Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things That Seem Like A Good Idea At The Time....

There are times, even at my advanced age, that I give myself a huge facepalm for deluding myself into thinking something is a good idea, when I KNOW, clearly, that it is NOT. Here are some of those examples:

-when both hubby and I are in a rush to go somewhere/have plans/not together and need to get ready in a jiffy. It seems logical that jumping in the shower at the same time would speed up the process of readiness, killing two birds with one stone etc. Ya, no. That never quite happens that way.

-when I start watching "Girls" because I've heard it's great and lots of my friends are into it and I spend the whole time both disgusted and feeling like I need to turn it off/change the channel but somehow manage to watch both seasons anyways.  There goes time I can't ever get back. BAD NAKED. Just...wrong.

-when I buy into my kids Oscar worthy dramatics that they are SO not feeling well and can barely raise their heavy heads from their pillows. One hour later, they're chatting me up non-stop and doing a craft and wondering when lunch is, and if they can hang with friends later and....

-when I think that somehow I've "outgrown" my propensity towards heatstroke and I can miraculously go out and run at 11am in peak heat without a care. I guess you don't outgrow that kind of thing.

-when I think I'm still 18, or 30 even, and can drink several Caesar's and bottles of wine and just sleep it off.  Now, 3 drinks in I'm thinking....this is not going to be good, time to stop. I don't always listen to myself.

-when I think that because I've lost weight I can now wear whatever outfits I want, forgetting the small detail that my actual body shape of a short, high waisted torso and ample bosom have not miraculously disappeared and that hey-those same clothes that looked like crap on me at 21 STILL don't look great. (Rompers? I'm looking at YOU)

-when I feel nausea coming on and my response is my usual, "oh, that means eat MORE stuff and it'll go away."  Huh. You can't say I'm not persistent.

-when I think that writing this stuff down, here in this space, will prevent me from falling into these traps again and again.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brave (No, Not the Disney Movie)

When I was a teenager, one of the qualities I searched for in a boyfriend, was that he be brave. I don't mean brave as in, had a secret identity and fought crime in the dark shadows of the night, I just mean I wanted to feel safe knowing that if the chips may fall, he'd stand up for me. He'd be strong for me. He'd help fight my battles.

I grew up in an environment that was not, on any given day, what you'd call safe. I never felt fully secure, not just emotionally, but also physically. Many a day I felt the very real possibility that it could be my last. When you're 10 years old, that's not a great feeling to try to make sense of  in any way, shape or form. I never felt like someone was there, standing up for me. A lot of the time, other than my brother and my grandmother, I truly felt like I was fighting a singular battle where survival was the ultimate goal.

I know this sounds dramatic. Trust me, I know. It's why most of the time, I minimize these years and what happened, or I laugh when telling some horrific tales, trying to diminish their power.

I can't speak for anyone else in my family, I think everyone experiences events differently, but that's how it felt, to me.

I had a serious boyfriend for awhile in my later teens, and I really, really liked him. Yet, one of the things that I couldn't get past with him was that I just never truly felt safe with him. I always felt like the rug was going to be pulled out from under me, or that if push came to shove, he'd leave me on my own. I couldn't make it work with that nagging in my gut.

Then, I met my husband. While we had immediate physical chemistry, it was more that he was this cocky, arrogant guy that NOTHING phased. He was absolutely sure of himself and his space in the world. His confidence set off my "BAZINGA" meters instantly. ('kay, BAZINGA wasn't actually a "thing" then but.....) I   tested him in a million different ways, cause I'm cruel like that, and he just kept showing me this rock solid, steadfast stance. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I had reached a port in what had been a very long storm. He made me feel safe, protected, sheltered. I'm an intense person, and my temper is legendary in my family. He just took it in stride. He was the rock to my crashing waves, the calm breeze to my howling winds, the water thrown on my raging fire.

We've been together 20 years this year, and for a long, long time, that dynamic has worked. In fact, it still holds true that he is the one I immediately turn to when I'm spinning anxiously out of control. I know, even when I'm cascading with fear, that he will remain calm and talk me down from the ledge; appealing to my logic and presenting me with facts that overpower the emotion and dread I'm feeling.

I realized something though, in the last 5 years or so. I realized that while my husband CAN be many things for me,  he can't be brave for me. All along, all the while I have been fighting and clawing and working and crying and screaming and building walls and coping-all the time that I spent feeling all alone-I have been brave for MYSELF. I've always HAD to be, but as obstacles in life mount, it may not be pretty (cause I don't really do pretty) but it's been ME constantly fighting for myself. Standing up for myself. Shaking myself off. Picking myself up. Figuring out what I want and where I want to be. Making difficult choices and choosing unpopular paths. Another person can stand beside you, they can lend you support and encouragement, they can help you believe in yourself and inspire you to try, and I KNOW those things are vitally important as well, but they can't DO IT for you.

At the end of the day, the one thing I've feared for so long is the one thing that I've actually always known. In the end, what we do and how we triumph comes down to ourselves. I've never "needed" someone to be brave for me, after all. I've just needed to believe in my own courage and my own fight. I've always tackled difficulties head on, on my own, but my mistake has been in not believing I COULD do it on my own. Support is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong. I also still have many, many, many a doubt filled day. However, I'm learning and growing daily too.

As I free myself more and more from the shackles that have held me hostage or kept me fearful, I realize that brave, fighting girl is the same one today that was always there-at 10, at 18, and at 34 years old. She may have been often on her own, but she did alright.  I see that now.

My growth isn't in BEING brave, it's in BELIEVING that I'm capable of slaying dragons all on my own. No Knights needed.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Dare I even mention OUT LOUD, that it might FINALLY be Spring?

I hadn't put any of our winter stuff away yet. My front hall closet still contains winter coats and mitts and hats. Hey, I'm no fool. Every time someone on FB updated their status saying they'd put "winter away," it snowed. I wasn't going to be that person! Our freaky Spring season "seems" to be here to stay, so I feel confident that I can move on to all things SPRING.

Along with the actual scrub down cleansing of all things home, in the Spring I like to do some mental decluttering. I like to take inventory of items in my home that can be purged; clothing, papers and knick knacks no longer in use, be gone! In that same manner, I do an internal inventory of "stuff" that is weighing me down and blocking me from moving forward into a new year with clarity and peace. I'm all Zen and New  Age like that.

Sometimes that means changing my OWN head space around an issue that is stressing me, and sometimes it means it's time for a bigger toxic purge of negativity-which can include individuals that have nothing positive to offer me. Sometimes, those two things collide, and it's my own acceptance of a situation or person that has allowed the toxicity to exist.

I'm in a REALLY good place right now in many aspects of my life. I feel like I'm on the right road to a lifelong habit of healthy living. I make time, every day, to be active. I'm conscious of making sound nutritional choices for myself and my family, while balancing that out with my loves of chocolate almonds and booze. A girl has to have SOME vices! My family is totally on board to pursuing activities we can do together that are fit and active. My husband and I are in a very good place in our relationship-working together, talking things out, checking in with each other, spending time together and apart pursuing shared and separate interests.My children are happy, healthy, confident and secure in themselves. They're truly amazing-and all who meet them tell me the same. They make me PROUD daily.  I'm  surrounded by some of the most positive, inspiring, encouraging friends anyone should be blessed to have! My circle seems to be growing daily, and each new individual is a bright light, which is mind blowing! I feel embraced and centered in SO many areas. The flip side of this "love in" is-it illuminates with unflattering clarity where that peace is lacking.

So, I'm doing some mental sweeping once again. It's time to really do a deep clean and get those cobwebs out of the dark attic corners! My goal in life is to always be bettering myself and improving and changing what needs tweaking. No more opening the door to people who only bring animosity and poison. I will no longer allow it or read it or permit others to tell me about it or gossip to me about the unsavoury. Where I CAN omit contact, I will be.

I'm still working towards VENTURING and LEAPING into one challenging activity a month. April I ran my first 18k race. I've already run further in May, but of course that won't be all that I do! I still have plans for May.  One of those is this final erasure of that which darkens my door.

The summer sunshine is shining brightly towards the future.....and I'm following it's brightened path.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thankful, And Inspired!

I've been OVERWHELMED by the comments both here on the blog, on Twitter, FB and through email and messages regarding my 18K race and post. To say it's been extremely touching is just not even adequate. Thank you all, SO MUCH, for your constant encouragement and support.

The surprising part has been the emails from people saying that I've inspired THEM to start running or to get moving. A friend from highschool sent me a message after finishing her first half marathon, saying that it was my posts that encouraged her to get running, and on days she didn't want to run, it was my FB status updates that I was slugging it out in snow that made her go. WHUT?!!!

Wednesday nights, I join a casual group of friends for our "Run Club."  I started with this group last August, when the thought of running 5k without walk intervals seemed implausible. I kept at it, after a HORRIBLE first night, and well, I'm where I am today. The great thing about the group, and what kept me going week after week, what kept me encouraged, was that there was always someone to run with the newer runners. Sometimes, the strongest runner there would hang back and make sure that we "newbies" were doing good, cheering us on. At the end, everyone waits for the last people, hooting and hollering, high fiving, running them in. It's an incredible feeling to feel like SO many believe in you and your abilities, when you yourself may be doubting.

I feel like it's now my turn to give back. Our Run Club has grown by leaps and bounds, with new members joining frequently, and I now choose to stay back and run intervals with those new recruits. It's important to me that they feel that same sense of pride, accomplishment and encouragement that I did, because I want them to have that same exhilarating freedom of meeting their goals, with a smile on their faces as they do it. It's also a happy run for me-watching this growth and strength. Win/win in my books.

I'm not special, I'm not a superstar. What I've accomplished running wise doesn't take anything more than time, patience, training and sheer determination. I want new runners to know they can ABSOLUTELY get 5k and beyond if they want it badly enough.

A week after my grueling 18K hilly hell race, I worried about going out and running a further distance. That race had seemed so monumental. I had set out that morning with a plan, organized, well hydrated, well fueled. Here it was Sunday Long Run day again, and I had 19K planned. I hosted Wine Club the night before and consumed a few glasses of white. I had 4ish hours of sleep. I wasn't sure how hydrated I was going to be. I woke up 45 minutes before my friend Jay was picking me up, and flew around the house like a mad woman.

We headed downtown to run from Hog's Back, up Colonel By to Rideau. Then, down Rideau to Queen Elizabeth, up Queen Elizabeth, around Dow's Lake, cross over a footbridge, back up Colonel By to Hog's Back. It seemed daunting. It was hot out. I wasn't fully prepared. Yet, I had a fantastic run. I felt alive, happy, the sun shining, folks waving and nodding, the beautiful scenery, the water beside. I ran joyously and enjoyed every moment. That afternoon, a little sunburnt and a little dehydrated, I realized I wasn't in the least sore or stiff. In fact, I've felt fantastic since that day.

THAT, that feeling, THAT is why I run. Not every run feels like that. Some are like the grueling 18K race. But every run teaches me something, and I don't just mean physically. I'm thankful that I'm able to run, and that I'm supported in my love of it.

I loved hearing how I'm inspiring others, it's truly what keeps me pushing. If I can in any way help someone find that joyous, heart full moment, than I feel like I've accomplished more than just "started running."

When I'm running, I think of those emails and messages. I think of people that inspire me, I think of my support team, and I also just settle into my Zen. I also think about my journey, with running and life, and how  I just keep climbing out and over whatever is thrown my way. This song, cheesy as it may be, is one of my running power songs. I hope maybe it's words help inspire YOU to just keep "pushing on" as well.