Who Am I To Share?

christie 3When Wil was about 2 years old, I found out we could have a social worker come to our house as part of the Early On program, that helps families “adjust” to having a child with special needs. Wil aged out of Early On at age 3, but that one year I had with the social worker was so beneficial, that she became my therapist, and I’m working with her to this day.

And “working” is the correct term. She is very compassionate, but she also really pushes me. She is always helping me to grow a little more, push a little further, and though it is not easy, I know, from all of our past experiences, how very freeing and gratifying that growth is.

I’ve shared many of those growth experiences with you, but sometimes, I’ll go back to that old insecure place in my mind and wonder, who am I? Who am I to share when I still have so much to work on? I’m not a skilled therapist.
And, I do the same thing in my mind sometimes with sharing my experiences with running. I do well and work hard, but I don’t win the races. I’m not as skilled as many out there. So, who am I to share?


But, I’ve learned to answer that question, instead of letting it stop me in my tracks.


I am not a therapist, I am not an elite runner, I am a work in progress, and always will be. I love growing, and learning, and doing the best with who I am, even though on occasion my old “perfectionist” self still likes to voice it’s opinion. I’m a person that has learned the difference between selfishness and self-preservation. I’m a person that has earned who she is now, and to be both proud of my accomplishments that have gotten me to this place and also to know that everyone earns things in their own way.

We each have value and a great story that we have learned in the process. Just because my story isn’t perfect, or elite, or highly educated, does not mean my story does not have value. I don’t need to win a race or be perfect to know how to get through this life, but I sure can learn a lot from those that have a higher education or more experiences than me. My experiences are true and they are real, and because of that, even if they aren’t perfect, they may just be the right words for someone going through something similar.


I know others who have helped me so very much by sharing their stories, and so, the question really is, who am I not to share mine?

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How Do You Find The Triumph In The Struggle?

I don’t think I would be training for an ultramarathon if I did not have a child with special needs. I have no way of knowing that for sure, but I’m fairly confident that is the truth.

Before Wil was born, I didn’t have any real emotional struggles in my life. I mean, we all have our stuff, our problems, our insecurities, but there was really nothing in my life that caused me to dig very deep within to deal with and pull myself out of.

I was an athlete, I knew about mental and physical discipline, but I still don’t think I would have ever pushed myself as far as I do now physically and mentally, without Wil.

When Wil was born, it was a struggle in so many ways. A struggle to accept his unexpected diagnosis, a struggle to handle the impact on our marriage, and the ultimate ongoing struggle of wondering if I was doing enough for Wil. Will I ever do enough or be enough for him?

Though all of those struggles bore with them their own weight, the last one is the one that hits the hardest. That “enough” question is endless. There is always so much out there, yet never enough.

So, it’s a question only I can answer to myself. It’s a tough one, because even the best of me is full of flaws, and insecurities. But, I have learned over time, that if I am always growing, always learning to find the lesson in the struggle, to find the triumph in the struggle, then that will always be enough for Wil, and for myself.

In the ultramarathon, people from the outside looking in may say, why run that distance? How far will she have to go until it’s enough? Will it ever be enough?

But, that is the wrong question.

The question is, how do you find triumph in your struggles? That is a very personal question to each and every one of us, and the answer is different for each and every one of us. And, one that is only answered in the moment, as we are always reinventing ourselves in our growth.

Right now, one way I have learned to find triumph in the struggle is in ultrarunning, but it didn’t start there.

I first found the triumph in the struggle in training for a half marathon. I was not a runner, so this goal scared me enough to motivate me highly, along with the fact that I was running it for a fundraiser for the National Down Syndrome Society.

I’ll never forget when I ran 15 miles in training for the first time. It was the longest run in the half-marathon plan. At mile 13, I’d had it. I didn’t want to go a step further. I was physically hurting, I was mentally spent. But, I had this race to run, and I wanted to run it well, so I pushed forward.

Every.single.step. was a mental struggle. Keep running, Christie, come on, one foot in front of the other. Oh, but I could walk, who would know? Just walk a little, it will be ok.

Yet, I knew, if I walked, even though it would be ok, it would make a mental change in me. I couldn’t honestly say to myself I had run a full 15 miles. At that time, running that distance was important to me. I had to keep running, for myself, for Wil, for NDSS. And, so I did.

Then, something happened. With a half mile to go, I just started crying. I’m running down Wampler’s Lake Road, with all these cars going by, and I have tears streaming down my face. I knew I was going to make it, I had found the triumph in the struggle, and I gave it all I had that last half mile.

I broke a huge mental barrier within myself. I felt sick to my stomach, but at the same time, I had never felt better in my life!

Immediately upon finishing, I texted my friend, Ema, who is a marathon runner, and a great one! I knew she would understand my feelings. She encouraged me every step of the way in training for this race, and I couldn’t wait to share with her.

She, as always, was very encouraging and full of smart advice. She texted something back I will never forget. “Those last 2 miles are always the hardest, no matter how far you run.”

How true that is, in both running and in life. The triumph is always found in those proverbial last 2 miles.

And, so, running, in a way, helps me train for life. It forces me to dig deep, and find the triumph in the struggle. Right now, I find that most in running greater distances. I may be exhausted and feeling like puking, but it is also a place the forces me to dig deep to find the triumph in the struggle. No one else can do that for me, it’s an inside job, and only I know if I have been fully honest with myself.

So, with all of this running, and also in raising Wil, I no longer ask myself if I am doing enough.

That is the wrong question.

The question is, How do I find triumph in the struggle?

And, the answer, well, you have to figure that one out for yourself.

CHI MARATHON 2014

What’s so funny about?

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“What’s so funny about?” Wil asked me this morning, as he was eating his breakfast.

Good question, Wil. He didn’t make a joke, he wasn’t trying to be funny. In fact, he was just sitting at the table eating oatmeal.

What is so funny about plain, old oatmeal?

It was in the way he was eating. He was so darn happy about his plain, old oatmeal.

The way he was smiling, wiggling around in his chair, and dipping in with such gusto, you would have thought it was a big old bowl of ice cream.

His energy was so high and bright, that I couldn’t help but watch him and giggle at his excitement over oatmeal.

But, it wasn’t about the oatmeal. It was because he was awake! It was morning! The day was just beginning! Let’s get this party started!

He didn’t say that, but I sure could feel it, and it was so beautifully contagious, I couldn’t help but feel the same way and start to giggle.

Isn’t that funny how you can just feel people’s energy and be carried right along with them?

Some people lift you up just by being around them. They are full of energy, life and smiles. They are excited about life! They don’t have to be rich, have immense talent, or have anything uniquely spectacular going for them, they just enjoy life for life. They have struggles, and obstacles, just like anyone else, but they find meaning in them rather than focusing on the darkness of them. They move forward with a lift in their step, and it’s so beautifully contagious.

And, then there are the Debbie Downers. It is very dark within their circle because all they focus on is what is going wrong, or how they were wronged. They are the energy suckers. Nothing seems to go right for them, their life is one problem to the next. They believe they have more obstacles and struggles than most, but in reality, they just are so mired in fear, that they don’t want to readjust their focus to move forward out of the fear. They may be very well-meaning people, but until they readjust their focus, they will always live in that fear, and only see how everything around them is wrong, and how wronged they are by others.

Most of us have been a little bit of both in different times in our lives. But, the moment we realize we are in full power of our focus and perspective, is the moment we learn the courage to work with our fears, and move past them, and enjoy life for all that it offers us to be.

The cool thing is, you don’t need more money, a better childhood, or anything other than the sheer desire and willingness to change your perspective.

It’s freezing rain here right now. The sky is dark, grey, and the clouds are really low. It’s not a very uplifting sight. My guess is, if I scroll down facebook there will be many negative and complaining comments today, simply because it is a grey day.

But, why do we live like that? Why do we allow something like the weather, that is completely out of our control, to control our own mood? We can not control the weather, but we can control our mood and perspective. It just takes a little time, desire and effort to change our focus to create a more enjoyable and fulfilling day.

When we feel dark, everything around us looks dark. We are what we focus on. Do you want a dark life? Focus on the dark and you are well on your way.

When we feel light and bright, everything around us looks brighter. The dark is still there, but we see beyond it, we find meaning in it, and it is seen as a growing experience rather than gloom and doom.

I am running 13 miles on this dark, cloudy, rainy day. There is no way around the weather. I could bemoan the fact that I have to go out in this, or endure 13 miles on the treadmill, or not run at all. And, hey, it’s not my fault, it’s the damn weather’s fault!

But, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to take a lesson from Wil today. I’m not an over-the-top fan of running in the freezing rain, but I’m excited to be awake! I’m excited that I have the ability to run! So I’m going to lace up my shoes, crank up the tunes on my iPhone, and get this party started!

So, if you see me out there running and smiling in the rain, you won’t have to ask, you’ll already know what’s so funny about.

Are You Being Honest With Yourself? Like, Deep Down Honest?

 

Are you being honest with yourself? Like, deep down honest? No comparisons with anyone else, not blaming anyone else or anything, just being honest with who you are and who you want to be?

When I find myself in blame or saying someone or something is holding me back from reaching my full potential, if I dig deep enough, I find that I am the problem, not anyone else. I am not asking for what I need, I am not doing what it takes, I am not taking the steps that need to be taken.


No one is to blame for not reaching my goals but myself. There is always, always a way.


Maybe getting there is not taking avenue that I envisioned, but if I am truly and brutally honest with myself about what I want, all those excuses, reasons, and blame fall away, and I begin to see new avenues to get there. I find that even though there are things and people who throw challenges my way, I can see my way through them, and I will get there if I only discipline myself to stay focused.


The truth is, no one has any power over your mind and your actions and reactions but you. Once you are truly honest with yourself, you will see your excuses for what they are, and other people who stand in your way are simply fearful because of their own internal dialogue and it really has little to do with you, and once you realize this, and discipline yourself to stay trained on your focus, but flexible in your approach, you will gain a freedom and inner joy and courage that simply can not be attained when hiding behind your reasons.


Get honest, drop the excuses, create a fantastic week for yourself, you deserve it because YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!  

View and share this post on my website: ChristieLeighTaylor.com christie 5

Here is today’s post on my other blog, Journey to Self Compassion. This topic is one of those things that sounds so easy to do, but is one of the most difficult. Yet, to change outer circumstances in your life, you must start with the inside… Be well! 🙂

Your Soul is Calling…Are You Listening?

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Hey Girlfriend, You Need A Body Image Readjustment!

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We women are inundated with articles about our weight and body image. They go from encouraging some crazy cleanse diet to embracing our fullness.  As different as these articles may look, every single one is saying the same thing: “Girlfriend, you do not love who you are, and you need us to tell you how to do that, and its all in your body image.”

They tell us to embrace ourselves, as if we are not able to do that without their validation, or to starve ourselves and then we can be happy because we’ll be the “skinny girl” and we all know happiness is achieved by being skinny.

GAG me with your honey and green tea cleanse diet spoon!!

The only articles about our bodies I find useful focus on healthy eating, different types of exercise and general well-being with absolutely zero reference to weight or body image. Those articles are not as sexy as the body image articles and they don’t call us girlfriend, but, they do give us the tools to own our body image, and when we own it, we have no need to be defined or validated by someone else.

Take care of that body you have been given, no matter how big or small your boobs, thighs or tummy are. When you exercise, eat well, and allow yourself to fully enjoy “bad for you” treats on occasion, you will be proud of what you are doing for yourself and not need an article to tell you to “embrace yourself as you are” or consume nothing but honey and green tea for a week.

It’s not that you won’t wish certain parts of your body are different. Believe me, I would love to have long, skinny legs but I don’t. Yet, I treat myself well and I love to run so I am proud of my curvy, muscular thighs. I don’t need an article to tell me to embrace their curves or get them skinny with some crazy cleanse diet.

I own my body. When you own it, there are no comparisons, crazy diets, or validation needed. Got that, girlfriend?

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month – Day #11

Wil Basketball

I have low muscle tone and hypothyroidism (slow thyroid), which is common in people with Down syndrome. Do I let that slow me down? No way! Active play builds my muscles and keeps my weight at a healthy level.

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