Yesterday I was talking to my coworker about how I’ve been struggling lately. I was trying to point out the when and why of it all, trying to figure out what triggered this slide away from my longest ever successful healthy streak. She is struggling too, so together we came to the conclusion that if we can manage to pull out of this intentional nosedive like RIGHT NOW, we can still call this a successful journey instead of looking at it as yet another failure and restart. After all, life happens. Illness happens. Kids stop sleeping sometimes, work stresses you out, and you eat your face off for a few days and gain five pounds. It happens, and it’s alright.
I figured out something else though, thanks to her. “It was after you came back from that conference,” she said. And then, there, finally, it hit me. Total mental lightning strike.
FitBloggin scared the sh*t out of me. Instead of letting the inspiration and acceptance and love of the conference follow me out of my hotel room and home to my normal life, I let it turn ugly. I let it become a nearly overwhelming sense of inadequacy. I let my head spin it into all of the reasons why I wasn’t as good or strong or successful as all of those amazing people.
I know it’s ridiculous. I didn’t feel that way there.
Oh God. Oh God, I did. I did feel that way there. I didn’t want to feel that way, but the truth is that I did. I listened to every beautiful, inspiring, sad, awesome story… and instead of turning into an inspiration, a reason why I, too, could be successful, I let it fuel my inner critic. I let it magnify. I let it intensify. I let it become a terrible inner voice, an awful and continuous loop, a constant reminder of how many people had done something bigger, better, more.
Softly, quietly, I began to beat myself up inside.
You didn’t lose anywhere near as much, and you don’t even have as many kids.
You ate more than she did. You drank more than he did. I bet they saw you eat that cupcake.
You didn’t go to all the workout sessions. Other people did. Bigger people did. Older people did. But you? You didn’t. You’re lazy.
You could have worked harder. You should have tried harder.
You’re pitiful. You’re a terrible role model.
wrong… bad… lazy… stupid… embarrassing… ridiculous… pitiful…
not strong enough… not dedicated enough… not wanting it enough… not trying enough…
And around and around it went.
Writing it all out like that hurts. It hurts to admit to how I treat myself sometimes. It hurts to see how I internalize every perceived failing. I thought I was pretty far removed from all of that. I thought I’d fixed things inside, that I wouldn’t turn on myself so easily anymore. It took me a month to see it for what it was, to finally put together the pieces of the slowly building wave, find its source, and swim out from under it.
And here I am. Staying ahead of the wave… for now… barely.