I want.

I want to write so many posts, but I never seem to get the motivation at the right time.

I want to write about how I’m trying to rid my life of the negativity I can control and live more gratefully and gracefully.

I want to write about how I am about to start a new teaching year and I don’t even know if I want to be a teacher anymore.

I want to write about how I am trying to change my parenting style and my relationship with my kids and not get to frazzled and controlling all the time.’

I want to write about how I gave up on the marathon, and the half marathon, and I’m sincerely, trying so hard not to give up on myself.

I want to write all of this and more. But I sit down to write and feel like a fake. And like I have no idea what I am talking about.

But I wrote this and that’s a start.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll pick more and go with it.

I want to.

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Small and Sound

Happiness is a tricky creature.  It’s something we’re taught since birth to want while we’re simultaneously taught that it’s unattainable.  We’re constantly being bombarded with messages stating that what we have is great buuuuuut…it could be so much better.  The whole idea of “the grass is always greener” has never been lost on me, making me constantly and haphazardly jump between “YOLO” and “be happy with what you have”.

Then there’s the fact that lately I feel like I have let my happiness be contingent on other people.  Words of affirmation and love, little moments of attention, things that made me feel like I was worthy of something; worthy of being, all simply because someone else is making he effort and believing that too.  But when those things fade, or don’t happen, or minds get changed, then what do you have?  I’m left feeling empty, bitter, alone, and blaming not myself, but that other person who let me down, when really it’s my fualt for putting so much power into their hands in the first place.

I love to make other people happy.  When I’m around happy people, I tend to be happier. Unfortunately, because I like to make people happy, I believe others are the same way. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they don’t care about your happiness at all.  Sometimes they tell you what you want to hear, because they do want to make you happy, even if they don’t mean everything you’re saying.

And there in lies the conundrum.  I put my happiness into the hands of others instead of simply doing what I can to make myself happy.  Playing with the kids, watching a movie within someone I love, reading a book, talking to a friend, going to the gym.  All little variations of my happiness.  And all things that I need to focus on instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to make me happy.  I have the ability to make myself happy.  But it’s hard and sometimes I just feel like I CAN’T.

But not today.  Today was different.

It’s days like today where I really feel like everything is going to be ok.  Me writing outside enjoying the beginnings of a sunset and the early evening breeze rustling through the gazebo. The house is quiet.  The wine has been poured.  I feel put together, whole, complete just being in this moment.  It’s almost as if over night my entire world has begun to make sense.  Recently, I’ve felt like my life was a puzzle and as I’m trying to put it together there are just too many pieces.  Figuring out the ones that fit together and deciding which ones need to be discarded to make the most complete picture has been difficult.  So many times in my life I feel so lost and pulled apart, that when I get moments like this, it feels like heaven.  No anxiety about the future, just clarity and peace. I’m praying it is simply not the calm before the storm as it has been so many times before.  Unlike those other times though, I’m choosing to believe that things are headed in the right direction.

Everything up until now has been leading me to this moment.  I feel like my life is on the cusp of something big.  I have no idea what it is, but the best part is that the possibilities are endless.

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Complacency, Love, and the Weather

As is too often with these posts, I start by saying…it’s been too long since I have written anything new.  I could blame work, school, kids, life,  but really that would only be the icing on a cake too tall to tackle.  The real problem is myself and even that is not enough to explain what has happened to me over the past few months.  As is usually the case I am torn between being happy (complacent) with the life I have and wanting (needing) something more.

While I feel like I say it every year, this one, by far, has been the hardest one to navigate.  Between friendships found, and lost, and found, the bumpy and panic inducing ride that is 11 years of marriage, losing and finding myself over and over again, and simply finding time to breathe through it all, I feel like I’ve been broken and put back together so many times that I wonder if all my pieces have survived.

 

I wonder, sometimes, if my biggest problem is more simple than I realize.  That maybe my expectations for people and their behaviors are simply too high. Mostly, I feel that people will never meet mine and am forever doomed to sit and silence and ponder if it’s them or me.  And yet, why ponder?  I know it’s me. I simply assume everyone puts forth the same amount of everything I do: love, effort, understanding, movement, change.  And when they don’t I am undoubtably dissapointed.  “They” say expectation is the root of all heartache and this is something I wholeheartedly believe.  But do we give up, accept this, and work to assimilate to the “others”; the ones that we feel are disappointing us?  Decide to live in quiet complacency, knowing we could have it worse?  That maybe if we just let things go, decide to give up what we feel we need, that we could live an almost happy life?

Or do we simply wait?  Wait for the changes we are asking for.  Wait for love we know we need and deserve. Wait for a life we know we are not going to simply exist in…but actually live in.

The conundrum exists: do you hope for the hurricane or simply enjoy the calm and still air of almost?  Sometimes, the hurricane is worth it.  It’s beautiful and perfect in its power and destruction, changing the landscape of your life forever, tearing down the extraneous walls you’ve built up to keep things out (or in).  Other times it simply destroys everything, coming and going in meer moments, leaving an empty hole where something stable (maybe not profound or amazing), but stable used to be.

I’m watching people take these leaps and bounds in their lives and am becoming completely envious. Picking up and moving away.  Finding a new and meaningful job.  Leaving behind a mediocre life for a great one. For a while, it was hard to watch their journey because of the jealousy.  What luck to get exactly what you want; what you’ve been hoping for. They made it looked so easy.  But now, I know it is their bravery I covet.  The sheer courage to say “This is what I want and I’m going to go for it.”  They decided take some action instead of sitting around and talking, wondering, or even writing about it.  Taking the risk in the hurricane, even if it destroys everything.

No matter how much back and forth I do in these situations, deep down, I know what it is that I want.

And it’s time to go and buy an umbrella.

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We’ll all float on Ok.

I don’t seem to know who I am anymore.

Not so long ago I felt like I had it all figured out.  I’m a mom.  I’m a runner.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a friend.  Things were going well.  I had a wonderful new daughter, two amazing boys, and a fantastic support system of friends and family.  I literally had no complaints and was perfectly content any happy.

And then I broke…again.

This wasn’t like the first time I felt that I had broke, when my dad had died.  When that happened I feel apart all at once so it was almost easier to out myself back together.  The pieces were right there and easier to find, not scattered over space and time.

I wish I could say I knew the exact moment that it happened, but really it was a series of events that started small, each one separately almost microscopic in size, but together crumbled my world into a million pieces.

I cut back on my running and dropped out of the NYC marathon.

An old friend came back into my life just when I thought I was finally over our past.

I lost a person in my life who I thought was a good friend.

The separation began…and ended…and began…and changed so much that I don’t even know where we are at this point.

Most recently I’ve done things I probably shouldn’t have.  I’ve eaten things I probably shouldn’t have.  I’ve stopped running altogether.  With each passing day, the numbers on the scale keep inching closer to where I said I never wanted to be again.  And the worst part of it all is that I just don’t seem to care.  Not about being a bad person, or losing certain people from my life, or even losing everything I worked for.  None of it.

I feel like I’m on the roundabout on the playground spinning more and more out of control each day.  The sad part is that I know I’m the one that’s pushing it to go faster and faster.  I am in complete and utter control of this and I can’t seem to jump off and just stop. Because I know that when I do I’m going to break even more from the impact.  I know that I’m really going to have to work to find all the pieces and put myself back together again.  Not only in the “now” but in the past too.  The task seems daunting and so impossible that 99% of the time I don’t even have the desire to try.

But then, out of the blue, today happened.  The 1%.  The one glimmer of hope I had been hoping for.

We’re driving to the park and the library and all three kids are squeezed into the back seat.  Charlotte is singing along to Modest Mouse playing in the background while Oliver and Max argued about how many sheep are in an adjoining field.  The sun was shining in the blue sky as wispy clouds float by, my hand out the window rising and falling in the warm air.  I finally felt it.  What I had been longing to feel for so long lately.  A sense of peace and contentment.   A sense of placement.

This is where I was supposed to be.  Maybe not forever, but at least for right now.

And with that tiny feeling of hope, I know that pretty soon I’ll have enough courage to make the leap off the roundabout.  And maybe, just maybe, my feet will actually hit the ground and I’ll be able to pick myself up and begin to collect all the pieces.

Processing

It’s been a while since I have written anything.  Life has been busy, and wonderful, and messy and excruciating all at the same time.  But that’s usually how life is; the good with the bad, the best with the worst.


As the weather gets warmer I tend to spend most of my time outside, soaking up the sunshine, recharging my batteries, and just letting my mind wander to the tune of a gentle breeze and warmth on my face.  Lately my mind has been drifting more and more to the relationships in my life; friends, foes, loves, lovers, children, colleagues, etc, and how some stay and some go.


Recently, I lost a friend.  I’ll save you all the dramatics that surrounded it, but quite simply, one minute we were friends and the next minute we weren’t.  And quiet honestly it was for a stupid, arbitrary reason that I won’t even dignify by putting it into writing.  There was no falling out.  There was no betrayal.  Quite simply, it just ended.  But irregardless of the reason, I have one less friend than I had before.  Because of that I feel like “less” than I was before, like something in my life is missing…because it is.


And I’m sad.  I miss my friend.


There’s something so refreshing about having people with which you can be your unequivocal self, with no questions asked and no judgements posed.  I have very few people like this in my life, so when I find someone who’s soul meshes well with mine, I try to hold on to them for as long as I can.  I’m fiercely loyal and protective of these friends, so when one of them has to leave, it hurts.  A lot.


But all this aside, my most recent friendship ending has led me to evaluate many other friendships and relationships in my life.  I have best friends, and close friends, and acquaintances, all of which play integral roles in my life and help shape who I am.   And they all play their self-selected roles well.  We’re there for each other.  We check in.  We do the celebrating when it’s warranted and the cheering up when needed.  Just by being in my life, every single one of them makes me a better person.


But if that is the case, if I have some truly amazing people in my life, then why, oh why, do I continue my relationships with the toxic ones as well?  Those are the friends that lie, cheat, and manipulate their way through friendships and relationships.  It’s usually directed towards other people, not at us.  And we sit back silently and watch the way they treat other, judging quietly, but not saying anything.  Because it will never be us.  They’ll never lie to us or manipulate us.  We’re safe, we believe.


Until we’re not.  Until we realize that we’re the ones being lied to. And the moment you catch them in that lie, it’s like the wind gets knocked out of you.  You have no breath, you have no words.  And then comes the anger…followed shortly after by the overwhelming sadness.


And we tell ourselves that’s just the way they are and it’s something we need to put up with in order to keep the friendship.  And up to a short time ago, I would have believed this.  I would have put on my game face, hoped they didn’t do it again, and let our lives move on just as they had been doing.


But today…no.  Today I say THIS IS BULLSHIT.


Why the hell am I going to continue to put up with someone who treats me so poorly?  And not just me…but everyone else as well.  And the plain and simple answer is: I’m not.  I have some amazing people in my life, including my most recently lost friend.  I don’t need to continue to be friends with the toxic ones; the ones that make me feel less than, the ones that always make me second guess the truth, the ones I simply do not trust.


I’m 35 years old and I know that I still have a lot to figure out when it comes to life, love, and relationships.  Most days I feel like I don’t know much at all.  But I do know this.  I’m no longer going to allow these people to be in my life.  I may not always be the most self-confident person, but I do know I’m better than that.

It Comes and Goes

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately.

I’m completely unmotivated to do anything.  I pack my gym bag and then skip out.  I lay out my running clothes and then say forget it.

Why did I let myself get to the starting over point again?  It’s so hard to be here.  To see all my hard work gone.  To have my 3 miles feel like 30.  The numbers on the scale are climbing with my mile time.  I cry way more than I should.  I’m literally at the “what’s the point?” place and I can’t seem to find my way out.

I have a half marathon coming up in 12 weeks and I just don’t care.  I don’t seem to care about a lot of things lately…especially if they take extra effort and energy.  Once I put the kids to bed I am comatose on the couch.

I’ve become mean.  And spiteful.  And judgey.  AND I HATE IT.

I’ve got to be in here somewhere.  I don’t know this person.  I don’t want to know this person.

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.