Sometimes You Feel Like a Loser

San Francisco Marathon

Image by luxomedia via Flickr

In late October, I applied to the San Francisco Marathon ambassador program. At the time I applied, I was excited about the possibility of getting accepted–I mean, how cool would it be to spread the word about a great race, encourage the people who were registering for it, and work as an advocate for running and health on a larger platform than this one?

I guess I didn’t realize just how much I had invested in the idea of becoming an ambassador, because when I found out today that I hadn’t been accepted for the program, I was devastated and completely broke down. I couldn’t stop crying for an hour, and although I’m not the type who cries rarely, crying uncontrollably for an hour (straight) is unusual for me. At this point–one episode of ‘Community’; some ice cream; and lots of comforting from family members, friends, and a fiancé later–I’ve regained control of my tear ducts, but I don’t feel much better about the situation. Or myself.

I haven’t felt like much of a runner lately, and I know there was a big part of me that was looking to the ambassador program as a form of validation, some kind of reassurance that I am still a runner, even though I might not always feel like it. But more than that, I was also looking to the program as validation of the fact that I can be an ambassador for this sport, and for health in general. If I could, I would work professionally in the field of health (or specifically running) blogging or writing, or coaching–something that would put me in a position to reach a large number and wide variety of people, and help them to develop a healthy lifestyle that works for them. This is something I’ve always been passionate about doing, but as time has gone on and my career path has moved in a different direction, I’ve started to realize that I might not necessarily ever get a chance to do something like that as a job. That realization has left me feeling like this blog, and the opportunities I can gain access to as a result of having it, may be the closest I’ll come to professional involvement in the field of health. Lately, I’ve worried that this might mean that I’ve failed in some way.

Not having been accepted, and the associated feelings of failure it evokes are, needless to say, difficult to deal with. And the worst part is that the feelings of failure are just the beginning of it–beyond those there are so many things that I start to question, and to feel bad about. It’s far too easy for me (and what’s probably my ED voice) to come up with reason upon reason to explain why I didn’t get accepted:

“You’re not as good a runner as the people who were accepted.”

“You’re not as thin.”

“You’re not as pretty as the other women.”

“Your blog isn’t as popular.”

You aren’t as popular.”

“They’re faster than you are.”

“They’ve run more marathons.”

“They’ll make the marathon look better.”

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

It never really ends once it gets going. And the hardest part is that I know some of it to be true. I know who some of the other ambassadors are, I know they’re prettier, thinner, faster, more accomplished as runners, and more popular as bloggers. They are better at being advocates and ambassadors than I am–they’ve already proven that to be true through the popularity of their blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and all those other things. And it’s not that I feel like I want to quit because I’m not as popular, it’s just that it’s hard to repeatedly miss out on opportunities and–because I don’t know the exact reasons why–repeatedly tell myself the same story: “It’s because you’re not good enough.”

Before I even knew about the San Francisco Marathon ambassador program, I applied to be an Athleta featured athlete (another program that I think would be amazing in terms of its reach and potential to communicate a positive message). Based on the way this program turned out though, and given my performance in a handful of other things I’ve tried to get involved in over the past year alone (the Run for the Rabbit campaign, being involved with the BeFitNYC campaign, applications to write for countless other healthy living blogs, for example), I can’t help but feel a bit embarrassed for having applied at all. Why did I create for myself another opportunity to face rejection?

Generally, I try to end posts on a positive note, and offer a hopeful message. Right now, though, I just don’t have it in me. I feel like a loser. I’ll keep running, because it’s something I love doing. I’ll keep running marathons, because I love doing that too. But as far as trying to create opportunities to reach a wider audience and share a positive, healthy message, maybe it’s time to accept that for whatever reason, and in spite of my best efforts, that’s just not where my path is leading me.

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11 comments

  1. ((((HUGS)))). I wish I had the right words, but I don’t. I hear you, I understand all the words and thoughts, and have a mind filled with my very own “chatter monsters”, as I call them. But with all that being said, I have to politely disagree. I think putting yourself out there deserves recognition and celebration. I know all too well about setting myself up for an impossible task, in an effort to prove on some very disordered level how worthless, less than, I really am. I wouldn’t right your path off just yet. These oppurtunities were not the ones for you right now. But I believe with all my heart, that the very act of putting one foot in front of the other will lead you where you need to be. And in your very own way, you’re already an ambassador for many people who read your words and never take the time to say thanks…..Thanks. 🙂

    1. Thea, thank you! You comment really helps me feel better about this situation. You said you wish you had the right words–I think you put them all in what you wrote 🙂 Honestly, it really means a lot. Hugs right back at you- it’s people like you who remind me why I enjoy writing this blog so much.

  2. You ARE pretty enough, thin enough and all that stuff! But I know how those feelings can get inside your head and eat you up. Even when I was fortunate enough to be selected to run with a bunch of bloggers I still constantly felt that I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd of the pretty, popular girls.

    Don’t stop trying for these opportunities. I can tell you that once one falls into place, others will follow. I agree with the previous comment that it will happen for you once the timing is right.

    (((hugs)))

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I think you’re right that this was not the right time/opportunity. You’re also an inspiration to me, and an example of the fact that the right opportunity will come along when the time is right. Thanks for your support, and the hugs!

      PS- I’m sorry to hear that you had a hard time in spite of being part of the blogger team. I guess in a way it’s good to know that we all suffer these feelings of insecurity, even though I wish that weren’t the case.

  3. I guess it’s a little late for me to chime in, but I just wanted to say that you have always been an inspiration for me with running. You have always been supportive and helpful whenever I’ve had setbacks. Now it’s my turn to support you. Even though it’s okay to have those thoughts about why you were not chosen as an ambassador, you know that ultimately they aren’t true! You are beautiful and you are an excellent runner, and you run because you love to run. You also know that life is tough, it isn’t an easy road that we take through life. If it were, we would all be millionaires and have no problems at all. So we go through life, sometimes we meet obstacles or setbacks and we stumble and/or fall. But we get back up and continue on. That’s life. You’ll find the right path. ❤

  4. It’s so strange to read this post today. I just spent the weekend at a media trip in Banff, and I met the incredible Kim Gray (aka Canoe of ToqueandCanoe.com). She is a beautiful, intelligent woman who is so passionate about taking her site and making it as big as she can. She writes content, travels around doing research, and basically puts everything she has into it. And speaking with her, I was equal parts jealous and inspired. I kept looking at her and thinking “I want that! I want to put all my energy into something worthwhile and positive.”

    For me, I’m just looking for the right platform. Maybe you’re looking for the right partner 🙂

  5. Je seconde les commetnaires plus haut, et j’ajoute à cela qu’il se peut que l’élargissement de ton audience – cet objectif que tu convoites pour la réalisation de ta passion – ne rimerait pas nécessairement avec un impact plus important. Sans vouloir verser dans la banaliter et réduire la chose à une question de qualité et de quantité, il me semble que ce n’est pas parce que ton message se rend à un lectorat plus modeste qu’il n’a pas un véritable impact. La popularité vient avec beaucoup de contraintes et une chose que tu as ici, c’est la complète liberté de ton message. Ce n’est pas rien et ça vaut de l’or. Surtout, n’abandonne pas tes objectifs: le temps que tu prends pour te rendre est le temps qu’il te faut pour te préparer.

  6. I think I know how you feel… I feel the same frustration about some of these opportunities. And even with the Shape blogger awards, something that I didn’t even throw myself into the ring for and truly was incredibly honored/flattered to be nominated for… I couldn’t help but feel a bit of frustration with the way that so many of the blogs that always garner attention got the top prizes. Of course, if I was one of those bloggers on top, I would probably not want to relinquish my position. I keep thinking to myself, “If I had more time to network on social media, if I spent more time promoting things, if I didn’t have to do my regular job…” But then, I guess I can’t focus on the what if’s… what I do know is that if I do my regular job I get a regular paycheck. And that kind of security is pretty decent as well!

    You’ll find where your path is going… just like I’ll find mine. At least, I have to believe that in order to stay positive! 🙂 HUGS!

  7. Oh, and I thought I was the only one who felt like this! This is such a raw and lovely post and something that you should be proud of. Not many people are so willing to put their true feelings into their blogs, opting for fluff and feel good all of the time. And it leaves some of us readers feeling even more like losers because we DO have bad days and receive bad news. Although I am a new follower, I am proud of you…you at least tried…I often let those thoughts stop me from even attempting new things…clicking out of the entry forms as soon as I get to “how many followers do you have?” or “how many visits do you get to you blog monthly”. Kudos to you…believe it or not, your moment of despair has actually inspired me to try anyway!

    1. Hi Lynn, and welcome 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment–I’m reassured knowing I’m not the only one who feels like this from time to time! I have a hard time reading post after post from bloggers who make everything seem like it’s perfect all the time, sometimes it just makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me.

      I’m glad to hear that you’re not going to give up on trying! After getting some distance from this experience, I’ve realized I don’t want to give up, either. Sometimes it can be very tempting, but I know that in the end it would be the worst decision.

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