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.
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.
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.
Sigh. A week without wine. I’m ready to throw in the towel.
I’ve been thinking about Lent a lot lately. I’m not sure why, because I’m not particularly religious. I think it’s the whole idea about willpower and of beating myself at something. I’m nothing if I’m not competitive. I assumed that the hardest thing for me would be to give up wine and that if I could do it for Lent, I could do anything. And let’s all agree, this is not true. Giving up wine is not going to give me some insane super power that is going to magically change my life. It’s just not, and I feel foolish for even thinking it.
As I sit here in my dining room, the sun shining outside, and the wind blowing through the windows I opened, I’m pretty sure I’m doing this Lent “thing” wrong. As a matter of fact, I’m positive that I am. Joe and I each decided to give up something for lent that we felt we over-consumed. For me, wine (though I gave up all alcohol) and for him soda. And do you know what we did the minute we decided to give them up? We began planning for Good Friday when we can have them again. We know exactly where we are going to eat, and exactly what we were going to drink.
Each day we count how many more days we have until we can imbibe again. Our conversations and communications with each other throughout the day have picked up, but it’s basically each of us telling the other that we want wine or soda and the other one agreeing wholeheartedly before ushering in the “we can do it”s and any other encouraging comments we can muster.
So in a nutshell…we’re talking more but simply about what can’t have and planning for the minute that we can have it again.
I’ll say it again…I think we’re going about this the wrong way. Or at least I am. What is the point of giving up wine for lent if I’m going to go right back to it? What is the point of giving up wine for lent if it does not affect my life in any way (neither positively or negatively)?
No. This is not an excuse to go out and buy myself a bottle of wine right now and call it a day. It may seem like that, but it’s not. While many people tend to focus on the “fasting” portion of Lent, giving up something we don’t need, depriving ourselves of the excesses and luxuries we may have in order to become more attuned spiritually, we forget that Lent is really a time of self-examination and reflection, a time in which we look inward to really determine ways we can be better: whether it is ways to better serve the Lord, ways to grow spiritually, or simply ways you can make a positive impact on the world, or others, or yourself.
Maybe instead of depriving ourselves of something it would be more admirable to find small ways to change our habits. Maybe I should add in a reading time each day instead of TV watching. Somehow I feel like I never have time to read for pleasure, but have no trouble finding time to binge watch 10 episodes of The Office. Maybe I add a mandatory “no phone” time for myself (another black hole of time suckage along with the TV). Maybe I make sure I complete a mile every day (whether it’s walking or running) just to get some time outside away from technology with my family and boyfriend. Maybe I do all three.
To make a long story short (too late) I need to rethink this. If I want to do this right…really do this right…I need to start thinking of ways I can better myself for more than just 40 days. I need to be in it for the long haul.
Nostalgia is a funny thing. I usually try and shy away from it as it tends to make me sad. I sugar coat the past at times, putting the shiny crystal sheen on things making me think I had it better when, in actuality, I probably didn’t. Charleston, kid free times, college – all things I think back on fondly, wishing I was still there in those moments, never really remembering the times that weren’t so good.
Today, though, was different.
I’ve been contemplating the idea of accepting my guaranteed entry to the NYC marathon since I dropped out last year. I told myself that maybe this was the year I would *actually* do it if I could just take the first step and get out the door to exercise. Today made three days in a row and I’m pretty damn proud of myself for that.
Today is cold. And snowy. But I managed to get the workout clothes on and out the front door to run/walk/jog/slide for 30 minutes.
As I began navigating the neighbor streets where I now live, the neighborhood streets where I lived years ago when I first began running, the nostalgia was overpowering. This is where it all began…my love for running. The shiny beacon in an otherwise tumultuous time in my life where I could barely stay afloat. And then out of the blue “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey came on and my heart stopped.
This could be the fall of 2013 when I first started running. That song took me right back to those moments so many years ago. The early mornings and sore legs. The darkness of running pre-dawn. The excitement I felt when I ran down certain streets and crested certain hills and the annoyance I felt with others.
Not only did I fall in love with running on these streets and sidewalks, for the first time I actually fell in love with myself.
And this one.
The girl who completed her first Runner’s World Run Streak.
And her first half marathon.
The girl who was happiest and had the biggest smile when completely covered in sweat.
This wasn’t the same kind of nostalgia that I was used to. It wasn’t so much remembering what I had as discovering what I can absolutely have again.
With this short 30 minutes this morning I began to realize that maybe I never lost my love of running or even myself. Maybe it’s always been here. In this neighborhood. On these streets, waiting for me to return. Because this is where I belong.
I seem to have lost myself. And my will. And my motivation. And I can’t seem to find any of them.
I think back to last summer. Training for the NYC marathon. Running almost every day, even in the heat. 50 pounds lighter than I am now (the shame). Happier kids. Happier life. Happier marriage. I sit here and I wonder…what the fuck happened?
When I think about it, I tend to place the blame on other people and situations. This person came into my life. This person left. Work became harder. A third baby was added. Time and money were short, as were tempers and understanding. All of this things can take the blame for my unhappiness, the lack of motivation, the weigh gain, the drinking gain, the indiscretions.
And none of that blame is actually working to fix the problem. It’s making me a victim. And I hate being the victim.
Maybe, instead of placing the blame and over analyzing the past year I can suck it up and move on. Who cares how I got to this place? Does it really even matter? The point is, I’m here. And I need to find my way out. I know no one can do this for me. I have to find my way on my own. But it’s HARD.
I can say, things seem to be headed in the right direction and my support system, though smaller by a few people, is incredibly mighty. I’m learning to ask for help. I’m learning to accept help when it’s offered. Homelife is becoming more concrete, and sound, and loving.
And now to work on the rest.
I’m not used to baby steps. I’m not used to slow progress. I’m not patient person. When I want something, I want it now. But with that, my life seems to be a bunch of random “One step forward, two steps back” mishaps. So maybe now, I go slow. Take each day and change at a snails pace. Work to strengthen everything instead of just fixing is for a minute.
Maybe going slow isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s just what need to find where I’m hiding.
I have so much going on in my brain right now that I don’t even know what to say. There are so many words and thoughts and feelings, I cant seem to wrap my head around them all. But it has to come out, or I will explode. And yet, I have no idea how I’m going to do that.
I think back on a quote I read once:
Just start. And then don’t stop.
So maybe that’s what I should do. Just start typing and then don’t stop.
I recently lost a friend. Or two. Or none. I guess it all depends on the way you look at the situation. Because friends wouldn’t have treated each other the way we all did. Deceit and lies are never a good combination especially when there are so many you can’t keep track.
I could tell my side of the story. But really, in this tellanovella, there are no “sides”. I could tell just my part, but I know, in the end that won’t work. All of the parts are interconnected and one piece can’t be told without the others. And while I haven’t been the best person lately, I’m also not in the habit of telling other people’s stories and parts.
I know that everyone affected by this…mess…can read this. And there’s a high level of probability that they are going to. You can’t block people from blogs like you can Facebook and Instagram. So why write it at all? Because honestly, why not. At some point we all have to face our demons and I guess there is no better time to do so than right now.
I’m a victim, no doubt about it. But I’m also the worst perpetrator in this scenario as well. I bet you didn’t expect that, did you? And not that it matters or makes any ounce of difference, I’m taking the blame. Hell, I’ll take it all if it makes everyone feel better. Not to be a martyr, but simply for this chapter in my life to be over and closed.
When all is said and done, no one got what they wanted. And no one is happy with that outcome. But here we are. Forever connected in this tragedy when all we want to do is move further and further away from each other.
My heart literally aches. It aches for me. And for my friend (though I guess that’s not really a term I can use anymore). And just for everything.