I wish when I was growing up someone had told me my identity was not in my floral patterned denim jacket (although to this day every time I walk into a charity shop, I have misty dream like visions of having an encounter with it), or that my identity wasn’t in the fact that I could eat and eat and not put weight on (I really wish someone had told me that, slight backfire – in more ways than one), or that my identity was not in the fact that I could run for miles and be ok with it.
Identity, where do you get yours from? For years I placed my identity in my athleticism, in fact I even remember at school getting annoyed at a friend who also did particularly well in P.E. “You’re too good at everything else, at least let me have this”. I should have realised that the end of lesson bell didn’t just signify home time.
I’m all or nothing so when I started competing in triathlons and doing well and then realised I could compete amateur for Britain, I did. For those 2-3 years of training, triathlons were my everything I put every part of my life and being into them. During this period is when I started to get CFS. Now sure, there were probably elements before this which quite likely contributed to CFS but this was quite likely the time I used the adrenal fatigue door mat to get through the CFS door.
Something was up, I was over achieving, proving myself, ignoring issues by being all consumed in my sport. When I look back at it, and when I think about what identity means, for me it is this;
To be fully loved and to love, to be fully known and to know. To belong.
Somewhere in me, when I place all my eggs in one basket, when I go full throttle and throw myself into something like that – what I’m saying is – I want to love and be loved, I want to know and be known. I want to belong.
We place our hope in too many things, thinking they’ll bring us our identity but they never fully do. For me my identity is in that struggle of loving and knowing, yet in the same breathe I know (in my head) that the fact I’m alive means I’m loved and known, but my heart is still 18 inches away. There’s the struggle. My head and my heart are saying two different things about my identity. For me my identity isn’t about finding enlightenment, peace, stillness or emptiness, or anything else for that matter. Rather, for me, it’s about filling those places in me of restlessness, over achievement, anxiety, and that deep desire to be loved and known with the truth that I was already created loved and known, and me just being me is all it takes to love and be loved, to know and be known.