Tag Archives: anxiety
The fear of failure re: half marathon.
The looking forward to vegging out and feeling healthier (oxymoronic though that may seem).
The long distance that I hoped to close – and the potential for things to go spectacularly wrong.
I didn’t fail. I completed the half marathon in < 2 hours. 1:49:55, to be exact. Position #553, and 50th female across the line.
So that was one thing.
I have barely exercised since (unless ascending & descending 102+ stairs every day counts), but plan to change that (gradually) starting soon, as I still feel the same as before.
I closed the distance. I got a job in the city (bleh, the city), and moved in with Him. Unfortunately the job contract is temporary, ending Christmas. Fortunately I have interviews for more permanent ones coming up, and a decent chance of being kept where I am if those don’t go well.
‘Bleh, city’ has been basically the only downside in all of this so far. There have been no catastrophic fuck-ups yet. Ok so I don’t really feel like my work (Social Research) can ever contribute more than 0.00000000000001% to anything that really matters in this world, but hey; I’m not dead yet. I’m not even old, yet. I’m not even not-that-young, yet.
Here is a photo of myself and my brother in the garden back home, wearing our medals and t-shirts and pretending to be cool a couple of hours after the race;
Hope you guys are all good :)
but as I write this I find myself, yet again, contemplating the possibility of having all of my hair chopped off. This time, though, I’d properly 100% go for it. Sinead O’Connor/Natalie Portman style. Maybe I could do it for next year’s charity fundraising efforts? It would be a whole lot easier than running 13 miles, for sure.
Which brings me to the subject of the half marathon.
I’ve had a lot of time off from training recently and am now left with just over 8 weeks to pretty much bring myself up to race standard from scratch. I was doing really well; I’d managed 8 miles whilst keeping up my best pace of around 8mins 30secs per mile. Then I got a cold, and the frequency of my training efforts took a nosedive.
Then I felt better for a week or so and started to get back on it… and promptly caught another cold/got attacked by a second round of the first one. Second time round it came with the most horrendous cough I’ve had since I was a kid, and so that put a full stop to training for more than a week. Then once I felt better I ran a couple of short distances in the days before I had to go under general anaesthetic etc. to have all of my wisdom teeth taken out.
That was a week ago. At least one of the teeth still hurts a bit, but I plan to run tomorrow. I anticipate doing so with trepidation. For the entirety of the 2.78 miles I ran just over a week ago I pretty much thought I was going to die. I mean to the point where I genuinely considered stopping, in the middle of a deserted road, and just sitting on the ground crying like a baby.
That feeling of being utterly overwhelmed by the task I faced really made me think. At the time I was thinking much more poetically than I feel capable of today, but I mostly realized that this whole marathon thing is kinda just my life in miniature (I avoid talk of ‘metaphors’ because the word is overused and I just don’t like it).
Try hard, make progress – make amazing progress – get knocked back to a lower low than the one from which you started in the first place. Get up, try some more, claw your way up a little, lose your grip, fall back down (further still) and then…?
Well. I would like to make it quite clear that I am not, I am NOT going to give up. On June 30th 2013 I am going to run 13 miles. It is GOING TO HAPPEN, just like all those other things I am struggling to achieve. I’d take the burning muscles and straining lungs over the burning of abject terror in my blood and the straining of huge chunks of my mind hanging on by a thread, any day. Unfortunately, as I have lately come to realize, I am at some point going to have to just take the lot; I cannot keep avoiding it. Perhaps the rest won’t seem so hard after the 13 miles of lung and muscle punishment?
And Here also, for your enjoyment, is a picture of a baby and a cat on a swing;
to no small extent,
on the day that I find myself being the one saying – without any shadow of my own doubt – “hang in there, it’ll happen” to another human being. Preferably a youthful, decidedly green, almost-pretty-but-somehow-not-quite, apprehensive and excruciatingly self-aware human being in possession of her own troublesome pair of X chromosomes.
Then, and also on the first ever morning that I wake up from a pleasant dream.
*I don’t seem to have had much success thus far in my attempts to be resolute, in life. So don’t expect any of this stuff to stick. But that in itself is a resolution for me; I need to try harder.
1) Spend more time applying for graduate jobs.
– I won’t lie; since it became a good idea for me to start doing this – about a year ago – I have applied for definitely no more than 5 such positions. My heart is very simply not in it. But then I don’t think that over the past year my heart has really been in much that I’ve done. I’m beginning to think I may be dead inside like all the emo kids were, back when emo kids were a thing.
Still, that is not a valid excuse; I need a career. Or at the very least I need a job that will allow me to afford to move out of my parents’ house and start living my own life properly, before I lose my mind/become irrevocably convinced that I have failed at life… and throw myself off a cliff. I need the next stage of my life to start; I need my next bunch of friends, my next not-quite-home, my next dose of terror and ignorance and challenge and sink-or-swim. The problem lies within my reluctance to make a giant leap for just about any graduate job; I want to be vaguely able to believe that I might be able to like the new life that that leap would represent for me. If not immediately (because the fear will ruin everything for the first couple of months, this I can be sure of) then at least after a reasonable amount of time.
2) Join a choir (or similar), and SING, ‘TIL MY LUNGS GIVE OUT.
– I always sang at school. And it was one of my favourite things, looking back, about that time. Singing duets and being one half of the Chamber Choir alto section made me feel… kinda special. (Good special). And I was good at it, too. I have the certificates to prove that. And then for some reason I lost that ability/lost all faith in any of my abilities. And then I never dared to sing in front of another living soul, and never really got the chance to sing to myself in the absence of other living souls, and so currently have no idea how well I could sing if I tried – really, properly tried – right now.
In the new year I will find at least one local choir/group of people who sing and aren’t too hugely selective about who they allow to join, and I will take my little sister with me because she used to sing too, and we will join one of said groups, and I will have one or two more hours of happiness and forgetting the world, each week.
3) Exorcise some demons.
– In particular, the ones that make me freak out on certain people in certain situations.
(No idea how this can be done, but I’m fed up of ‘can’t’. Can’t is not Okay; even if it’s ok with you, it’s not ok with me. I need to start being capable of stuff generally, and I plan to start with the little things and work my way up. Ahem).
4) Make more effort with friends, old and new.
– Although actually… To be brutally honest, there are only a handful of people I genuinely give a damn about nowadays, and this is how it’s always been. I’m not a very sociable being, I don’t really need many friends. I’ll chat with just about anyone if that’s what they want from me, but as far as real, proper friends are concerned I only need a few. I do think I need to make more effort with my favourite few though, because they make me happy.
5) Make music.
– Play piano plenty, and get better at it. Obtain the appropriate software and compose all the things I would have already written if I’d only had the software to do so before now. Play my cornet more, and get back to where I used to be, skill-wise, with that. Then play at least one solo with the band, for old times’ sake and for that whole feeling-like-I’ve-achieved-something thing. Little things.
6) Enrol onto at least one course of some description. Learn some new stuff and/or do some of the things I always kind of wanted to do, where possible. e.g. illustration, photography, sewing, cake decorating… Create (Because that itch is far too rarely scratched, and I’ve gotten decidedly rusty).
7) Read more. Because, like singing, it takes me away. Away is never ever bad.
8) Write more. For the same reasons.
9) Be happier. Any way, any how; spend more time smiling and less time crying. Go swimming regularly – and not alone – because exercise helps and swimming is quite escape-y.
Marry Adam Levine…
Poke me in June and see how I’m doing with these, yeah?
Something you always think ‘what if’ about.
Something you are proud of.
The what if thing is really easy.
When I was little I always said I was going to be a vet when I grew up. This ambition was very simply premised on the fact that I adored animals, and found all of them fascinating without exception. I also liked how they never required me to be polite and come out from behind the sofa to say things to people; things like ‘Hello’, and whatever the appropriate answers might be to the questions *insert relative’s name here* might care to ask me by way of small talk.
Anyway, the point is that I lacked confidence. Everyone who tried to instil it in me over the years must ultimately have failed, because I still lack confidence. Painfully. While such character flaws are mostly acceptable in doe-eyed, cherub-blonde four-year-olds, they are a little less forgivable in tired-eyed twenty-one-year-olds (with hair of god-knows-what-colour).
But up until the point where it started to matter, I aced everything I needed to ace in order to keep my early ambitions a possibility. Then for some reason I lost all faith in my ability to continue my education in the sciences, and chose to study English, History, Classics and Philosophy to A Level. Which in turn killed all potentially lucrative options when it came to possible University courses. Despite the fact that I went on to do well in all of those things and my eventual university degree, I now very much doubt that I will ever become a Veterinary Surgeon. I lament my decisions from time to time… vets make a lot of money; I’m sure that’s almost worth the horror of having to stick your hand up cows’ backsides every now and then. Having made the choices I did back then, and followed them up in the way that I have, I often wonder nowadays if I’ll ever be able to make money out of doing anything I vaguely enjoy. Not to mention the fact that the confidence has waned still further as a result; simply not being terrified of anything I might possibly decide to do seems like an unattainable Holy Grail nowadays. I’ve backed myself into a corner so that I pretty much can’t avoid living a lie, and I’m tearing my hair out in my efforts to figure out which lie would be best to go for.
Something I’m Proud Of.
My little sister loves me?
Here is a picture of a stumpy dog and its owner walking in the sea at Filey:
How Important You Think Education Is.
(Oh my, How Dull…)
Ok. My views on this subject at this particular moment in time can be summed up very briefly as;
It’s so, so much better to be educated than not… but.
But to get to where you want to go, you have to be the right kind of person. Own the right kind of mindset. Maintain the right outlook on life. Be strong, be confident, be self-assured. Be assertive, be prepared to put yourself first and do whatever it takes to get what you want (Within reason. No, fuck it; without reason). Be charismatic; win people over, make them fall for you.
I wish school had taught me that stuff.
I mean, I sailed through everything school threw at me. The same with University, kind of (although I very narrowly missed out on excelling there because my soul fell apart a couple of feet from the start, and then a couple of inches from the finish line). But one way and another, I never really had to try all that hard to do well. Nothing was very difficult. Time-consuming sometimes, yes, (frustrating for me, impatient and restless as I have often been) but not too difficult in any other sense. I enjoyed exams because I knew how to do them right. I hated essays, because I couldn’t bear to do them less than perfectly but always put off working on them until it was too late to be able to ensure that they always were perfect; knowing how to do them just right was always a process that developed along the way, with time running out just a tiny bit short of that process’ completion. Infuriating.
And now I am struggling to get a ‘proper’ job, a graduate position to reflect my level of educational achievement, because I have zero people skills. People very simply scare the bejesus out of me, and I’m not very good at hiding my fear. They’ve decided I’m not what they’re looking for before I’ve opened my mouth to say hello to them. (Although to be fair I haven’t really tried all that hard yet, because I can’t seem to muster the enthusiasm to even complete the majority of the application processes for the kind of jobs I’m meant to be pining after. I haven’t really seen any jobs advertised that I could really get excited about the thought of doing for any significant portion of my life…)
But yeah. They won’t pick me, because I’m not confident, driven, ambitious, endlessly enthusiastic, tenacious, a natural born leader. It always takes a bit of time and a lot of acclimatisation to a setting and a bunch of people and a situation, for me to even begin to feel the first sparks of those kinds of characteristics igniting.
And nobody wants a girl with the potential to become a superstar; they want their superstar ready-made, cut-and-dried. Fully Fledged. And there are plenty of people out there, people who think they are the dog’s bollocks (and maybe they are), who will convince the world that they are that ready-made wonderman/woman, and get to where they want to be. To where I will not get to be but would maybe want to be if only I had a damn clue what the Hell I wanted in life.
So (I’m not too sure, but) what (I think) I’m trying to say here is that yes you should pay attention in maths and English, kiddies. But the stuff you learn there will only get you so far; you have to be Superman with four times the ego and ninety-nine times the balls before you’ll get chance to become a real high flyer in today’s world.
And if you’ve been paying attention in maths and English, chances are you’ll have been fed the standard meritocratic bullshit about how your prowess in such activities means you should end up as one of those high flyers. So you will never be able to really and truly settle for anything lower, no matter how terrifying and harrowing the climb to bigger and better things might have to be for you.
They should spend more time teaching some of us not to be ourselves; because the ugly truth is that there are certain types of people who do not need to exist in today’s world. And if they should come to understand this fact then they’d better be prepared to be suffocatingly dissatisfied/lost/confused/self-loathing, or make a hasty metamorphosis of themselves. Kill, or be Killed.
Instead, at my school we sang silly songs like this;
“Of all the things to be, I’m happy that I’m me,
Thankyou God I’m happy that I’m me.
I’m happy that I’m me,
I’m happy that I’m me,
There’s no-one else in all the world that I would rather be”
(While Wicked Witches slammed us for having feelings, and tried to defame our characters to our parents behind our backs).
Go on, throw some more inspirational quotes my way…