Finding My Fit(ness)

January 22, 2021 10:24 am Published by Dave Scholes

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I’m different. I’ve always felt different and that I don’t quite fit in. It has been a challenge for 49 years, or consciously for about 45 of them. I’m up and down all the time, although less aware of when I’m up I’m acutely aware of when I’m down. I’ve lived with a self-imposed filter of behaviour, to be seen as fitting within scene or setting, blending in, camouflaging into default anonymity whilst secretly wanting to be seen, recognised and valued. I struggle to maintain friendships and tend to have social groups that burn brightly but relatively briefly, before something else comes along or a self-destructive trigger draws an episode to a close and the requirement for a new beginning. I’m fully aware that anxiety and depression have walked in my shadow (and sometimes out of it) and that I have too readily accepted a victim/passenger mentality that does me no good.

In recent years I have accepted that my emotional/feeler characteristics can be positive but continue to feel like a curse at times. I struggle to think or feel without an accompanying mental image or metaphor and so I see in pictures. Learning that the first picture isn’t the only, or final picture in any given situation is a work in progress.

Why am I writing this? Well at the moment it feels like I do fit in. By a happy series of coincidences and having somehow built an extended network of contacts and acquaintances I found myself invited to a Dave Scholes hosted Mindsight ‘Roast n Toast’ event. Thereafter I feel to have been equipped with the armbands that can stop me from sinking in the deep-end of the pool and a group of people that can pull me back to the shallow-end. The opportunity on a Wednesday morning to release the pressure and to let words and thoughts out in a safe and non-judgmental setting has been liberating. Being able to let language and feeling tumble out has meant that I look forward to the sessions and the insights they bring. I’ve had conversations where the usual feelings of shame and fear are absent and I’ve taken direction from the words and observations of others.

Taking control continues to be a challenge and imposing a dominant yet pragmatic voice to counter the anarchic maelstrom of my subconscious mind will take pain and patience but it will be worth it in the long run. My dark thoughts can’t fully be banished as once you’ve been there they leave a footprint and a photo in the album but they don’t control me like they did. Once again I’m at a turning point in life, somewhat rudderless, however the courage (or courage squared) that Roast n Toast extols has seen me test myself and come out on top. Whilst cycling has been my rescue-remedy since adolescence it provides no current comfort and so my need for physical exhaustion to match/counteract mental fatigue has seen me look to running. Three or four 5k Parkruns in the last three years have been added to with ever increasing distance and speed over the last few months. Mindful of my tendency to over-commit and the risk of injury I’ve attempted to listen to advice and vary the distance and the speed, adding some long walks into the mix as well. Anyway, knowing that the other weekend I would be on my own I needed to occupy myself so planned a long run. I wasn’t able to verbalise it to more than a couple of people in case I let myself down by failing in the challenge but I ran from Fleetwood to St Annes and back to register 26.7 miles in 4 hours 20 minutes. I was able to overcome the setback of a 20+ mph headwind on the way out which brought doubts from the outset as well as the barrier that I’d not exceeded 15 miles previously. I did it and I’m proud of myself. I have and continue to push beyond my comfort zone.

So what am I saying? Well, I guess that I know I’m different but that we all are. That I do fit in, within the band of brothers (and sisters) that is Roast n Toast and that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Thank you for helping me begin to overcome myself and to flip the focus.

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