Okay, I’m going to go ahead and admit it. I’m a fraud. I’m not who I seem to be. I am always striving to project the image of a confident wife, mother, librarian, and runner. I strive to do right by the people most important to me in my life. I honestly try hard, but I fail often. I know that no one is perfect, but I am very far from perfect, and I really feel like you all should know about it. Not that any of you were thinking I’m perfect … I’m not that presumptuous. I’m just a little worried that in an effort to reassure myself of my successes I have painted the picture of someone I simply am not. I’m a fraud.
- I’m a fraud as a wife.
Marriage is difficult. Marriage is rather like the marathon (more on that later, as my 15th wedding anniversary is coming up and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this concept). Marriage is not easy. I often put my own needs before my husband’s and our needs as a couple. I often approach situations with him from a “how does this affect me?” standpoint rather than a “how are we going to make this work?” stand. I work hard to squeeze all of my training in around our hectic schedules, but am I working as hard at squeezing couple time in with him? No. No, I’m not. My priorities in my marriage are a little out of whack and I need to work on this. Just as I am dedicated to my sports, so should I be dedicated to my husband. So, I’ll admit it. I am a fraud as a wife.
- I’m a fraud as a mother.
My daughters are smart, funny, sweet, beautiful, and talented. They are sources of great joy for me. Their spirits and tenacity amaze me on a constant basis and they inspire me to push myself to be better. But do I pay enough attention to them? I mean really look at them and listen to them? Do I let them know how much they mean to me? No, no I don’t. I am often distracted when I listen to their stories from school that day. I am often stirring something on the stove top while answering a text about soccer practice carpool and stretching my tight calves from my afternoon cross country speed work that I’ve raced home from. I mean I’m there, but am I REALLY there? In the car when they are letting me into their worlds by telling me about this one girl at the locker and this one funny teacher that does that funny thing and the funny song the younger one made up with her best friend, am I even really listening or just picking up pieces of the story here and there? Even worse, am I calculating my long run route and the paces I want to hit that weekend? Yes, yes actually I often am. I have to say, I have never wanted to be the mother that lives so vicariously through her kids that she has no real identity for herself anymore. That’s not healthy. But, have I gone too far the other way? Am I a self-centered mom? I’ll admit it. I am a fraud as a mother.
- I’m a fraud as a runner.
Yes, I run. I run A LOT. I run roads, trails, and tracks. I run alone and I run with a partner or group on occasion. I run long and I run short. I run hills and I do speed work. I run races and I monitor my pacing on practice runs. I set running goals and I stick to them. I read about running. I talk about running. I write about running. I share my running passion in person and through social media. I am a runner, but I often doubt myself. I often am envious of faster runners. I often yearn for more running success instead of celebrating what I’ve already accomplished. It’s so easy for me to cheer other runners on and to remind them to quit doubting themselves. I tell them, “quit focusing on how far you have to go. Concentrate on how far you’ve already come” and “you’re doing awesome. Don’t quit. Think about how many people that don’t have the courage to do what you’re doing.” “There will always be someone faster. Focus on beating YOUR own best.” I say these things and I genuinely mean them, but I have a really hard time following my own advice. I’m happy for faster runners, but I am also envious. I often wonder if I can really improve any more. I often wonder at what point I’ll be exposed for the running fraud that I am. People must be on to me. I mean, isn’t it obvious? I’ll admit it. I am a fraud as a runner.
- I’m a fraud as a librarian.
I love my job. I love working in a high school library. I love working with teenagers, for they are energetic, optimistic, humorous, and adventurous. I tend to have a great rapport with the students, and they inspire me to work hard for them. I love to read and write and I love technology, so being surrounded by books and technology is very comforting to me. But am I doing everything I should be doing as a librarian? Do I focus on the teachers enough? Do I focus on my administrative duties — the budget, ordering, technology maintenance, circulation reports, patron logs, collection analysis, etc.? To be honest, all of the repetitive duties and responsibilities are kind of a drag for me. I’m much more motivated by the opportunity to be playful, humorous and engaging, and I get to be this way with the students. What student doesn’t love a passionate, energetic librarian? I enjoy being that bright spot in the day for my students, but let’s face it, those bills and reports aren’t going to take care of themselves. Am I devoting enough of my time on the important, albeit mundane, tasks required of me? No, no I am not. Being a grownup means doing things we don’t like to do sometimes. I need to balance my priorities at work. I will admit it. I am a fraud as a librarian.
I know, I know, no one can be perfect. If you’ve read this far, you are probably shaking your head at me saying, “Come on, no one is perfect! We’re all frauds, really.” No one person can be all things to all people. Perfection is a myth and human beings are flawed. I know all of this, in my heart of hearts. I know that by striving to do the very best in all areas of my life I am living an authentic life. Yes, I have made some grave mistakes in all areas of my life, but those mistakes don’t define me. Those slip ups do not make me a fraud. They just make me human.
I am flawed. I vow to focus more on living an authentic life. I am a good wife, mother, librarian, and runner … warts and all.