Monday, March 25, 2013


Thanks to all of you that checked in after reading my last blog post. It meant a lot to me to have you reach out, especially since baring my soul like that is a very scary thing for me.

I talked to my friend A. last night via text, and she put a little perspective on the way I'm feeling and in my search for the answers I'm seeking.

I was telling her that I feel sort of  lost, struggling to decide where my path is leading and what I want to do with my life. Do I go back to school? There's nothing really that "calls me" and why spend the money if it would just be something to do? What DO I want to do? Where DOES my passion lie?

Hence, my dilemma. I don't really feel a draw towards anything in particular.

She listed the things I love doing, from her perspective. "You love running, you love reading, you love writing. Is there something you can do with those?"

I contemplated for a half second before her next text came through.

"You are passionate about your family, Trace. You're most passionate about them. So, maybe you don't need a big career change, maybe, end of day, your passion is to be with them and have time for them. In order to do that, you just need a J-O-B that works within that context."

AHA! Moment!

She is absolutely right. I've been panicking and searching, when the answer, all along, is literally right under my nose. It's running around behind me as I type. It's asking me when dinner will be ready. It's snuggling me under covers while watching a movie. It's chatting with me about the drama that is the life of being a teen.

Of course, I DO really enjoy writing, and running, and organizing. I AM passionate about those things too. I've put off some writing ideas I have had in my brain forever, so maybe it's time to actually put words down and see where they lead.

In the meantime, I need a job that allows me to work within the time frame of being home for my family. I'm working steadily from now til end of August and then, it's time to get out there and see what I can find that will net some income for my family,but also allow me to be home once they all stumble in seeking comfort and familiarity. I KNOW a job like that must exist, and I'm confident I CAN have the best of both worlds.

If you know of anyone seeking some assistance, some typing/filing, some data entry or something Monday to Friday from 9ish to 2ish...I'm your gal.

Thank you A. for totally shifting my mindset about all of this and for lifting a burden that has been on my heart. It doesn't pay the bills, but it helps me realize where my starting point, and ending point, lies.

Have I mentioned a bazillion times before that, I truly and honestly have the best friends a girl could have? I'm very blessed, indeed.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fighting The Demons Within

I don't know if it's the "winter with no end, it goes on and on my friend" or the new pills I'm on, or the combination of both, coupled with life in general, but I've been having a struggle lately to get out of a profound funk.

I've discussed briefly before that I grew up in not so ideal conditions. In fact, for many years it was a horrifically abusive situation, one that I'm amazed I survived, frankly. When you grow up that way, you develop parts of your personality that help you to cope with the unthinkable, and that's different for everybody.

For me, I became a very good actress. My worst nightmare was that someone would single me out and figure out what was happening at home. I compensated by doing my best to excel, while not drawing too much attention to it. Basically, if you act like everything is top notch, who is going to question it? I did well at school, I joined things, I had lots of friends and social activities, I dressed like everyone else. Every now and then, the veneer would crack and I'd lose it just a little, lowering the wall. I'd then quickly patch it up with jokes or excuses.

I'm not really sure why abuse is embarrassing when it's not your fault, but I felt, and still feel, incredibly humiliated that I lived that life. It feels, somehow, like a flaw on my part, when intellectually I know that's not so.

Fast forward to today.

I still get criticism from family (sadly) or those that think they know me well but really have no idea, that I "think I'm perfect" or that I "act like everything is perfect and wonderful."  I guess old habits die hard. The adage of never judging what you don't know comes to mind. Believe me, I know that what appears on the surface is not necessarily what lies beneath. The fear of showing the world your pain is more motivating than anything else I've encountered. At some point, it all comes crashing down though, doesn't it?

That's what makes writing this hugely difficult and terrifying for me.

A few years back, life splintered in a thousand shattering pieces all over my heart and soul. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I spent many days lying in bed, staring at the ceiling or sobbing. I refused all food and water. Every day, I would close the door on my family as they left for school and work, and I would contemplate how I'd be able to get through the day without the crushing pain and the desire to just make the pain STOP. I lost 15lbs in a week. I battled myself-alternating between not wanting to deal with it all any more, and KNOWING I needed, once again, to fight for myself, for my children, for my LIFE. I'm a fighter by nature, I've always HAD to fight, but sometimes? When you've fought so long, there's just no fight left. When everyone came home, I'd once again try to be the perfect...everything.

Little by little, I tried once again to try to glue puzzle pieces back together to make a pretty good facsimile of who I was, who I am. Luckily for me, I had people who love me, who REALLY love me and care about my  soul and not just my outside "image" that pulled and pushed and encouraged and just loved on me hard. I had some pretty intense check in's with individuals trained and equipped to deal with someone hovering on the brink. I am thankful every day for those individuals and thank God for them, and for giving me the internal fortitude to realize that I CAN pick myself up.

Life has chugged along since those dark days,  and it's had it's up and down moments. I've spent the last year working diligently and refocusing on finding my authentic self. That sounds very touchy feely and New Age, but with all of the acting I've been doing for a lifetime now, I kind of forgot who the hell that girl is and what she ever wanted.

The last few months have been a struggle again. I've had some dark days and a desire to shut the world out, pull the covers over my head and just, for one brief moment, NOT think, NOT stress, NOT try to figure it all out. Dang it, I'm just tired of not having answers, I guess. I'm putting this out there not for your sympathy or concern-that's actually the last thing I would want ever-but because part of this process is learning to take the acting down a notch and to just "be."  It means feeling what I'm feeling, accepting it, and then pushing forward.  Basically, darkness can't live where you expose it to the light.

I'm not perfect, my life is not perfect, I'm sorry if I "act it" and people don't understand that or judge that. I'm doing my best to create a life that finally looks like "me" and where I'm honest about the hills of triumph and the valleys of despair.

The sun coming out will help, some solutions to some stresses will help, running (no matter distance, speed or time) helps, laughter with my friends helps, and my daughters are my life line. I don't have answers, and it's been a challenging time, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 At some point, I figure, I'll get where  I need to be going.

I am also just pointing out that, before you judge someone for withdrawing, for not commenting on your FB post, for being "boring" for not wanting to go out, for being quiet, or for "appearing perfect"-do a double check if they matter to you at all. Sometimes, it's not being aloof, it's preservation of self.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breaking Into March

This week is March Break for the kids, and if you're me,  that means a house full of yelling, screaming, running, laughing, arguing. Yikes.

One thing about having kids here all day, every day is that, I really don't know how you work outside the home people ever get a workout in. I really don't. I also now remember how I gained weight when my kids were little. I'm not a morning person, I basically peel myself out of bed at the last possible second and try to debate my way out of slumber, so morning workouts before anyone is up really don't work that well for me. Once the kids are gone, it's already dinner time and heaven forbid if I'm not super fast at making that happen for the "starving" masses. By the time dinner is finished and tidied, going out to run or downstairs to workout is the last thing I want to even consider doing.

The bad thing about all of this (okay, ONE of the bad things, because there is really no upside) is that I'm HORRIBLY grumpy if I don't workout and give the endorphins a kick. I'm blaming lack of exercise, but I'm not entirely convinced that the birth control pills I re-started also aren't making me a wee bit....crazy. I'm not kidding. I feel like I'm on some roller coaster of rage, tears, anxiety. It's almost manic. I know...back to the doctor I go. I'm not even 40 yet and I feel like this train is veering dangerously off the tracks!

In good news, I ran 16k on the weekend and I killed it. I ran with a fast, experienced runner and she encouraged me to play with "pushing it." I can usually push my pace for a bit, then I fall back to my comfort zone. On a big distance like this, I didn't want to push too much and then not have any fuel in the tank to finish strong. I was maintaining a 9:42-9:52 min/mile pace, which converts to around 6 min/km. Yes!!! This was still in icy conditions and I walked while I ate my fuel and stopped at stoplights. When I entered that pace in the pace calculator for a half, it has me completing around 2:10. YES again! Though, running is a crap shoot and you never know, run to run, what they will look like. I know I struggled some of that run. I had a LOT of inner dialogue going on once I hit the turn around. I started to get super anxious about completing the distance and being able to make it back. As I stressed in my head, I just kept running. I'm excited that it's only March and my pace has picked up already. I still have many months to train for the half and I can't wait to see where this all leads.

The best part of that run was that at Wine Club that evening, my friend Katie (a huge inspiration to me, and someone who has completed 3 MARATHONS in 9 months and is a super speedster!) made the comment that she'd never met a "more natural runner."  Whaaaaaat? I totally don't see it, but I'll take it! I told everyone who would listen that she'd said that to me. She said when she started running, she really struggled with some distances, and she's been amazed that I'm still chatting, haven't had to medicate or hot/cold bath after, haven't had any aches/pains/injuries. (knock on wood)  Heck, I barely fuel. It doesn't feel "natural" to me at all, and I really battle internally, but running does make me feel free. It also takes me away from stresses and worries and helps me refocus when cascading thoughts start to fill my brain.(like, on the daily)

I'm writing this just itching to grab my runners and head out the door.

 Maybe dinner will have to wait a little bit, tonight.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weekend of Awesome

I had a super busy weekend, but one that featured all of my favourite things: friends, social activity, fitness, laughing and trying something new. It doesn't get much better than that!

Friday night my girlfriends and I headed over to our other friend's house to bring the party to her! She blew her MCL and ACL and is awaiting a surgery date. We had Swiss Chalet, watched "Pitch Perfect," laughed our butts off, ate way too many dark chocolate almonds, jujubes and chips and guac, and stayed out til 2:30am. It's been awhile since I saw that time of night/morning! I knew I had a 15k run the next day, so I kept my wine consumption to two small glasses (4 oz each) and had been hydrating all day Friday, like I usually do to prep for a long run.

Saturday, I hit the road (literally!) with my pals. The sidewalks were miserable for the first 5k. We were picking and choosing footing, slipping and tripping-which loses time, throws off your pace, and makes you work way harder. We decided to take the path MORE taken, and turned down some side streets and the road. I'm not one who ever really drinks when I'm running. I just don't feel like I need any water or anything. I'm sure that will change once Winter is over (if it EVER is over!) and with the increased distance, but so far it hasn't been an issue. I hate wearing belts, so I stuck a water bottle in my pocket (I kid you not) as well as some fuel. Once I hit the 10k mark, about an hour in, I walked a minute to drink down my water and slurp down my fuel. It took about ten minutes of feeling like I was slogging it out before they kicked in, and then energy was BACK baby! The exciting news was that I picked up my pace the last two miles, so I know the endurance is in there. Of course, running is a total crap shoot anyways, some days you have a terrific run, and some days you don't. It can depend on what you ate, drank, how you slept the night before, if you're fighting a cold, and a million other weird and random reasons. I try not to focus too much on that, and just do my body's best for that particular day or moment in time. I did the 15k distance and was super glad I was done!

I'm usually ravenous after a long run like that, but for some reason, I was just exhausted more than anything. I tried to shower and nap, but that's hard to do when your daughter just wants to snuggle and watch a movie with you. (ie talk non-stop so no one can actually hear the movie OR nap) I ditched grocery shopping plans and we just all hung out in our jammies for the afternoon.

On Sunday, which seems wrong somehow, I went with my friends to try out Pole Dancing. Who knew my friend Claire is a natural, with instinct and grace? She was working that pole like a pro. HA! I'm not really into the hair flipping, sexy crawling stuff, but I loved the tricks and flips and such on the pole. Somehow, the fireman came easily to me and I spun myself around and around as many times as I could! We had a blast, and I think doing something like that with friends that crack you up is definitely key. I'd totally do that again!

The rest of Sunday was groceries, which I was loathing, but at least it means a house restocked with yummy and healthy (and some not so healthy!) foods! I'm trying to increase my protein intake, and eating every 2-3 hours a day. This means I have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Each with a protein in it's mix. I've also upped my calories (well, not on MFP formally but in my head!) to see if that helps fuel the activity I'm doing. I ran 35k last week, did Pole Dancing, an arm workout, a leg workout, shoveled crazy heavy snow and walked 30 mins a day so.....1200 calories MAY not have been enough. We'll see. There's a lot of trial and error to figuring this all out, and I'm okay with that.

It's a new week, with more new activities to try, more runs planned (16k coming up!), and more social fun with some of my favourite, hilarious friends.

When life keeps giving me plenty'o lemons, I just look at weekends and times like these, and am thankful for all my bountiful blessings.