Monday, 7 August 2017

Running Up THat Hill
















Alright then?

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,

Leanne xx


(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).




29 comments:

  1. I have a huge sense of failure as well, and I'm rubbish at keeping my flat tidy. Really rubbish. I wish you all the best. I wish I had any bravery at all.

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    1. You ran a marathon, Si. That demonstrates enormous bravery in my book.

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    2. Absolutely agree with CT. Never sell yourself short. WE are all of us wonderful human beings xxxx

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  2. I really get it, Leanne. I struggle with the same feelings all the time, but it's getting better. I've never felt like I've done enough with my life, and I probably never will, but I'm beginning to value myself and my contributions more as I get older. It isn't easy but it's getting better. I wish you lots of success with your new business. I'm very proud of you.

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  3. Every day at least one patient will say "I'm not brave, I'm a coward", as they are faced by challenges. We are all strongerr than we think, we achieve more than we believe. Keep running up that hill, keep doing exactly what you're doing. I think you're lovely �� (A shrew?! Balances out the kindness bit, I guess!)

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  4. And here's to doing those things that make us feel good about ourselves and the choices we've made. You should be proud of yourself. I couldn't run if the Boogeyman was after me.

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  5. It's amazing how much running gives us, however we choose to do it. I guess it shows you very plainly that you have more courage and ability than you realised. Well done, chick. Xx

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  6. I think your post today has persuaded me to give running another go - always felt "I'm too slow/too fat/people will stare
    ....etc". I need to learn to "not give a hoot"! It sounds like running has really benefited you in many ways.

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    1. You are running for you, no one else. It doesn't have to 'lead' anywhere apart from the end of the road, it's all an achievement in the end. I used to feel massively self conscious; I remember the first time I took Olly to school in my running gear. It felt like exposure. As for running up the Stennack in broad daylight..... I thought everyone was staring at me! My sister in law would say to me 'who cares? You're doing it for you, not them!"
      I hope you go for it. The fringe benefits are immeasurable!
      L xx

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    2. Here here from a 62 year old who took up running this year and ran my first 5k park run three weeks ago. If I can do it so can you :)

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    3. I echo Leanne and Barbara. Give it a go, there's nothing to lose. Running is so popular today I honestly don't think anyone thinks it's odd or even particularly notices. It's just that we feel self conscious when we start it. Good luck!

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  7. If you have been a failure then so have I and I bet that you would tell me that I am not a failure, so that means you aren't either and I am glad that you know that!! Well done on all that you have done and how far you have come. If you are doing something that satisfies you and makes you happy then go for it and enjoy it and know that that is a good thing! Hope things keep going from strength to strength for you!

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  8. You are clearly not a failure to all of us who read your blog, but I certainly share your feelings of never being quite good enough. I don't know if this is something ingrained in us that whatever we achieve isn't enough or could be better, but it is horrid and debilitating. I have tried various strategies over the years to silence that voice, but ultimately I am not sure you can. What I try to do is to celebrate what I have achieved and not to set myself ridiculous goals. It is enough to have tried. Success in everything is not necessary. Keep up the good work. You are amazing. We are all amazing.

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  9. Oh Leanne, well done you for achieving so very much. I am so pleased to read that you are being kinder to yourself too. I think we all need a dose of that. There is so much pressure from every angle that I think we all need to take a deep breath and pat ourselves on the back for just getting through each day. Just managing all the small things. You deserve a huge pat though for achieving so much more than the small things. SmallP xxxx

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  10. Oh and your house is to die for! Those doors with the stained glass are gorgeous :-) xxx

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  11. What a great post Leanne. I feel rather a failure, I should have done stuff, but I didn't, so I know what you mean. You make an excellent case for running, those are benefits that I could really use I think. I have the odd go at running, it lasts for a few months, then I stop. Not sure why. I don't have a very inspiring route and I tend to go very early in the morning, it's not something I particularly look forward to. But you really do make a good case for it. I am inspired! And I don't think you're a failure at all Leanne, you've made a great home for your family, you write beautifully, you have friends who clearly adore you, you're good and kind and you make people laugh. This is success. As Emerson said, "To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." I have it on a mug. CJ xx

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    1. i just copied and pasted that quote...gave me bit of sniffle. :) xo

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    2. CJ, that quote. I have written it down too!
      L xx

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  12. Loved reading this post Leanne, so positive in oh so many ways. You have got bushels to feel proud about including your newly found business. Keep running up that hill I say, but to quote CT don't forget the jelly babies 😉 B xx

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  13. You at just totally fantastic!!!!

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  14. Oh Leanne, I like you so very much. I am really happy that you are taking joy and pride in running and that you are feeling stronger and more confident. Next time you scrub a loo, remind yourself that you are a business woman, an entrepreneur; you even have a business adviser, totally amazing. A kind and caring business woman!

    I let you in on a secret: having taken advantage of many opportunities that came my way, juggling not quite 50 plates, it makes no difference, I often feel I am failing, particularly my children. There is so much pressure on women in particular, it is no wonder that all the women I know personally feel inadequate one way or the other. I think we are trying to be too many things too perfectly. Hope I am making sense. Christina xx

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  15. I can understand feelings of 'failure' as I suffer from them myself. I have to keep telling myself that plate spinning is overrated and to be content with my small life. You're a complete inspiration - you raise a family, you write beautifully, you run and now you own a business. You go girl! xx

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  16. i absolutely relate to everything you've written. I'm the great under-achiever....i'm (allegedly) clever and creative and talented and yet.....pfft....i apparently don't want to do things the way i Ought to and so therefore am, by Conventional Definition, not reaching my potential. bollocks to that.

    anyway.

    those are old stories that were told to us and for some inane reason, believed. I'm starting to tell myself different stories now...as, it seems, are you...and aren't we doing marvelously?

    i think you're brilliant. xoxo

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  17. Reading your wonderful post and the insightful comments, it seems so many amazing women think of themselves as failures, which at least puts me in a good company. The society often appreciate outward success only - great careers, bestsellers, business enterprises.
    But I think kindness and compassion are two most important human traits, not just because they are good for other people, but they are good for us - I always feel better when I am kind and nice to people then when I am acting like a bitch.
    To add to beautiful Emerson quote, the epitaph I would choose is that quote from L. Cohen: "There is crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". (Now I just need to convince myself)
    And I also think you are brilliant ☺ xx

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  18. I've heard so many people say how running has helped with physical, mental and emotional health yet it's something I've never done, I just know I'd be too self conscious to give it a go myself. Well done on setting up your own business, what a brilliant idea. I'm sure you'll be a huge success.

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  19. My Mum and Mother in law both suffered from depression, it was so difficult to try and show them that things weren't as bad as they thought. It's so good to hear that you have found that running has been so beneficial and you have been achieving so much. Sarah X

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  20. Is there a Kate Bush reference in that title? Impressed by your running. I'm attempting to get a bit fitter this summer with mixed results. Running not really my thing though - I've been making a fool of myself doing Zumba classes. God luck with it all and don't ever think of yourself as a failure when you you write so beautifully.

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  21. I read your previous post but didn't have time to comment, so here's two in one. First, congratulations on setting up your own business. Brilliant. Second, I am so glad you are continuing to blog in your frank, open and funny words. It's a tonic. More power to you, Leanne. S x PS God, I love that quote from CJ – totally agree. Failure? Pah. xx

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