Good morning my loves and happy day 23 of our Dry January journaling series.
Here is today's prompt:
"Have you ever chased a dream only to find out it wasn't for you? Was it scary? Was it hard? When did you know it wasn't what you wanted and how did you free yourself of it?"
Once upon a time, I was almost a cycling instructor. Like two weeks away almost. Went to training for 6 months and also went through 2 rounds of auditions which then led to a 5 day, 8 hour per day boot camp of non-stop cycling. I made it through, approved and everything - and then two weeks before the studio opened, they told me I had to re-audition because I couldn't go on the teaching schedule and I would need to be completely re-evaluated. Devastated at this news, I never went back for the re-audition or to the studio itself. I canceled my membership and never looked back. After spending a year and a half at that studio and all of this time in training, it made me feel sick to my stomach to go back.
I remember being so angry at all of those people. The instructors, the owners, the franchise in general. I was so upset that they didn't pick me. I felt like I was good enough and I felt like I had done everything possible that showed I deserved to be an instructor. But at the end of the day, none of that mattered. That journey wasn't what the universe had for me. It felt like a personal attack on me at the time, like my dreams and my hopes weren't valid and I was just heartbroken.
Pain is so interesting. It can be so unpredictable. Sometimes really sad things don't make us sad and sometimes really trivial things can ruin our entire day.
The emotions that come up when we lose things aren't in our control. I grieved that cycling studio that day. I had wanted so badly to make cycling something that I could be really talented at. I wanted to have something to show off and something to be proud of. That's really what it was. I can say that I loved the process and that it was my dream but after months and months of thinking about it, I was grieving the emotions that I wanted being an instructor to give me.
I wanted to feel important and like I mattered. I had fallen in love with this way of moving my body and I felt like that must mean I have to be the best at it to really love it.
But sometimes trying to perfect at the things we love makes us stop loving them. The incessant need to be the best, to be better, and to conquer everything.
That's the problem with dreams sometimes though, we end up chasing a feeling instead of a life. I wanted being a cycling instructor to make me feel all the things that I wanted to feel about myself. I wanted that "dream" to be the thing that finally gave me self esteem.
That's why I ran. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't be that person. I was ashamed that I had given up. When they told me I wouldn't be on the schedule, I cried so hard - like devastated hard but at the same time, I was relieved that it was over. All the months that I had worked so hard, I had hated it the entire time.
I had kept fighting so hard to keep cycling so I could keep my self esteem. I thought that if I could just get through this trial period - I'd be happy with my classes and I wouldn't be anxious anymore. But the closer we got to opening, the less I believed that to be true. It seemed like if I was going to be an instructor then this was going to be my life.
I think that's why I was relieved. The way I had pictured life looking when I auditioned was nothing like what I was experiencing. I had to grieve what I thought life would be and move on to find what worked.
I used to feel such shame around running away. Isn't that so funny, we feel shame about our shame? We add insult to our own injury.
But anyways - I don't feel shame about running anymore. I don't feel sad that I didn't do some dramatic goodbye and I do not miss my instructor-in-training days at all (except for training friends, they get it).
I ran because I didn't trust that place with my vulnerability. I trusted some people there but as a whole, I didn't feel safe in that building anymore. To me, I realized that I had gone looking for acceptance and validation in a place I wasn't meant to find it. Looking for those things isn't wrong but we have to be careful with who we let hold the most tender parts of us.
Running was so scary. After I quit that studio (and some other wild life stuff happened), I decided to move back home after 3 years over 700 miles away. I changed jobs, my husband and I sold our house, and two days before we got married - we closed on our new house in Texas.
Shortly after, we got pregnant, a pandemic happened, I got sober, and now we have a toddler. I sort of feel like I am finally separate enough from that move and that time in my life because I feel like I have finally caught my breath again.
Life has a way of knocking the wind out of you and the more you encounter, the longer it takes to get it back.
Running away saved my life. Literally. When I had the job that I had and I was training for cycling, I was drinking more than I ever have in the history of my life. My husband was also really busy with work so I don't think he even knew. My anxiety and my stress were so out of control that I don't know how much longer I could have made it.
I can still remember the way that wound burned. I remember standing on the sidewalk waiting for my uber and sobbing the entire way home. I felt like such a failure. That gut punch made me doubt myself and my abilities more than I understood at the time. I truly stopped believing in myself. I was ready to give up.
But giving up doesn't mean giving up on yourself - it means giving up on the path you thought was yours. It means abandoning the idea of the life you thought and embracing the one that's meant for you.
Sometimes running away is the only way you get free. Sometimes running away is the only way you know freedom is even possible.