I inspire me

Inspiration is an intriguing point for me lately.

I have shared this before but it bears repeating… http://www.wicca-spirituality.com/akhilandeshvari.html

Directly relating to some musings I have had lately regarding my own “brokenness” https://truthfreedomjoy.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/the-beauty-of-broken/

Revisiting this yesterday as I returned from running a 10km race, The Victoria Goddess Run. It has been a long haul the last couple of years through grief and depression, ptsd and insomnia that has kicked my ass physically and brought me to a place where most of the time my whole body hurts and I’m habitually exhausted. Mentally, emotionally and physically. Most days, things just feel so hard to do. But I do what needs to get done. And more recently I’ve even started to have fun again and see joy in my life.

A large part of that has been making my physical well-being and happiness a priority again. For those who have known me for years, you know that I am an active person. My usual level of fitness and activity is pretty high and demanding. And I love that. I love my body feeling strong and healthy and capable. I haven’t felt that way for the last couple of years and it’s been steadily wearing me down emotionally.

Feeling disconnected to my physical self is something I hadn’t experienced in years. My Yoga training and being a Yoga teacher, fitness instructor and personal trainer brought me a level of body awareness and somewhat acceptance that was sorely needed starting in my late 20’s.

Two years after Willie’s death and grieving still, 6 months ago I realized that I have found myself almost completely foreign to myself physically. Not able to do what I “normally” would not even blink an eye at… flexibility lost… strength diminished and a body that looks notably different due to extra weight and a lack of muscle definition… Struggling still with insomnia and depression and battling self-harm manifesting in a rearing up of anorexic behaviour again it was time to make changes.

So I set a goal to run a half marathon. I signed up in November 2013 and it was for yesterday, June 1st 2014. I had never run a half marathon but was determined to do it.

Depression and grief held on… insomnia got worse… my weight went up instead of down no matter what I tried it seemed like. Injuries one after the other as I struggled to just push through. Coupled with self-hatred and sheer disgust at myself for what felt like moving farther from my goal every week instead of closer. 2 months ago I made the decision to alter my goal to the 10km distance instead of the half-marathon. This was in the midst of a hamstring pull so bad that I couldn’t even walk, let alone run and the reality that, as Physio pointed out, the idea of running a half-marathon in less than 7 weeks when I couldn’t run 2km without pain was ridiculous.
So, I altered my goal. All the while still looking at other areas of my life and seeing that it was a theme that I was hating. I would make plans to socialize or go out and I would almost always cancel. I had moved from being someone who NEVER didn’t deliver to someone who would shrug and say “whatever”. Part of me, a large part of me, really expected that I would not run even the 10km that I had signed up for. When I found out that my son’s Karate tournament was on the same weekend I thought “of course” and resigned myself to not running it.

Then something clicked. I thought, I can do this. I had been able to rehab to consistently able to complete 5km (still with pain but I could do it). That little part of me that still believed in me was there enough to make a plan and decide that I was going to believe that I could do it.

A weekend of controlled chaos of race package pick-up, ferry and rush hour traffic to Vancouver, not enough sleep… full day at a Karate tournament and a hell of a long trip home to the island … not enough sleep and a morning that came too quickly and there I was. June 1st and the Goddess Run.

Incredulous that I had made it and was doing it. I had set a time of wanting to do it in under 1hr 15 minutes. My last organized race was over 10 years ago and my time was 1hr and 1 minute. In my mind I had a time of 1hr and 8mins that I wanted to meet but felt that was unachievable.

Even as I got set up to run I fought with the feelings of failure that I was running the 10km instead of the half-marathon but as I got going something clicked and I realized that I should be proud of myself for even being there when all along I had been convinced that I wouldn’t even show up. It’s hard to put into words how good it felt – even with just 1km under my feet – to be there and running. I didn’t care about time, just that I was doing it and was going to finish. To feel my body strong and my mind focused and determined was a feeling that I had forgotten I had in me. It’s true that the mind trickles down and what you set in your mind, you create and manifest with your actions. Your body is a vessel for the experiences of your Self.

A moment… I looked up and the woman in front of me was wearing a shirt that read “You Inspire Me”… I felt tears in my eyes and I thought to myself something I hadn’t thought I would ever think… I felt proud of myself and I thought “ I inspire me”. It’s hard for me to write those words because for so long now I have beaten myself up for my failings and hated myself for what I felt like were my weaknesses but those three words are a turning point. The fact that I was running at that moment – achieving what I set out to do when I truly believed that I wouldn’t – that moment showed me that the “me” that I always knew could do and achieve anything is still “me”. Never not broken but always strong and capable.
Finished the 10km in 1:02:57. Better than I hoped for but even if it had been an hour and a half I would have been proud.


Me, my Self and I

Me, my Self and I.

No, I’m not talking about multiple personalities or dissociative identity disorder or anything like that. I’m referring to how I relate to “Me”.

There’s the joke that it’s ok to talk to yourself… it’s not ok if you answer yourself ;). Yet, at the end of the day and at the root of it all is solitude and your Self. Regardless of anyone else’s influence or impact in your life, what matters and counts and is fundamental is your relationship with your Self.

You can be surrounded by people who give you validation and affirmations and lift you up but if you don’t have that coming from inside of you, it makes no difference and won’t give you what you need to be confident and comfortable with who you are, the way you live and the choices you make.

For me, that is a concept that it has taken me a lifetime – and a loss that has almost killed me – to start to internalize. After struggling with self-hatred and loathing for years, it’s a realization that it’s inside of me that I am finding the strength and the empowerment to love my Self.

Sometimes I need to let my Self have a day of tears and quiet and sleep … other times I need to accept and embrace and allow the laughter and the silliness and giddiness that overflows… sometimes its being surrounded by friends that makes me feel good… it’s the calm of a book and the couch… the raw sweat and heavy breath of a hard run… the fortitude to push through the edge of physical endurance … and the surrender of the softness found in the release of a stretch. All parts of a whole and all equal in importance to the fullness of my expression of Me.

My physical, mental and emotional Selves need solitude to grow and connect with each other and foster the strength that’s there… To be empowered to show the strength and the confidence that is so necessary to living the way that brings me joy. The strength and the confidence that is there, just buried underneath a lifetime of disconnect between Me, my Self and I.

It’s not a fractured view of Self but rather an understanding that it’s a team effort of one whole person together to live the life that I want and deserve.

This goes out to my Self… for my Self… I won’t give up on “Us”


This is a very difficult post not only to write but to publish. I am publishing this to give voice to what I know isn’t just my struggle. This blog is not only Willie’s blog but also a vehicle for dialogue about mental health. This is part of that. I have carried a lifetime of shame over my feelings addressed here and part of me healing is letting go of the shame and the guilt for how I feel and my way of dealing with those feelings.

Self-harm is, for me, the epitome of complicated. It’s not as simple as I want to hurt myself. If only it were, then it might be believable to myself that I’ll be able to end it. I am no stranger to this and it’s something that has been a part of my life since as far back as my pre-teen years; really kicking into habitual behaviour in my very early teens and continuing in some form or another in varying degrees even now. Speaking only for myself and my experiences…

Self-harm is something that happens essentially one of two ways for me. The most obvious and the way most people relate to it, is by actually physically hurting myself. The other way which has been the predominant way for years is a purposeful and conscious refusal to do what is “good” or what will benefit me, either physically or emotionally. This is different from choosing to be not well… it is calculatingly choosing to harm myself by denying myself something I need to be “better”.

I know how this sounds; when I write it out I have so much shame and guilt and disgust for myself and what I do that I don’t want to let anyone read it or know what goes on inside of me. I have written this out in so many forms over the last couple of years and every time I have destroyed/deleted it. I may still with this version; I’m not sure yet.

Breaking this down even further; physically hurting myself falls into a couple of different slots as well. When I first started doing it, it was actually therapeutic – or at least that was how I saw it. I would exercise or run whenever I would get overwhelmed emotionally. If I was stressed and needed to “blow off steam” I would throw on my shoes and run – fast and as far as I could go. I would run until I was exhausted. Or I would go to the studio after work and put on loud music and turn the lights off and dance until I was sweating and panting and couldn’t move. I would do Yoga strenuously after that until my body ached and my muscles were shaking. All the while telling myself that it was healthy… this was a healthy choice to release stress. And for a while it was. Until I started to hurt when I ran.. my knees or hips would scream and I would feel that and then I would push harder. The pain was nothing more than a sensation. To me, it became a way of physically feeling what was inside of me that hurt so much. A way of transferring the emotional pain into something tangible that I could feel, process and release. I started to run seeking that pain and not stopping until I found it. And it worked for a long time… years in fact. Until it stopped working. The last year and a half the pain has been too much and injuries had sidelined me from running for a while. Cutting became something that took me by surprise. Done one night when I was in so much pain that I had no idea what to do. The cutting, for me, was a way to pull myself back to the present from where my mind had gone it its turmoil. It was the vessel for the emotions that were swirling inside and threatening worse. Again, seemingly destructive but in actuality, a safer release. I know how “crazy” that may sound but it is just that. The scars I have now a testament that during those times that I couldn’t take it anymore, I got through it. Every cut followed by the mantra that I wouldn’t do it again – and the shame. Fresh cuts again now on my arms tell a different story though. Still doing what I need to when it gets too much. Providing release but also fueling the other side of the self-harming…

The side that isn’t a “healthy” way of dealing with internal struggles. The side that is intentionally hurtful and destructive and hateful. The side that has been here the longest. Starting with control and eventually growing into a way to punish and inflict hurt on someone who doesn’t deserve anything better – me. Anorexia and bulimia in my early teen years morphing into a lifetime of disordered eating that has at its roots the belief that I am fundamentally broken and flawed. The body dysmorphia that I logically know is there but that I can’t control or alter. It skews my vision of myself and my ability to embrace behaviours and habits that will bring my body pleasure and enjoyment. Decades of self-hatred that can’t be accurately described no matter how hard I try. A self-image that isn’t dissuaded by anyone elses opinion.

This has now become an almost debilitating condition with the result that I am terrified at the idea of anyone seeing or touching me. Physical, sexual contact is horrifying to me as I can’t stand the concept of being naked in front of someone and having them explore my body. My own grotesqueness, in my mind, repulsive to me… so it must be to them. No matter what anyone tells me, I can’t believe otherwise. My sexual desires dwindling as I recoil from the chance of ever having to be in that situation again. The frustration over my physical loneliness and wanting coupled with the internal distaste for contact right now.

I see this inside of me and I see my inability to change it… regardless of how aware I am or how many times I’ve tried it never goes away. The result is that it fuels the self-hatred even more… I can’t control myself and because of that I hate myself. My weakness, my disgusting lack of ability to make myself better. I see friends who try to make me see what they do and I see their frustration and eventual annoyance at me and I hate myself more. Or worse yet, the friends who believe that it’s all an act to garner compliments. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to be different, I want to be free of the thoughts in my mind and the way that my eyes see my shape and how my body feels to my hands. And as the years go by I lose faith that I will ever be free of this.

How many times can you start over and believe that THIS time it will be different… that this time, I’ll be able to change what needs to change and learn to love myself? What is inside of me that has that base belief that I am not deserving of love and nurturing? It’s been there so long that it was hidden… it took me a long time – and some professional help – to discover that this is one of the reason for these behaviours.

It’s not anything that anyone else can convince me of. It began inside me and that’s where it has to be resolved.