I do it. You do it. Lots of bloggers do it. (for the record, I am trying to be self aware enough, especially in my new project – to NOT do it) We self deprecate, at the expense of others (often without thinking about it) in hopes of obtaining compliments or patting oneself on the back in a coy way. One major example of this I have noticed (and I am 100% guilty of it in the past) is posting race times and inserting negative commentary about ourselves which inadvertently makes other people feel bad. Your version of “slow” is someone else’s version of “fast.” Saying that you ran an unbelievably slow race at a pace that lots of people strive to hit – isn’t the best way to win friends. And yes, you could argue that those reading should grow up and not take everything so personally but lets remember, this is the age of the internet where all this shit is constantly throw in our faces. It’s kind of hard not to have an opinion about it or get our feelings hurt OR for that matter – allow the words of others to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Sometimes all the chatter isn’t necessary. (and yes this is coming from someone who is currently blogging and if you find yourself rolling your eyes then you obviously don’t get it and should just click away from my site)
I am a lucky girl. I know lots of runners. Some of them are SUPER fast. None of those people are posting their race times or their paces or slamming their performance on the internet. The people I know – who are running times I can’t fathom – usually don’t say a fucking thing about it. They stay quiet. They are humble. And that is the thing I love the most about them. I’ve tried to learn from that because I have had people message me privately (people that I’ve asked to run with) only to be told I appear too intimidating to them. Two seconds scrolling through Facebook from the years 2013-2016 showed me some disgusting behavior where yes, if I were reading that shit, I wouldn’t run with me either. I was so worried about hitting my version of fast that it never occurred to me that I was making other people feel like crap. Crying over a 2:02 half marathon after running a 2:01 half marathon the week before made me look stupid because two years and lots of hiccups later – I would love that time. I would feel all the good feels about that time. I would be happy just to run a half marathon. If you have two legs and they are operable and moving – just be grateful. Life is good.
This linguistic exchange of the ideal version of ourselves can inadvertently hurt those around us. I think females are more susceptible of this because we hold ourselves to the craziest of expectations. All the noise makes it very difficult to sort through what is real. In my next project, that is the cornerstone of my new philosophy: think before you speak – especially when it is being thrown out to lots of people. Don’t advocate for things that are unattainable and don’t put yourself down because it will in one way or another, hurt others. This goes for race times, body shaming, relationship gloating, fad diets, etc. We can talk about body shaming another time but ladies – PLEASE – don’t post pictures referring to yourself as fat or saying you slipped on your diet just so the world can tell you how great you look. It sounds as ridiculous as it looks. Lets just give ourselves a break and change the internal conversation when looking at ourselves in the mirror. And, if you can’t do that, then handle your shit privately so I don’t feel obligated to give you an empty compliment and then turn around and analyze everything I shoved in my mouth that day.
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about people’s journeys – but only when constrcutive. Two years ago, a friend of mine blogged about her mission to break 4 hours in a marathon. It was honest. It was raw. It was real. And it made me smile every single time I read it. While she referenced her time goals and cataloged her training plan – the blog felt informative and necessary. It felt like a platform in which to challenge others because it came from a very authentic place. It made me want to be better. It made me want to push myself. She set a high standard and the conversation was a positive one. I’m sure it pushed lots of women to think: “I can do this too.” And that’s the type of nurturing guidance we need on the internet. I hope to see more from her in the coming months.
Let’s change the conversation and be kind to ourselves and each other. We are all doing the best we can. We are all beautiful. We all run fast. We are all here to conquer.