Monday, March 11, 2013

it is our light, not our darkness

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

I bought a hot pink jacket on eBay last week.

I've been selling stuff on eBay recently, just cleaning out a bit and trying to round up some extra cash, but it's a slippery slope from selling to buying.  And of course I just happened to see a jacket, in exactly my size, that I didn't need in the slightest.  Hot pink, purple stripes inside.  Instant lust.

I almost didn't buy it, you see, because I have a lot of guilt about buying stuff I don't need, still, and also because I'm 32 years old.  I'm not a sticky three-year-old, I don't need a hot pink jacket with purple stripey insides.  I need vegetables and oil changes and that little metal thing that holds the water heater to the wall, and even when I have all of those things, I need to squirrel away every dime I can scratch together.  

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

I need to be able to protect my family.  I failed at this, before.  Everything I had done to prepare for the worst, everything I had saved, it wasn't enough.  

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Until everything happened with Graham, me and my quirky little blog mostly flew under the radar.  I'm not a full-time lifestyle blogger, I'm not a professional triathlete breathlessly reporting victory after victory, I'm just a runner who happened to get injured and decide to start yapping about it while cooped up in bed after shoulder surgery with a full battery on my laptop.  That's it.  That's what I will tell you when you ask me about this space on the internet that I've spray-painted purple and hung up pictures of my dogs, that is all the credit I ever give myself.  I am the blogging equivalent of someone telling me that they liked my pants, and instead of saying, "thank you," I say, "these old things?  I'm so fat, they look horrible, don't even mention my thighs, I can't believe I'm even out in public dressed like the marshmallow man that crushed New York."

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

I would tell you then - I would still tell you now - I am not brilliant.  Gorgeous.  Talented.  Fabulous.  I am regular, less than regular, even, a nothing-special girl.

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

The snarky self-deprecation worked for a while, the swipes at my own mediocrity got me by.  And then Graham got sick.  I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of the human spirit, I will probably never stop bringing it up, only now is the weather starting to change because of the wings that flapped last summer.  But the flip side is that situation dragged me out from under my rock and pinned me to the wall, naked, an apple on my head and a bulls-eye taped square over the softest part of my heart.

Your playing small does not serve the world. 

I have been playing, small.  I own this, I am not a victim, I am in charge of my own actions and reactions.  Everything that has been said is no worse than the ugliest and angriest things that I have ever thought about myself.  I have spent months trying to make myself very, very tiny, hoping that I could crawl back behind the bushes where I wouldn't be noticed.  And when I couldn't, I only sucked in more, got quieter, curled up in a ball in a dark corner and held my breath.  

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. 

I let myself believe, I turned cruelty into truth.  It's seeped into every thought I have about myself.  Friday morning, when I was done warming up at master's and still alone in my lane, instead of just thinking, "Wow, everyone sure is running late this morning," I beat myself up with thoughts of "No one wants to swim with you because you are wearing ear plugs.  A ridiculous bathing suit.  Because you are too slow, because you can't keep up, because you won't make the intervals, because you just aren't fun to be around."  It didn't even occur to me how awful I was treating myself.  The same thing happens, in my brain, if someone bails on plans I thought we had.  It can't be because my friend is an idiot or a flake, it has to be because I'm not worthy of friendship.  If a group rolls out to ride without me and I had no idea it was going on, it must be because everyone tip-toed around to leave without me, not because boys are generally too dumb to understand the concept of "invite."  It's a lot of what was behind my running meltdown from a few weeks ago.  It's why I've barely been blogging, I'm been so afraid to put any thoughts out there just in case someone feels the need, yet again, to knock me on my ass.  Because I have nothing to say that I think is worthwhile.  I've been shrinking.  

We are all meant to shine, as children do. 

And I'm not sure why it's today, but that stops.  Now.  That bullshit is over.  I am meant to shine.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 

I have spent so much time making sure that I point out my imperfections to the world.  I constantly feel the need to emphasize over and over that I know how flawed I am.  I am short.  I am never going to be the fastest in the water, on the bike, or in the run shoes.  NEVER.  I am awkward.  I have no filter at all.  I can never seem to buy jeans that are the right length and don't let my crack hang out the back and are exactly the right color.  I don't make small mistakes, I make enormous, embarrassing, eeks-face mistakes.  I can dead-lift my own body weight but continue to horrify centuries of women by asking men to pick up the heavy things for me so I don't break a nail.  I will always put two spaces after a sentence.  I have big hips and mismatched feet and I massively over-share and can't ever just send only one text message and let's not even talk about what happens when I drink too much and, my God, have you met me?  So awkward.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. 

But I am also pretty fucking fabulous.  I'm going to own that.  I'm saying, out loud, here in writing, that I am awesome.  And even writing it - even thinking it - makes me want to follow it immediately with a slam, makes me want to qualify it with a negative.  Not gonna do it.  I have gigantic blue eyes and a fantastic ass.  You can park your bike in it, I'm still proud.  And I am loud.  Not just noisy or bubbly but straight-up loud.  I am passionate; madly, deeply, explosively so.  I can quote every line of Ghostbusters, Office Space, Caddyshack, and Spaceballs.  I rock the hell out of a karaoke microphone.  You will never have as much fun riding your bike as you will with me sucking off your wheel.  You will never eat as well as when I drag you into my house and force-feed you things that I have cooked.  I am completely uncoordinated but shake my groove thang and dance it out anyway.  I have an overwhelming sense of fairness.  I HAVE NO FILTER AT ALL.  My Unreal Tournament skill level was "Godlike."  There are things that I do that I am GOOD at.  I am a good coach, I am a good wife, I would never steal paper from the work office closet.  I am fiercely loyal once I have decided that you are my friend, although I will give you so much shit that you won't be sure for a while if you have enough ego to be mine.  

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

And I want to be a better person.  I am working towards it, I am only 32 years old.  Best-case scenario, I've got 70 more years of putting my foot in my mouth and winking at strangers and tripping on invisible shoelaces and doing all the things that I do that make me human.  Not a failure, not worthless, not inadequate, not small.  Human.  I am 32 years old, I am going to sing at the top of my lungs, I am going to ruin cookies by not measuring any ingredients and I am going to wear the fuck out of that hot pink jacket.  

-Marianne Williamson

45 comments:

  1. I just printed this out because I absolutely love it. You are fabulous!

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  2. There could not have been a better way to start a Monday, as the gloom and doom was slowly taking over my brain. You just made my week. Your energy is ridiculously contagious. Way to own it!

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  3. I think it's the people you least expect to have a darkness who have a deep, dark place they visit often. I can absolutely relate to this, although I beat myself up differently. The last part IS fabulous, because you are freaking hilariously awesome! I've really enjoyed reading your blog, please keep writing whatever the heck you want, it's all great!

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  4. I agree with thepumpkinsdiary. I came here because of triathlon, but I stayed because of you. Keep writing whatever you want, it seems to be working.

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  5. You are awesome and fabulous and I enjoy reading here because of you. I love your lack of filter and your outlook. If you were 'perfect' then you'd be boring. Keep being you!

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  6. Enjoy your hot pink jacket! Oh yeah and life! :-)

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  7. Love. It. All!!!! Also, you're tall to me! :) I think when we get your personal lack-of-filter together with my personal lack-of-filter, there are going to be some fun moments in Boulder. (((Hugs!!!)))

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  8. YEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    But the 2 spaces after your periods in sentences? This CANNOT STAND.

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  9. I love this!! So much of what you wrote I completely relate to!!
    My favorite thing about your blog (every single time I read it) is your honesty! You don't pretend to be anyone but who you are and I appreciate that!
    Thanks for writing and sharing!!!

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  10. "I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of the human spirit... that situation dragged me out from under my rock and pinned me to the wall, naked, an apple on my head and a bulls-eye taped square over the softest part of my heart." I kind of think this sentiment is the point of being alive, and the reason we humans can withstand all the sadness and loss in the world. Thanks for sharing this, and for shining.

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  11. I could believe brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. and now I really feel bad about flaking on making plans to meetup with you during my last trip to dc. I am clearly the idiot here.

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  12. I love this and I am with ER ( Pumpkin) bc you are so fun to read and so true. Keep it up and who cares what anyone else thinks, its what you think and your lovely pups and the poet, that matter. but IMHO you are awesome:)

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  13. I decided a really long time ago that I would start looking out for myself and taking care of myself, because if I didn't, who would? And thanks to that attitude, I had several "best friends" just completely turn on me. One took all my friends with her. With the benefit of hindsight, I'm now relieved that I stayed my course, because obviously the last thing I needed was another person shitting on me. So even though--or perhaps because--it's my fault people are horrible to you now, I'm relieved to hear you're leaning toward the being nice to yourself mindset.

    Though about those two spaces after a period...

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  14. I love Katie too! You are fabulous and awesome and such a pain in the ass friend. YAY!

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  15. I have two words: HELL YEAH!!!

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  16. Oh my goodness. This is amazing. You are amazing, which I've realized quite quickly after finding your blog only recently. I get giddy when a post of yours pops up in my reader cause you're just so dang REAL and write so beautifully about it! THANK YOU!

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  17. This. This very kind of post- the honest and REALNESS of it- this is what drew me to your blog first. That escalated into Twitter stalking you, Facebooking you and finally asking you to be my coach.
    Because I can relate to EVERY FUCKING WORD YOU JUST WROTE. (except being 32.... I miss 32)

    Oh, and I also adopted this poem as my pre-race calmer downer. There's a version of it I listen to on my iPod before a race or during a tough workout. It almost brings me to tears every time.

    Thank you. Thank you for being human, for being real, for being my coach.

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  18. This is a great post. Although... With all of the great quotes you wove into the post and your good taste in movies you missed a quote to live by:
    "Gunga galunga gunga - gunga galunga."

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  19. Boom. Powerful. Here's to not treating yourself worse than you'd ever treat others, which is a lesson I'm still trying to learn.

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  20. Anyone who loves and is always kind to animals is a FANTASTIC person in my book....that be you!
    A new day has arrived....sun shiny thoughts only for you Katie.

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  22. ^^ Duh, didn't mean to post from my company page.... Katie - making me cry! Okay, fine, I'm PMS-ing, but geeeeeeez. Beautiful post. That poem always moves me, but seeing it interspersed with your words was perfect. At 32 (me too) we know better than to beat ourselves up. There's plenty of other people out there who will happily do that for you. But, it's so easy. And all the names are right on the tip of your tongue. It's easier to feel fat, lazy, out of shape, slow, awkward, unfashionable, whatever the hell else you can think of than to push those thoughts away and focus on being what makes you uniquely you. I'm glad you bought that jacket, and that you shared this post. People always tell me I'm brave and I think that's funny, but I think you're brave. Your honesty is courageous and beautiful.

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  23. Lurker taking the time to comment (raises hand): I have been missing your blog, and wondering why we weren't getting posts about acclimating to life in CO. For all the reasons you judge yourself, that's why I read your blog! I love your tone, sense of humor, honesty, saying too much, open, honest ways of communicating. I am very sorry that I didn't meet you when you still lived in the DC metro, because I would love to know you in life. I thank you for being open and honest, and for confronting the things we all think ("everyone coordinated and left me out because I'm too..."). It seems from the comments to this post that all your readers accept and love you for who you are! Please continue being our virtual "friend" in this one-sided voyeuristic forum. ;-)

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  24. Nothing but pure love goin' on here. Go get 'em -- you are fucking fabulous.

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  25. This might sound weird coming from a random internet stranger, but more often than not, I see pieces of myself in your writing (and this post is no exception). I appreciate your voice and your honesty so much, and will continue to visit your little corner of the internet no matter what you decide to write about (or how often).
    Now, can we see a photo of the pink jacket? It sounds fab.

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  26. Another probably weird thing coming from a random Internet stranger: I always thought you sounded like an amazing, powerful, fun person to be around. Such a shame people spend so much time dragging themselves down. Glad to hear you are embracing a different attitude!

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  27. You are real - it's why I read your blog. Real, and loud, and funny.... and real. Each of us has something we are good at, we are proud of, we need to OWN. I love that you are owning your personal brand of you.

    Thanks for the reminder that it's perfectly OK to be ourselves!

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  28. ONE SPACE AFTER A PERIOD.

    (I'm super bummed, though not surprised, that Liz beat me to this comment.)

    Seriously, though, that is not all I took away from this post. Love you! <3

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  29. Hell YES, you are fucking fabulous! Don't ever doubt that, not for a minute.

    Your strength, your heart, your enthusiasm, your encouragement, your HONESTY are so inspiring to me and so many others. Why the hell else would we be here reading? We adore you! I adore you! And I'm so very blessed to call you Friend.

    You rock my socks off, daily. And if I could hug your neck right now, I'd squeeze you so hard it would make you go "oof" and even out your hips! (You'd never need a chiro again!)

    I LOVE you and your pink and purple hoodie!!! To bits and pieces!

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  30. Best post Ever. I think what I love the most is you are pretty fabulous. Keep em coming!

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  31. keep being YOU and rock the fuck out of that pink jacket.

    sticky is optional.

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  32. love your blog and want to personally invite you to Join the DC Metro Area Running Bloggers.
    http://www.meetup.com/DC-Metro-Area-Running-Bloggers/ …

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  33. You made my day! This is why we blog. Thanks for sharing.

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  34. Where did you find this? Nevermind. I wrote it down so that I can believe it, too :)

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  35. Love, love this post! You are brilliant. And, I too, love your blog because you are real!

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  36. Don't forget to add that you're a kick ass dog mom, too! I promise that I'm not some creepy internet stalker or something. I've just been embracing this part of me that's learning how to like me for who I am and not make excuses (also, not to be afraid to give someone props because they need to hear it). This post makes me want to be your friend so we can hang out and be loud and obnoxious and filter-less. It also makes me want to give you a huge hug because I'm proud of you. I found your blog when Graham got sick. I read through your archives and thought you were a pretty cool chick. I still do. I'm so proud of you for recognizing that you've been hard on yourself and deciding that you deserve to be treated better. I'm fighting through the same things. I'm not sure if age makes it easier (I'm a few years older than you) or if it just got to the point where I said, "Screw it. I'm a cool chick and I don't care what other people think," but I was about your age when I decided that I deserved to treat myself better. Embrace that you're a cool chick and stop apologizing and second-guessing. Don't beat yourself up about the jacket, either. You've been working hard to pay it back/forward/whatever. A little reward isn't a bad thing. So you rock those awesome eyes and that killer ass and that new pink jacket. And please give those dogs a hug for me.

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  37. Sorry, really behind in my reading because of the baby. But as usual, yours does not disappoint. I think the poet married a poet. You are an awesome writer (which I am not so "awesome" is as colorful as I can be right now). And I'll be your friend solely based on the 2-spaces commitment :)

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