Firstly thank you all so much for your good wishes on my new business venture. Karen and I had an appointment with our small business adviser yesterday. I think it went well; we spent a fair bit of time talking about our husbands.....
I felt a bit odd sharing it with you, and if I'm honest I think it's because what I'm doing isn't particularly fancy. It's not cool or urbane. It's not even that interesting. There's only so much you can say about cleaning toilets for a living to be honest. What's important (for me anyway) is the mere fact of doing it at all. Any of you that have read my blog over the years, may be familiar with the ups and downs of my mental health. At times it has been completely debilitating, and I've spent many years making sure that my life is small enough to manage without losing the plot completely. And sometimes that has happened anyway.
I've always seen myself as a failed human being. Failed in that I never really took advantage of any of the opportunities that have come my way. It's a ridiculous notion I know. For some of us, just getting up in the morning is a success story. Creating a home for our children is another one. Being nice to people, just because you can, one more. And I'm aware that if any of my friends were to describe me, they would probably use the words funny, kind and caring. And I'm more than happy with that being my epitaph. I'm proud that I am person who cares. I like making people laugh. It comes from a place within that I'm not consciously in control of. And kindness is underrated frankly.
But I return again and again to that 'f' word. Why? It's from listening to those voices that tell me I'm not good enough. It's from listening to a world that tries to denigrate a woman if she is not juggling fifty plates in the air. It's from listening to those who would criticise the way that you raise your children, and the choices that you make for them. I've listened to all that chatter for far too long. It's damaging and hurtful and does no one any favours.
However, something has happened this past year. I've stopped feeling like such a failure. Running has helped enormously with that. Running has not just strengthened my legs and my heart. It has strengthened my mind. It has forced me to dig deep and address these feelings of failure at a very basic level. Running was really tough for me at the beginning. And actually it remains a challenge for me now. It forces me to get up and get outside, when I'd much rather curl up and stay in. It's made me challenge my physical capabilities over and over again. It's made me address that inner voice that tells me to quit, or that I can't do it.
And with the running has come all the fringe benefits. Yes I feel fitter and stronger. I feel better about myself when I look in a mirror. I'm not just seeing the room anymore. It's made my confidence grow. When I completed my first 10k earlier this year, I couldn't believe how emotional I became. As I crossed the line, I started to cry. And I didn't stop! It was a huge moment in my life. The fact that I actually achieved it at all. How often have I fallen at the first hurdle. That I had the stamina to complete what was a gruelling cross country cliff top race, was a complete revelation. I didn't come down from the high for about a week.
Of course the running has rather taken a back seat during the long summer holiday. And all the cleaning is giving me a different kind of workout. I'm not stressing about it though. Come September I'll be back out pounding the hills of St Ives. Running up towards Rosewall, and coasting down through Towednack. Looking at the sea to my right and the granite studded hills to my left. Breathing in that gorgeously salt scented air, and sweating cobs.
Here's to running, scrubbing, blogging and chuntering.
Love to you all,
(I should add, for reasons of transparency, that should my friend Liz ever be asked to name my qualities, she would almost certainly add 'shrew' to offset the syrupy niceness. I'm ever thankful for her keeping me balanced).