleep.
Not getting enough rest seems to me my greatest weakness as a runner. It’s been a problem since sophomore year of college, the first year I was really on my own and out of the dorms. Not getting enough sleep makes me feel crappy for the next day, makes me miss out on social events and time with people I care about (having to catch up on sleep later), makes me not recover from workouts, and allegedly makes me fatter. It’s not a pretty picture.
What’s the point of all this doom and gloom?
Just to admonish and encourage other people to be honest. We all mess up. If everyone is transparent, it leaves us with less room for disappointment and more room for getting excited about successes.
Maybe I’m just the outlier here, the one negative runner in a sea of positive athletes. I feel like when I read a lot of runner’s blogs, they’re like “I’m injured but I’m doing all this cross training and I’m coming back stronger than ever! This only feeds my will to win! :)” This last year when I haven’t really been able to train (or, for 6 months, run at all), I was not like that. I get that writing upbeat blogs is probably part of the healing process, just announcing your intent to succeed and be positive probably helps you actually do that. Positivity is proven science… and an art. An art I have not yet fully mastered.
From December 2012 until March 2013, I avoided telling you the truth on here. I wrote about bikes, missing track and field, and not about how I basically gave up working out AT ALL and let myself slip into a negative spiral (well, I wrote about it later). At the time, it was impossible to write optimistically. If I’d have been honest at that time, the posts would have looked like “Maybe I’ll never run again. I’m living my days in a fog. I don’t feel like me anymore. Is there something wrong with me, that I can’t conjure positivity out of not being able to run?”
I honestly don’t know how I was functioning last winter… all I remember is a few freezing road bike rides, some depressed coffee shop study sessions, working at the running store, outgrowing all my jeans and running shorts, a perpetual runny nose from not sleeping enough, and an increasing distance between my coach and my teammates (weird what happens when you stop going to practice hmmm?).
There were a couple bright spots:
Close friends who stuck by me even when I was in a bad mood all the time, a new passion for mountain biking when I realized I had no longer had to worry about staying healthy for track season, acquiring a taste for the nectar of life AKA coffee, and getting to go to as many concerts as I wanted. I KILLED at SXSW this year. No need to run = stand in line and stay out as late as you want!
That was the past. What about now?
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been out here in Austin running, doing 30 minute 8:30 pace jogs (I used to do that for a shakeout run and go run 6 miles of track work later in the day… boohoo), and I’ve started to get upset that I’m still not training “for real” thanks to bothersome shin pain. I run about 15-20 miles per week which, though better than nothing, is piddly.
I ask myself what everyone does when they do something hard – why am I doing this?
I think as runners, it’s really good to ask these questions, and the answers change a lot. My answers are different than they used to be – stuff like to glorify God, because it helps pay for school, and it’s fun. Right now I’m just running (and cross training and lifting and rolling out and icing etc) to avoid getting back to how bad last year was. Seeing how much better I feel these days, even if it’s only 20 miles a week, is worth it.
I’m running with the hopes to become a professional runner because it’s still fun, because I want to live in faith (outcomes are uncertain = require more faith) and to become a stronger person.
Even though I say “Let’s be honest! Let’s stop putting up a front!” I realize that, ironically, even this post is still trying to project an image like, Ooh, I want people to think I’m honest. Whatever. You can’t avoid it when publishing online; putting forth an image, even an absence of an image, is integral to the use of online media. My goal, though, is to be as authentic as possible so you can draw your own conclusions.
Happier posts to come. I think I’ve finally finished writing out how I felt last school year. The demons have been exorcised. Summer in Austin has been beyond amazing and I’m excited to write about it in detail next! <– The exclamation points are not fake here!!!