A Life Less Bullshit

I’m Nicole Antoinette: writer, runner, and real-talk advocate. 

If you stick around, you'll find a community of kind, fierce, and refreshingly imperfect people who are committed to the idea that we're all just doing the best we can, and that no matter what we're in this together.

The Frustration of Being a Beginner

So, I signed up for a 50k trail race.


Shit, you guys.

The race is on July 25, which isn’t all that far away, and the excitement I felt when I registered has steadily morphed into paralyzing anxiety.

This will be my first ultramarathon, my first trail race, my first time having to hike large sections of a course, and my first time doing an event at altitude. This is the first time I’m truly afraid that I’ll get pulled off a course for not meeting one of the time cut-offs along the way. This is the first time I’ll be doing a race that even has multiple time cut-offs.

There are other things I’m worried about, too. Like how the hell my sensitive stomach is going to handle the food and water I’ll need in order to fuel a 7+ hour run. I’ll have to practice wearing some kind of backpack/water pouch combo (me, the girl who hates carrying even a small purse). What will happen to my feet? Will I wind up with terrible blisters? Will it be crazy hot in Southern Oregon at the end of July? Do I need to take salt tablets?


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This One’s For The Control Freaks (Ahem, ME)

All of the suffering in my life can be drilled down to a single truth: I desperately want to be in control. Of everything. All the fucking time no matter what forever.

I want to know how each day will unfold. I want to be sure that every recipe I make turns out to be the most delicious food that anyone has ever eaten. I want to take charge of what everyone thinks about me in all situations, and I want those thoughts to be unfailingly positive. I want to be good at everything I try, and if I am not good at something I am most likely not going to continue doing it.

I want to know instinctively how to help all of the people in my life, and I want to be sure that I am providing value at all times. I am terribly afraid of not being valuable.

When it’s time to go running, I want to run the pace and distance that I am supposed to run and I want my fitness to progress in exactly the manner I’ve laid out.

I do not want surprises, ever. I want to be prepared.

I want the fridge to be organized a certain way because the strawberries belong where they belong so just leave them there and don’t put them on a different shelf, OKAY??

Control is my personal Everest, and I anxiously attempt to climb that looming mountain every single day.

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If We Are Not Busy, Are We Worthy?

It’s been 22 days since I removed email from my iPhone.

The problem wasn’t email itself (of course), but rather my relationship to it. I would refresh and refresh, all day long. While watching TV, while waiting in line at the grocery store, while working on creative projects – refreshing and refreshing, anxiously reading each message as it came in.

And let’s be real, it’s not like I was performing life-saving procedures via email. It’s not as if someone wouldn’t be able to continue on with their day if I didn’t respond within an hour. How important do I think I am? Very, if that judgment is being made based on my past email habits.

The truth is, I knew nothing terrible would happen if I checked email less frequently. It’s not like I was afraid anyone’s world would come crashing down, and it’s not that I was worried about missing out on a million dollar opportunity. Again, how important do I think I am? So it wasn’t really about that.

It was about two things: being liked, and feeling busy.

When you live in your inbox, it’s easy to feel special. People want things! They have questions! I can be helpful!

If I spend an hour diligently answering emails, that means I was productive, right? Right? RIGHT????

Because as much as I complain about being too busy, and as often as I lament my lack of free time, it’s all bullshit.

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Because I want to

I was 21 years old and miserable, keeping myself stuck in a relationship that didn’t feel right to me anymore. I wanted to end it, but I didn’t know how.

Okay, that’s a lie – I did know how, because it only takes one short, honest conversation to end a relationship. So the problem wasn’t that I didn’t know how to do it, the problem is that I felt ashamed that I even wanted to do it in the first place. He was great, nothing was “wrong”, so shouldn’t I just stick around and be happy?

I was convinced that I needed a “good reason” to end the relationship (whatever that means), and since I didn’t think I had one I didn’t end it. Instead, I drank a lot. I slept with other people. I moved across the country with some desperate hope that the geographic distance would magically make the relationship disappear.

It didn’t, and in the end things only got worse and worse until they finally imploded, leaving him confused and broken-hearted, and leaving me drunker and more ashamed than ever.

A few years later, I was in a similarly unfulfilling relationship, only this time it was with a job instead of a man. I had been the Director of a children’s summer camp for five years, even though I knew for sure that I wanted to leave at the end of year three. But I didn’t have a “good reason” for leaving, and in fact I could rattle off a long list of lots of “good reasons” to stay, so I stayed. And then I stayed again.

When I finally left in August 2009, it was in the wake of such a destructive firestorm of self-sabotage that I really didn’t have any other choice but to go. In the absence of that “good reason” to leave when I wanted to leave, I spent the next two years subconsciously making horribly dangerous and self-destructive decisions, one after another, until the situation had gotten so miserable that I finally had my reason to leave.

And so, a pattern emerged.

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