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This is Me–No Holding Back

Posted Jan 04 2014 8:00am

There are many people I admire in the blogsphere.  I admire them for various reasons—whether it’s because of their accomplishments, their activities, their speed, or their outlook on life, I read their blogs because I like what they have to say and how they say it.  But the interesting thing about the blogosphere is that you get to show the world what you want the world to see about yourself.  The reality of it all is that the person who writes the blog posts that you enjoy may not be the person that you think they are.  It’s the same in life as well—sometimes, not even your friends or family may know what you keep inside; you let out only what you want others to see and be a part of.

One person from the blogosphere that I’ve had the opportunity to meet in person, and get to know better is my dear friend, Jolene of Geek Gal on the Run (formerly known as Canuck Mom on the Run).  There is nothing pretentious about her—what you read on her blog is what you get in real life.  Yesterday, she wrote a great post about why she changed the name of her blog and also about her outlook on things this coming year.  I’ve always thought Jolene was very brave putting out there for the world many of her life experiences, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. I admire that; I’ve always wished it was something that I could do.

Source: Alex & Ani #motivationnation


I hold back—I admit it.  I hold back not only on this blog, but I also hold back with my real life relationships; to this day, there are things I haven’t told friends and even some family members.  There are things that I’m embarrassed to admit or discuss openly—for a while it was my struggles with infertility.  I’ve always had a fairly well put together persona—I’m a Type-A person who likes to maintain control and refuses to let others see my vulnerabilities.  It’s a protection, armor.  At work, I recently had a conversation with my boss, who I have a friendship rapport with in addition to her just being my boss.  I was complaining about a situation that related to a supervisor (the person between me and my boss).

She looked at me and told me this, “I know you well enough now to know that Danielle has not been as candid, as black & white with X, as you are being with me.  Because Danielle doesn’t like to make waves, she likes everything to be OK and then she internalizes those things and stews about them; letting them out to only a few people, but never to the person that it deals with.”

She was 100% right.  Not just about the situation at hand, but about how I deal with things in general.  If I ignore problems and pretend that everything is OK then there IS no problem; I am in control.  Heck, I’ve been doing that for the better part of 2013 with the pending move to North Carolina .  I pulled back from this blog rather than discuss where I was in life and why I needed to pull back.  I’ve been sticking my fingers in my ears, closing my eyes tightly, and yelling “la la la la la la la” loudly so that I didn’t have to acknowledge—didn’t have to feel—what was going on in my life.

Source: as seen on Pinterest

Source: as seen on Pinterest

I suppose sometimes, to some people, me not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets gives them the impression that maybe I’m pompous or fake.  That I’m a “ perfect paleo mama. ”  In reality, I struggle with the same things that everyone struggles with—I just choose not to let everyone know about them.  But maybe, letting my wall down, dropping that shield I have worked so hard to build up to protect me—relinquishing a tiny bit of the control I so crave will help others see me, my TRUE self.  Or maybe it will help them see something similar in their own lives.  No matter the end result, I need to stop caring what others think of me.  I need to stop worrying about fitting in and being accepted and liked.

I had a conversation two weeks ago with the same supervisor that I noted earlier.  He told me that he thought I lacked confidence in my leadership abilities.  For the first time in a long time, I told someone that they were wrong.  I was truthful—I told him that it wasn’t a lack of confidence in my leadership skills.  On the contrary, I think I am very confident in most regards; instead I think know my problem is my fear of failure and fear that I am going to let others down.  I try so hard to make everyone happy that I let it affect me.  At the end of the day, sure it’s nice to be liked by others but it doesn’t mean I NEED to be liked by everyone.  I don’t NEED to be friends with everyone.  I need to be friends with myself.  I need to like myself—be comfortable with myself.  And holding things back from people and not showing who I am, how I may hurt, what I have dealt with and how I’ve learned from those choices isn’t right.  It means I’m ashamed of myself.  I’m not perfect.  I don’t need to keep pretending that I am.  I don’t need to control every aspect of my life.  I need to stop clinging to the idea that I can do it all.  I am fallible and that is OK.

Source:  As seen on Pinterest

Source: As seen on Pinterest

Thanks to Jolene’s truthful, honest blog post, I am going to start 2014 with some not-so-perfect facts about myself that I’ve been contemplating discussing for a while.  I’m hoping that I can discuss some of these topics in more detail throughout the year and give you all a better picture of who I am and what I deal with internally.  More importantly, I’m hoping that I can learn from myself.  I want to learn how to be a better me.  That doesn’t mean perfection.  It doesn’t mean to be skinnier, fitter, faster.  It means to love me for everything that I am and also, everything that I’m not.  The truth of the matter is I’m a mom of a 4-year old girl who thinks the world of me.  I need to be a positive example to her as she grows up.  I want her to know it’s OK to not be perfect all of the time (not to be confused with wanting to strive for perfection).  I want her to know that there is nothing in life that you should be ashamed of—we all have our struggles.  I want her to grow up and be comfortable with who she is and how God made her.  I want her to be thankful for the gifts and abilities she possesses and not mourn or covet those that she does not possess.  I want her to love herself but understand that loving yourself does not mean settling for where you are at—you need hard work and dedication; you need to put in the effort, but understand, know, accept, and embrace the end result AFTER you’ve put in your best effort.  It may not be perfect but it was the best you could do given your effort.

I’m not here to air my dirty laundry, but I am here to acknowledge events in my life and talk about what I have learned from those events.  I’m not a “perfect paleo mama”…I’m far from it…and I’m OK with that.

Here are 10 not-so-perfect-things about me that I haven’t shared with many people:

1)      I suffered from unexplained infertility—twice.  I was insanely jealous of my friends who were getting pregnant without effort.

2)      I have dealt with disordered eating in high school and in college—not an eating disorder, but an unhealthy relationship with food.  I used food to control the things in my life that I could not control.  It wasn’t healthy.  I still struggle from disordered eating thoughts from time to time, but do not currently have an unhealthy relationship with food.

3)      I deal with a negative body image.  I don’t see what others see.  I downplay compliments from friends and family at times, not because I’m trying to be humble but because I honestly don’t see what they see.  I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror naked because I only see the flaws—the muffin top, the sagging belly button, the stretch marks (not pregnancy induced ones, but ones leftover from poor choices in college), the post-nursing-mom-boobs.  Like most women, I have inspiration pictures of very fit, strong women on my Pinterst, but I know that in order to obtain that I need to give up some of my running because that esthetic and that of a long distance runner fight each other.  It’s a never ending cycle of self-doubt…

4)      I have a hard time feeling good in clothes because I always compare myself to my friends and how they look.  I will try on 5 outfits and text pictures of them to my BFF because I feel she has more fashion sense than me and can tell me if I’m trying too hard to look cute.

5)      I call myself “the fat sister-in-law” because I see both of my sisters-in-law as thinner and fitter than myself.  I love them both dearly and think the world of them.  Neither of them has ever made me feel that I am less than they are.  And as much as I love spending time with them, the first few minutes of being alone after spending time with them, I am reminded of the things that I dislike about myself and that I envy in them.

6)      I quit crossfit last year because I felt like I didn’t fit in.  I was a runner and I was ashamed about that.  I no longer was WODing with my friend who made it fun and my coach was deployed overseas.  He was a big motivator for me and didn’t make me feel as though I should be ashamed of my running.  He found a way to challenge me to be a better me and to push myself hard because he knew I could.  I miss crossfit.  Maybe not the WODs, they were not my favorites, but I miss the heavy lifting.  I miss feeling strong.  But what I’m most disappointed about is that I quit.  I quit because I talked myself out of doing it because I was self-conscious.

7)      I was very depressed last year after not being selected for the Nuun Hood to Coast team and then after being asked to run Ragnar with them, be turned down for their Ambassador program and only being selected as a fan.  I felt like a failure.  I felt unwanted.  I started to question why I would bother applying for HTC again this year.  I loved them but I hated myself.

8)      I am disappointed about my BQ time …this is the most shameful to be honest.  I managed qualifying for Boston…something most people dream of and most people, despite how hard they work, will never do.  But I am stuck on my time not being fast enough—I’m upset about the move to NC and what that means for my racing this year.  I likely will not run Boston in 2015 because I do not have the ability to train right now for a full marathon at a faster pace than what I ran Toronto in, pack my life and move to NC all at the same time.  That leaves a handful of races I MIGHT be able to get to in early September before the 2015 qualifying period is over so it isn’t looking good…and I’m angry about that.

9)      I have been struggling with being Paleo.  I have been adding grains back into my diet because my cholesterol wasn’t great this year.  I wanted to blame Paleo for it when in reality it’s likely due to extreme stress and increased steady-state-cardio.  But I cannot give up my running.  It’s like air.  Where does that leave me?  I think it leaves me not calling myself Paleo anymore and just following a healthy eating plan that makes me and my body feel good.  I know I can’t have gluten anymore as I have sensitivity to it.  I need time to experiment and see what my body can tolerate.

10)   I suffer from an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata.  Essentially, my hair will fall out in a very defined circular area and leave me with a bald patch, down to scalp when faced with extreme amounts of stress.  During my junior year in college I had my first flare up and lost a patch of hair on my head the size of a baseball.  I had short hair and tried to mask it by growing it out.  It eventually grew back.  I had my second flare up before my wedding.  I am experiencing my third flare up now.  I’m using the topical steroid that my doctor previously prescribed to me, and I know I should be following the autoimmune protocol however the thought of living without eggs, tomatoes, or peppers frightens me.  For now I’m going to try a 21-Day Sugar Detox in hopes that by breaking my sugar addiction I can calm the hormones down and put my alopecia areata in remission again.  I also need to learn how to deal with stress better.

Source:  As seen on Pinterest

Source: As seen on Pinterest

All of that being said, this year my “resolution” is to be honest with myself and those around me and to strive to be the best version of myself.  I have nothing to be ashamed of, I have nothing to fear.  I have me to discover, and me to love and embrace—just as I am…with a little hard work and dedication thrown in there for good measure!  I’m sure there are some you may read this and grin knowing that I’m not perfect.  Frankly, I don’t care; it all boils down to the fact that I have little time to worry about what others think most days.

Now I challenge you:  how are you going to be the best version of yourself this year?  We all have it in us—it just takes courage sometimes to find it and face it.  Thank you Jolene for giving me the courage—you are certainly one of those women that I admire and rightfully so—you’re a great role model!


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