by Lizz Bennett (originally posted 8-11-09)
I have a constant companion. He is about 6’, 250lbs, and I imagine very ugly. But that’s on a really bad day. Everywhere I go, everything I do, he isn’t just next to me, he isn’t walking beside me; I carry him right on my back. On a really bad day, his legs are wrapped in a vicious vice grip around my waist and his arms are around my neck in a choke hold. I am weighed down, slow, and barely function with little resolve to follow through on anything. On those days I think to myself, “why bother? What’s the point? I am just not able to do it all.” On those days I look around at everyone else and see them doing so well, going so fast, and accomplishing so much-on their own. On those days I suffocate under the weight of my burden.
Meet my companion, you can’t see him, but he is there. His name is Self-Doubt. Even on a good day, when I can barely feel his weight, when I don’t feel so constricted, I still catch him whispering in my ear, “Are you sure you can do this? You are just a Mom, just a girl, just a (fill in the blank).” It is a constant competition just to ignore him. It is battle every day to achieve my daily workout without turning my head, listening to him, and giving up. Ten years of endurance racing and every time there is a point at which I think, “Why am I doing this?”
Maybe you have met some of his cousins, Pride and Laziness, both of them equally large, and domineering. Here’s the thing, regardless of how I might have been acquainted with him, (childhood trauma, low self-esteem, unsupportive high school coach), I am so completely over carrying him on my back. I have enough to haul around every day without a 250lb. monster clinging to my life-support systems and dragging me down. After years of this relationship I will not shed a single tear in his absence.
Here is what I imagine happening. Every time I ignore him and get up and give 100% in my training, I picture him shrinking a little bit. Every time I give myself credit for doing my best, instead of focusing on my short comings, he gets lighter. Every time I ignore the feeling that I should just take it easy because after all I am just, (fill in the blank), he loosens his grip around my waist and his arms around my neck are barely there. I imagine actually running a race and enjoying it! Racing with me and nothing holding me back, feeling 250lbs lighter! I imagine finishing a workout and being totally proud of what I have done and not comparing myself to anyone else! What would that feel like? I will tell you, complete freedom!
So good bye big SD! Find someone else to ride, because I am not going to carry you anymore!