I’m only allowed to run for the next 2.5 weeks if I want any exercise. This is torture. I despise running. I particularly despise running in Florida where you breathe in as much water as your body is gushing out of you. But run I will because I believe strongly in being as healthy as I can be and sitting stagnant all summer has been worse than the torture that is running.
This past Monday morning was my first official run…if you can call it that. Greg was super awesome dad and offered to take Levi to school so I got to stay home and run in my neighborhood rather than around the endless loop that is Lake Eola. The very first jaunt of my run, as soon as I am out of the door, runs me right passed a group of middle school students waiting for their bus. Middle schoolers still freak the crap out of me. Nothing is more daunting than a group of them. They are so very insecure and frightened of life that they seem to have carte blanche when it comes to making fun of everyone else. I will face some truly scary things before I will go head to head with a 13 year old girl…much less a whole gaggle of them.
As I raced passed them this week, trying to act like I didn’t give a flying fudge what they thought of my baby elephant running style and turning up Spotify so I wouldn’t hear any of their caustic judgments or feeble attempts at a cat call, I started thinking about the middle schooler that still lives inside of me.
Lately I am one big ball of insecurity. This week I sat down and journaled out a long list of all the demons that are pounding at my emotional door. They ranged from my weight to my clothes to the way I parent to the kind of wife I am to the kind of friend I am. I found myself, when I was really honest, wondering what I really have to offer these days. I feel as if I am slamming around from wall to wall like Ms. Pacman trying to outrun those little ghost guys.
I know that I am my own worst critic. I know that no one is judging me as harshly as I am judging myself right now. I know that no one’s life really looks as glamorous, put together or friend filled as social media suggests. I know that Levi thinks I’m the best mom ever, second only to grandma and that, even though Greg and I are bumbling through a few bits of our marriage right now, he loves me more than he did the day we got married. I know all of these things and yet middle school Reagan feels like nothing is really certain and nothing she does is really good enough. I fear the throng of middle schoolers at the bus stop because I am one of them.
It’s a daily fight these days to quiet the middle schooler in my head. She is so vicious and knows how to go for the jugular but I remind myself that she only comes out when something scares her. And I am learning in my time at counseling that the things that scare me aren’t as scary as they seem when I am willing to drag them out in to the light and face them down. So I’m going to keep trudging my way passed those middle schoolers, knowing that just the act of racing by them is the first step to calling upon the courage necessary to fight these demons.