Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lies my Demons Told Me...

Photo: source
Sweat is dripping from my elbows. It's hot...I want to eyes burn with the salty sting of more sweat at my brow...the demons start their chant. "You're not built to be a runner"..."You're slow, too slow"..."You're going to fail"..."Just quit already". I start to believe them, these demons, and while my legs fight to keep moving forward my mind tries to justify quitting now...4 miles before my scheduled 10 miler is supposed to end. I want to throw up or throw in the towel...or both.

Photo: source
I'm sitting at my computer, the cursor blinking at me, tauntingly. I am working on a story to submit to an online journal...except the story won't come and so the demons start their chant. "You're not a writer"..."They will reject your story and tell you never to submit again"..."You're going to fail"..."Just quit already". I start to believe them and I close my page thinking I'll just check Facebook or my email for a bit...maybe read some blogs for some inspiration.

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” ~ Neil Gaiman

These little bastards have an insatiable appetite devouring my best intentions and gulping down my self-esteem like a college kid doing a keg stand. And it seems they have made themselves at home somewhere in my psyche. Squatters...because they don't even pay rent.

I have a wonderful friend, Heidi, who always tells me how good I am at everything I do. I have a love/hate relationship with compliments. On one hand they are a welcome surprise because I often feel no one notices and it's nice to be noticed {sometimes} but on the other hand I feel like an impostor. There's no way those words can be used to describe me...obviously I have her fooled. I think, 'perhaps to satisfy my own Ego I have exaggerated my activities a bit?'...because, as the demons point out, I am not worthy of such praise.

When my father died 2 years ago from a head-on automobile accident, I came across a journal he had started. Although I felt like a was betraying him to read his words...words he intended only for his own eyes, I also felt that I needed  to read them. I needed a connection, I needed an explanation, I needed to hear something, anything from him.

My dad in 1952, he was 5 years old.
In that little book I read about my father's own insecurities. I read that his biggest disappointment wasn't me {as most children of alcoholics might feel at times} but himself. This coming from the man I thought was brilliant...having earned a Master's Degree after dropping out of school in the 8th grade. Yet here were his words...echoing my own demons, saying how much he hated his lips {which were beautiful and full...the same lips he passed down to me} and felt that he had disappointed his family and failed in his career.

At any given time I am questioning my ability or dismissing my accomplishments. And while it's possible I inherited this trait from my father, who got from his father, who probably got it from his father it is time to end the madness. It's time I own my accomplishments, no matter how small or insignificant they may first appear, because they are born of my sweat, blood and tears...they are what make up my life.

Life can be hard, we never know what's going to happen in the next 5 years or the next 5 minutes. Success can be hard, things that come easy...that don't scare the hell out of us or test our limits or make us question our sanity aren't the things that have the ability to change our lives or perspective. I've questioned my sanity AND my limits during a Hot Yoga reduced me to tears, not just because of the physical aspect but the emotional one as well.

Running is hard. Running a marathon is really hard. It should be...only 1% of the population has done it. Writing is hard and the world is full of critics. It exposes us in a way that scares us. It's worse than being naked because it's reveals our true soul...not just the flesh and blood.

 “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. ~Thomas Mann

This from my friend Lauren, sent to my FB wall just today.

This from the Crazies' Manifesto at Rebelle Epoque.
As I was finishing up this post, a friend of mine (a fellow runner) posted this on Facebook, which couldn't have been more timely:

Running isn’t a sport for pretty’s about the sweat in your hair & the blisters on your feet. It’s the frozen spit on your chin & the nausea in your gut. It’s about throbbing calves & cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It’s about getting out the door & running even when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each & every day with. It’s about being on a lonely road & running like a champion even when there’s not a soul in sight to cheer you on. Running is about having the desire to train & persevere until every fiber in your legs, mind & heart is turned to steel. And when you’ve finally forged hard enough, you will have become the best runner that you can be. And that’s all you can ask for.

 ~ Paul Maurer (The Gift - A Runner's Story)


  1. This is brilliant, fucking brilliant!! So great, I am reduced to cuss words. I love every word of this! Seriously...don't let self-doubt be your dark passenger. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Push the "publish" button with reckless abandon!!

  2. Thanks so much Lauren! It's always scary to push that "Publish" button. Like standing on the high-dive when everyone is looking and there's a line behind know you can't back down {or even pee your pants with them looking} but that first step is still a doozie. I often have to say to myself "one day you will be dead and absolutely NONE of this will matter...the debt, the fear, the's all a fleeting moment, don't regret that you didn't at least try". It may sound morbid but it works for me...most of the time.

  3. It is my own story in a way ... . Thanks for writing this!


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