Hi everyone. Virginia here. I have been struggling with what to write this week. I felt very “cared for” by the SBM community last week, but I have still been struggling with what to write. First, I want to say thank you for all of those who worried about me. I was touched. I did not go to the doctor last week, but I did talk to one and to a few other “experts.” I am feeling better. I’m ok.
BUT….now that I have something to say, I don’t want to write about that. What I want to write is my response to Meredith, THE Swim Bike Mom. I just finished reading her post, “An Unworthy Life”. I am in tears. I am touched. I am so thankful that she will “put it out there” and just BE and FEEL what she is and feels. So, I am writing her a response letter.
Thank you for showing your insecurity. I know you feel it. I feel it too. I, too, feel like a fraud. When I am feeling strong, something silly always brings me down. Here are my examples as of late.
1) I have a new teaching job, so many people don’t know about my triathlons, etc. I will say that I am lonely in this job. I haven’t made friends like I had at my old job. I feel like the dork in a high school full of cool kids. Recently I did talk to someone at work about triathlon and that person told another person. Days later I was walking down the hall and a teacher said, “Hey, I heard you do triathlons.” I responded that I do and that I’m training for my first Ironman. He said, “Wow. You are emaciated like those other triathletes I know.” OUCH! Ok….so I know I am not FAT (I DO KNOW IT, even if I don’t FEEL it), but that comment hurt. I felt like he had pointed and said “hey, fatty!”
2) I feel like a bad mom. I run with a woman who I really like, but she is always telling me how “lucky” I am that my husband does so much and “lets” me train. I have told her about a million times that 90% of what I do is when they are sleeping, but she still says it….. a lot…….
3) I feel like an outsider in exercise. I have a few women I now run with. It’s been great. I felt like I was fitting in. Last week I was talking with them about scheduling the week and I mentioned that I missed them on the six miles I ran alone the day before. One of them said I was “co-dependent.” She said it as a joke….but it hurt. It reminded me that I am the “new” one and made me feel like I’m around too much. There are also other “groups” that run in my town. I’m on several message boards with them, etc., but I’m an outsider. I don’t really know them. One particularly nice guy literally introduces himself to me EVERYTIME I show up to something (which is not a lot). I am totally forgettable.
4) I’m a fraud. Training for an Ironman is just stupid. I’m not sure why I think I can do it. For example, I just pushed my swim that was supposed to be tonight to tomorrow after my run because I’m tired from my run this morning and day of work. FRAUD. NON-Ironman trainee.
So, Meredith, I’m not making excuses for any of this. Usually, when I am negative, I force myself to look for a bright side. I am not going to do that right now. I am going to let myself feel lonely, fat, and fraudulent, and I’m going to own it. You know why? …Because I know that I can be strong like you are, just on another day. I know that I will move past these crappy feelings, because you did and you do. When I started to train for my first sprint triathlon, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I found your blog, and you convinced me I could. You didn’t know me. You didn’t have a book. You weren’t an ironman. You were just a blogger….starting out…trying out….inspiring me. I knew that if you, a working mother of two kids, could complete your journeys, I could too. Now, you have a huge following. You are on the cover of magazines. You are sponsored. You have multiple websites. You do podcasts. You sell stuff with your brand on it. You are YOU …. All THAT … THE Swim Bike Mom, but you weren’t when I found you. You were just Meredith Atwood, blogger making a name for herself and trying to tri harder and farther. It was because you were simply you that I was happy to find you.
Thank you for inspiring me. I wouldn’t be here without you. I can’t promise you’ll feel better soon. I can’t promise that I will. I can swear that you changed my life.