Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 23 of 52: Through the looking glass

This past Friday, I met with my Coach so we could video my run form and see if there were any areas that needed improvement. Basically, my Coach was concerned that I was bouncing up and down too much when I ran and he would much rather like to see that energy translated into speed across the horizontal plane.

Me too, Coach. Me too.

So of course, I jumped at the chance to meet with my Coach and have him evaluate me. Because there is nothing I like more than picking out my flaws and making a list of all things I would like to improve about myself. By now, if you are keeping up with this blog there is no need for me to tell you this is foreshadowing, you know where this is headed...into the trenches I go!

So I meet up with Coach after a 35 minute easy run in 16 degrees heat. Yes, that isn’t that hot but to me, when I run, add 10 degrees. And let’s just say when I’m out in the heat, I can be a bit irritable. And that is a nice way of putting it.

This is likely a new experience for you, as you’ve probably never had yourself filmed while running before. Coach offers up.

Nah, I say, I’ve had my friends video me before. It is like I just met this guy 5 minutes ago or something. Does he not know what a perfectionist is? Does he not know me at all!?

Sometimes I think my Coach actually believes I’m more put together than I am. Which is kind of surprising, seeing as I did have a meeting at a coffee shop with him last March where I preceded to cry uncontrollably about how awful I felt my running was. And I don’t just cry, oh no, I snot a lot when I cry, so it is kind of a hard visual to forget. Especially when it’s 30 minutes long. Granted the next day he saw me and I had done a complete 180, with in-depth analysis about why the emotional outburst happened. So maybe he bases one’s level of togetherness not by the frequency of breakdowns one has but by how long it takes for them to get back up and keep trying. And if that is the case, yeah I’m put together pretty well. Yeah, it doesn’t matter how many times I fall I keep getting up. I’m like one of those puppies that keeps bounding with enthusiasm towards their owner, filled with love and adoration, despite the fact that every time they see their owner they get kicked in the face. Yup, I’m one tenacious motherfucker with a distorted sense of optimism. I think now, I would just like for the emotional breakdowns to be a little less frequent.

Anyways, I ran a bunch of times for him, I think we collected about 6 videos. And yes, I did send him a text later demanding he send them to me later that night so I could “review” (read: obsesses over) them. Funny you should ask.

No, not funny, just painfully obvious really.

At least my hair looks good, right? I joke after we review the videos and finish critiquing them. He may have thought I felt he was being critical, which is interesting to me because he is the least critical person I know. Well at least when it comes to how he deals with me I feel he is not at all critical or negative. He just has this way of providing feedback that is so gentle and kind, all the delivery does, is make you want to agree with him and try harder. I’m almost certain there is not a mean bone in this guy’s body, not even his fascia is negative. Oh no, I make these jokes for me, I need to tell myself my hair looks good because all I see is negative when I put the evaluative gaze on myself. I need to pull out something positive, and the hair is a good one, because it is pretty fucking fabulous.

Really the only thing of note in my form, was that I seemed like I was holding back in my stride. Like I was running as if I didn’t want to get hurt. He made a comment as we were parting ways that he would like to see me become “un-hinged”. And that word brings forth a bunch of emotions in me. Because it isn’t just running that I needs to become un-hinged, it’s everything in my life. Right now I find I’m uptight a lot of the time, overly cautious and tend to over think things to the point of failure to act. I know this is happening because I need to control what is going on around me. When I need to control myself that intently I know things are not being perceived by me as going well in my life. My need to control is a symptom of my failure to accept things for what they are…just things...and accept where I'm at right now. 

Right now, in this particular case, I’m scared of things that occur in the future. And yes I’m aware that I can’t know what will happen in the future. But you don’t understand, because this future I see is happening. In this present moment I’m living in the future because I have already experienced it in the past. I'm sorry people, but time is not linear here! The future is now and it is so visceral, it makes my heart race with anxiety. So palatable, I can taste the bile rising out of my stomach into the back of my throat. Kind of reminds me of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Oh, wait a minute! It reminds me of PTSD because it is PTSD.

Clearly the topic for another blog post. Moving on.

Un-hinged. The word reverberates in my mind. Connections are being made, events are being linked together and new meanings are being created. 

Maybe I should get drunk and go for a run, I suggest. 
He laughs. 
Well it worked for golf maybe it would work for this. 
I’m not serious, I’m feeling powerless. Drinking used to relax me, now what relaxes me? Running did at one point, now I feel dread when I think of running. It’s not fair to running, I love running, it is good for me, it is my mind that is fucking this all up right now.

I’m so lost in my thoughts, when my Coach leaves, I can barely remember saying goodbye. I’m upset. But only a little upset. I define it as a little upset because I did not cry the 'tears streaming down face' kind of crying, but more like the 'tears welling up and stinging the eyes' type of crying. And no, I did not cry in front of my Coach (again-I’m trying to space out my emotional outbursts with him), he had already left to go on his run at this point.

The sadness in me reaches its crescendo as I watch my Coach several blocks down the street. Running. His form, his whole being is so beautiful- lovely and graceful. I feel so defeated, so imperfect, so damaged right now. I want to crumple onto the curb, melt into the concrete and get flushed out to sea with the rest of Victoria's sewage. 

Instead, I keep walking, breathing deeply and meditating on what is actually going on here. I can’t possibly be comparing myself to my coach, that is a level of ridiculous I would never joke about even doing. What is it about this moment that is so upsetting to me?

As I meditate on that, I keep walking. I can’t run, so I just walk. After a few blocks of walking I’m able to run the rest of the way home.

By the time I get home, I need to absorb what just happened. I lean against my front door and slide down until I plop down onto the floor. I sit in silence, unmoving; I feel the imperfection. It feels like I want to vomit. My head feels like it is swimming in a haze of self-hate. I put my head between my knees take a few deep breaths stand up, walk to the kitchen and grab something to eat.

The next day I tweet to my followers “To run pain free…sigh…kind of a dream of mine.”

One of my follows tweets back at me “Saw you yesterday morning, form looked good if that helps at all.”

I laugh. Yes, that helps, it helps a lot.  

Sometimes I need that reminder, that my perceptions, no matter how strong the emotions are that are attached to them, are just that, my perceptions. Perception is not truth. No one else shares these perceptions with me. No one else sees what I see in myself. And sometimes I wish, I could just catch a glimpse of myself through the compassionate gaze of an other. Then I could feel what it is like to look at myself and truly love what I see.
To gaze upon myself with compassion.
One of my goals, 
and it may take a lifetime to achieve it.
But it’s worth it.
And so am I.

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