Crawl Across The Starting Line.

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This morning, I woke up at around 6 a.m. I tried to lay still and go back to sleep for a little while longer, hoping certain parts of my brain hadn't noticed I was awake yet. But, it was too late.

As depression, anxiety, and heaviness crept across me, mentally and physically, I figured that if I was going to start my day this way, I might as well at least have some coffee to go with it. I rolled over, pulled my knees forward, and then pushed myself upright, kneeling in my bed. That's what it took to get myself up this morning.

Some days it's easier than others: I just kick the covers off, swing my legs off of the bed, sit up, and that's that. I'm up and on my way.

Other days – an awful lot of them lately – begin like today did. I've got to fight tooth and nail for a win, or something that feels close enough to one that I'm not completely disappointed in myself.

There have been days where the pressure is so extreme that it makes me cry. Nights where I have had so much to worry about that I couldn't sleep until the sun was coming up and anxiety had finished wearing me out. Mornings where I have rocked myself back and forth in my office chair or the edge of the bathtub, reminding myself of all of the days I've taken on before that set a precedent for kicking this one's ass from here to the end of my to-do list. Times I've wanted to give up. Times I've almost thrown up from the intensity of the stress and the pressure I have been carrying.

The one thing all of my days have in common, though, is that I get up in spite of whatever I am feeling. Even if anxiety, fear, depression, frustration, you name it, all conspire to keep me down, when I am at least able to make it to my knees like I did this morning, I know I have the leverage I need to move forward with my day. I literally have a leg up on the day at that point; two, in fact.

Some people would find it embarrassing or humiliating to admit to something like this. Some people think it would make them look weak. Not me. I couldn't be more proud of what I did just to get out of bed today, so I could sit at my desk and do the best I could to push forward.

As far as I'm concerned, a win is a win no matter how pretty or ugly it is. Strength is measured by what you're able to lift, or carry, or bear the weight of, period — not effortlessly, not without feeling it, but period. A win doesn't have to look sexy to anyone else, or even to yourself. Least of all to your own inner critic, who can always find something that sucks about it.

For me, a win is a win no matter how dirty I get when I'm digging myself out of the hole that I start so many of my days in. Given the choice between a win that looks ugly, or a defeat that feels ugly, I'll take the win even if I have to crawl across the finish line.

Even if I have to crawl across the starting line, for that matter, on my hands and knees.

Just like I did this morning.

Joseph Rooks