Okay…full disclosure, this is going to be raw + real. I’m going to throw all my feelings into words via my abused keyboard + then I’m going to hit publish. No editing, no sleeping on it, no staring at the screen to find a ‘better’ way to word things [although I do reserve the right the spell check…I’m not a heathen!]. This is just me + my current pile of anxious emotions getting thrown out for the world to judge. Enjoy.
I am currently sitting on the couch with a plate of bread crumbs near my feet. This is a slight upgrade from my state of ‘kinda, sorta dressed for a trail-venture‘. I just nibbled my way through some sugar/cinnamon/honey toast + am attempting to convince myself to get off my ass + out the door. I have the entire day to myself. I need to hit the trails, cover some miles + find some confidence in my ability to run…or at least survive upright while roaming along a dirt ribbon. I NEED that to happen. Mostly because I have a 100km race coming up in three weeks, but also because this week I have been drowning in a funk of ‘not good enough’.
When I try to pull myself away from the intimacy of my personal perspective + look at my life from the outside I feel like I’m being crazy. Privileged. Irrational. Whingy. I live in the Rocky Mountains where I co-habitat with an incredible human being who openly supports me for being me. I have more jobs than I know what to do with, all of which are in fields/careers that truly interest or entertain me. My day-to-day life is filled with happy people, loving creatures + general awesomeness.
Yet, I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I am not good enough to be living in this world. All of this awesome in my life seems too good to be true…too good for me…too good to stick around long-term.
Rather than grab life by the horns + ride this crazy train to the end of the tracks I am overwhelmed by my self-inflicted *need* to compete with the awesome that is my life. I wake up, ready to take on the day with a semi-ambitious to-do list…only to feel my entire being melting as I think about how I can’t be as good as I should be. I can’t meet my own expectations…expectations I feel like I’ve already lowered multiple times…how the hell am I going to take on life + even come close to meeting the expectations of others?
Then I start ‘real talking’ myself. Do I care about other people’s expectations? I shouldn’t, should I? But I do care…maybe not directly, but I care enough to make assumptions about what their expectations are + then become disappointed for them when I don’t meet them. I say ‘assumptions’ because I have no idea what the world actually expects of me…I just make assumptions, based upon…well, probably my own expectations of myself.
Now that I’ve established that I do care, at least to some extent, I start to feel crappy about the fact I am letting other people’s assumed expectations have an effect on my ability to find happy in day-to-day life.
I feel like I should be above these silly pressures of perceived expectations! I’ve happily done so many things that others perceive as weird or irrational…
…I lived in my car, on purpose.
…I shaved my head, repeatedly.
…I quit my job because it made my unhappy + started all over.
…I traveled internationally without a back-up plan.
…I juggle multiple ‘seasonal’ jobs because the idea of having on long-term job freaks me out.
…I run long distances along remote trails for ‘fun’.
…I packed my life onto a bike + sweat buckets along the coast of Croatia.
…I jumped out of a fully functional airplane.
…I lived + breathed a 2000 page medical book for months while changing careers.
…I traveled to another country to live in a tent with an internet stranger.
…I jumped into frigid alpine lakes without squealing just so my brother would do it too.
…I lived with strangers in foreign countries without knowing the local language.
…I moved across the country without a job.
…I have lived on shoestring budgets because it gave me more freedom.
…I am responsible for a lot of the gray hair my poor mother has acquired.
Yet…I’m not strong enough to smother my own insecurities. As a runner, an adult, a girlfriend, a co-worker, an employee, a friend…all of those roles have, at one time or another, caused great amounts of anxiety about how dramatically I am falling short of expectations.
Expectations no one has even implied are real. No one has said “Heidi, I expect you to have a career with a solid retirement savings by the time you turn 30” or “Heidi, I expect you to run the SUM 100K race with negative splits + a podium finish.” or “Heidi, I expect you to put dinner on the table every night after you deep clean the kitchen + walk the dog.”
No one has ever told me those things, or anything similar.
Which is good, because I would have laughed in their face. Those are NOT realistic expectations for my life, my happiness or my personal fulfillment.
Yet, somewhere in the bowels of my brain…that is what I expect from myself. Somehow those are things I consider myself potentially capable of. If I tried hard enough, if I was a more dedicated person, if I had more motivation, if I was a better human…those are all expectations I could meet, simultaneously.
I would never expect that from someone else, but I expect it from myself. The fact I am incapable of meeting those expectations [+ unable to put forth any sort of reasonable effort toward them] makes me a failure, in my eyes. It makes me afraid to attempt even ‘shooting for the moon’ because ‘being among stars’ is not good enough.
As I write this + as I wrestle with these feelings every day, I know I am expecting too much of myself. I also know that the fear + anxiety these daily ‘failures’ dredge up are stopping me from being as happy or successful or content as I could be. I know it is all self-inflicted + I know the people closest + most important to me would [+ do!] still support + love me…on a whole different set of expectations that I have proven again + again I am capable of meeting + exceeding.
However, all of that ‘knowing’ does not make it easier to deal with the fact that I am ‘not good enough’…according to myself. On days like today, when I’m half way through my bonus day off + nowhere near feeling like I’ve accomplished anything, these paralyzing fears of failure become very effective self sabotage.
I should have gotten up earlier to get more done. I should have gone out on my trail-venture before 8am. I should have checked more boxes on my to-do list. I should have felt less guilty…yes, I’m feeling guilty because of my self-induced feelings of guilt.
I am a disastrous mess of insecurities…something I am forever apologizing for, which just adds to the feelings of insecurities. It’s a vicious circle of inadequacies.
Welcome to my life of…well, life.
This rambling isn’t being put out for the world to see because I want your head pats or feelings of ‘oh damn, this girl is a mess’ sympathy. I’m writing this in part to force myself to put my raging emotions into understandable words…but I am also writing this because there is no way I am the only person who feels like this. At least from time to time…it can’t be *just* me.
So, if it’s you too…remind yourself you’re not alone + find one thing you want to be proud of today. Either you’ve already done it or you’re about to do it, either way, feel pride in your success as yourself. Bury all those feelings of guilt or failure + just soak up that feeling of ‘hell yea, I am awesome…in this moment, for this one thing!”. Because that’s exactly what I’m going to do as soon as I throw all of this emotional gibberish out for the rest of the internet to roll their eyes at!
>> a bit of semi-related real talk from the trail…words I threw at the keyboard nearly a year ago: Accepting Reality // I Can Fix This…Probably. Not.…proof this isn’t just a fleeting feeling + trails do offer up therapy! <<
**It’s worth noting that the photos you see above were all taken in the past two weeks, along mountain trails + alongside incredible humans…I am truly lucky to call this life mine + I have never loved people as aggressively as I love the ones who support me every day in all my endeavors. I know I am lucky, but sometimes my insides, my feelings + my insecurities get the best of me + life doesn’t seem so easy or perfect or wonderful…if I just sweep all of those ugly feelings under a rug how I will I know how unspeakably blessed I am? I strongly believe you need the bad to make the good better, but that doesn’t necessarily make the rough days any easier to cope with in the moment…**