I have a synchronization problem. Kind of like a computer that is severed from its internet source and can no longer communicate with the hub; my “YES” goes before my brain and heart can catch up.
Sometimes, my YES gets me to do cool things that are just outside my norm, but overall are no big deal.
But sometimes my YES is crazy and not very well thought out, logistically. Often, my Enneagram 6 brain (the one that tells me the worst-case scenarios and how everything could really go wrong) jumps in and saves me from myself. I cancel, drop, bow out, un-commit, back down. I quit.
I tell myself that it’s self-preservation, and sometimes I’m right.
In 2017 my YES said I wanted to do a GORUCK Tough for my 35th birthday. I had done a Light before I had my son and as I battled through the post-partum, the agony of uncertainty and inadequacy, and the anxiety that came with being a mother, my YES thought it would be a great idea- a fantastic comeback.
Then, I backed out. A few weeks before the event, I sent an email to GORUCK HQ to cancel and was told that I had a credit for another Tough.
I was embarrassed, but I rationalized my decision and it was something I could live with. No one would know that I had let myself down and that I had failed myself. The fire inside my heart died a little that day; it grew a little dimmer in ways that only I could see.
When I received an email mid 2019 letting me know that my credit had to be used by the end of the year, my YES jumped back into gear.
I won’t bore you with the details, but as my out of sync mind and body moved forward, I actually trained. And I trained hard. I think in the back of my mind I thought “You can always quit, and it will be fine. No one is making you do this.”
As I fretted over the pack list, and my mind started to come up with reasons to bow out. I stuffed them aside. I carried the weight, I got the miles, I did the work outs. And Friday night October 25th at 9pm, I toed the line with 15 other people, to do the thing.
The weight was heavy (I had to carry a 30# plate as I am not a small lady) and the miles were long. The wind blew and it was cold. I wanted to quit. I had the money for a cab. I could just leave.
But I knew, if I quit this, I would never try again. This would be it for me. And that little dim flame, just might go out.
I thought about my son. I thought about the rough days and nights, where I felt so ill equipped to do anything but show up for him. The burden of being a parent is immense- many days I felt crushed. As we rucked on, I tried to remind myself “You are strong, you are fire. You are pressed but not crushed. Just keep taking steps.” All of the same things I told myself during those first really hard months, when I wanted to disappear, I told myself Friday night.
The dark was so dark, and it started to consume me.
We all took turns carrying the heavy weight (1,000 lbs total). It weighed me down so much I could hardly walk.
One step. Two steps.
Then, at some point, the darkness relented.
When the sun came up early Saturday morning the Cadre looked square at me and said “I need a mama for this next movement” I almost cried. So many mornings during my post-partum, nursing my son I would sit and cry and think that the sun would never come. Then I would hear God say “Well done mama.”, and the sun would rise.
It was overwhelming.
As we marched on, with new fire in my heart, I said to the Cadre “who knew my Girl Scout Camp voice would be so useful?” and he replied to me “That’s your mama voice, it’s what you needed.”
He was right.
There, as the fire inside my heart burned bright, my voice grew strong. We rucked up the last hill for the final push. And I finished. I did the thing. I punched the demon, who tells me that I don’t matter and that I should just disappear, in the face.
I can do hard things and I am a warrior.
The Cadre patched us and at that time I finally let myself cry. It was a release of emotion that I had been holding in for the past 13 hours. And now that I was done, it was safe to let it go.
As I was leaving the parking lot, my husband pulled up with my son in the back seat. Even though I knew he couldn’t fully grasp what I just went through, both physically and mentally, I could see pride on his beautiful face. My joy boy. My heart.
The spark inside my heart, seeing his mama finish strong.