I recently completed a 5k with my daughter, but this wasn’t your typical 5k. We participated in The MudGirl Run – an aptly named challenge with seventeen obstacles.
There were mud hills, which were, as you probably already guessed, hills of dirt with trenches of muddy water at the base. Although these hills were officially identified as mud bumps, the piles of dirt sure looked like hills when I was standing knee-deep to waist-deep in trenches of muddy water.
Sometimes there were multiple hills and multiple trenches. Getting from the trench up onto the hill wasn’t easy because 1) mud is slippery and trying to grab onto a muddy hill is like trying to grab onto air, and 2) because I don’t have the hip mobility I used to and I couldn’t just throw my leg up there, like my daughter kept encouraging me to do. I was very thankful for her strength and ability to drag me onto one of the hills.
Other obstacles included a mud mountain (that one was named correctly), and mud crawls – you guessed it – through mud and under cargo nets. Then there were multiple cargo nets and metal bars to climb over with my hands and body slippery with mud. There was a weighted pull and an obstacle with weighted bags, and another obstacle with weighted artillery cases. There were also inflatable slides with muddy pools at the bottom, and inflatable tunnels that went into more muddy pools.
We were given the option to walk around obstacles, but my daughter and I completed every single obstacle as well as the whole run in just a little over an hour. I was proud. Damn proud. I did it. I accomplished something hard and uncomfortable, with the added benefit of doing it with my daughter by my side.
While the MudGirl Run does not turn men away, this event is designed to help women recognize their own inner strength. My husband supported us with rallying cheers and by capturing the event in pictures. He was proud, and we knew it. Every time the course wrapped around to the spectator area, we spotted him with his big smile, taking pictures with the camera on his phone. When we made it across the finish line, he snapped more photos and hugged us and kissed us (mud and all) and congratulated us, and told us several times that he was proud of us for taking on this challenge.
Then he posted about the event on Facebook with the caption, “So extremely blessed to have these two in my life.” It was a touching post. I felt honored that he acknowledged us in this way.
I just didn’t like the way I looked in the pictures. I even voiced my displeasure, to which my husband replied that I was being too hard on myself, and reminded me of what I’d just accomplished.
He was right. I absolutely wasn’t giving myself grace. Still, I couldn’t get over my double chin and my bulging belly, and the comments I imagined viewers of those pictures making to their friends and spouses about my weight gain, rather than the physical and mental achievement I’d just completed.
I have a choice about how I want to feel. I can set an intention about who I want to be.
I have an “Angelia” binder in my writing office that I started keeping about fifteen years ago. This binder is full of lists and worksheets and statements of my intentions, dreams, and goals—the accumulation of deep soul work. There’s a bucket list of places I hope to visit and experiences I want to have. One document is a statement of my values and desires around my business brand. One worksheet is my impact manifesto that I created in a coaching group. And there are pages of quotes and tidbits of inspiration and motivation. The items within this binder are working documents that I add to as I go along – notes about new findings from books and podcasts, insights from other people’s experiences and my own.
One of the things that I repeat over and over is that I want to live a full life. I recognize the brevity of time, how quickly life passes us by, and my ultimate goal is to squeeze every drop of life out of this journey. This binder is a reminder of how I will do that squeezing and with the peace, ease, joy, and confidence I’m seeking.
This is my list of traits I want to embody. I want to be:
- Present (attentive, nurturing)
- Classy, Stylish, Sophisticated
- Elegant in a graceful, collected kind of way
- Funny and fun to be around
- Full of Life
- A comforter
- A friend
- A wild Lover
- A protector
- A giver
The Fear of Judgement and the Disease to Please
One of the notes I have scribbled in my binder is: We choose belonging over authenticity. I heard this on a podcast. I just wish I could remember which podcast it was so I could give credit to the brilliant human being who understood and voiced the reason why we worry about double chins and bulging bellies.
I know how to tweak my nutrition to regain definition in these areas of my body, but this post is about more than just looking physically healthy. This post is about being a confident woman who gives herself grace and celebrates her efforts of learning and growing and evolving as she engages with life in order to discover what she desires and needs on the journey to becoming who she really is.
I don’t want to be the woman worried about what someone else thinks. I don’t want to be the woman who strives for the idea that we have to be perfect and anything less makes us flawed.
I call bullsh**t on the lies that tell us: I’m supposed to have sixpack abs, and flawless makeup and hair; I’m supposed to drive a certain kind of car and live in a certain kind of house, and have a list of acronyms after my name; I’m flawed if my marriage isn’t perfect, or my kids don’t fit society’s standard mold of achievement.
I don’t want to be the ideal version of me that the world classifies as good enough. I want to embrace the evolving version of myself that my heart knows is already enough.
Who I Am Is Enough. Who You Are is Enough.
I’ve heard that our flaws make us beautiful, but I think the problem is that we view the unique authentic pieces of ourselves as flaws to begin with, and especially if those unique authentic pieces don’t fit with society’s standard of perfection.
Cathy Heller says, “You are each a masterpiece, a piece of the master.”
Each of us is a grand work of art, one unique being out of seven billion people on this planet, created by the joining of one sperm and one egg out of innumerable possibilities.
You are an exquisite masterpiece. So am I.
We are real humans having real human experiences. We are not flawed or broken. We don’t need to be fixed. We Are Enough Just as We Are.
I’m going to add this reminder to my Who I Want to Become list: I am enough just as I am.
If you allowed yourself to be enough just as you are, what would be different in your life? Would you show up and live differently?
Have you missed a post in the Abundance Series? Here are the posts thus far: