Thursday, March 3, 2016

Running and finding my voice...

I'm so incredibly grateful to be back running again. It's been such a long painful year with all the stops and starts battling my injury. On top of that, I unexpectedly lost my little running buddy, Chantelle, in December. I had been matched up with her through a running group The group matches up runners with kids with disabilities. It's been extremely sad but I still bring her fighting spirit with me every run.

I'm up to a 4 mile long run which is a far cry from where I used to be. It feels great to be back out there again training my body and my mind. Running helps me organize my thoughts and seems to be a metaphor for my life in so many ways. I struggle with sharing my life on here in such a way that I respect those in it. I choose to share my life. Everyone in it may not. So I'm always mindful of that. I'm not really sure why I feel compelled to do it. I guess I get the most out of reading or hearing other people's experiences and how they may or may not fit in my circumstance. I learn the most this way. I hope that making myself vulnerable somehow helps someone else find their own truth or vulnerability and ultimately strength. That said, I'll share my latest experience.

A couple days I ago came across some old cassette tapes. Among them were audio books, a couple psychic readings, and lastly a counseling session from 1996. I know, right?? This by far proved to be the most enlightening.

I was 24 years old and I was sitting in a counseling session with my significant other. I had agreed to have it taped as a new thing the counselor wanted to try. When I first heard my voice I was surprised. I sounded the same. I recognized myself not only in the sound of my voice but also in the short little snippets I said in the beginning. I have always portrayed myself as being such a train wreck back in my 20's. In many ways I suppose I was. But what was most surprising were the many ways I was not. I didn't give myself enough credit.

As the tape continued on, I started to grow extremely uncomfortable. In spite of having very valuable things to say, I recognized immediately that I became more and more quiet as my partner became more and more vocal. What started out as a clear strong voice became more and more silent. It was almost painful to listen to myself become smaller and smaller while the other person in the room became bigger and bigger. The session foreshadowed and encapsulated the "me" of the next 15 years. I felt like I was witnessing what I have always felt but never really got until that exact moment; there wasn't enough room for me. That translated into me playing small for a very long time in almost all of my relationships. It reminds me of a quote by Marianne Williamson I held onto for many years.....

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world...."

I spent a lot of time blaming a lot of people for being bigger than me. And by being bigger I mean speaking up more and being louder than me, out talking me, being sure to get their needs met even when it meant disregarding my needs.

But in listening to the tape and working through the sadness in myself, I realized that even back then, though quiet, there was a wise little voice inside me that knew what I needed. I simply didn't trust her then so I spent 20 years listening to the voices of everyone else rather my own. Recognizing that has helped me begin to believe in myself again and reclaim my power.

Running and writing help me strengthen my voice. The physical pain marathon training for my first marathon not only helped me work through grieving my mom and my family, but it also helped me leave behind the parts of myself I no longer am. Actually every single run I shed a piece of that silent helpless girl. I start out the run with her but I finish a more strong confident woman.

(By the way that same girl who had never flown or traveled alone in her whole life got herself to fulfill another dream and travel to the West Coast all by herself last fall.... But that's a post for another day :)

Back on track.....Today, I vividly remembered the feeling of exhilaration and strength when I crossed the finish line of the marathon. I grew in ways I never dreamed. Oddly, the first thing that popped in my head as I crossed the finish line was a scene from the Wizard of Oz.
I know. You're thinking, really?? The Wizard of Oz?? I'm a weird girl :) 

In it, Dorothy is about to finally get herself home after spending a very long time searching for this magical wizard to help her get there. She battles all kinds of things, like an evil witch and flying monkeys only to come to the end when she asks the good witch, Glinda to go home and Glinda simply replies ...

"You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power. You just needed to learn it for yourself."

So with remembering that, I'm continuing my journey and I'm all signed up for Marathon number 2 in October. I think my body and my mind and my heart, are finally ready for all that I have to overcome and all that I have to learn this go around.

Wine Glass Marathon, here I come.....