Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wake Up Call

Ya know that classic movie/tv scene where an obviously neurotic woman has completely lost it, screaming like a banshee, gasping in between blubbering sobs, muttering nonsensical words, turning in circles until SMACK, she gets slapped across the face by her sane, calm companion?

She stops dead in that moment and is suddenly present and realizing, "Well, this is stupid, what good is this gonna do to help me get away from this [insert crazy monster, psychotic murderer description here] THING that is trying to kill me?" Nothing. It will help nothing to continue this waste of energy whirling around crying about it. Do something to help yourself get out of there.

It's like the moment sanity hits her and she takes action against the predator.

Imagine that scene, only take out the loud screaming and the muttering and turning in circles, and instead of a literal slap across the face, imagine a phone call that does the same thing. No hello, no nice introductions, just a stern, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING. STOP THIS NONSENSE. Get yourself up out of this black hole you have put yourself in to and get on with living.

This friend of mine doesn't call often anymore. We used to speak daily, lots of texts and some emails years ago, but now once in a while I will get a call or text that is so well-timed in my life it is frightening. I have always believed we are on the same wavelength, connected in a metaphysical type of way... like a lost sibling, or real life soul mate.

From no one else would I get a text that simply says, "You are not broken," and have it be like a message from Heaven, perfectly timed, in direct response to one of my out-loud prayers for meaning.

This phone call was the slap across the face I needed to wake me up.

See, unlike in movies or on television, we thankfully don't have literal monsters hunting us down to kill us. But we have our minds. And if we let those minds get so focused on one obsessive thought that replays over and over, and congers memories of other like thoughts, that act of ruminating can keep you stuck. Stuck in a whirlwind of "what if's" and "what could have beens" that play over and over and become bigger by the day, and can totally overcome our ability to live. Our hearts ache, we cry, we stop eating, we wander, we try to sleep, we over-think, we over-feel... until THANK GOD, we get a wake up call.

What do you think you are doing? Stop it. Just stop it.

"I have only a minute to tell you this, so listen." And within that minute, he manages to stop my tears and make me laugh. Breathless with laughter of how my imagination has certainly created a scene so entirely impossible, and how funny the reality of it all probably is. He turns demons into clowns, visions of perfection into hilarity, spins the whole messed up story in my head a whole different direction. I hadn't thought of it that way.

"So quit this shit and get on with living." All I could mutter was "thank you."

It took some guts for him to call me, ya know. It sure would have been a whole lot easier to leave the fitful woman alone to work through her own issues. I wonder, how did he know that was the key moment? Not quite sure, but thank God for him. Thank God for all my friends and family who love me that much.

I believe that we all could use a good wake up call once in a while. Like a smack back into reality, that motivates us to face the monster and fight.

And so this is how I am going to live. It doesn't matter which way the whole story has played out in reality, who did what to whom, or what they are doing now... because my life is here, in my hands. I have stopped spinning, stopping crying, and stopped wasting my energy on others I could not and cannot control. I am DONE.

For what is in my control? Only my actions, my reactions, to the life I have right in front of me.

Day one, of moving on.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Did I Look Like When I Was Happy?

"When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder. Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me feel so much. A calender that showed the wrong month. I could have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from the chimney ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table.
I spent my life learning to feel less.
Every day I felt less.
Is that growing old? Or is it something worse?
You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
Jonathan Safran Foer

I am told this is obsessing. Me, the counselor, I recognize it, thank you. Reality is, she doesn't want to hear about it anymore. Mourning is over, be done with it already. Move on.

I am told to love myself first. Oh, but I do. I didn't need anyone to complete me. Within moments though the glimmer, the bow on this marvelous gift of life, was gone -- I didn't know it would be the last time... I didn't know, I could have held on tighter.

The world is rushing by outside the window, cars pushing through the dark, rain-soaked streets, barely stopping at the crossroads, barely looking. I have sat here for hours watching cars. Maybe one will be the one I want, turning on to my street and in my drive and I will rush to the door, to be happy again.

What did I look like when I was happy?

So many of us go around with plastic smiles because we are told that is the way to do it. No one wants to see your pain when they are covering their own. But I won't lie and say it isn't there, crushing my chest like a physical weight. I have lost someone dear, and this day I am allowed to feel that loss! In my day I will cry and let you hide from me. Don't think I don't know, you cry too.

I trust one morning, I will wake to lighter air, breathing deeply and consider, this hurts less. I may not even see it coming, but it will.

I have faith that someday I will wake to contentment again, like back when I awoke next to you. And have your memory be not ever of tears, but only of light and love, suspending my happiness and leading me down the next road.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Who Am I To Say It, But It Needs To Be Said

Disclaimer: This blog post is not about you specifically, or anyone close to us in particular. It may sure sound familiar to you, which is my point. Please read on.

I know I have claimed this before, in various Facebook status postings, although not yet on this blog. Now seems to be the appropriate time to say it here: I think the world is going to end. Why? Because it seems everyone is going nuts. Losing it. Disrespecting each other, in public even. Hurting each other. Of course I am generalizing, and being slightly dramatic about the world ending thing, but given my recent purview of folks' lives around me, I am not far from the truth. We are out of control, we have gone mad!

Specifically, I have been shocked at what has been going on in relationships. Never before have I personally known just so many couples who have been giving up, breaking up, and then humiliating each other to anyone and everyone. If it isn't bad enough to do that to each other, they have to do it to an audience. And then a whole community is involved, repeating it, usually incorrectly, and propagating a whole new level of insult to the injury.

Before you go on believing I am speaking about someone you know, hold back and get that I am generalizing what I perceive to be a rampant problem. A friend of mine made a good point -- if more than 50% of marriages end up in divorce, and most relationships don't make it even to marriage, then the likelihood is that we will all experience a break up, especially if we are single, or not married, currently. You'd think that by now we would know how to handle it, more adeptly, more honestly, more respectfully.

I don't know if I have just been super-tuned in to the drama or if this has been happening before, and I am only now noticing. The cheating, lying, deceiving, game playing, obsessing, hounding, hating has progressed to a level that I just cannot believe. Where did we go wrong? When did we start believing it was acceptable to cheat, or see our friends cheating, and then just have it be the norm? Do you see it happening and not call your friend on this behavior? Or, when did we come to believe that drinking heavily and telling off our ex's was an okay thing to do, publicly? Or, how about the lying by omission that takes place -- when did that become not just another lie?

What drives a person to flaunt a new attraction, and then try to cover it or blast everyone with lies about when it all began? Okay, so maybe I have been guilty of this myself in the past. No, it is not okay to heal a relationship with another overlapping relationship. That new person gets hurt, too, because so often it is a rebound and ends soon later. And no, it is not okay to ravage a person's life when you decide for the moment to go BACK to the original person you cheated on to cheat again. It is NOT okay to pretend it was justified.

The question I want to ask you, everyone reading this, is where is our commitment level, first of all. When did every relationship become so disposable? And where is our sensitivity level if the break up occurs? You loved each other at one point, I am guessing. What makes you so cold to your ex-partner's feelings? We all deserve the truth. And we all have the ability to deliver it in a caring, respectful way. Sure, it hurts. And it is hard to face. Still, sit down, sober, in front of that person you once cherished, and explain your heart, explain why it isn't working for you. Perhaps there is a lesson in that explanation. After all the dust has settled, and you have both moved on, your honesty and empathy will be remembered.

Okay, so relationships break up. Marriages end. Bad things happen to good people. It is terrible for everyone involved, including children, extended family, friends. There is pain that is felt far beyond what you realize. Respect is called for! A kind, reassuring word, even in the worst of situations can remove so much anger and bitterness. That extension of dignity may prevent someone from taking a drink after being sober, or eating a whole pie after losing weight, performing poorly at her job, or running so many miles it actually injures him in the long run.

Maintain their importance in your heart. You do not have to stay with that person if a break up is the solution for a situation broken beyond repair. But can you just honor that person as a human with feelings, and walk away with an open door to a friendship?

What's more, let them go. This for me is the hardest thing to do -- I barely am able to do this -- it hurts deeply to do this -- but hug him and walk away. Try to not obsess, say permanently damaging things, wreck your own reputation or ravage yourself with guilt. It may just have been poor timing. You aren't broken -- you together were.

It feels so right at the time when you are angry and hurt to say mean, searing words to the person you trusted with your heart. I know, because I have said them. And not but a day later, I have regretted them. Sometimes an apology mended the fallout, but mostly just weakened an already strained relationship. What a gift patience would be at a moment like this!

What a blessing to remember the good times, and honor what that special person has added to your life. Most likely there was something. Or else why would you have dedicated time and risked exposing your heart? Cherish those memories, cherish the one who was once "your person."

Trust me, I am no where near perfection in regard to relationships. I have obsessed and pushed and cried for answers more times that I will admit here. And it was wrong. But in the end, I maintained MY self respect and respect for my partner, so that if the day ever came when we needed each other, that door was open still. If only to look inside and say, yes, I remember you fondly.

I am no one really, no PhD in kindness or what to do when you feel hurt more than you could have ever imagined. I am only an observer who has seen and heard way too much badness and blatant disregard for each other in this very broken society. This is my opinion only, and who am I really to say. But someone has GOT to say it.

Think before you act. If you have to, leave. But please, leave with your dignity intact.

And if you have been left, feel it, work through it... try to not fight it or cover it with distractions. And most of all, speak kindly of the person you once called your love.

No matter our personal situations, hate cannot be the answer. It is creating a cold, calculated society. It is ruining us. Please don't let it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 ~ A New Year, New Race Goals ~ Updated

2012 has started as a true new beginning! I don't really believe in "Resolutions" for the new year, and yet I feel motivated and energized to set personal goals for myself -- mainly around running and fitness. By "publishing" these goals in a (sort of) public place, I am holding myself accountable to YOU.

Here is a list of my scheduled races so far, and updates as I complete them during the year.

Run for Regis 50k Winter "Fun" Run ~ Sunday, January 15, 2012
(DONE! 7:04 -- In 2010, better conditions than this year, my time was 8:47. Improvement!)

Green Jewel 50k
~ Saturday, March 3, 2012
(DONE! 5:34)

Fools 50k ~ Sunday, April 1, 2012
(DONE! 6:28 ~ course PR for me!)

Bull Run Run 50-Mil
e ~ Virginia ~ Saturday, April 14, 2012
(DONE! 11:54 ~ Not too thrilled with this slow time, but considering the migraine, I should be really happy I finished!)

On My Own Two Feet (Trail) Marathon ~ Saturday, April 21, 2012
(DONE! 4:47)

No Frills Just Hills Fat Ass ~ Saturday, May 26, 2012
(Done, 12 loops in 6 hours, 25.2 miles, first woman, tie for 2nd overall)

Mohican 50 ~ Saturday, June 16, 2012
(DONE! I don't remember my time, but it was not pretty.)

Buckeye Trail 50k ~Saturday, July 14, 2012
(DONE! 7:08 ~ My best time on this course of the past four years!)

Great Cranberry Island 50k
~ Maine ~ July 21, 2012
(DONE! 5:55 ~ Another state toward my 50! #28)

Burning River 100
~ Saturday, July 28, 2012
(Volunteer Coordinator, 5th year in a row... opted to NOT run this year.)

Hallucinating 100 ~ Friday, September 7, 2012

Other possible races might include a random marathon out of state.

Generally, my resolution for training is to document my workouts regularly on dailymile. I am aiming to run every day of this year -- so far I have only missed a day. Even if it is just to log a couple of miles, I intend to suit up and get out of the house to run. Most often, even when I only think I am going to get in a couple miles, I end up getting more because I started feeling better. Getting out of the door, taking that first step, is really the majority of the effort for me!

I had intended to average 7 miles per mile over the year, 49 miles per week average for a total of about 2,500 miles in 2012. That total is being scaled-down to around 2,000. If I stick to the training plan of running every day, intensely for the rest of the year, and getting two long runs in on the weekends, plus a few long races, then I should easily be able to average this mileage. Granted, I intend to be injury-free for this to happen.

Plus I would like to cross-train more this year. I have my Trek road bike on the CycleOps in my tiny living room, believe it or not, so that I am able to jump on it anytime I want to watch stupid television or stretch my legs. This could be only good for me, right? And I would really like to try a Zumba class with Savanna.

Too large of a goal? Nope. I feel this is realistic, not too lofty or unattainable.

The best thing about this plan? It is within MY control. My legs, my fitness level, my performance, my endurance, my motivation. This is the time to get back to the "me" I have often set aside for others, and concentrate on living the "now" and loving the things I am responsible for -- my daughters, my mom, my pets, my friendships, my house, my garden, my job. While it would be wonderful to have a man next to me, sharing in this life and me in his, all that I need is here in front of me. Maybe one day love will find me again.

Happy New Year to everyone. May it bring you many wonderful surprises, peace, serenity, and joy. Come run with me!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Letting Go

For two years now my life has been an endless lesson in Letting Go. My insides are harder -- so much I can endure these days! -- but the soft me slumped on the floor in surrender begs to differ.

Letting go of expectations, and too-lofty of dreams, I feel more peace and tepid joy. I've had to let go of my father, and my family traditions, and let go of hopes that folks would change if I only tried harder. Family and friends alike, I can only be who I am.

Even as my children have grown closer to me, I let them go to lead the lives I have hopefully instilled in them to live... in honesty and boldness, feeling it all. I want to save them from this heartache and yet I can't -- for every choice they make will have a consequence only they can pay. I love them unconditionally, but I need to let go.

If we love something, set it free.

And now this. This one may take more time. Always unexpected, coldly knocked off the warm cushion I was enjoying. Pulling myself up off the ground, I feel so weak. But as I can stand, every day I will let another piece of you go.