Whenever I take showers after working out or training for something, I remember back to a moment in high school track and field – or cross country, I don’t remember.
I remember I was either a freshman or sophomore and hanging out in a group with the upperclassmen and team captains.
We were talking about post-race routines and rituals. I mentioned that I took cold showers after I got home. An ice-cold shower to be exact.
And I remember hearing the responses – What?! That’s crazy!! How can you take a cold shower after the a meet? You’re intense.
And so on.
At the time I said it, I knew that I was bullshitting – I had really only done that once or twice after practice, when I was still wet with sweat. When ice cold water hit the skin in the most lovely and welcome way.
I knew that I was saying that to get a rise, a reaction, and even admiration from my teammates. I wanted to be notable and badass.
Yeah, my attempt was lame haha but that memory still travels with me today. And when it surfaces, I shake my head and laugh a little.
It’s a little hard for me to get over even now, when I remember that moment of bullshit, all because I wanted some sort of acceptance and attention. The memory of me looking back at my teammates affirming that this was indeed my post-race ritual while knowing in my mind I was lying, is not my favorite memory.
It reminds me of a time when I didn’t know how far I would have gone for some acceptance and love and belonging.
It reminds me how misaligned I was in who I am, how I presented myself, and what the payoff was.
It’s nice to know I’m not in that space now.
But I also want to give myself the space, the self-compassion for young Grace, who really really really just wanted to be loved, at the expense of her integrity. I want to honor her experience and journey, I want to remember her path over this past decade and more.
I want to respect the years dedicated to knowing truth, and then learning to live it out since that time I was so naive and seeking a place in this world.
I appreciate the moments that followed that memory. I forgive myself and I allow that memory to be one of many moments from which I learned to be myself and love myself.
I am free. Haha.