The girl on Lake View Trail

It was another one of those moments.

They happen a lot lately. That awful voice in my head is given a megaphone and starts preaching nasty lies that all mean the same thing: I am not good enough. They are repeated with such intensity that I believe them and accept as truth. I am then hopeless and empty. 

The moment had started the night before when I was attending an event at the zoo. It would be the same story – a bunch of people who knew each other and then me, the single new girl. There are a lot worse things that I could be, but I feel like I’ve been playing this role the ENTIRE YEAR. I really didn’t want to go and, although it was actually fun and one member of the group was an RPCV so we bonded fast, I still went home feeling lonely.

By morning the feeling hadn’t vanished, despite having a fun weekend planned. I grabbed my running shoes and headed to Lake View Trail to pound out some of these feelings. 

A mile in, it wasn’t working, so I stopped to meditate. On the outside, as I tell friends, my life is pretty good lately, but my mind is a non-stop pit of crappy thoughts that bullying me into thinking I shouldn’t be happy. Sometimes it’s a lack of self-esteem (always a problem for me), sometimes it’s missing Lesotho and holding on to the past, and sometimes it’s uncertainty of the future. Not every day, but some, it’s a chore to get up, to put effort into living and I have to take the time to work through whatever is going on in my head. It’s silly because they are people with real problems in this world, but I can’t function or be of any use to the world when I get in these funks. I think it’s part of this big transition in my life – coming home, figuring out what next’s, turning 30 soon – but it’s something I have to actively work on each day. 

When I started to run back, two women passed me. It’s funny because in Lesotho I was always the only one running and I never had an concept of fast or slow, just whatever felt right with my body. As these women passed by me, my mind started to take the turn – “They are so fast and you are not.” “They are skinny, that’s why they are fast.” “You are not good enough to be fast.”

But 30 seconds into self-shaming, I decided I was over it. F it, I am running with them, I thought. One girl pulled out from the other so I decided to keep up with her. And I did. I followed her blue tank top, staring at her sloppy pony, and stayed about two or three steps behind her. I wasn’t sprinting but I was definitely going faster than I had in a while. I probably couldn’t keep up with her for a marathon but I could for this one mile. A few times, I felt enough energy to pass her but that is not what this was about. Myself told me I couldn’t keep up with this woman and I was going to prove me wrong, so I stayed behind and just kept with her. We were coming up to the end of the trail where I assumed she would turn around and I would continue on home, so I kicked it up just a touch to pass her and I didn’t look back. 

I was a bit more winded, but it was the good kind of tired. I told those voices to shut up and I did what they told me I couldn’t. This may not seem like a lot, but in Lesotho I learned to take a win when I can get it, and I am taking this one. All day long I tell myself I am not good enough and, here I was, good enough.

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