Our latest blog comes from one of my coaches who has experienced an incredible personal journey - one which her children will learn and benefit so much from - I am convinced you will be moved by the honesty of her story..............
Picture the scene – I was 30 years old, with two children of 3 and 14 months respectively, living at home with my parents for the first time in almost 10 years and I was alone.
This hadn’t been my plan. I’d failed at marriage, or it had failed us – and now I was facing the prospect of divorce. I didn’t know how I had gotten to this place but I was here.
I had always believed in love. To an almost ‘Disney’ like degree!
If you’d have asked me at 18 what I wanted to do with my life, I would have told you ‘I want to fall in love, get married and have a family’. I felt I was never destined to be a career girl and I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating sort of way - I would always enjoy my work, but I just prioritised personal life. ‘Work to live, not live to work’ type thing.
Those first few months back with my parents in my old room (actually, it was my sisters old room. I realised that had the circumstances been different, this would have been viewed as a victory of sorts – at last! I had the biggest room! Oh the irony!)
I woke almost every night in terrible sweats. I would lay in bed going over and over things, constant questions.
On and on and on.....it was a relentless, exhausting, and a horribly sad time.
Inevitably, time moves on...and I moved with it.
Fast forward to April 2016. I'm in a new relationship and I have a roof over my head for my and my kids. Then, I get a message from a very good friend asking me to take part in something terrifying called ‘Nuclear Rush’ – the obstacle race to end all obstacle races! And in what I can only describe as a moment of temporary insanity I signed up.
On reflection, I actually think it might have been the work of the Universe because the most incredible thing happened………………..
I threw myself into training (some might call it training – I was by no means transformed but it felt good) and I focused on eating a little less chocolate (only a little less!) and eating some extra greens!
Before I knew it, race day had arrived. I felt sick. I honestly felt like I had no idea what I had let myself in for when I turned up.
There were masses of people who looked like proper athletes, with no ‘have a go heroines’ like me in sight! If I hadn’t coerced my super supportive and massively enthusiastic (and sporty!) boyfriend into bringing the kids along to watch and cheer, I would have got in the car and made a swift exit.
I won't lie, it was nothing short of disgusting.
Waist high putrid water that stank like pigs and cows, thick, gloopy, very slippery clay-like mud, silt in your teeth, wringing wet undies type disgusting!!! To say we were covered in it was an understatement, and it was the most physically demanding thing I have ever done....on a par with childbirth at times, I was so utterly exhausted.
I forced myself into situations that I would never have imagined possible, I jumped and leapt and crawled and rolled and dived and swam I was bruised and cried (who knew I was so terrified of fireman’s poles??) and as I thought it must surely, definitely almost be over, the next obstacle loomed....until the rotating monkey bars ……………….and then I saw them. My children. My two reasons. And him. I saw their faces.....What was that look....could it actually be?
Crying with laughter (him) and excited beyond all measure (them) yes, but what was that look, were they ...PROUD????
Seeing the three of them standing there shouting and waving their home made banners (told you he was enthusiastic didn’t I?!) laughing at me in an encouraging and loving way, and waving furiously, I suddenly felt all powerful.
I was of course Mum and Girlfriend and honestly I couldn’t have loved them more in that moment, but something in me shifted.
I felt limitless!
I was strong,
I was courageous,
I was fun,
I was a friend,
I was silly,
I was feminine,
I was loved,
I was sore,
I was sporty (pushing it slightly? Maybe! But that’s how I felt!),
I was filthy stinking rotten smelly.....but suddenly I was happy.
I still feel completely euphoric when I think about that day. When I think about how I laughed so hard, I almost peed myself stumbling and falling and picking myself back up along that route alongside friends and strangers.
When I think about how it felt to push myself, completely out of my comfort zone and endure very real pain at times. When I think about how free I felt in my muddy disheveled sweaty state. The all consuming love that burst forth from my heart when I saw those three exceptional humans standing on the side lines waiting for me.
If you’d have asked me when I was 18 how my life would play out, I would have told you in no uncertain terms how it would go. I had it all worked out. But I’ve learnt that sometimes things don’t work out how you imagined they would.
Guess what? The learning from that has been “You’re still full of worth. “
That race changed how I think and feel about myself. I realised I had lived a long time with self doubt, guilt, sadness, and though I can’t say I have entirely given those things up, I have relinquished the need to punish myself with them.
I want my children to be proud of me, and that will only happen if I stand up and be counted. If I show them the value of living in the moment, taking opportunities that come my way, loving furiously, pushing myself, working hard, and believing that all things are possible for them and me.
So own your mistakes, learn as best you can from them. Be kind to yourself, you're doing the best you can.
But above all else be happy being you...in all your splendid forms.