So I’m going to list the good with the bad. The bad being it was a very rough day in the world of inner city teaching. My teaching team member was out today so It was just me and our ESOL para wrangling up two classes of kindergarteners. That mixed with 9 kids out due to the flu, a new student who definitely needs extra supervision, and one of our fifth graders and his mom being killed on Friday, led to a very somber and overwhelming Tuesday. I was supposed to go to the gym, but honestly I just don’t want to. I am mentally exhausted. And its not something the gym is going to bring me out of. I know after my run yesterday that my body (and mind and soul) need a rest so that’s what I’m doing.
The good news is that as much as I wanted to just throw in the towel and eat out tonight, I didn’t. I made a healthy dinner, tracked all my calories and still came in under my goal. The old me would have just thrown away the entire day, but the new me is going to take whatever victories she can make happen. Today it wasn’t exercise, it was healthy eating and self-care and that’s good enough for me.
The other day when it was snowing I made a deal with the universe. If we had a snow day I would run a 5K and clean the house.
I got my snow day. And I cleaned my house.
And then I went to the gym, fully invested in running this 5K today. And I made it about half way. And even that half way was tough.
As someone who ran a half marathon and trained for a marathon (yes, before quitting), not being able to really finish a 5K was beyond humbling. It may have even been a little humiliating.
But at the same time, I’m glad I stopped. I’m just getting back into running and I know if I would have kept going I would have been in pain tomorrow and then yet another workout would not get completed.
So I thought of a better way to appease the universe. Maybe I didn’t have to actually run the 5K today. Maybe I just had to commit to one…really commit.
So I did.
I registered for the Kelly Shamrock 5K in Baltimore. This will be the first race I’ve completed since the Turkey Trot when I was pregnant with Charlotte. Oh, I’ve signed up for a bunch since then, but I haven’t completed a single one.
This is also the first 5K I ever ran the entire race. Granted it was in 2014, but I’m seeing that as a sign.
It’s so, so easy to get bogged down with complaining, especially in this age where you can share your complaints with hundreds via social media.
It’s definitely harder to wake up and actively choose joy. Choose to find the little moments of happiness. Choose to take a different perspective. Choose to send these vibes out into the world instead of the negative ones. . I read somewhere that if you stress out or complain too much about something before it happens, you basically put yourself through it twice. How true is that?!?!
This week I’m going to work to actively choose joy. I’m going to work to leave the negativity behind.
After all, the only toxic we allow in 2019 is Toxic by Britney Spears.
So, I’m jumping on the bandwagon on week 3 of the The Mighty’s 52 Small Things. Each week The Mighty emails a new self-care challenge to be completed. These things are small: Set a goal, find gratitude in your daily life, etc. The idea behind it is instead of making grandiose New Year’s resolutions, you would make small attainable ones and never stop growing throughout the year.
This week’s challenge is about journalling. I constantly say I want to keep up with this blog better, but never actually do. I think this is the perfect way to reach that goal!
Here is this week’s challenge:
This week’s Small Thing is three-minute journaling. We’re challenging you to spend three minutes writing down your thoughts. At the end of the three minutes, you should jot down at least one thing you are grateful for. You don’t need to go out and buy a journal to do this — in fact, it’s probably better to try writing out your thoughts for a week before you make the investment. You can journal as a Thought on The Mighty with the hashtag #52SmallThings, on a random piece of paper, or on your phone — wherever you feel comfortable. If you journal privately, we’d love for you to still share what you’re grateful for each day by posting a Thought with the hashtag #52SmallThings!
Today I posted my challenge on Instagram, but I’m going to copy and past it over here as well!
Someone once told me that to write I need to write about what I know. Luckily that’s all I know how to write about anyway.
In the past four years I’ve quit every thing I’ve started. You name it, I’ve attempted it…and then quit. Run streaks? I quit by week two. Running? I used to run 25 – 30 miles a week, and now I’m lucky if I even walk two. I’ve signed up (and wasted a LOT of money) on countless 5Ks, half marathons, and marathons only to quit about half way through…when I had decided that it got too hard. Being more environmental? I’m pretty sure I threw away a pile of paper yesterday instead of recycling it because the recycling was full and I just needed it out of my house. Hell, I’ve even quit my marriage. At this point the only thing I haven’t quit is my job, but I did switch schools so maybe that counts?
I wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact, I used to be exactly the opposite. I would make a plan and resolutely stick with it, no matter the consequence or if it was the best decision in the long run. I was just that stubborn. I would see it through to the end even if it killed me. I used to think this was one of my biggest character flaws, but now I’m not so sure. The tenacity that would once push me over the finish line has now been replaced with apathy and indifference. I would do anything to get it back.
Maybe I’ve spent so much time quitting lately that it’s just what seems normal and comfortable now. I’m used to it. It’s familiar. It’s has the feeling of that soft, comfy shirt that is completely stained and threadbare. You need to throw it away. You want to throw it away. And yet, you can’t bring yourself to do it. As if parting with that one thing is going to increase your sadness even more than it already is.
Fear has become such a major part of my life over the past few years that it is literally ingrained in my soul. The fear of failure keeps me from making the big leaps. The fear of judgment keeps me from making the choices I know I need to make, the choices that are the best for me. Fear of retribution keeps me on my feet at all times…constantly looking over my shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve spent so much of the last few years of my life being scared that I have barely lived at all. I’ve made so many goals and had so many things I want to accomplish which have all been brushed aside because of fear. And I don’t want to do that anymore.
If you know me at all, you know I love New Year’s. The blank slate, the new beginnings, the chance to start again all resonate with me on a deeply pure and spiritual level. I tend to make resolutions, grandiose goals, and big decisions all to have me eventually quit. I just can’t keep living my life like that anymore. I think this year I’m going to dump the resolutions. The changes I want to make within myself are big. Every single thing I want to change about myself I can control. And I don’t need resolutions or a New Year to do that. I can just do it. Plain and simple. It’s really that easy.
Of course, coming up with the idea to do something is the easy part. The hard part is the follow through…and that’s exactly what I plan to work on first.
The other day, as we were driving through the city on the way home, two runners crossed in front of our car. Joe’s immediate response was about how it was cold and they were outside running and that they were wearing shorts. It’s true, it was about 25 degrees…it was cold. But all I felt was the formidable tug of nostalgia. I remember thinking that I wish I was a runner. Or more clearly, I wish I was still a runner.
There’s a very good chance that this will be the last year that I will be married. Though we have been separated for almost a year and a half, technically we are still locked in union according to the law. I still help pay his student loans. He is still on my health insurance. Neither of us is in a rush to get this thing finished, to break apart a union that is 16 years in the making, but we also know that eventually the cord will have to be cut and ties severed.
Sometimes I honestly don’t know which times we’re harder. Was is the years we spent distant and cold, simply playing the part of husband and wife, the outside world oblivous to the struggles we were having within ourselves? Was is the year I said I was leaving, but had to stay, the couch my permanent home, so much hate traveling back and forth between us while our children looked on, bewildered and overwhelmed? Or was it this year? The year filled with anger and remorse, both wanting to be with my kids full time and knowing that doing that meant hurting all of us in the process. I simply can’t be sure.
The only thing I do know is that all of them were hard and all of them have taken an irreversible toll on me. Anger, guilt, despair, panic, and disappointment and utter sadness have been my constant companions and some days it takes every effort possible just to remind myself to take in air so I can keep living.
I’ve spent so much of the last year and a half fighting with a person I was supposed to love until the end of time. He knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else and knows exactly what to say to make me go from quiet and content to a rage filled nightmare. Sometimes I think he does it accidentally, forgetting how much I look into every word spoken, sure there are hidden meanings. Other times I know it’s purposeful, and those times are the hardest to bear and the hardest to break free from. Because how in the hell did we get to this place where we’ve become vindictive and spiteful to each other on purpose?
The other day we texted back and forth about something completely innocuous; a movie quote from a movie I know is one of his favorites. It was a short, but lovely, conversation simply because it seemed so easy.
And then, of course, in true Cassie fashion, I started to cry. I wanted to crawl into that conversation and live there because for the first time in a long time, I felt safe in that relationship. Did I want to get back together? Absolutely not. We were horrible as a couple. Not in the beginning, but in the many years that followed. Our relationship was passive aggressive at best and self destructive at worst. We were mean. And nasty. And horrible to each other. And that’s putting it lightly. Love should bring out the best in two people and for us, it didn’t. Not anymore. But that simple conversation showed me something I hadn’t seen between us in a long time. It gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe one day all the conversations could be like this. Maybe it will get better.
And while we may not ever really be friends, maybe we would stop intentionally trying to hurt each other in ways we only know how.
A funny thing happened the there day. It was pretty insignificant, really. But my first thought was, “Oh my God, I have to text…” and in the place where you would insert a name, my mind thoroughly drew a blank. I had no idea who I would text with this news, no idea who would laugh along with me at the oddness of it all.
As we progress in our significant romantic relationships, it’s only natural that our time with our friends diminishes and our “others” take the place of our best friends and most trusted confidants. Add in a kid (or multiple kids) on one (or both sides) and its seemingly impossible that mutual time can be made available. Thus the friendships break down even further, and personal contact is replaced with random texts and the like, promises of “we need to get together soon” and “I miss you”, until you feel awkward even texting with your random odd news, unsure and afraid that they won’t even understand.
I just know I miss my friends.
And I know that I am *at least* half to blame. I am terrible at keeping contact with people. If we feel like going the psychoanalysis route, to make a long story short, I tend to push people away, choosing to reject them before they can reject me (which I am absolutely, unequivocally sure they are going to do). This was even confirmed today by a book I read about my birthday and being an Aquarius, so this is obviously scientific fact now. The lack of confidence in my friendships even goes so deep as to HATE to invite people out or over. I don’t want them to feel obligated and I know I’ll feel even worse if they don’t come. So instead I sit and wait for my friends to invite ME to do things.
Yes, I know this is stupid. Yes I know I am 37 and am acting like a 14 year old. But the truth is the truth.
True, I have work friends. We text about work stuff and funny family anecdotes. We occasionally meet up for after work drinks or other events, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same as finding those people who know you below the surface, those who have not only seen you go through hell, but have also gone through it with you. Those you can say just one word to and have them cracking up. Those who have motivate you, and inspire you, and love you for who you are…even if you’re a psycho that constantly fears rejection.
I know I have a person who loves me. I know I have my brothers and family members. But sometimes, I just really miss my friends.