Hello. My name is quitter.

“Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living.” ~Alysha Speer

I’m feeling lost and have no idea how I am going to find myself again. I feel transient, almost as if I am actually just on the outside looking in. I used to feel so put together. I used to feel like I had a purpose. I used to feel whole. I used to know who I was and now I simply have no clue.

I’ve been feeling this way for a while.  The more I try to think about why I’m feeling this way, the more confused and lost I feel.

It may have to do with being pregnant.   I have to admit, when I first found out I was pregnant I wasn’t thrilled. I had recently found running and had based some of my identity on being a runner (albeit a slow one). I was really worried about how this was going to affect my running. I realize it didn’t have to, but I was so worried about the beginning stages of pregnancy, that I let it. I have almost completely stopped running and without the running my mood has quickly gone sour. I am complaining more. Quitting more. Whining more. Being pessimistic more. And I hate it.

I’ve been letting my role of “mother” take away from all the other roles I love to play: runner, inspirer, friend, wife. And the worst part is, I’ve been letting myself let myself. Yet, when I try to reverse this, when I try to get back to the way things are, I can’t.

It’s not that I don’t know how. I know exactly the steps I need to take. I know exactly what I need to do. But I don’t do it. I make plans. Then I can’t take the steps.

I know I need to get up and run. I just need to do it. And then my alarm goes off in the morning and I go back to sleep, knowing full well that I am going to hate myself in the morning, that I’m going to feel crappier than if I missed that hour of sleep due to running.

Just yesterday, my 3 year old asked me why I don’t go running anymore. Even he has noticed. Even he has seen the effects of my slacked attitude. It’s not just me. It’s not me being oversensitive to the situation.

I feel discouraged because I am so much slower now than I was. I felt like quitting when I realized I wasn’t getting faster, but slower instead. And instead of continually getting slower, I let myself quit altogether.

When I try to explain this to people, I usually get the “It’s ok, because you’re pregnant.” So I sigh and am inwardly happy that I have a “legitimate” excuse that I can use instead of what the real reason is: “I’m scared and I don’t want to fail more than I have so I simply won’t try.” I’m letting pregnancy be my excuse because it’s there, not because it’s the truth. I’m letting it be my excuse because to the outside world, it’s one that is allowed.

But to me it’s not. I’ve come to far to let this go. I’ve overcome heartache and muscle aches and sore everything and yet still kept going. I don’t want to resent my newest little because I quit and blamed it on being pregnant with her.  I don’t want this to be who I am to her and the rest of my family. I don’t want this to be who I am, period.

I need to remember who I was. I need to find me again.

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The Great Balancing Act

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~Jim Rohn

I feel like a failure of infinite proportion lately. I am having trouble achieving balance in my life. It feels like if I am doing well in one area, another one begins to suffer and I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

Things seem to be going pretty well at work. My students are learning, my planning is always completed on time, and I have been receiving accolades from the people from “above” who have come in to watch me teach. But I have also been spending way to much time on these items. Planning has been taking place at school, yes, but also on the week-end and during the week, much to the chagrin of my family, and even me.

It seems that the reason things are going so well and I am doing so well, is because I am putting all my time and effort into it, which would be fine if I were not a mother and a wife and also did not have outside-work goals of my own. At what point did I begin to sacrifice my happiness and my family’s happiness for doing a great job at work?

The truth, that by the time I put all that effort into the work items, I have no more effort to give the people around me, the people I truly care about. I become short-tempered, short-fused, irritable and down-right mean, which is of no fault of anyone’s but me.

When was the last time I worked on an art project with my two little ones? Or built a pillow fort? Or made some weird looking house out of legos? I can’t even begin to tell you. Because when I’m home it becomes about packing lunches, making dinner, cleaning, or simply doing more school work because, somehow, the 10 hours I already gave the place isn’t enough.

And don’t even get my started on the last time I went for a run when it wasn’t dark out, or the last time I read a book, or even the last time I went and just enjoyed dinner with a friend. I can’t even remember when those last happened. Those seem like luxuries I can no longer afford. And I can’t tell you what my son’s homework was from last night because I didn’t have time to help him with it, dad did. I can’t even tell you what my kids are asking for for Christmas this year. Though I can tell you the last work e-mail I wrote, and I can tell you the last spill I cleaned, and I can tell you the last television show I turned on for the littles while I tried to get these things done.

And really, if I’m being super honest, I put all of this pressure on myself EVERY SINGLE DAY. I feel that if I’m not doing all these things someone is going to get mad at me, or rate me unfavorably, or simply (totally egotistical right here) outshine me. The sad part isn’t that I care about these things. The sad part is that I care so much I’m letting other, more important things, slip by the wayside.

I spent almost the entire weekend worried about a field trip we are taking on Tuesday. Worried that certain parents are going to get mad their kids aren’t going (even though THEY didn’t pay after the 15 notes I sent home), worried about what we are doing with the kids who aren’t going (which teacher is staying back?), worried about an upcoming observation that has yet to be scheduled…I worried so much that I missed out on truly enjoying my weekend.

It’s hard to tell myself that it’s ok to step back and take a moment. I KNOW deep down inside that I will still do a great job even if I don’t spend every waking hour on worrying about school and completing school related tasks. Everything will still get done. I KNOW this. But yet, I still don’t do it.

I didn’t run this week-end, I told myself, because I wanted to get the house cleaned, spend quality time with the kids, focus on family. Well, I didn’t run, but the house is still a mess, the kids are napping, and I binge-watched Netflix the other morning since they were at the grandparents.

I feel like I have these great ideas and great plans on ways to get my life back to how I truly want it to be. Yet, I do nothing about them. Planning and doing are two separate things I don’t seem to have the energy or the attitude for the one that actually takes an effort.

I need to be OK with not being perfect or the best. I need to be ok with a messy house if everyone is happy. I need to stop putting everyone else in front of my family and myself.

I need to stop. I need to breathe. I need to listen.

And then…I need to act.

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