Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 9 - Story Telling

(sorry - this is loooong!)

I've been writing the bulk of this post for a while..... and today seemed like the perfect time to post it since it speaks to the physical/mental/emotional wall I hit today. As I mentioned yesterday, I placed MYSELF in the fast intermediate van on the heels of the success I had on yesterday's hike. Today my van went back to the Solstice hike – I did this last Thursday and I really enjoyed it... knew what to expect and was really pumped up about how much better I was going to be able to do. So we start out and I KNOW how hard it's going to be since I've already done it – straight up for ½ an hour. Well, about 5 minutes into it I just felt zero energy. I stopped to recoup, take off my jacket, take a picture and then started again.. there were 2 people and a guide behind me. And I just kept stopping, which isn't like me, as since I've been here my motto has been *head down, one foot in front of the other and DONT STOP!!!*. Stopping plays with my mind and of course just makes the climb longer!! So I end up at the back – the last hiker with the guide behind me.. and I just lost it! I was so mad at myself for being last and for not being as improved as I should be. Of course, I was trying to keep a faster pace than last week, but I didn't acknowledge that and just felt so disappointed in myself. I sniffled all the way down to the bottom of the canyon where everyone was exploring ruins and then really lost it..... actually sobbing! I went off by myself and just let it happen as there seemed to be a lot of emotion at the surface. I was left alone as we had been told if we see someone *going through something* NOT to do the nice thing and approach and give a pat and ask what's wrong... emotional moments are encouraged here and they'd rather us not be distracted or interrupted, but just to let the emotions flow. So it was good. I hung back from the little bonus climb and just tried to figure out WHY I was feeling so emotional. It was then an easy hike out to the vans and I had a great afternoon where I really pushed myself and got up to 5.6mph running on the treadmill!

So.... this all speaks to how much I expect of myself, how I beat myself up over what I think I SHOULD be feeling/doing, and to the negative self-talk I'm so prone to. I've been trying to figure out WHY I do this, and some of my thoughts are rambled around below....

I started to read a book about 5 years ago called *How to Tame Your Gremlin*..... it was all about ending negative self-talk and began by asking to just IDENTIFY that voice – HEAR it, but don't fight it, don't talk back to it. I read that first chapter and had one of those light bulb moments (oh my god, this is me!!) and then in the next instant got a headache and my neck stiffened up - it really hurt! It was the weirdest thing, it was as if that negative voice had realized it had been discovered and was NOT happy about it! And I have NEVER picked up that book again. It has sat in my bedside table for these past 5 years and I look at it and think *I should read that book* but I don't. And that goes to prove that there IS a part of me – I'll call it a voice - that doesn't want to be gotten rid of.

This voice likes to tell stories. Stories not just about how I should feel about myself, but about how other people feel about me or think of me. I know the stories are untrue, but I tend to believe them anyway, probably because they've become a regular part of of the scheduled programming in my head.

Let's start with the truth. The truth is that I'm a very nice person, people like me, I'm smart, I'm a fast learner, I'm a good teacher, I'm strong, I'm a good mother, a good friend. These things I know, but the voice likes to screw around and try to make me question these things.

Case in point: I've been offered every job I've every interviewed for – I sell them on my skills, my personality, my attitude. But the story my *voice* tells me is *wow I sure fooled them*. This means that even before I started a position, I felt like a fraud, which led to never feeling good enough, crippled my self confidence and made any mistake I made great proof at what a loser I was. I'd believe that I got the job INSPITE of myself, and believed that once hired that my employer would soon learn who I really was and regret the decision. Being the self saboteur that I am, I think I would even do things that would prove that inner voice correct. But I also always felt like I was disappointing everyone. And not good enough.

Case in point #2 - I tried out for, and made an elite soccer team when I was 15 and played for them for 2 years – even went to Nationals and we came in second! But the story I told myself was that really I wasn't good enough and my coach was going to look at me one day and realize I didn't belong there and kick me off. Looking back I never felt I did my best and really no wonder - how could I achieve my best or live up to my potential if I felt I was a fraud – there by accident or that it was a mistake ready to be uncovered.

I don't know when this voice first appeared, but I know it was when I was quite young, as I can remember a lot of *negative* events that happened and can remember how they made me question myself. Nothing traumatic or horrendous, just a bunch of negative moments that got mashed together and seemed to snowball as I got older.

Maybe it's because I was the first born and a lot was expected of me? I always knew I was unconditionally loved by my parents, but I know they also naturally used me as their guinea pig... as every parent does with their first child... is she meeting her milestones? Is she like other kids? We should she be eating? Is she doing well in school? Should we let her drive? What should her curfew be? All those things were worried about with me, tried out, and then as expected, since I survived the parenting experiments, they let down more of their guard with each of my brothers, so that by the time my youngest brother in high school, it was *curfew? Oh yeah I guess we should give him a curfew... oh and here – take the car whenever and wherever you want, check in whenever you want, and while you're at it, here's some pop and chips!* Probably so worried that they'd spoil me.... but I don't think I ever felt like I was the cute one or that I was indulged much. I know with Maya, I expect a lot from her... sometimes too much for her age, and expect her to act quite maturely. I know she CAN, so then I expect it, but maybe by me piling on expectations, I'm creating inner expectations that she will feel she has to meet herself. Maybe that's what happened to me? I just know I never felt like I was meeting anyone's expectations and to this day believe that I should be a better friend, mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece, employee, coworker, babysitter - you name it – I should be better at it!

The voice likes to tell me what I SHOULD be. And it really is crippling to my self-esteem and belief in my capabilities. I would imagine some people would be surprised that I felt this way, because I never wanted others to see how I really felt, so I kept all these fears inside. As a friend of mine said when I told her about all this: “Wow, you're a really good actress, I never would have believed you felt so bad about yourself”! Unfortunately though, you CAN see the results of all this negativity just by looking at me, as the years of *SHOULDS* have contributed to a vicious cycle of deprivation and bingeing which has ultimately led to me being overweight.

Anyway, I've talked too much for today and am not even sure if all I said makes sense! It may be a bit rambling, but I'm just writing all my thoughts down – hoping they will reveal something to me! I've included a few pics from my hike today - most taken BEFORE my little breakdown :)

PS Funnily enough, I recently was told that my Mom also felt she was never good enough, which was surprising to me as I never thought of her this way. Something I need to explore more!


  1. Your journey is truly an inspiration! I pray that you will come to connect with the strong and beautiful person we all already know. I believe we all share in the same kind of struggles in our lives and your blog is helping not only you but everyone who reads it as well!
    You are awesome!!
    Love Cheryl

  2. I am glad you had your moment to reflect and write it all out. You are stronger than you know. That you even took this step to leave your family for a month and make this journey is a testament to your strength.

    Big hugs to you Les!


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