I always had a hidden running/triathlon bucket list that I wouldn’t have dreamt sharing with anyone, because at the time it just seemed so out of touch. It wasn’t until 10 years ago that I finally allowed myself to start chipping away at my list.
Most of my doubts and insecurities surrounding ticking things off my list were body image & self doubt based. How do you make a start and not be concerned about others judgements? And how do you continue on when those judgements from people that you were so terrified of actually occur? Because let’s face it, there are some real arseholes out there & I have encountered a few along the way..
What have I discovered so far?:
Firstly, I didn’t want to give any more of my years (and my children years) to somebody else. To not see what I was capable of because of some judgemental person who had no positive impact what so ever on my life.
I discovered that there really is nothing better than when you prove to yourself (yep, yourself -not anyone else) just how strong you are. When I crossed my first finish line, I didn’t look around to see if anyone was looking at me. Instead I just looked within and felt strong, accomplished. ‘That’ feeling – no-one was taking that away from me.
I learnt that I didn’t need to wait until others accepted me, I didn’t need others to think I looked like a triathlete or a runner. I just had to believe it myself and tell myself I could. The more I did, the more I replaced that inner mean voice with a inner positive voice, the stronger my ambition grew.
I stopped waiting on someone else’s approval and stopped working towards someone else’s benchmark. Instead I set my own personal goals. I reminded myself that we don’t all have to be the same. I remember writing down, “You are allowed to set your own goals and standards. They can be different to other people’s, and thats OK”.
I couldn’t control the arseholes who ridiculed me when I was running nor could I stop the man giving me advice on my body shape in the pool that day, but I’ve learnt now that I could control the power I let it have over me. I’d allow a quick vent and then move onto working on something positive, something that would make me stronger.
Why share my running pics? my blog? I know it’s not everyones cup of tea. Perhaps I get a few eye rolls. But I’ve also decided that, that is ok. It isn’t for them. It’s for the others. A long the way, a few people have shared their insecurities with me. They have taken the time to show me their way of doing things – and they gave the middle finger to all those ingrained stereotypes. They allowed me to see that the differences we have aren’t something that need to be shamefully hidden. They allowed me to see my own worth. They inspired me to be the change that I wanted to see.
So I still work hard at making sure that voice in my head is so fucking powerful that others judgements can’t even be heard. I remind myself that If people don’t get or like what I do, then I don’t have to care. I don’t have to take it on.
Is it easy? No, but nothing worthwhile usually is. Do I struggle? All the time. Do I continue? All the time.
Don’t ever let your fear of what somebody else might think get in the way of you being you. You are worth more than that.