Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When no one is looking...

About a month ago I joined a running group called Black Girls RUN! Atlanta. BGR-A, is a chapter of the national fitness organization, Black Girls RUN! The Atlanta chapter, however,  has over 3,500 members- making it the largest running group in the STATE!  As such, you can imagine how scared I was to join. I thought I would be the slowest, fattest, most out of shape-st in the group. Buuuut, my desire to be in the best shape of my life by 30 is greater than my fear of being embarrassed. So I did it anyway, and of course I wasn't any of those negative adjectives listed above.

BGR-A: Atlanta Marathon
By and large, the experience has been wonderful. Where I could barely run a mile before, now I can run 3 miles comfortably and have run up to 5.2 miles! (I even went from a 33 BMI to a 23 BMI). So yea, I am getting it in.  Last week (Sunday) was the Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay. The course is 26.2 miles. You could either run it straight by yourself or you could run as a part of a relay team. Something like 17 of the teams that were participating in the relay were from BGR-A, so those of us who were NOT running were asked to come out and cheer the other members on. It was so cool and a lot more emotional than I thought it would be. The relay, which  broke the standard 26.2 miles into 4 legs of varying distances started at 7 am. But most teams didn't finish until 4 or 5 hours later. I was proud to be there rooting for my BGR sisters and imaging myself participating next year. At the end, the 100 or so of us that were there took pictures and chanted and all that jazz. It was so uplifting to see all those Black women coming together for something...positive. I was moved. So moved that I ran 3 miles after I left the group. But what moved me more was what I read on the BGR-A. Facebook page later that day. One of the runners and an ambassador for the group posted something along the lines of, "you have to run and practice all the time not just when people are looking."  I was so struck by this and thought it would provide the perfect topic for my blog today.

The person who posted the aforementioned quote recently finished a half marathon and was the first of all our relay teams to finish the relay. Yesterday, she a said that she completed her last mile in 7 minutes and 20 seconds! Can you imagine the amount of training, discipline, and heart it takes to do that? I am sure she was excited to see us cheering for her at the end, but we were not on the course the entire time. She had to motivate herself. No one would have known if she walked or stopped or any of that. Even now, I can't say for sure that she didn't...(although I doubt it since her team was 8th out of the 100 teams that competed). My point is, she did what she had to do regardless...because she had a personal goal...a promise to keep to herself.

 I loved her post so much because it spoke directly to the journey I am on personally both with my weight loss and with becoming a  writer/life coach. In life coach class, our coach/teacher told us that the first portion of the class is called YOU-ology. My class is called Kenya-ology and that is literally how I am supposed to refer to it. Why? Because I must first heal myself before I am ready to help anybody...do anything. And to be honest there is no audience for that healing. When you are in the trenches of your physical and emotional self work there  is no one there to cheer you on. It just you...your memories and your will to do better. Which brings me to (drum roll please) this week's epiphany...

My trainer told us last week that we have to stop being afraid to win. We have to come a place within ourselves where we don't let the expectations (be they low or high) or the accomplishment (be they great or small) determine where we see ourselves.  I wonder how any times we convince ourselves we can't do something because no one else we know has. Or how many times we look at other people and think..."Man, I could never do that." I think the whole fear of winning thing is why most of us seek the outside validation before we do what we want to do. It's like we want someone else to tell us we can so we can believe it....

About two weeks ago, I started doing a little exercise called the #30daythankyou. I started on the anniversary of my mother's death. My mom passed when she was only 42 years old and as I approach 30, I am more and more aware of how important it is to give people their flowers while they are still alive to smell them. Beyond that, I love the way it makes me feel tell someone thank you. I have found that it feels good to the giver and to the receiver. I was so excited about my little activity and really expected that everybody in the world would get on board. However, quite the opposite happened. Of the ten people that I would say are my closest friends only one of them has done it more than once....even after I asked.  Part of me wants to be hurt about that...I guess part of me is...but in those moments when I feel like I am out here on my own...I remember 2 things. 1. GOD IS ALL THERE IS and 2. So what?  

So what, if the people who I thought would support me don't.  There is so many more people doing it that I never even considered would. So what if this road feels lonely and hard sometimes. The true measure of my person is not how many fans or fireworks I have . It's in the work that I do...when there are no fireworks...when there is no cheering section....when there is no one but me and GOD.  It's a tough space to come to, but it's necessary.

There is a lot of shame associated with the quarter-life crisis. People don't want to talk about the uncomfortable feelings that come with being confused, unemployed, single, broke and so on. Some people won't even publicly join the community because they don't want to be known as someone who can identify with these feelings.  Some people may even be too busy, or selfish, or absent-minded to even find value in an exercise like this. I can understand that. Believe me, I get it...all of it. But, what I also get is, at the end of the day the only person I have to be accountable to is me and GOD. And since GOD, is just a manifestation of my higher self...it goes back to me again. There will always be people to clap for me at the end. People to wear t-shirts and take pictures and to say they, "knew me when." I am grateful to them for lending me their cheers....later on. But I can't afford to wait for those cheers to start (or to keep) running.  
I started studying metaphysics because I was a depressed, overweight, unemployed, single....addict. I didn't think there would be a blog or a book or any of this. I just didn't want to feel that way anymore. Period. Now over 5 years later, I am clean...in love and officially not overweight. In truth, there was no one there when I cried and threw up for hours as I withdrew from huffing, or when I lit candles on my alter for a year praying my soulmate would find me.  Or even when I stopped eating solid food for two weeks to jump start my sobriety and my weight loss. I did it...it was hard as ****. But I did it..because I had to. I don't know why I thought this would be any different? I know that I am part of a whole...but I also know that I must do my best to keep MY part WHOLE.
I now know that this life is my marathon and I am going to keep running...even when I am alone. Even when I am tired...long after everyone has gone home and all I can hear are my feet hitting the pavement and my heart beating in chest.
I don't need a fan club to be a star or a cheering section to be a WINNER. (and neither do you).

What do you do when no one is looking?


  1. " I know that I am part of a whole...but I also know that I must do my best to keep MY part WHOLE. " I love this! You are aware of the "what", you are living it. The how will continue to reveal itself as you allow life to gently unfold.

  2. Whew! that was a lot. Thank you. I loved it.

  3. @Jessica...thanks girl..it get crazy emotionally but I am just trying to have faith and keep moving. @frizzy...be quiet lol. I don't write that much lol. How can I follow your blog...didnt see an option on the site. Thanks for reading ya'll.