"When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending." Brene Brown
If you don't really want to know who you are, I might suggest never going for a run.
You'd be fine running one of those fun 5K's where they dump colors on you the whole way so at the end you look like a rainbow. And I'm pretty sure you'd be safe dressing up like a Christmas gift and jumping into the Reindeer Run with your office mates. Just know, fun runs are the gateway runs to running. And if you get hooked on running, running will break you open. Running exposes the secrets that you hide from yourself. They quietly run right up alongside you and, before you know it, you're remembering things and realizing things and connecting the dots of your life. There's nowhere to hide, so you just run along with the memories and the connections and the truth of your life.
I practiced not telling the truth about my life, denying my story, for my whole life. I was taught that. You could be happy, you could be quiet, and you could be helpful. You should be "good", and you shouldn't take up resources. You were told what to be believe and not to ask questions. Don't risk, don't fail, don't move too far in any direction. If that got to be too much, you could make it better by eating something. I don't fault the people who taught me that. They loved me and they were doing their best. But that formula doesn't work. For anybody. So at 49 years old when I started to run again, the truth saw an escape route, and escape it did. I almost had no choice in the matter. It just came out.
I practiced first on my coach, in the realm of running and fitness. I was completely transparent about the process because I knew that was the only way he was going to be able to help me, and transparency with him became transparency with myself. The more honest I was with myself the more I transformed. And when I look back over the last five years I think there is a strong correlation between my physical progress or plateaus and my willingness to be really truthful about my life. In fact, it's one of the greatest gifts running has revealed to me: how I tick.
Now as I look back at this past year I can see that I am, once again, at a deny it or own it crossroads. Despite some pretty cool strides this year, my body is a little stuck, and I think it's reminding me that I might need to step up my truth telling game. I don't know why it's so scary to just tell the truth about my life--I don't think there is anything particularly awful or terrific that I've done. Maybe it's just that it's mine. Maybe it's because I'll disappoint some people. Or surprise them. Or bore them. Maybe I'm afraid I'm not who someone thinks I am. Am I just trying to please people? Or not rock the boat? I've tried those strategies, and it bought me about 85 pounds and a boatload of sadness.
I know the difference between having a secret and something that's sacred. I know what's holding me down and is better off said, and I know what is sacred and better off held. I want to own my story so I get to write the ending, and it just requires a deep breath and a bunch of courage.
And in my case, a pair of running shoes.