I’ve never been a person that does things by halves. No siree, I have historically been a bit ridiculous with setting the bar off the scale of stupidity.
My finest example was organising my first born’s first birthday. I had chosen a circus theme which was clearly reflective of the fucking absurd standard I set for myself. I didn’t falter when I made the cake despite it sticking to the silicone tin (I know, WTF?) nor did I wobble when I hand drew every single fucking invitation.
My undoing came about when I was gluing pieces of felt to helium balloons to make circus animals. The fucking ears on the fucking bear made his head topple forward and therefore he was NOT hanging in my climbing star fucking jasmine where he was supposed to. My one year old was eating the discarded bits of felt and having the time of her life and my husband (who was not yet then the Baker) was looking at me like I had completely lost the fucking plot, which was fair enough because I had completely lost the fucking plot.
There is a deep seeded reasoning for my desire to strive for perfection. It goes back to my childhood. I have grappled with it painfully in the past when my first marriage broke down (there is a bit of controversy for you). But a lot of counselling and a CTC session with Amy Crawford later and I have made peace with this part of my past and of my personality.
Every now and then I have to slap myself across the face and say in a big loud voice to let that shit go. Like when the ideas in my head get bigger than the event itself. Or when I set a stupid standard for a Tuesday night dinner that has me panting at the kitchen bench because the clock is hurtling towards 6pm and you know, dinner is AT 6pm. (I also need to work on how to deal with change but that is a-whole-nother therapy session.)
Lately I decided to start running again. I don’t really remember why I did but I kinda just did it. Running has been put on some weird pedestal for me. I’ve never been a massively keen runner nor have I been very good at it. But when I hit the wall two years ago, I adored running. And since then, by not being able to do it, I have missed it dreadfully. I have put it in an oddly enigmatic wonderspace.
When I then found myself running a bit more regularly, well once a week regularly, I made a promise to myself.
Never EVER set an expectation.
I did not want to be disappointed if I decided to run 6km and only ran 4km. I wanted to celebrate the four kilometres. I wanted to celebrate the fact that I was running at all. I did not want to berate myself for not achieving a goal that I set myself that may or may not be reasonable. I wanted to be glass half full. And I wanted to appreciate the goodness in the sky as I plodded along.
So then I completely contradicted myself and signed up for 10km in the Melbourne Marathon Festival in October. But before you pick up your jaw from the floor, there is method in my madness. You see I am Running for River. You can read all about him here.
When River died, my little one fanged monkey was the same age. I became that mother who stood over my sleeping child’s cot enveloped in fear. I would wake constantly during the night and get out of bed to check him. I would check the other kids too. I was gripped with insanity and combined with severe sleep deprivation I was a ticking time bomb. I Ran for River in May 2012 and have not been able to run since.
Part of my recovery from anxiety has been about facing my fears no matter how ridiculous they seem. So I have set myself an achievable goal. I can run 10km now but I am not sure I can train for 15 weeks. I don’t know if my cuboid bone or my shin splints or my nearly 40 year old body will cope with the program. I have all my fingers crossed that it will.
Then the Baker asked me what my expectations were.
I looked at him and answered, “To run sub 60 minutes.”
He said nothing, waiting for a better answer.
I said, “To run sub 50 minutes,” sheepishly.
He continued to stare at me.
I finally answered, “To complete the training program without getting injured and to finish the 10km in October.”
He smiled and nodded.
Managing my own expectations is no easy feat for me. On every single run, I force myself to slow down and take it easy. I will have to take my time and look after my leg and my foot. I will have to listen to my body.
I imagine I may have to listen to my head too. I will continue to process all the emotions I have about Running for River once more. But I am confident and a whole lot optimistic that I can do this. And that I can run in the dark in winter in Victoria if it is on a night like this.
Right now, my head is feeling great. And that, is truly liberating.
You can colour me coming out of the grey and into a rainbow. I am not sure I can colour myself anything but blue. Blue for me to remain calm + mindful. And blue for a beautiful little boy.