And no, I wasn’t being chased by a bear.
I have never been proud of myself. I have never felt that I made anyone else proud.
I was smart. I got good grades at school. I aced my VCE and got in to Melbourne Uni. I never felt proud though. Most people saw me as just a ditsy dumb blonde. So many people told me that Cher from Legally Blonde reminded them of me. I cared too much about what other people thought of me, if they wanted a dumb blonde I gave them a dumb blonde. My parents told me I’d be lucky to get a job at McDonalds. I would never amount to anything.
My mother loved telling everyone about how I got in to Melbourne Uni but ‘threw it all away’ because I couldn’t be bothered. Conveniently forgetting that she used to kick me out of home every second week, until I packed my bags and left home for good at 18. I couldn’t continue with my degree because I needed to get a full time job to support myself.
My ex-husband told me that the only reason I got good grades at school was because I went to a private school and they ‘spoon-fed’ me the answers to protect their reputation.
I was not proud of myself for being smart and getting good grades at school. I didn’t feel I deserved to be proud.
I had a really great job once. I held a coordinator position within local council, a job I secured by my own merit without any official qualification. I wasn’t proud of myself though. The money I earned I spent on heroin for my drug addicted boyfriend. The one I was certain I could save, if I just loved him enough, if I could just make him love me enough. I couldn’t save him.
My professional appearance hid the cuts that I inflicted on myself several times a week and the bandages I used to conceal my self harm.
I was not proud of myself for my job or the respect my colleagues had for me. They don’t know who I really am.
They didn’t know my dirty dark secret. The fact that my own parents aren’t proud of me. The fact that my own parents can’t see enough good in me to love. The fact that my own husband wasn’t proud of me. That my own husband who I had dreamed of my entire life, the one that would save me from the loneliness and despair of my childhood could not see enough good in me to love.
No. I have never been proud of myself.
I am lucky for second chances. I met a man who is kind and good. He married me and has never made me feel less or small. He tells me that he is proud of me, but it’s hard to believe because he is kind and good and I am just me.
I had been treading water for a while and just keeping my head above the surface, when I contacted Katie. I have met her a few times via blogging events and knew that she had gone through a bit of a metamorphosis through starting to run and developing the Learn To Run program. To be honest, I still can’t really pinpoint the moment when I thought that learning to run was something I should try. I have never run or attempted to run. I was quite adverse to any kind of exercise really. I can’t therefore I won’t.
Yet something pushed me. I felt like I needed to try. Sometimes when your life feels so out of control you will do anything to try and regain some of that control back. Previously the control that I tried to gain over my life was destructive and negative. I didn’t have those choices any more. This wasn’t just about me; stupid screw-up Jane. I had people who needed me, who depended on me now.
So I started to run.
In March I signed up to the Operation Move Learn To Run Program. And I kept running.
I kept running even when I didn’t want to. I kept running even when I didn’t think I could. I kept running when my muscles were burning, my breath was short, I felt like I was going to drown in my own sweat. Just. Keep. Running.
I kept running when my eyes filled with tears and I thought ‘Fuck this. I cannot do this.’ I kept running when I wanted to give up so bad, when my head said to me, “No one will know. You don’t have to do this.”
Just. Keep. Running.
As I run, I think about all the people that wouldn’t have thought I could. I think about every person in my life that hasn’t had faith in me. I think about every person that has thought that I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t worth anything. I think about the fact that they had convinced me that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t worth anything. That I believed them, that I spent years punishing myself for not being enough.
Every time I finish a run, every time I don’t give up, even though it’s hard and it hurts and I’m not sure I can do it; I feel proud. I feel proud of myself. I feel proud that my body can do things I never thought it capable of but most of all I feel proud that I don’t have to believe the things my broken brain tries to tell me.
I CAN do this. I am not what other people think of me. I am in control of my mind and my body. I am in control of my life.
I am learning that maybe I am enough.
(This is in no way a sponsored post, I paid to be part of the program. Just sharing because seriously, I run now! Who’d have thunk it??)