This is a very self-focused, selfish, navel-gazing kind of post, my apologies for that and my thanks to good friends who are patient with me. I’m not sure I tell you often enough how much I appreciate you all.
I’ve recently become frustrated and disappointed with my training. I go to gym every day, and on Sundays I do a long cycle. Still it felt to me as if I got nowhere. My body simply won’t do the things I want it to do.
Trying to work through this, I got to the point where I asked myself what it is I am trying to achieve. Why am I aiming to do triathlons?
This is why: I like exercise. I love it. I want to think of something fun to do and be able to do it, like cycling up to Flagstaff, parking the bicycle and running up to the Clontygora Court graves. Like driving to the mountains and going for a long run: just me, the trees and rocks and the presence I like to think of as The Dagda – not strictly the one from Irish mythology, more like the character I created loosely based on him.
I want to explore the world on two wheels. I want to cycle all over Europe and absorb all the places I still want to see. I want to be so fit that these things are a joy, not a struggle. Though struggle is something I also enjoy, it’s nothing compared to the ecstasy of reaping the fruit of a lot of exercise.
I don’t know. I enjoyed the competition I participated in the other day, but… hmm, this is difficult to explain. I’ve been tense and stressed and highly strung for ages now, it’s been driving me nuts. When yesterday I found the above honest answers in my soul, I stopped thinking of having to deal with the socialising aspect of it all, and wow. Relief. I feel so much calmer today. So much happier.
I know I’m a little weird. There are times when I do things that are perhaps not quite within the realms of the ordinary (as we all do), and I know they’re weird but I decide the joy of the action outweighs the drawbacks of the few funny stares or so. Like dancing to the music on my ipod as I walk to my son’s school to fetch him (my children are going to hate me when they get a little older, they are thank god still too young to realise I am a liability).
Then there’s weird stuff I do which I absolutely honestly don’t realise it’s weird.
Now comes something I think I have been trying to do since about this time last year: I’ve been trying to make more friends. And you know what? It’s turned me into a nervous wreck. I have to consider these days that I could meet someone and they might have seen me tip-tapping along the pavement. They might have seen me swinging the shopping bags to and fro while quietly singing to myself in the shop while waiting for my daughter (didn’t know it was not on until she hissed: “Mommy, stop swinging the bag, people don’t do that!”). And since deciding to join the world around me, it has started mattering.
What am I trying to say? I decided yesterday to give up. And oh my god, what a relief. No more constantly trying to assess which of the things I’m doing are weird and which aren’t. Not constantly self-analysing, trying to ascertain whether this weird thing I want to do is a subconscious showing off or if my impulse to do it is genuinely from the heart. If I live in the world where I’m comfortable instead of the one I decided some time ago would be good for me, what I do or how others perceive me no longer matters.
Fuck it. I have friends, great ones, and I’m rather going to spend my efforts making a plan to visit them where possible: in Belfast, in Stoke-on-Trent, maybe even in America.
I cannot adequately convey how relieved, how freed I feel. There’s a duathlon on Sunday, and when I direct my thoughts to joining the group for tea and sandwiches afterward, my stomach turns into a knot. When I picture myself enjoying the race and then packing up my stuff and cycling on to the Carrickdale for an hour or two of writing and lunch, well wow, relief again. I just do not like being with people in that way!
Maybe if I was with someone I’d already got to know solidly online, yes, but just trying to get to know people by meeting them? I’m trying to understand if perhaps that’s why the friendships I consider the most precious to me are ones in which correspondence came first, face to face meetings second. I am most comfortable in the world of the written word. I feel happy today when I see myself accepting that.
I love who I am. And I’m going to stop trying to fit myself in where I don’t belong.