I am not a runner.
When I was in middle school my deepest anxiety was saved for the day we were required to run the mile in P.E. I was an active kid who spent a lot of time outside, on the trampoline, riding bikes. However, any organized sport or running caused a strange reaction I liken to hyperventilating.
You may laugh and have in mind that I’m exaggerating. Stop imagining 32yr old Shilo. Picture with me 12yr old Shilo with braces, perm, and a decently round face that caused my eyes to disappear when I smiled… oh wait. That may happen regardless of cheek size.
I was last in the mile. Maybe you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad” but let me tell you- my fear over failing would turn into a side ache by lap one. By lap two I was dreaming up excuses I could use. By lap three every cute guy in the class was lapping me and I was praying they didn’t notice it was my frizzy hair and neatly folded socks falling behind. By lap four the rest of the class was waiting… and waiting… and dear God, am ISTILL doing this?! My run turned into a walk and I resigned myself to acting like I don’t care.
“Your time was 12 min and 45 sec.”
I shrugged. ”I had a side ache. My knees are bothering me. I’ve had this headache. I stayed behind with that slow kid so he wouldn’t feel bad. I ate too much for breakfast.”
Inwardly, “12:45? Sweet! My best time ever!”
The same year I discovered that I’m amazing at the high jump. Best girl in the class. Who knew?! The P.E. teacher said, “We’d love to have you join track.”
“I’m sorry… I feel hives coming on. I can’t breathe. Don’t you have to run in track?” No way. I had resigned myself to not being a runner.
Three months before my wedding my sister assumed the role of personal trainer and got me into the best shape of my life. Still- I made her promise no long distances. I got up to 2 miles of interval running but even in great shape dismissed the running option. ”I suck at running.” I refused to set goals in this area and when I hoped to break through a plateau, I certainly wouldn’t dare say it out loud.
I always told myself, “I’m comfortable not being a runner. So what? I do what I can do. What is safe to do… what I won’t fail to do. Two miles on the treadmill in the quiet of the morning. Done.”
I’ve been realizing running isn’t the only area of my life that this thinking of being safe and sticking to what I know has permeated. Apparently “good enough” sneaks in when anything more risks failure or uncomfortable vulnerability.
I am not a writer.
Since I could form letters I loved writing stories. They were in private notebooks because I knew they probably weren’t great. I threw them away when the notebook was full but it was therapeutic for me.
When I was ten years old I discovered the youngest published author was nine years old. I was crushed even though I had never told a soul my dream to be the youngest published author. I had convinced the “rational” part of myself that I wasn’t a writer but that rational part failed to convince a passionate (yet fearful) kid.
In 8th grade my best friend presented me with a journal. I filled it in a matter of months. I got another one. And another. In 19 years this “non-writer” managed to fill 42 journals.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...