Friday, 21st August, Reflecting…

8:55am. It’s wet, grey and overcast today and I’m thinking about how I’ve changed this week, a change for the better. Since I’ve been thinking about how I’ve always been seeking approval for my actions and behaviour from everyone I meet and not getting it from anyone and how this has affected me as a person, affected my identity becoming lost in a tornado of identities swirling around my mind and not knowing which one to choose to please everyone instead of finding me and being happy with people who like me for who I am and don’t want me to change.

My whole view of social media has changed. The amount of posts I make has reduced to a few a day if that. The need for approval and validation from people I don’t know has gone. Social media is a useful way for me to keep in touch with people and to post photos from my runs but that’s it now. The amount of stress and pressure that has been lifted is immeasurable replaced by a calming, relaxing feeling, freeing my mind for the things that are important to me.

I feel like I’m stripping away the identities I have been using to seek approval and validation from others and revealing my true self which has been hidden away behind them all for so many years. I’m feeling happy and positive, I can see who and what matters to me, who and what I want in my life and who and what I don’t. I hope I can build stronger more meaningful relationships with the people I would like to be in my life forever without worrying all the time if I’m doing the right thing for them instead of getting to know them and who they are and enjoying their company.

Running is taking on a deeper more spiritual meaning to me, a way for me to reconnect with myself and the earth. Yesterdays run confirmed this when it was simply pure pleasure to be out on the moors and fells early in the morning, the sun warming a waking land, clear blue skies and beautiful purple heather everywhere as far as the eye can see. Pace, elevation and distance didn’t matter. What mattered was being there in that moment and taking in as much of it as I could, hearing the sounds of the woods, waterfalls and brooks, smelling the moors and forest floor, seeing the land disappear into the horizon merging with the sky far away in the distance, feeling that I’m running free hanging onto branches, slipping in mud, jumping on rocks, well until the last mile when my legs went and I slowed right down.

I’m doing lots of thinking right now but it’s positive, happy thinking and it’s going in the right way, one way, going somewhere, instead of being all over the place and getting nowhere. I hope the people that matter to me see this and continue to be there for me as I am for them and come with me on my new journey to see what I discover and where it goes. I’ve a lot to learn and I’ve no doubt I will make mistakes on the way but I’m sure my friends will help me and keep me on the right path so that I continue to learn and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.

Another benefit of freeing my mind of all the clutter is reading. I was reading faster and smoother yesterday and it was a pleasure instead of feeling like a chore that I had to do to prove to myself and others that I can read. There was no pressure to read anything, I read because I wanted to, no pressure to read a particular book, no pressure at all. It was just a nice way to past an hour or so, sat on a bench in the park under the evening sun.

3:52pm. I’ve done some writing! Not much, just a 1,000 words but it’s a start. I’m happy with it too. The words flowed and the story flowed too. It’s a different starting point to before but a similar theme in that it’s about my running journey and my life living with mental health issues and undiagnosed autism. The story goes back and forth and I think this is a lot better than my previous attempt. I’m looking forward to reading what Claire thinks about it. She knows what does and does not make a good story and I know she’ll be honest and frank with me but constructive and supportive at the same time.

9:25pm. Went to the club instead of going to bed for a nap. Had a really good afternoon and evening and I didn’t drink too much just 4 pints. Played dominoes and had a good laugh. Claire has said she would like to do a Yorkshireman Half recce on Monday and a Hebden 22 recce later in the week. I know both routes well, two of the few routes I can actually be trusted on to lead a recce. It’ll be a tough week but a very satisfying one doing those two runs. The sense of achievement will be immense and it will do so much for us both mentally knowing we can run these distances and erase any doubts either of us might have about running so far. I’m looking forward to them. Came home, played some games and time for bed now. A good day.

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