I’ve spent a lot of time the past two days thinking about you. I’ve envisioned what I would have said if you were in front of me. Before my race. During my race. After my race.
I cried almost the whole way there, alone in my car, because the only things I could hear inside of my head were your words.
“You run really slow.”
“I don’t think you workout as hard as you say you do at the gym. If you did you would have lost more weight by now.”
“I’m embarrassed to be seen with you when you don’t have clothes on.”
My whole morning was filled with the reopening of old wounds. The slashes in my chest were just as deep, just as excruciating, as when your words first racked them into my soul and mind. Your words have filled me with so much self-doubt for the past four years of my life. Your actions have made me question the motives of every person I have been with since you. Even though you are gone, you were never fully eradicated, festering deep within me, your words evil whispers that I would catch every so often.
I cried Saturday because the only questions I could ask myself were what if you were right? What if I couldn’t do it? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I ran too slow, and wasn’t strong enough to get over the obstacles, and what if you were right all along? What if I would never be good enough?
As I got closer to the race I started getting angry at you, leaving the sadness, fear, and anxiety behind. I wanted you to be there. I wanted to yell at you, scream at you, beat my fists against your chest and proclaim as loudly, as desperately as I felt, that I was good enough. That I had always been good enough, fast enough, smart enough. I had been amazing. Fantastic. Honest. Supportive. I had been everything I could have possibly been for you, and that I deserved to feel good about myself.
I deserved to believe in myself even if you didn’t. I wanted to screech that it didn’t matter how fast I ran, or if I ran at all. I was going to do well because no matter what, showing up was better than staying home, walking was better than sitting. I wanted you to be there to watch me conquer myself and the insecurities that your words had instilled within me.
And then I was there. Car parked, ID checked, package picked up, my first ever racing tag pinned to my shirt. I dropped my bag off at the St. Jude’s tent as I was congratulated on the money I had raised, something else you would have been unsupportive with I’m sure.
And then there it was. The start. There were so many people, and this was only one wave, with a new wave starting every 30 minutes. I had a conversation with a woman about my Vibrums and got to upsell them because they’re fantastic shoes even though you thought they were stupid. I’ve met so many interesting people because of those shoes.
And then there was the countdown from 10, everyone bouncing around, warming up, and then a whoosh of flames as the horn sounded and we were off, and I was suddenly alone. There was stillness and silence in my head, in my world, even though I was surrounded by so many people. I let it all fade away as I focused on my breathing, where I was running, how cold the muddy water was as I ran through every pond on the track.
I forgot about you because you didn’t matter any more. I forgot about your words and the hurt and pain they caused me. Every obstacle I climbed over, crawled under, ran through, slide down, was something you did to me. Something I survived and crushed and left behind me as I moved ever closer to my finish line one step at a time.
There wasn’t unbridled joy as I crossed the finish line. No. There wasn’t anything so fleeting or unstable as that. There was the unshakable rock solid confidence of a new foundation. My foundation.
I can do it. I did do it. And you will never be able to take that away from me. Ever. Your words can no longer plague me like a vicious cancer. This is not remission.
I refuse to question if my body is good enough. My body is perfect the way it is. I am a warrior, and I will only improve from here. You will not be able to stop me. You will not be able to tear me down. You will not be able to undermine the foundation that I have structured. A foundation made up of my own truths rather than the lies I allowed myself to believe for so long.
I am glad I waited so long to write this. I am glad that this isn’t the rage filled message that I felt on Saturday morning. I’m glad that even though I still want to cry right now, that I’m not. I feel sadness for you because I know you’re most likely still lost and lashing out at other people as you continue to feel inadequate and insecure. I feel sad because I feel like you will never be able to have a healthy relationship with anyone, and that even if I were to tell you about all of my accomplishments, I don’t think you would be happy for me. I don’t think you would be proud. I honestly think you would say something to make it seem less than.
I wish so desperately that you weren’t like that. I wish I had been able to help you figure yourself out while we were together, and I wish it hadn’t cost me so much to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to do that. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to walk away.
Yet even with all of that said, even with everything you ever did to me in the forefront of my mind right now, I can’t bring myself to hate you, and in a way that pleases me. I don’t want to be capable of hate. I don’t want to be able to possess so much negativity within me, and I certainly wouldn’t want to waste such an intense emotion on you.
Instead I choose to be grateful for everything you put me through. I am grateful for all of these insecurities you gave me and forced me to endure because I can identify with so many people now. I can empathize with them. Truly, wholly. I know the darkness they walk through because until Saturday I was still in that darkness even if I was choosing to ignore it.
I’m pretty sure there’s still some bits of your cancer left in me that I need to remove. I’m still raw and hurt from Saturday. Emotional healing, any healing, isn’t a fun process. But I made it through you. I made it through my race. This hurt is child’s play in comparison. I will make it through this, just like everything else, and I will be that much better for it.
I don’t know what else to say to you. I guess there was never really anything that needed to be said at all. Maybe this is just a spiteful, vindictive message on my part. But I wanted you to know. I felt like I had the right to tell you. Even if it is on a single page, lost forever in the vastness of the Internet, I have a right to tell you my new truth.
I am good enough.
I proved that undeniable fact to the most important person in my life this past Saturday. I proved it to myself, and you’ll never be able to make me question or doubt myself ever again.
The Earth Dragon Who Did