Last year, a friend posted the link to a writing contest on Facebook. It was for a literary journal and they were looking for non-fiction essays. With dreams of winning the top prize, I knocked out the story of my mental health journey and entered the contest. I did that all in a matter of two or three days, without editing. I didn’t win. I’ve already got something started for the contest again this year–I know to take it slow this time.
I had quickly become a fan of this journal and began to follow them on Facebook myself. Over the summer they started a reader column in which they give a word, and then the readers submit their response to that word. The first one was ‘small’. Man was my entry good! But it wasn’t accepted. I recently tried again with the most recent word ‘unfinished’. I haven’t gotten a response yet, but I felt it important to include my entry here because while I have been so focused on issues related to my mother lately, my fitness journey continues to be present in my mind. I can’t give up on that.
Here is what I have to say about it:
“As a work in progress standing, reflected in a mirror, I know that the image I see has not changed from the day before. It will not change tomorrow. I see imperfection where my husband sees beauty. I must remind myself each day that I’m not so concerned about the outside façade, but the health of what’s most important on the inside. I take too many medications at my young age for my physical health. An unintentional laziness makes the refills necessary. I created a new healthy lifestyle once before and every day I hate that I haven’t done it again. Vivid dreams at night of running and a desire to become a mother without the worry of complications drove me to train for and successfully complete a 5K. The incredible feeling of pride in myself for being able to run the entire distance and cross the finish line will never diminish in my memory, and yet, it is difficult to recapture the motivation to begin again. That initial spark may never come back. The second time around will require something different. And whatever it takes to get started again, I know that going to bed every night with regret in my heart for a day filled with wasted opportunities is not the answer. The answer lies in the mirror. It is necessary to see myself each morning as a person in transition, a person who is capable, a person who is simply unfinished.”
Wish me luck–both in getting my piece accepted into their next publication and for getting back on track with my physical health.