Keys dangling in the transmission, car in park, I sat in the driver’s seat bawling. A desperate need not to get out of the car, to drive any where else, do anything else. The house was dark save for the porch light. I sat thinking “they wouldn’t even know if I didn’t come home.”
The day had been a culmination of years of putting myself last. My family didn’t mean to do it, I was teaching them that I mattered less. But after a long hard week at work, watching other mothers be honored and celebrated, I was told that I would not be included in the celebrations by my own family. I felt sick with dread and disgust, lonelier than I had felt in years, lost.
How could the people I loved most in the world treat me so poorly? That moment in the driveway, gasping for breath, and choking on my tears was my moment. I looked into myself and my life and decided that I would love me. That I would never fear going into my home or being with my family. That I would not be last and that I would put myself first.
Like many mothers I was lost in the lives of my children and spouse. I was lost in the needs of work. I was lost in the monotony of adulthood. I didn’t have time to work out, I didn’t have any desire to be fit. I avoided photos with my children, choosing instead to stay out of frame. I survived long days of therapists, specialists, doctors, and meetings with diet coke and will. I was desperate and depressed longing for a way out.
My friends saw me as perfect or supermom and didn’t understand my pleas. Family saw I had it all in hand and thought downplaying my complaints would make me feel better. My medical team built me up and tore me down. I was emotionally and physically drained.
I found myself in running. I have lifelong asthma. At 26 I was diagnosed with COPD, although I have never been a smoker. I was full of excuses and health problems. I had only one reason to exercise and that was to have just a few minutes to myself.
On the trail I found that although it was hard and I was out of shape, here I was capable. My problems were further away and I was more powerful. The first mile I ran from start to end caused a flurry of tears because I knew that now I was able.
Motherhood is an isolating state. We’re all just getting by day to day caught up in the emotional trauma and guilt of imagined failures. If you have ever felt last, unloved, or just emotionally drained I want you to join me. I want you to look inside yourself and say I’m capable, I’m beautiful, I can do this. I want you to find the peace in yourself that will make you a better mother, wife, friend, coworker…
If you need a reason to work out here it is: Say I’m Able!