Sunday, July 25, 2010

Falling off the Shame Wagon

I've had a shame issue for years.

So much of who I am and who I wish to be was dependent on circumstances that I couldn't always control.

So much of my self worth, inspiration, and drive came from a steady stream of powerful coaching, fabulous teachers, and spicy friends.

I was always fed great stories and was surrounded by brilliant minds and larger than life athletes. I was around people with a zest for life and an unbridled quest for adventure. I was incredibly lucky to be fed a steady diet of fire and passion in my youth. My transformation from a painfully shy childhood to a loud and satisfying coming-of-age arrived with a lot of hard work and a lot of help.

The problem came when I saw myself changing. And suddenly, in the post-college world, the steady stream of motivational videos and tales ran dry. The opportunities to make myself proud came to an abrupt end with my last great knee injury.

What did I do when I feared that those around me saw me in a different light? Well, I saw myself in a different light as well.

When I let an abusive and empty marriage to a high school boyfriend end, I was terrified at what my friends would think. So I avoided them.

When I became less of an athlete and more of a normal woman, with a normal body, I was so uncomfortable with myself that I didn't want anyone who knew me then to see me now. So I avoided them.

And since then, I've had a daily struggle in condoning who I am with what I look like and how I live. What do you do, for instance, if you felt like a butterfly that somehow got shoved back into your cocoon?

How do you live without steady doses of this?:

And I guess the answer is that you just DON'T. Even though I'm not in the habit of kicking butt on the track anymore, and even though I may appear to live a more subdued existence, I'm still the same person on the inside. The trick is to honor myself by no longer fearing that others may not see it. I'm still Rachae. I'm still on fire inside (and have the faded tattoo to prove it). I'm still full of dreams, goals, and adventure, and I love the life that I have and the path that I'm on. And if there's anything positive in this epiphany of mine, it's that I now know that maybe we're all like this. Maybe the most calm and collected looking moms are all really rock stars or rebels or mountain climbers in their hearts and they're just hoping someone comes along and notices.

I know I am.

And I know that if no one notices, I'll be just fine.

I'm going to continue my journey with a lot more looking forward and a lot less looking down. I'll find a way to be who I am with a little bit of who I was thrown in for good measure. There are still mountains to climb and races to run. I still need to feel some dirt on my feet and some wind in my hair and I definitely have a lot more bumps and bruises and adventures to experience!

I'm JUMPING off the shame wagon and don't plan on returning anytime soon.


kel said...

that shame wagon is no fun!! good luck!

Mad Composition said...

I need to print this out and hang it on my wall or something. Truer words have never been spoken.

Rebecca said...

Such beautiful words! I think we all ride the shame wagon, most of us just aren't brave enough to admit it.

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