Better Than Me

Today I'm going to share something about myself that I do not often share.  I'm also starting a one-woman social media movement.

I've been songwriting and singing since I was a pre-teen, and it's been a hobby I've quietly dabbled in since. My first love was singing, my second was dancing and my third was songwriting.  I was too uncoordinated to dance competitively and it was an expensive hobby, but paper and pens were always free.  So was singing.

The reason I bring this up is because I've been thinking a lot lately about the meaning and the purpose of a song I wrote when I was about 19-20.  Some days when I read or sing the lyrics I'm astonished by how much more self-assured I was at that age, as well as how astute I was.

The other thing I find interesting about the song is that I was inspired to write it when I first started running.  

Running was not something that instantly "clicked" for me. Waking up early was hard.  It took me years and loads of blisters to find the right shoes.  But I stuck with it.  And here I am . . .  7 marathons, can't even remember how many halves (13?14?), and a bunch of road races and triathlons later.  I've run through so many life and health and job issues I cannot even recount them all.  I've run in sunshine, rain, snow, sleet, sickness, insanity, victory and health.

Today I ran the Volition America Half Marathon. I'd hoped for a PR, but I did run my second-fastest half, even with all the heat and feeling terrible for weeks.  I was really pleased with that once I gave myself time to get over the initial disappointment . . . while I know not every race can be a PR, I could certainly use one this running season to boost my confidence with all the health issues I've been having.

For whatever reason, this song popped into my head and I had it on mental repeat for the entire race.

Lately I have been struggling with some old demons.  Those demons are related to my own insecurities - I have a tendency to compare myself to others and sometimes be judgmental.   I don't think this is something unique to me.  All of us have demons of some kind, and many of us compare ourselves to others.

When I searched for the hashtag #betterthanme after the race today, I realized that every single post I found on social media using the tag was someone claiming that someone - a family member, usually - was doing something better than they were.

And all I could think to myself was no, no, no, NO.  The only person who can be better then you is YOU.

I realized this is something I knew as a younger version of myself, but it took years of racing - against myself - trying to beat my OWN times - to make me realize it.

So I'm starting my own social media movement.  Anything empowering, about self-improvement, about the triumph of the human spirit, about people doing good for other people - anything that represents that idea that whatever needs to be done starts inside one person - and usually the one in the mirror - I'm going to hashtag #betterthanme.  It may never catch on outside of my own world, but that's ok - sometimes the main reason I blog is for myself anyway.  But I'm going to keep doing it.

And, in case you're curious, here's the song, which has changed very little since I penned it in '99. (I actually wrote the music as a tribute to old-school Metallica ballads - think Unforgiven, Sad But True . . .it's actually sort of a response to Better Than You. Maybe someday I'll share the music too.)

Better than Me (Meggan's Theme) (c) 1999

In the face of opposition and the threat of sheer adversity
I refuse to let the fear of failure overpower me
I am running still and I don't know who I am running from - or to
Every mile I place upon these feet is one more victory
Every tear and blister one more drop of pain reminding me
If I don't give in, I can accomplish things I never thought I'd do
I may even be
Better than you

Better than me
Better than you
It doesn't really matter who
What I invest to be the best
Could be judged as self-mutilation, but when I get my due
All the struggling will pay off, believe,
In the end, I may be
Better than you
Better than me

I can see the sun is rising, soon the day will break
I will be gone long before some others even wake
But I cannot lose focus now by worrying ‘bout anything but me
Fine, ignore the glitter of this culture's promises and faulty  praise
But when you break the promises you make yourself, there's hell to pay
You can be your own best friend, or you can be your own worst enemy

That's why I fight each day to be
Better than me

Better than me
Better than you
It doesn't matter what I do
What I invest to be the best
Could be somebody else’s nothing, but I will have my due
All the suffring will pay off, believe
In the end I may be
Better than you
Better than me

I'd be a cookie cutter in a tin
Packaged up and shipped away like all my brothers
No matter which rank they file me in
I won't be someone's creation like the others
Cause they don't really give a damn
Once you’re out of sight, you're finished, and forgotten with the rest
But only I create who I am
And when it's me who's left I'm going to be the best

Better than you
Better than me
As my own sense of serenity,
What does it matter how they splatter my name,
How they judge or how they blame?
In the end the judgement's not our job to do

How could I ever be better than you?
When I can only be
Better than me

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