For almost forty-four years I have lived my life worried about what others thought of me. I cared too much about conforming with the conservative sector of society, and was extremely uncomfortable in any situation that made me feel different or "visible" ~ as I have always been much more comfortable as my favorite flower, the Wall. I credit much of this to my conservative, New England, "first impressions matter" upbringing. It was drilled into me my whole childhood that it DOES matter what people think of you and this should always be in the forefront of your mind when you leave your home in the morning.
Fast forward to age 39. The age I began to get a taste of freedom and free thinking. The world of triathlon allowed me to begin to discover myself, to become comfortable in my own skin, and to feel accepted by others for who I truly am, in my rawest form, and to understand that it was okay to just be me. It didn't happen overnight, but over the next five years I began to discover more about myself - my interests, my abilities, my dreams. I suffered loss but I rebounded. I had low times and I had times of joy that were unparalleled to anything I had experienced before. I began knocking things off my "list" of things I wanted to do during my lifetime instead of just talking about them. Slowly I began caring less about what I assumed people thought of me and began to love me for me.
So here I am now at what I consider to likely be the middle point of my life. I'm ready to embrace the second half of my life but I want these years to be about fulfilling my dreams and experiencing everything in life that I want to experience. Sometimes I like to have a visual reminder of things to keep me on point. That's what this is about. My symbol of who I am, what I can do, and who surrounds me.
The hummingbird is for my dad. Since he passed I have associated seeing these creatures with him, and these sightings give me much comfort. They represent a lightness of being and a strength and speed disproportionate to their small stature. Constant forward motion. Just keep moving.
The Ironman symbol is obvious. The culmination of a lot of hard work. A reminder to me that I can do anything I put my mind to if I want it bad enough. That perseverance and the strength to face my fears are inate. There is nothing I can't do, and nothing I can't survive.
The background is the logo for FitBird Fitness. The teardrop symbolizes water (the swim) which was the greatest fear I have ever had - and one which I have faced and overcome. The two larger circles represent the wheels of the bike (with the black representing a race wheel), and the smaller circle symbolizes the run. And together they are a reminder to me of what got me through my training, my race, and my personal struggles - my FitBird friends and family. It is a reminder that I am not alone, and I am loved by many.
So yes. Today starts the second half of my life. The one in which I don't worry so much about what others think of me. The one where I continue to tick away at my "list". Where I remind my children it's who you are on the inside that matters, not on the outside.
This is where this blog shall end.
Plain Jane No More