Are You Over Your Past?

Before, during and after yesterday’s race I encountered lots of faces from my past, back in the days when I raced twice a month as opposed to twice a year. When I was obsessed with personal bests and trying to run faster than supposed friends on the race circuit. It was a period of my life when the ego reigned supreme and my vanity and selfishness outweighed all other considerations in my life.

I was glad to see some friendly faces and posed for photos with people I hadn’t seen in months, if not years. I was made to feel welcome and wanted in a community I walked away from for the sake of my family and sanity. Long hours away from home travelling to and from races were just as damaging to my private life as long hours in the pub or with my nose buried in the rabbit hole that was social media.

Others I avoided. The throngs of running clubs. Decent folk I’m sure but the way they grinned for group selfies, buzzed round their club gazebos and gathered for very public mass warm ups left me uncomfortable and anxious. You see, that used to be me, and try as I might to not think that way, it created feelings of resentment and distaste. These folk were screaming for attention, look at us everyone.

I know for I used to be one of them. We looked down our noses at ‘recreational runners’ who weren’t attached to a club as we were better, faster, more committed. The fact that many of these ‘lesser’ runners could have beaten me on one leg was immaterial. I wore a club top and was part of a tribe, the running scene. The past was staring me in the face and I wasn’t dealing with it particularly well.

At one point yesterday, at around the two mile mark, I felt someone clip my heel at a congested part of the course. It was accidental but I heard a loud tut and a harsh voice complaining about the lack of running space. I felt my hackles rise as a person I used to know very well breezed past me, without a sideways glance. I’m not even sure they saw me but they were decked head to toe in running club regalia.

I was a nobody to them, just a slowcoach getting in their way. I wasn’t matching their pace or wearing club colours. I wasn’t a proper runner to them, just some sad, middle aged jogger who wasn’t fit to lace their shoes. I was tempted to respond but bit my lip and said nothing, content to focus on my own race and plod along at a steady, but unspectacular space. I later learnt this person completed the course 13 minutes faster than me.

The old me would have been furious at this but I simply nodded, when informed, and said ‘well done them.’ We cannot avoid our pasts at times, they have a nasty habit of popping up at the most inconvenient of times. What we can do, though, is choose how we react to them. We can become annoyed, aggravated and angry; we can nibble the bait that dangles in front of us. It’s so easy to slip back into our old ways isn’t it?

Or we can rise above it, take the hit, and choose to move forwards as opposed to succumbing to the voices and faces from years gone by. They do not define who we are or who we want to be. They are signposts to avoid, we need to take the road less traveled. You are better than that. The past is fuel, channel it’s negativity and transform that into a positive force that will spur you forward and not drag you back.

I’m so over my past. Are you?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

44 thoughts on “Are You Over Your Past?

  1. I like your commentary on the pack tendency of the running group. It makes me think of our past when we used to need to create groups to protect our very lives. But times have changed and things are less dangerous than the days of old. Now rather than fear for our life, we have decided to let fear of our social status drive us to group up and protect us from others.

    It makes me a little sad to know we do this. We are such a big community of people, all working towards the same goal. To know that tiny little separatist groups pop up in the midst of it all, there to make others feel bad about how they are contributing to the whole, is troubling to my mind who is ever thinking about Utopian ideals.

    But I have faith, because in your post you detailed the story of a separatist turned wholesome being that is more interested in being happy being alive than he is being happy being a part of an elite group. I think with time and understanding, the lure of the ego fades away and reveals the whole reason the ego was there in the first place, we aren’t happy with ourselves.

    When we call the bluff of the ego, that is when we find the strength to truly begin the journey toward happiness. Because without the ego, happiness can be felt without being at the expense of others. Truly a blessed way to be.

    Thank you for this wonderful sharing of words. It is always such a blessed treat to get inside that beautiful mind of yours.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “When we call the bluff of the ego, that is when we find the strength to truly begin the journey toward happiness. Because without the ego, happiness can be felt without being at the expense of others. Truly a blessed way to be.”

      Powerful words. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I’m glad my words could move a person positively. Always my hope! Much blessings to you and wishes for a brighter moment than the one before in a continuing fashion until one moment you’re just standing there wondering how things ever got to be so good.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I could say I’m SO over my past with your confidence. But, hand on heart, I cannot. I’m not proud of it just realistic. Maybe not each day but each few weeks I am aware that my past does not bind me as it used to. I have moved from someone who only wanted to die to the me who ‘regrets’ not having enough time left. I can look at my physical scars and not recount the whys but rather think on how far away from those times I’ve come.

    Thank you for your post – and for all the other inspiring posts you write – because they provide a catalyst for reflection, and without reflection recovery stays firmly out of reach. Thank you again.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. For the most part I am. I have an Instagram account that I haven’t posted on in almost two years, other than that I am not a part of social media, I actually despise it. I struggled with this idea of starting a blog, because aren’t blogs sort of a social media? While I don’t consider them to be a part of the “hateful 3”, I still wonder. Regarding being over the past, I’m getting there, day by day.

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  4. The past bites me everyday. I’m so glad yet sad that I’m so far away from who I was. But if u were to go back, it might as well be suicide. So, in that respect I am done with it. Still moving forward.

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  5. Have I left my past behind? I’m working on it. I can say that there are issues I still need to deal with, and I’m processing a lot of pain that was buried. That takes times to feel, to accept, and to allow to leave. I’m not the woman who felt incomplete without a certain social standing, this accessory or that, or even *those* friends. Long gone, and I’m happier for it.
    Thought – and admittedly this is second hand. I’ve seen my sister interacting with her running clubs – the ones that were more, errr snooty? She’s left behind. Kept the friends she liked, but left the attitude behind. The groups she’s in now? Supportive, loving and social in ways that are amazing. I’m not telling you to look for a new club, but I am saying there are likely to be ones out there who are more your people if you ever wish to go that route.

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  6. Am I over it? Yes.

    Have I forgotten it. Not only no, but Hell no.

    For better or worse, it’s the pains of the past, the trauma, the triumphs, the tragedies, the lefts when I should have went right, the people I’ve hurt or killed, and the people I’ve saved from death that have made me exactly who I am today.

    It’s up to me to do with what the result is. I’ve chosen rather than live there to be a good husband, a good father and grandfather, a mentor, and a friend. And if someone learns anything along the way, so much the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing with us the ghosts that pass in and out of our psyches. I could feel the pangs as you did. There are parts of my past that are dangerous territory for me but will always be a defining part of who I am today. I endeavor every day to look at the beauty behind me – seeing the lessons l have learned and the relationships I have found along the trail of tears and triumph with 20/20 hindsight. It can be a very enlightening perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I usually think that I have worked through most of the hurt and trauma, and then something happens, and I have moments of being absolutely overwhelmed. However, the last time this happened, what helped me realize I actually was really through was watching my 15 year old brother go through the process.

    Because that confusing, I’ll provide background: after several years of worsening depression, and then about six months of suicidal ideations, my mom was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. She came home the day I turned 16. As we were homeschooled, and my dad had to work, I was in charge. My 14 year old brother helped nominally, but the greatest care for taking care of my two sisters (9 and 6) and my 15 month old brother was on me. Not too mention the fact that my mom had been suicidal, and I was 16.

    It wasn’t until my 20’s that I got therapy for that, and was able to work through it. Fast forward to now, and my mom has been having SEVERE panic attacks. She actually was admitted again for a couple of days, because she was having so much anxiety about taking any medication. My brother was just struggling with it, but in his case it was different. It was only anxiety. Talking to him, helping process through some of it, I realized that I wasn’t as affected as I first believed. I am older, I’m an adult, I’m a mom, and I’ve had my own mental illness battles. What I was feeling was in many ways latent frustration, and maybe some vestiges of old anger, but it wasn’t my past rising up… or a trigger like a PTSD flashback. It was just memories. Memories that were unpleasant, yes, but still just memories.

    Obviously everyone is different, and there’s no timetable on healing from trauma. Nor does adulthood magically erase the past. For me, personally, I found that wisdom gained later on allowed me to let go of some hurts, and release some parts of my past. And of course there are many kinds of trauma and pain that you cannot nor should you do that with! I’m absolutely NOT advocating anything here other than my own life. ❤️ I don’t think my experience should be an example to anyone. We’re all so unique.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sometimes over it, but yeah, you’re right. It really is a daily battle. I make a conscious decision that when it comes to past hurts, I’m staying soft. I refuse to harden my heart and let them win. I’m glad for how much healing you’ve experienced over the past years I’ve followed your blog. That says a lot about who you’re becoming!

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  10. That’s an interesting take on a race. Those who are faster than me would rarely wait behind to see me finish. Neither do I stay behind to watch someone else finishes unless I know the person. Then it comes down to how I enjoy other part of the race if I am not running for beating the clock. I will try not to be too impatience with people in front of me getting out the starting line next time.

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  11. Great post. I always need a reminder that whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it for me–I’m not trying to impress anyone else. Your description of Irish races is appalling. Clubs are moderately popular in the states, but I don’t think they breed exclusivity. I write for Like the Wind Magazine (a British paper and ink publication) so I read a lot about UK running. Those articles always make the Park Runs sound so nice. I’ll try to read between the lines in the future. For the past 15 years or so, 80% of the runners at halfs and fulls in the US are simply running to finish. I don’t get the sense that there’s much competition above the top few runners or so. Your post sort of makes me want to sharpen my elbows, but I won’t of course. Plus I’m always at the back of the pack enjoying the scenery now.

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  12. I’m trying to work on things from my past (negative thoughts and fears); it’s gotten better but there’s still work to be done. Like someone else said, it’s a daily battle and I now try to remind myself to set my mind on moving forward–making up my mind not to worry, dwell on things or something someone said, etc. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not, and I’m learning that it’s okay.

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  13. It takes a lot of hard work, but it can be done especially with the man upstairs walking you through it. Honestly, the journey changes you more than anyone else, but you’re the one that gets the blessing out of all the hard work. Having a growing distaste for what you see can spur you to choose to not be like them or to be who you use to be. To be your best, you must learn to forgive and move forward despite where anyone else chooses to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

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