The External Me vs. Internal Me

For many years, I’ve been told how calm I am. I have been in situations that would make others hysterical or act irrationally, yet I stand there, making mostly rational decisions and moving intentionally and not frantically. I would think I would be the best person to call in an emergency. I would be the person to decisively cut the green wire before the timer went to zero with just 30 seconds to spare. I really believe that my calm exterior helps the people around me relax; let’s them know that everything will be okay and allows them to lay their problems across my shoulders to bear.


IM Monterrey 70.3
The second loop of the 13.1 run was an epic battle between my external me and internal me.

What if I told you this calm, decisive me is suppressing a tiny hysterical me inside? She has no capacity for decision-making, basically screams inside my head; and, while she has not ability to affect my external appearance, internally, she can cause my heart to race, my blood pressure to rise until I allow her to take control. I really can’t stand her. I’m sure she would have kept me from getting eaten by a lion or walking too closely to the edge of cliffs, but she is so uncivilized. She cries and screams and makes literal knee-jerk reactions to events with only the tiniest hint of danger or discomfort.

She’s with me, always…at every race. When I wake up and grab my gear, she’s there and in control. She likes to walk me around the kitchen for several wasteful minutes, wringing my hands and saying that she has no taste for any of the nutrition I left out the night before. I have to briefly take control and force down my meal and then get dressed. She likes me to get dressed and ready to head out the door before she takes control and I run to the bathroom and get undressed. I think she finds humor in this.

My little, strong, internal me, has control all the way to the Start line. She says the wrong age at bodymarking (making me look like a bumbling idiot) and she whispers horrors for me to contemplate while I wait for my race time to begin. Once I hit the water, she is all but a memory. I am calm, controlled and focused. I’m not afraid, not a bit…not even when I should be. I continue forward, deliberately, methodically. She is not gone; however, she is there quietly pushing me faster, elevating my heart, sharpening my focus. I cannot be afraid, yet all I know I need to do is “go”.  I never look back, I don’t look around, only forward, only towards the finish. She seems to know when the competition is near and she pushes me forward faster. She won’t stop until I cross that finish.

Sometimes, I want that part of me to never appear. I would love to be strong and confident and just persevere through adversity without her. Yet, she is useful, she has purpose and without her, I wouldn’t strive to be better or to be the best version of myself. I may move forward but would never soar. I like her, I hate her. I’m nothing like her, she’s everything like me. She is me and I am her and this is how I compete. Without her I could never win…I wouldn’t want to win. I need to be frantic and controlled, afraid and sure, strong and gentle. I need her to push against the calm and controlled exterior and demand everything I have. That is what she does best.


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