Hi gf! This morning over my 5AM coffee, I decided to just sit down and write. I felt like writing what was on my mind even if it was a little life update. Little did I know, I started writing about spring which turned into running which turned into a half marathon chat which turned into a personal story of overcoming self doubt. I usually leave vulnerable posts in draft mode for months and never look back to publish it, but this one feels right.
So here is my unedited coffee writing from this morning..
It’s feeling like Spring here in New England day by day. With anything above 40*, I let Muenster have a crack in the patio door for an hour or so. He loves sitting in that spot, watching the cars go by during morning and night traffic. He’s such a ham! When I crack the door for him, his nose goes on overdrive trying to suck in all the fresh air he can. It’s a sight to see. Today we are hitting 50* which I think calls for my first outdoor run of the year.
Speaking of running, S and I are running our favorite half marathon again this June. Eep! It’s in the Old Port of Portland, Maine and if you’ve been a long time blog reader, you know that Portland my favorite place in the world. That’s where we spent our college summers, got engaged and got married. Part of the course is actually a four mile loop around the Portland bay which was my college running route and where my love of running began 🙂
My parents went through a bad divorce when I was a junior in college and running became my outlet and coping mechanism through the difficult time. People often think of young kids being effected by divorce, but it’s just as hard [but in a different way] for adult children and there aren’t many resources for us. So on top of struggling with a bad divorce, a seized relationship with my mother, the decline of a family member’s health, the death of my dog Daisy, juggling my FT college course load and working 30 hours a week to pay for my life expenses and dealing with the stress of being dropped my my mother’s health insurance.. my junior year roommates also were toxic, self-absorbed, mean girls, so between this huge life change, life in general and horrible roommates, my four mile running loop was my safe zone. If I’m stressed, sad, happy, anxious.. anything really.. outdoor running clears my head and gives me the endorphins I need to feel good and less anxious. It’s therapeutic for me.
I signed up for my first half marathon right after I graduated college and trained for three months. I remember I was so excited and nervous! I honestly didn’t know what to expect because this was not only my first half marathon, but my first road race! I had only ever ran with S, not like 200 other people.
Anywho, the half marathon we are running this year is also the first half I ever completed that summer of post-grad. My first year, S was on the side line cheering me on [he’s joined me for each since because he caught the running bug 😉 ].
So about my first half marathon.. I have a story to share. At first I reflected on this as a funny story, but then realized it was more than that. I was struggling mentally with self doubt and overcame it so it’s worth sharing for more than just giggles.
OVERCOMING SELF DOUBT
The half marathon was on the hottest day of July, with practically no shade and was almost all uphill for the first half [killer]. The first leg of it was basically a six mile loop. So right at mile six, you passed by the starting line to complete the remaining 7.1 miles on the other side of Portland. At that point there were porta potties in case ya “gotta go”. I didn’t, but I did need to cry.
Feeling huge weight on my shoulders and heart, I went into the porta potties and told myself that it’s okay if I just stopped now. No one would judge me. S would tell me it’s okay and lift me up. My dad would tell me that I did my best and I can try again. I could just take my tracking bib off right now and throw it down the toilet and pretend I never signed up for this.
Note that I thoroughly trained for this. I diligently followed a training schedule and ran distances I never thought I could. Through training, I hit the pavement of just about every Brookline and Newton sidewalk.
This was a mental struggle, not a physical one.
I have been told two things my entire life –
- you’ll amount to nothing.
- you can do anything.
Pretty contradictory, right? The first line, from my mother. The latter? My amazing father.
I’m driven by two things in life:
1. proving my mother wrong
2. proving my father right and making him proud
While standing in that porta potty [lol], I let self doubt take over. I’m useless. I’m not capable of anything. I’m stupid. I’m not extraordinary. I’m incompetent. I suck compared to everyone else here. I should give up. My failure will embarrass everyone I’m close to. I won’t amount to anything. No accomplishment is good enough.
Basically all the demons that I’ve been told my entire 22 years of existence from one horrible person really haunted me.
But what gets me though life every single day? Positivity. I think my positivity was formed as a coping mechanism from all the horrible mental abuse I encountered in my adolescence. I see the glass half full. The second something negative happens.. big or small.. I am the one to flip the situation to a positive and find a learning. 99% of the time.
This day was the 1% of the time I couldn’t shake the dark clouds. When I go to this 1% place, I feel like she has won which sends me deeper to a dark hole.
So what did I do in that porta potty all by myself? I cried it out. My dad may be a big burly guy, but he’s the one who taught me that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to not only have, but express your emotions.
So I cried it out in a dark, smelly porta potty for three minutes and wallowed. Wallowed that the girl I just met on the course has her mom cheering her on and I’d never have that. Wallowing that she has both parents cheering her on TOGETHER and I’d never have that. Wallowing that even with this accomplishment under my belt, it still wouldn’t be good enough. I’d still be stupid, incompetent, incapable and a failure.
Oh and I for sure added in a pitty party that it was the hottest day of the year so I’d be no where near my anticipated and trained pace.
After my three minutes of wallowing, I flipped my attitude. I addressed the half empty part of this glass, but there is more in the other half of that glass. I listed off what I’m tankful for.
I’m thankful I have my boyfriend [now husband] cheering me on from the sidelines. I’m thankful to have a dad that will always cheer on and encourage me. Thankful that my dad has provided me more love than a room of of parents ever could. I’m thankful to have legs to complete a half marathon. I’m happy I was diligent enough to train for this over three months. I’m happy the sun was shining. I’m happy to have found a healthy passion that gives me mental sanity. I’m thankful for the moment I join the 13.1 club. I’m thankful to be in my favorite gorgeous, coast-lined city. I’m excited for the phone call I’ll be making shortly to my dad to tell him my accomplishment. I’m thankful for what I went through growing up because it gives me the relentless drive to knock down any barriers that come my way.
Then I put my big girl pants on and finished the 13.1 miles – just like I trained to do.
My first half marathon accomplishment showed me that I can accomplish anything I work diligently towards, just like my dad has always told me. I learned that I will amount to something. I learned I am capable. I learned that it’s okay to have your moment of wallow as long as ya snap out of it to the glass half full.
If you’ve ever struggled with self-doubt, I hope by sharing this experience you don’t feel alone. We all have dark clouds, but how we choose to look at them will dictate our happiness. I could have allowed my dark clouds to overcome me by giving in and quitting this race, but after 22 years the dark clouds don’t control me anymore. I am in control of my path in life, accomplishments and happiness. Xo Mindy
Mindy! You’VE BEEN AN INSPIRATION TO ME THE WHOLE TIME I’VE KNOWN YOU AND THAT WAS BEFORE EVER KNOWING THIS PART OF YOUR STORY AND WHAT HAS SHAPED YOU INTO WHO YOU ARE. THIS IS AN AMAZING POST, SO HONEST AND AUTHENTIC AND ITS JUST ANOTHER REASON WHY YOU ARE SOMEONE WHO PEOPLE LOVE AND CARE ABOUT AND WHY WE ALL FOLLOW ALONG WITH YOUR LIFE ON THIS BLOG. YOU’RE AMAZING, KIND, TALENTED AND POWERFUL! XOXO
Aw Kelsey. This made my day. Thank you for your kind words and endless support. I’m so lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for this<3 <3 <3
On so many leveLS, this is One of the most beautuful posts i’ve ever read. I love reading your blog, aNd so does my teen daughter. You are beautuful, Mindy, inside & out!
You are so sweet. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I take pride in that you find my blog to be a great read for your daughter. This mean sos much to me. Thank you for your support! Xo Mindy
Dear Mindy, I read everyone of your posts. This one has moved me. I’ve known you your entire life. Your father is right!! You have achieved so much in your life. I think that you are a remarkable young woman and don’t you ever forget that, ever. I’m very proud of you. Take care.
Hi Shannon – Thank you so much for your kind words and for reading and supporting my blog 🙂 You know my dad so you know how lucky I am to have him! I miss you and hope all is well! <3
Love you girl! You have accomplished so many amazing things and have so many more to come! xoxoxoxo
My supporter from day 1!!… literally! Love you Leeann!!!