“My point is this: No one is perfect. And in fact, it is in our flaws – and in our weaknesses – that we can find our greatest strength. More importantly, we need to ease up on the self-criticism. This journey, this life, it only happens once. We have but one chance to make the most of it.”
I wrote that last week. Before I got a D in one of my classes. Before I took a week off running. When it felt like I knew something that I could share with others.
The past few days have been long and I’ve been feeling really blue. Could be the snow (I know), the clouds, the aforementioned week off running, the dread that comes with starting again tomorrow, the kids whining, all of the above…
I don’t even know where to begin. To write about these feelings feels a little too self-indulgent because they pass, they always pass. But to ignore them completely, to keep them to myself, feels a little like lying. Because no matter how ugly, here they are.
The world feels heavy on my shoulders, lately. I’m disappointed in myself, because my primal eating kick went south, because I got the worst grade I’ve ever received yesterday, because the smallest failure makes me feel unworthy of anything good, and I cried into Steve’s shoulder last night and told him to stop talking when he told me how much he loved me, how special I am to him.
One hit and I fall. One tough blow and I want to quit. One bad grade and I’m convinced that not only am I obviously incapable of balancing home life and school, but I’ll never be able to balance the career I want with the rest of my life either.
Leila ran in a kids race last June. She looked forward to it for weeks, but when the day came the noise and amount of people scared her. She clung tightly to Steve’s hand and shook her head no when the gun went off. He reached down to pick her up and she looked at him with tear-stained cheeks and said, “Let’s just walk.” So they walked together, about halfway, holding hands, Steve providing a very warm security blanket. And then her courage rose and she started to run. She let go of his hand and pumped her legs as hard as she could.
We stayed after her race was over, eating a picnic on the grass, watching the older kids run. We cheered for them and ate sandwiches together. I wanted her to remember the whole day, not just the race. Afterwards we talked about bravery, about being strong even when things are scary or hard. And then last week she asked me when that race was, because she wanted to do it again this year. I might get scared again, and I might need to walk. But I want to do the race.
When is it that finding faith in yourself becomes so hard?
Class starts again in two weeks. And I get up and do it again, because that’s what needs to be done.
But I’m left wondering, when do we learn to forgive ourselves our failures? And when does believing in ourselves become so hard?
I have a lot to learn from that little girl.