Finding the comfort in discomfort

I was talking to a friend about running the other day. During my last long run, I had a tiny pebble in my shoe that provided a constant stream of annoyance as I felt it moving around my right foot. Over time, I could barely use my running playlist to distract me from its presence, which made for a somewhat uncomfortable hour.

Later, my friend asked why I didn’t stop and adjust and I replied, “It didn’t really matter.” When I was asked why not, I replied, “I knew it was temporary.”

It’s a major accomplishment to be running. I used to be deathly afraid of it. (Then again, anything that used to work a sweat outside of opening a bag of Cheez-Its was seen as a negative, so we are growing.)

I have a mantra now that if something scares me, I have to tackle and conquer it. I actually obsess over it, thinking of every angle necessary to meet my goal. In the last six years, I have come a long way in the ways that I have stretched myself, and I don’t want to look back and wish I would’ve had the courage to face certain things.

I really believe that if you “fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I recently made my yearly checklist of the things I wanted to accomplish. They vary in nature: Some things seem difficult, a bunch are fun, a few items are concerning personal growth and one or two are pipe dreams. At the end of the day, they belong to me, they are meant to push me along.

I have tucked it away, and I am going to check in throughout the year and see what effort I’m putting forth into accomplishing them, and hopefully, much like the weight loss, I am going to keep on. Even if ends up being only incremental movements, I will hopefully find myself closer than I was previously.

Much like running, I’m learning that this life is going to be a series of corrections, adjustments, peaks and plateaus, all wrapped up in a questionable time limit. With the weight loss, I’m doing my part to work on that time limit. The rest is to be determined.

I look back and think of the times in my life when I was most happy or resolved, they have always occurred in times of struggle. I have thrived in being the underdog, specifically in times when others told me I couldn’t do _________________.

Now, there is a perverse joy in attaining a goal or accomplishing a feat seen as impossible. How else can you make sense of losing half of my body weight?

As a kid, I was told I was “too fat.” I was told that I didn’t speak/act/dress “like a black person” (whatever that meant). I was told that I was “too effeminate.”

By the time I became an adult, I was a (literal) giant ball of insecurities. I would ask myself, “Why am I not enough?”

What I have learned as an adult is that I was capable of being so much more than I ever thought I was capable of.

Time and time again, placing myself in situations that weren’t comfortable have reinforced the idea that sometimes you have to metaphorically “blow it up” in order to grow and evolve.

Complacency is death. Comfort is death. And for that reason, I am learning to be okay with the pebble in my shoe.


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