I look at this picture and wonder how in the hell I got myself mixed up in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is after my best Boston marathon finish of 3:40:20. An 8:25 pace. A very not easy marathon. I was running sad. I was running angry. I had gotten a call from the man I was dating before the marathon start, saying he was sorry once again (he was supposed to be there with me). That he wished me good luck. That he will be happy when I am back to celebrate. I was sucked right back in...
After running the race, I posted this picture. The first call I got from him was “why would you post that picture? It’s awful. Your nose looks huge. The shadow makes you look so bad.” Not congratulations. Not great job. Not how are you feeling. Even looking at it now, I remember the only reason my hair was growing out was because he liked women with longer hair and not short (like I usually wear it). Ugh.
Three months after this picture started my downward spiral into trading one abuse for another.
Folks. If you are in a relationship that does not feed your inner strength, your inner beauty, your badassery... get the fuck out of it now. If you are only hearing words of defeat, of toxicity, of cruelty, of anger… get the fuck out now.
Do you find this language harsh? I don’t think I’m sorry for that. This was one of the deepest, darkest holes I had been in. And, even after this, I let it continue. I let it continue for three more months. And after that? We didn’t speak for almost a year. But then... with one text, I was sucked back in all over again. On and off for over a year. Until a line was crossed. A line that was harsher than any of the others already crossed. That situation changed my outlook on dating and who I let into my life. It did not stop the other abuse I was doing to myself with alcohol. That took another 10 years, a lot of blacked out nights, lost memories, and a whole lot of self-loathing which eventually turned into self-love. It is no wonder I still have my sanity and my life.
I cannot be the one who fixes it for you. No-one can except for you. But I sure as hell can be here for you to help you find the resources you need. To hold space for you to cry, vent, scream, and find your inner voice to finally stand up for yourself.
Do not let it get to the point of no return. You deserve a happy, fulfilled, joyful, purpose-driven life. People love you with a true, joyful, happy love. These are the people that you need to surround yourself with on a daily basis. An hourly basis. A minute-by-minute basis if that is what it takes.
After this picture, I was fired from a coaching gig with my running partner. He and his wife were two of my best friends (thank God they are still in my life). I had turned into a shell of my former self. Trying to conform into someone I was not. Trying to be the person he kept telling me I needed to be. My parents who had not spoken since 1994 were on the phone with one another trying to figure out how to help me. How to break me free. Friends stopped calling me and hanging out with me because they didn’t know what to do or how to help.
Do not let this happen to you. Reach out to people that can support you. We are here. We want to support you. Help you. Advocate for you. I won’t lie, it will be a long, ugly, terrifying process to go through, but trust me, it is better than what the outcome could ultimately be.
Find that love for yourself just enough to take that first step. We are here waiting to grab your hand to hold you steady and pull you forward.