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what running taught me about anxiety

Running sucks. Everyone knows that.

I quit running after my blood clot diagnosis, but recently have been inspired to try again. And it’s been going really well. I’ve used the couch to 5k program, which builds you up to running 30 minutes straight.

The first few weeks are easy. You run a minute and then walk 2. PFFT, ANYONE CAN DO THAT. (And if you can’t, I advise you to do something with your life. Seriously.)

However, the program goes from easy to hard real quick. The first week I had to run a 5 minute block, I panicked. My mind started racing. I was thinking there was no way I could make it the whole five minutes. I was going to die. It was the end.

goodbye….. my… family.

Until I realised my legs were fine. They weren’t burning. My lungs didn’t hurt. I was fine. Just one step in front of the other and the 5 minutes will be over. I’ll be okay and I was.

Fear of not being able to run 5 minutes was ridiculous, and that’s what anxiety is. This crippling fear of “what ifs” that aren’t actually happening. Just breath. It’s okay. You’re okay.

And that’s what I learned.

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i choose love

My first glimpse of inspiration happened in the year of 1999, or somewhere around there. Whatever, I was in the fourth grade and we were learning about Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure that we learned his name before this, but this is the first time I really listened and understood. I was soo inspired I wrote an essay that landed a spot in Silver Lake Elementary School Yearbook Yea – I was proud. I even came home and hand wrote copies of my essay for every person in my family.

I was inspired by this man. He fought for his people – my American brothers and sisters who were oppressed. I remembered being appalled that anyone could be treated so poorly, especially black people. But look what the civil rights did! They beat it! We overcame hatred! I mean, it was 1999 – racism didn’t exist!

At least it didn’t in my fourth grade mind.

Or my 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th. Actually, I wasn’t really aware of modern day racism until recently.

When all of this #blacklivesmatter stuff started to sprout up all over the country, I kept thinking that it was dramatic. There is no way that it can be this bad. It’s 2013, racism is over. But as I watched the news filled with the lives of killed black people, I wept. I wept for my fellow citizens. I wept that I have been so ignorant to these truths. Here I am, a white girl, who thought the past was in the past. And a lot of it is. I am so proud of our country and our culture for taking steps in the right direction.

But is it enough? When I talk to people about this, white people, they say that “black people are being dramatic” and that “slavery was over a hundred years ago. get over it” (Side note: Why don’t we say get over it to things such as the holocaust or 9/11? they were both equally terrible, and we ‘never forget’ as we shouldn’t, but it’s interesting. Isn’t it?)

But I have a problem with this. A massive problem with this. When I learned about Martin Luther King Jr., I always hoped that if I were alive during his time, I would choose the right side. The side that stood for equality among blacks and whites and supported black excellence. That I would partake in the protests and really love on these people who shouldn’t be defined by their skin colour (NEWSFLASH, it’s beautiful anyway). I also saw white people who didn’t realise what they were doing. Who would look back at their behaviour and be so upset with themselves because they didn’t see the whole picture.

So when I hear arguments against #blacklivesmatter, I choose to fight for it. I choose to look at history and I choose to not repeat it. Listen to people of colour, listen to their stories and the things they have faced. It’s something I won’t relate to.. because I never have to worry about looking like a thief based on the colour of my skin alone. I don’t fear that a police officer is going to get over touchy with me for a simple traffic violation. These things are happening. These things are real. Please don’t ignore it.

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Martin Luther King Jr. 

 

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u don’t know me

I’m bored. I’m in Middletown with no friends and I babysit twice a week.
When I’m bored I look at old photographs. I go instagram, and I just scroll and reflect and remember the times.

Then I pass my time in England and I smile and miss it.
I scroll some more, and I get to a tbt post, and I think to myself, ‘that Renee had no idea that she would live in England. That Renee had know idea what was set out for her.’

Even the first AND second time I went to England, I never imagined — couldn’t imagine the people I’d meet, the things I’d do, and the comfort zones I’d step out of.

This encouraged my soul.
The best is yet to come.

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i like myself

but i actually don’t.

or do I?

i’m trying this new thing. when i feel unlovable and i’m feeling unpretty and i’m feeling so incapable, i’ve started to say things i like about myself. the  other day, i went to a cafe, sat down, and just wrote things that are excellent about myself. and not in a cocky-look-at-me-type-of-way, but a i-deserve-better-than-all-this-self-hate.

i don’t know if it’s working, but it’s a start.

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same through the ages

I came across a facbeook post the other day. This poster was boasting about how full their heart felt.

I realised it’s been months since my heart felt full. Felt incredibly happy and incredibly bursting with joy. So what else did I do? I prayed. I prayed and said God, if not now, then maybe someday I too can have a full heart again.

Then today, I went to do school’s work and for the first time in ages my heart felt full.

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newz beat

hey

remember when i would run for 6-7 miles and it would be a breeze? those were the days. i’d bobble behind s.co as she was always at least a half mile ahead of me, but it was always so encouraging to know that someone was running with me.

well, i’m back at it. i’m not at that six mile point though, and i’ve been doing the couch to 5k plan. i also have been taking my time and doing each week twice. so this 9 week program will take me 18 weeks, but i’m okay with that. i want to be fit, and want to have a good pace. i’m not as good as i think i am, so i want to really prepare myself and work on my pace. and guess what – if i don’t go as fast as i want to, then i’ll just be happy i did it.

i stopped running int he past because it was so hard to not be fast, and i was so hard on myself. but i’ve gone about six months without working out and that’s hard in itself. i’m too poor for a gym membership, so running is my second best. you can do it anywhere, anytime and it’s free. i need to work out, i need to be active. MY HEALTH RELIES ON IT. i just feel good after a good run, and i feel so accomplished when i see a pace lower than 10 minutes. that’s so amazing to me. (please note, i’m doing intervals, so it’s easy for me to get below a 10 min pace when i’m only running for two minutes at a time)

 

side note – I also like to observe advent and lent. i’m not catholic, but i think it’s important to reflect on the true meaning of easter and christmas, so i try to fast during that time.

well, lent goes straight through my trip in england, and i don’t want to be complicated for any host of mine, so i’m fasting early for england AND easter. the daniel fast. it’s going to be hard, but my roommates are doing it with me, so that’ll make it a little easier.

that’s a little update, and God is so good. I don’t deserve it, at all. Not any bit, but it’s here and I have to accept it.

luv.

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hate the smell of smoke

i’m so extroverted. it hurts.

 

but i’m also awkward and unless i’m around people who understand me and how i function, i hate being around people. it’s fun until it gets confusing and then i long for the quiet of my room where i can watch tv and there are no expectations to be anything other than myself. i don’t have to say anything to anybody, impress only myself and make sure my battery life to my laptop is full.