Fall down seven times, get up eight

Everything hurts and I’m dying.

I literally don’t think I could get out of this chair if I wanted to.  And I only ran/walked 2.5 miles today.  This summer I was up to over 25 miles a week with my long runs between 10-14.  Today? The idea of running 10 miles at one time makes me want to kill myself.

And yet, I have an alarm set on my phone to sign up for a half marathon when it opens on Thursday.

I’m constantly starting over. And for no other reason than I’m constantly giving up.  Something happens when I get to a certain point in almost every endeavor in my life.  I leave it behind, trying to convince myself I won’t get any better, or that I’m just going to fail, or thatI have something more important that needs my time and attention.

But we all know this is crap.  And then I’m forced to start over again.

I constantly wonder how far along I would be if I simply stopped giving up.  When I first started I was “running” a 16-17 minute mile on a fast day.  And I would get better and faster, but never lower than a 12 minute mile and never for very long.  And now here I am,  not anywhere near where I started, but definitely not where I was.  And after just a day back into it I feel like giving up…again.

My word this year is (was) supposed to be “brave” but I’m not feeling very brave these days. I have all these plans and goals but I’m too scared to follow through.  Mostly it’s fear of judgment.  And a little fear of failure.

I want to do things.  I want to help people.  I want to make the most of this tiny amount of time we are allotted on this earth.  I want to claim my guaranteed entry to to the NYC marathon, but what if I flake out again?  I want to really start using my running to give back, like running with Back on My Feet, working with a population I respect and who needs so much love, but will always feel like I’m too slow. I want to write more, more than just these blog posts, but never feel like it will go anywhere so what’s the point?

I have so much trouble putting myself out there…really out there.

Brave?  Not so much these days…

But I guess the fact that I care at all is something.  I guess the fact that I always try again proves I’m meant for more.

I know who I am.  I know what I want.  I know what is important to me.

But knowing is easy.  Doing is hard.

 

 

Snow is serious business

The summer before I graduated from college (circa 2003) Mike and I drove across the country.  We visited 36 states in 3 weeks.  It was the most magical and fun trip I had ever taken.  And it’s this exact trip that convinced me that I could, in fact, get married.  I figured if we could basically live in a car together for 21 days and come out the other end alive, then we could pledge eternity to each other.

If knew me growing up, you’d know I never even thought about marriage.  Both my parents were on their second marriages before I came along.  I am also what caused their marriage (They were married in June.  I was born in January.  You do the math.).  Their marriage was tumultuous to say the least.  Fighting, screaming, throwing, cheating, drugs, alcohol, guilt, and insults were what I witnessed almost every day.  We would all beg for them to get divorced and my mom left a few times, always coming back in the end.  She would tell us it was for love, but we knew the real reason: loneliness and lack of money always won out in the end.  It wasn’t until I was 18 that they finally divorced and only because my mother had another person to help take care of her.

To say these experiences shaped the way I look at love and marriage would be an understatement.  From a very young age I had decided I didn’t want to be married.  Or have children.  I saw the strain they brought to things and having pretty much raised my younger siblings, I felt like my child rearing days were over.  Even when I would play with my dolls when I was younger, I never played house.  I always played orphanage.  That way I was still taking care of my “babies” but not having to be their mother. And I also wouldn’t be required to have a husband.

Sure, I had crushes.  Who didn’t?  But I never thought about them in the long term and I tended to flit from one person to another as my mood changed.  Finally, in college, I met Mike, we dated, and after our car trip I figured maybe I could do the marriage thing.  Maybe I wasn’t as broken as I actually thought I was.

Cut to the end of 2015/beginning of 2016.  14 years together.  Almost 11 years married. Three children.  And completely unsure of the future. Throughout this separation, I’ve spent my days convinced I am making the best decision for me and my family and my nights unsure.   Conflicted is an understatement.  Torn apart might be better analogy.

And then, lo and behold, a snow storm.  And not just any snow storm…the largest single snow storm in Baltimore history.  Not only would I be trapped in the house with my husband and kids, but I would be trapped in the house for DAYS.  How would we manage our hostility and hurt when there was no where to go?  It’s not even that I wouldn’t be leaving for work.  We literally could not leave the house. And I refused to simply use the children as a buffer as my parents had done so many times.

And maybe that’s where the real story begins.  Or, should I say, maybe that’s where a new story begins.  Maybe being trapped by this snowstorm was the best thing that could have happened to us.  Without a means to escape, we would have to face our problems head on and full force.  There was nowhere to hide.  And really no reason to.  Without being able to leave, we couldn’t lie to ourselves or each other anymore.  We would have to start being honest.  We would have to actually do some work.  Even if not to fix things, but to figure out a way to live in quiet harmony.

And you know what?  We did.  I’m not saying that everything is magically fixed.  It’s not. And it won’t be for a long time.  But without being able to escape I had to confront everything: my feelings, his feelings, the past, the present, the future.  And for the first time in a long time, I haven’t wanted to leave.  There’s a glimmer of something that I used to feel peeking up from behind the years of complacency and routine. Perhaps we need to see if this is anything worth saving.   Perhaps there’s a chance that it is actually worth working for.  Maybe it’s not…but maybe it is.

I feel a hope and a promise I haven’t felt for years.  Maybe, just maybe, we’re finally getting somewhere.

 

Honestly So…

This is hard.  Harder than I thought.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so sad.  Or so defeated.  Or so alone.

One minute I have the utmost conviction that this is what I am supposed to do…that this is what I need to do.

To save our family.  To save us.  To save me.

And the next minute I think, maybe this is my lot in life…the idea of almost.

Almost happy.  Almost in love.  Almost understanding.

Today was not a good day, but I held it together.

And for now, that’s more than enough.

In fact, it’s all I can do.

Today was a good day

Today was actually a good day.  It’s hard to pinpoint what made it a good day, it just was.  And the funniest part?  School actually contributed to my good mood (somewhat).

The morning started out like any other with the millions of children (I have 34) coming into the classroom for breakfast.  We did our thing like always; we ate breakfast, changed to our leveled reading classes and continued about our morning.  Nothing remarkable, nothing mood altering, just typical Wednesday.  For the most part, everyone worked hard, everyone was respectful, and everyone walked out with a little bit more understanding of why character traits are important in a narrative.

Then it was time to change back to our homeroom classes.  This is usually a busy and loud time of day where I just feel like screaming “SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET FOR 5 MINUTES!” I stepped in the hall to talk to another teacher about a student when I slipped on something and went down hard.  There were a quite a few students in the hall, but it was pretty anticlimactic.   It didn’t hurt (though I have a giant bruise now).  But what happened next did.

Someone laughed.  And not just someone.  A child.  An 8 year old laughed at me.  And then I cried.  I wasn’t crying because I fell, I was crying because an 8 year old was mean to me.  Yes.  I am 34 years old.  Yes, this kind of disrespect happens at my school daily.  Yes, I realize that kid’s opinion of me means nothing, but in that moment, my feelings were hurt.  By a child.

But then a funny thing happened.  My entire class crowded around me.  Through the chorus of “what’s wrong” and the many, many hugs I was able to tell them I fell and that while I wasn’t hurt, my feelings were hurt by another student.  And they were upset.  They were upset that someone would hurt me, even if it was just my feelings.

And in that moment I felt truly loved by these little people, in a way I don’t think most teachers get to feel, at least not in my school.  In the 11 weeks that I’ve been with my 35 little friends I’ve questioned how much of a difference I’ve actually made in their lives.  Some days I feel like we’re getting somewhere, but most days I want to throw up my hands and walk out.  The fights, petty bickering, and whining and arguing get to me on a daily basis (Seriously, why can’t you just keep your hands to yourself?!?!?!  How is that so hard?????)

But not today.  I heard their concern.  I saw their love.  And for the first time I thought maybe I can do this for the next 100 days.  Maybe we actually are getting somewhere.  Maybe we actually are going to be OK.

A Numbers Game

My life has revolved around numbers lately.  The littlest one moving on from eight months to nine months, the numbers in my back account slowly dwindling, the numbers on the scale slowly rising.  I’m trying my hardest to get control of them all but it seems that every time I make strides in one area I wind up taking two steps back in another.

I was thinking of all these things that I want to do: vacations I want to take, races I want to run, experiences I simply want to have and I never really feel like I have enough money to do any of them.  So I decided I would look over my back account and (multiple) credit card statements and add up all the extraneous money I spent for one month: liquor store, eating out, morning coffee purchases, late fees for certain things.  I didn’t think it would be that much, but when the number stared stared back at me on my calculator I almost died.

$900

Yes, you read that right NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  Not nine, not ninety, but nine hundred freaking dollars.  No wonder I am not taking an vacations to Charleston or making a dent in my credit card payments.  It’s because I’m too busy buying Chinese food and wine.  Which would also explain why I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 8 months.  Because apparently all I do is eat and drink calorie laden shit.

But I’ve noticed little things lately: the pants getting a little tighter, my energy waning, more guilt over food choices I am making.  And who has time for this.  I don’t.  Not at (almost) 35.  Not with three kids.  Not with the goals and hopes I have.

The scale has become my nemesis, staring at me with her skinny, glassy body every time I enter the bathroom.  I step on.  Close my eyes.  And pray.  I pray that I don’t see a certain number.  Or that it didn’t go up AGAIN.  But ever since I stopped really running in the fall and ever since stopped training for my marathon it has been creeping up ever so slowly.  I’m not going to list the number, but lets just say my middle number has changed twice and if I don’t get a handle on it soon, my first number will as well.  And I can’t have that.  I can’t go back to that first number.  I’ve worked too damn hard.

I’ve decided to use January as kind of a cleanse.  Shedding off the old mistakes that I made in December (and month’s prior) and trying to change my behavior into more positive choices.

  1. Make coffee at home.  Sure, it’s not my venti iced skinny vanilla latte, but it also costs way less than $6.00.
  2. No alcohol.  At least for January.  I want to see how I feel without it.  And my wallet needs to see how it feels without it as well.
  3. Healthy, non-processed food.  I want to train for the AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon (more on this later) and I need to do it right this time.  Healthy nutrition in…positive energy out.
  4. Stop eating out.  In December we were sick, I was stressed, we were tired.  And most nights I would come home and just not want to cook.  So I didn’t.  Of course, this affects everyone in the family, and I need to be setting a better example for the littles in my life.

Hopefully with these four changes I can begin to see a difference: more energy, better sleep, focused running and exercise, and more real life experiences.

I’m tired of simply wishing I could do and be more.

Let’s do this, January.

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Brave

It’s almost that time.  My favorite time of the year.  The day we all get a blank slate to begin again.
I’m so excited.  I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now.  The last couple years have been marred by big events, both good and bad.  From new relationships and friendships, to break ups and new babies.  New houses and old baggage, and starting and stopping many times over.
I know the calendar has nothing to do with this, but there is something about the last number of the year changing that signifies a baptism.  The past is put aside so new experiences can emerge.  With the change in number so comes a change in attitude, purpose and resolve, almost as if the year is shedding off it’s old coat in order have renewed sparkle and shine.
In the past I’ve spent time coming up with strict, structured, and concrete resolutions; run this much, weigh this much, eat this food, be the person.  But not this year.  Instead I’ve decided to come up with a word, a theme if you will, that will drive the way I live my life.  My word this year will be brave.
In the past few weeks I have flirting with this concept, almost as if I’m simply tasting it to see if it’s something that my palate can agree with.  I’ve been more honest, stood up for myself, engaged in mild confrontations, and spoke truths that I’ve been too scared to address in over two years.
And I’ve never felt better.
Some of my braveries will be small (I’ve never tried steamed mussels) and some will be life changing.
I started this blog as a way to express myself and and make sense of my soul.  But in a way, I’m still hidden.  I speak the truth, but only a part of it.  I add sprinkles to items I’m not ready to completely address, like a way to liven up a bland sugar cookie.  I leave out details I’m sure will get judged.  But not anymore.  I’m ready to be open and honest about certain elements.  I’m ready to embrace who I am; the good and bad, the ugly and awesome.
I’ll probably be judged.  I’ll probably lose friends.  But that’s ok.  I’m almost 35 years old and life is short, dammit.  Why be someone I’m not?  It’s getting too hard.
I’m read to embrace 2016 and all of it’s amazingness.  And I’m ready for me to be amazing as well.
In 2016 we should resolve to be who we really are.
Be brave.  Be fearless.  Be you.

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The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things

Tis the season.  For families, and holidays, and presents, and cheer.  Like most, I love this time of year.  The chill in the air, the twinkle lights everywhere, the break from work and school (and many annoying responsibilities).  But I’d have to say, Christmas is not my favorite holiday.  If I had to pick one, it would definitely be New Years.
Honestly, I am big fan of New Years Resolutions.  While I agree that you can begin a resolution at any time and you should never wait to change something you truly believe in, there is something so wonderful about the year ticking over to a new new number. It’s almost as if New Years Day is a form baptism.  With the change of a number, the mistakes and regrets and uncomfortable feelings cease to exist, making it that much easier to start fresh and anew.  With the rip of a calendar page the whole world can begin again. You can set goals, make new decisions, basically become the person you have been waiting to become.
2015 has been a roller coaster of a year.  I don’t think any other year has accomplished so much amazingness and turmoil all at once.  From babies had, houses moved, friends gained and friends lost, races run and races quit, and love found and then rescinded, I’ve been undeniably busy and just living.
In so many ways I know who I am. I tend to have too many emotions and too often, the way I express them is over the top.  I cry too much, feel too much, love too hard, get jealous when I shouldn’t, and have a terrible temper. I’m loyal, but cautious.  I don’t always believe the best in people, and I’ve been proven right.  These are simply things I am not going to apologize for anymore.  I shouldn’t have to apologize for my feelings because they are real and a part of who I am, and the way I feel is important.
Very recently I’ve become more honest with myself which has allowed me to be more honest with those around me.  Often I would avoid conflict or confrontation at any cost simply because it made me uncomfortable.  But now, I’ve learned that the discomfort does go away and after speaking your mind openly and honestly, you feel so much better.  Just a few days ago I said good bye to a friend, not because of anything they did wrong, per se, but because the relationship we had built over the past 3 years was not working for me anymore.  I wanted a change and the other person didn’t.  And for three years I let someone elses wants and needs trump my own.  But not anymore.  Walking away was so hard.  But not as hard as staying in an unhealthy friendship.
Long story short, what I’m learning is that it’s ok to care about your own wants and needs…and to do what you have to do to meet them.
I’m allowed to try hard.  I’m allowed to be good at things. Hell, I’m allowed to be bad at things.  I’m allowed to love you too much and tell you about it.  I’m also allowed to tell you why you are hurting my feelings if you are.  I’m allowed to take a break from people who aren’t letting me be me and are constantly trying to put me down to make themselves feel better.  I’m allowed to be who I am, and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s their loss.  I actually think I’m pretty awesome sometimes.
I’m ready  to take some time in 2016 to focus on me, what I want, who I am and who I want to be.