There are voices in my head. You may have heard them too. They say things like:
“You’re too old to play chase with your kids.”
“You had too many kids to wear that in public.”
“You are never able to finish a project. Why try to (Insert something you really want to do)?”
“How are you going to help your kid train? You know how slow you are, right?”
Those negative thoughts, sometimes, they overwhelm me. When people ask why I’m in a funk despite having “a good family, a good job and have [my] needs met,” I point to the voices in my head.
They tell me I’m unworthy of a good family, good job, etc. All those things that bring normal people joy, some days, make me feel miserable.
Luckily, life kicks those voices to the curb. It’s usually something small.
But my current state is because I’m on a mission. When I have a mission, I’m hell-bent on seeing it through. “Projects” — necklace making, spring cleaning, book reading — don’t mean as much to me. Missions — finite goals with bullet-points — make me excited.
Two months from now, Mountain Kid 1 is heading to year two of her school sports life. Last time I tried to train her, I was told to stop. I was too slow and gave her the training she wanted, not what she “needed.” I was silent and mad, but I stopped and let someone else take over. My daughter spent a lot of the 2017-2018 school year hating something she loved.
The aftermath of my passiveness made me mad. No one hurts my babies. I was guilty by complicity. I allowed this to happen because I didn’t assert myself and didn’t look for another way to improve things.
Now that it’s the summer again, it’s time to train for fall sports. But this time, the memory of my “failure” and a promise I made when I moved to North Carolina, fuels my mission.
So, this time, my daughter runs while I bike. We plan healthy meals together. She gives me the kind of shade that only a female knows how to throw when I make a misstep. We try to balance the work with some fun. As we get ready to end week two, I’m happy to report it has been going a lot better than the previous summer.
Some of my workouts are being put aside for now. And I feel OK with that, because my body is adjusting to having to do something different. I was dealing with a summer cold, and a lot of other things that come with having your kids home for the summer. When school starts, I get to do my own thing in my own time. For now, we just do what we can when the heat and humidity let us — at sunrise.
I made a promise when we moved back to North Carolina, after a 19-year absence, that things would be different than they were in Appalachia.
That means finding joy in the summer chaos and telling the voices in my head to shut up. It’s been hard, but I think in the past few weeks, I’ve found some tools that I always had but just didn’t know how to use them.
For example, mindfulness meditation is something I learned in college. Until I was re-introduced to it recently, I never sat in my emotions, recognized them or pushed them aside. I always sat in my emotions, like a bath, letting them soak in like a poison, making me feeling worse than before.
I can’t say that I won’t do wallow in misery again, but I am taking steps — like I did with my daughter’s training — to put things in place that level the playing field, tools that will help me combat negativity.
I hope your summer is going well. Things are a little chaotic here since the summer just started, but we’re surviving. Until next time, I hope you have some happy adventures.