Tag Archives: self-sabotage

Who am I?

noo noo girl running for David

You know you are really bored at work when you put your name into the internet to see what comes up. Having quite a distinctive name, I was shocked when I did this yesterday, as someone else with my name came up on twitter. Obviously, I wanted to tweet to them that I was the real me. Then it got me thinking, if I believe I am the real me, who is this other me with the same name? Now I understand if your name is John Brown or Sam Smith that you may have grown up without that feeling of utter uniqueness that my early life was comfortably cushioned with. Not only did I stand out at school due to my naturally burnt white hair, but my name was very different. Today, in any school playground, there are hoards of parents who have called their totally unique offspring totally uninspiring names; Harry’s, Charlotte’s, Millie’s and Charlie’s pepper school registers like nappy rash on a three-month-old baby’s bottom.

This got me thinking, and it made me realise how I have a peculiar habit when I am out running, whether plodding on the paths or racing on the hills; I often wonder if people recognise who I am. So even though when I meet someone, and instantly recall who they are when I see them for a second time and greet them with hello, I never assume that the person who has met me will remember who I am. You don’t need to be an amateur psychologist to deduce there may be some insecurity issues lurking in my subconscious mind. Is it the little girl in me, lacking in self-esteem, trying to undermine her 43-year-old big sister? I have even embarrassed myself recently at a press conference by offering my hand in hello to someone who chided me for being so coy, grabbed me and kissed me on the cheek. Even though we had met several times, I wasn’t sure if he would remember me!

This curious belief, like many, is based on some small grain of self-perceived truth. Question: What do you do when you meet someone, say at a barbecue, and chat with them for a while, then when your paths next cross and there you are, waving across a street at them, or throwing them a hearty hello, they blank you? Plausible answer: assume the person either can’t remember who you are, doesn’t like you. Of course maybe they are just not as socially eager as you, as well.

This scenario has happened to me a few times as an adult, and either I am someone, after first impressions, that you don’t want to ever talk to again, or I am instantly forgettable. Neither option is a great ego-boost. There is however, a third explanation – that there is another me out there. My doppelgänger, I assume, lives somewhere exotic or romantic – on the coast of Croatia, or a dusty backstreet of a Moroccan souk. She spends her life nurturing her creativity, exploring universal concepts of space/time mediums and honing her body into the immaculate, powerful temple it was born to be. This shaggy haired darker skinned person is both me and not me.

So when I stumble upon a new acquaintance who rebukes my friendly hailing should I wonder if it was the other me they met? What, also, should I do about this other me on twitter; should I contact them and ask them to stand down from our name and assume another one? And, if I am out running, and I see someone that I think I know, and that I think knows me, but I assume either doesn’t know me enough to say hello, or may not want to take that little leap over the line of familiarity, I will do as I often do… I will put a half-grimace on my face and look vaguely away. If I have already done this to you, all I can do is apologise – or was it the other me, the one I just met on twitter…? Maybe putting in my contacts every time I leave the house will solve the whole problem.

Self-inflicted pain

noo noo girl running for David

Please don’t share this with anyone, but I have done something truly awful; I can only partake this information in the strictest confidence. I feel like such a fool. Thinking, and feeling, like I was becoming somewhat ‘used’ to my running, and accordingly believing I had improved considerably from my early running fitness, I decided to go for a long run this week. Hard to believe as our skies are pumping out biblical levels of flaccid post-winter rain, but the sun was blasting out early spring heat and it just lured me on and on, until before I knew it I had run quite a few miles further than I had expected.

In fact five miles more than I have ever run! Carried away I truly was, but with my face freckling with every step, the birds singing to me that I could run as far as I wished and the track hard under foot springing me forever forward, I literally found that for the first time I couldn’t stop myself. I did feel like I had pushed my body maybe a little too far, signalled by a background feeling of nausea for the rest of the day. But the endorphins were pumping in every cell of my body. That’s when I fell down. That evening I felt great. Well kind of, in a ‘I’m completely exhausted but have pushed myself further than I thought I could so feel quite impressed’ way. The day was a normal one in that by the time I had forced my children to bed I felt in need of a sedative, and all I could hear was Mr Red Wine calling my name.

One became two, which tipped into three (purely medicinal, to help me sleep…) glasses, and my Friday evening slipped away until I was cosily asleep, seemingly exhausted, but content. Saturday morning however was pay back. I woke up, was sick (only once, so surely it was a bug or something I had eaten…hmmm) and then spent two days in bed. I am sure I had a bug as they fly around our house as frequently as EasyJet fly from Gatwick, but after 24 hours of bed-confinement-torture I started thinking a hideous thought: ‘Did I do this to myself?’ This spiralled into: ‘Maybe I ran too far, and on top of being exhausted, a few (medicinal) glasses of wine was simply too much for my body to cope with,’ and culminating in horror with: ‘I think I have just made myself ill by being a complete idiot.’ With an extra day in bed to fully contemplate what I had done, my stomach churning like a ferry on the English Channel, I vowed to be kinder to myself, restrict my running limits and learn to put my relationship with red wine on hold post intense exercise.

Running has surreptitiously become incredibly important to me; it feels like it has become my salvation. When family or work pressures are building and I am ready to blow out hot air, running is a safety valve. Thoughts, plans, frustrations, ideas; they all settle when I am out running. I almost feel the physical benefit of my placing one foot in front of the other in a rather fast fashion provides me with a form of spiritual peace. So, tip-toeing along the path of my running journey, I feel there are some issues I need to sort out. What do I want to do more; run, run well and run faster in order to feel happy within, or, use a very tasty but perhaps not as beneficial stimulant that certainly does help me relax, but leaves me with a dry mouth, frequent headache and grumpy outlook? My willpower is strong, I believe, but it’s Friday nights where my mettle will be tested. And how the hell will I survive the holidays?

To self-sabotage, or to not self-sabotage, that is the question…

noo noo girl running for David

Sabotage: noun: any undermining of a cause verb: to injure or attack by sabotage

Self- sabotage: to do the above to oneself

50 shades of grey. If only life was so simple. Life seems to be a monochromatic spectrum so vast that I can fear I am mad, or can soar up to outrageous ecstasy. Both without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. I can be moody, dark, pensive; spiritual, philosophical, universally open; blessed, blissful and bursting with love. Sometimes all in one day, but mostly these phases of life come and go, don’t you find, usually before, alongside or after specific events.

When I was younger I would sit waiting at bus-stops, train stations, in snaking queues outside popular restaurants in London with other students. Did I have a clown’s face painted on me? No. Still people would often approach me and say ‘Smile. It might never happen.’ So annoying! And yes, invariably it was men who felt the need to cheer me up. Was I sad? Of course not. More likely I was daydreaming as I have always loved to, and was actually far away from my physical spot.

Do you find people have to approach you? They need to comment or communicate, whether you want them to or not. Bemused, I normally shrug off the comment with a half-hearted smile that stretches no further than the corners of my mouth. Some people are never moody… or so they say. They aren’t grumpy; they are happy all the time. But life, and anyone living it, is never so simple, understated or boring to elevate any human being into a superior state of perfect personality. No downs, and the ups would not whisk us within a few seconds out billions of miles into unknown galaxies. No, these people, rather, perceive they are always happy, and – perhaps – are not introspective enough to catch more subtle nuances in their daily shifts of emotion.

Recognising we are moody is a gift, isn’t it? We can warn others, isolate ourself, self-medicate with a good long run pounding hard pavement in bitter winds with frosty air biting out our badness. What then, of that other state/mood that can precede the scales of life shifting down? For me, self-sabotage isn’t an emotional state but something like an annoyingly faulty link in my DNA. It doesn’t come along in a monthly cycle. Someone else’s actions cannot induce it. Tiredness or failure; not guilty.

It lives inside me, woven into my fabric as subtly and intricately as the robin in my garden weaves a tuft of sheep’s hair into its lilliputian nest. It exists within. Having looked – everywhere – I can’t find any switch that is flicked before it reappears. Like an eighteenth century religious zealot I believe that everything always works out in life. Every day brings warmth through new offerings, insights, individual moments of perfection. But there it is. Lurking behind everything. Ready to advocate chaos and doom, and wanting to rip apart those little cupboards of life that I slowly build and fill with happiness. Others will fortune and adventure into their lives. I seem to create a roller-coaster; keep moving up, always falling back down. Like British Summer Time in October, it is upon you before you know it and you are left in the dark.

No one it seems wants to talk about this. Well, who would want to? So, where can we escape to from this brute? I am tired of him/her/them. Set 50 leeches upon my skin and get them to suck it out of my body and I will give you 50 pieces of gold.

(We must come back to talking about madness later)