Training to Survive

The Why Behind the Triathlon —

I’ve been taking up space on the Internet, in your Twitter feeds, on your Facebook friends’ wall, talking about my workouts and progress toward this huge goal–my first triathlon. I’m taking up space here, because I’m trying to get used to taking up my own space in the world. That’s the whole idea behind this insane and empowering goal I’ve set for myself. I’m here. In this body. Owning it.

And it’s an amazing body. It’s carried me far. Through 46 years, with very few health challenges. This body has created THREE HUMANS and nourished them for their first years. I am incredibly privileged to have a sound, working body that lets me do the things I want to do.

Yet I’ve hated aspects of the body I carry for a very large chunk of my life.

*trigger warning for allusions to sexual assault. No details here*

Trauma shapes us, and if we survive, if we find a way to heal, it leaves scars. My body survived a night 21 years ago, when a strange man with a gun took so much of *me* away–the me that was fearless and brave. For 21 years, I’ve considered myself broken, and not because of any lack of ability.

I’ve been broken because my mind told me I wasn’t worth fixing.

For the past 6 months, I’ve been working with a therapist to change that narrative. And I’ve come so far in such a short time. I know I can’t change that past, but I can evolve into a different way of thinking, and that starts with putting the kibosh on the idea that I am broken.

So, I’m here. I’m training for a 1/4 mile swim, a 10-mile bike ride, and a 5k. I’m not looking to compete. I’m not going for any record. I just want to survive.

Because surviving is being. It’s proving to myself that I matter, and that my body, this body, is worthy and capable. Maybe even, possibly, amazing. Someday it may even become beautiful to me. But I’ll start with surviving. That’s a good place to begin.

About Terry L. Holt

Writer. Mother. Goddess. President of the Save the Dandelions Club. Climber of trees.
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