Beginning. Again.

Over the last three years, I’ve alternated between sporadic and quickly fizzled out fitness goals, to wanting to write but never being brave enough to actually begin, to hating and resenting my business to diving back into it head first. I’ve been completely out of balance, off center, and unfocused. Reading back through old posts, I think this spiral was beginning in between Raleigh 70.3 and Augusta, my last 70.3. I was burnt out on training and preoccupied by the rough beginnings of learning the art and science of photography and fitting in in an industry that isn’t always welcoming to beginners. All of the confidence I had gained in my journey towards 70.3 didn’t transfer, which was frustrating and overwhelming.

I have wondered what happened to the girl who once braved to do what felt impossible. Especially recently I’ve missed her, hard and with a dull and throbbing ache. In mid-October, I was wistfully looking through old Facebook albums and saw a post-race, happy, sweaty picture and without realizing, actually said barely above a whisper: I want to be her again.

I’ve tried over the past year to regain myself, my love of being active, and having goals. I tried a cross fit gym, tried working out at home, joined a running training team, signed up for running races, but I failed at buying into any of it fully. My sense of motivation and dedication was still flailing and when my nagging knee injury flared up at the end of the summer and derailed my fall half marathon goal, it left me in the perfect place for a plummet into old Facebook albums and wistfulness.

That post-race image of myself was when I was in the thick of triathlon training, I was surrounded by good friends, and I was working with a like-minded and dedicated coach. I was brave and showing up in my life in a way that I haven’t fully done in the last three years. I have been dedicated to my photography business, but it’s been with a veil of uncertainty and a feeling that I don’t really deserve to be in this industry. I’ve struggled with feelings of belonging, of hiding the parts of myself that thinks and writes too deeply, of being a photographer and an athlete and a writer. I have felt like a shadow of myself.

2017 began with a renewed sense of awareness and promise, and even with the posts I wrote at the end of last year while I was slowly coming to these realizations, implementing a route back has been a tedious process. Seeing that image reminded me that I still am her and can be her again. I think as the years roll on, the achievements that seemed to define us at one point fade and begin to seem hazy. That with time, they become less tremendous and almost begin to lose the meaning they held and the claim we had on them. It quickly becomes “that thing I once did, but can’t necessarily do now, this second” and so it loses its value to our ego and our minds. You feel a fraud. But what I realized in that wishful breath is that I am still all I was back then. I can choose to be that determined and brave girl every single day and do that day’s impossible feat.

We are at the ending of another year. With the winter solstice at our doorsteps this morning, another season’s cycle is beginning. I’m ready to begin.

Trails. Home.