Honor her sacrifice

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Men,

Do you have a woman in your life who loves and protects you? Has she taken on the responsibility of mothering a child that isn’t biologically hers. Does she stay awake at night worrying about how that child will grow up, who they will become. Does she pray for you? Does she exhaust herself taking care of your house? Does she lose what little sleep she use to get putting together fun projects, special lunches, unique ways to show your child how much she loves them? Is she literally the most amazing outcome you could have had to shitty start as a parent?

Do you honor your wife? Do you know what that means?

Your wife is invisible to the rest of the world. She doesn’t count. She’s not a mother, and yet she is responsible for all the mother things. She’s not allowed to have any title attributed to her that the world can nod and say, “oh I know who you are”. She’s not allowed to have a say. She’s not allowed most decisions. She can’t even have something special just between her child and herself.  She gets zero credit from the world. From her child. Are you going out of your way to give her credit? Are you honoring her daily sacrifice? Are you showing her your sacrifice too?

Or do you just take. Do you just accept her hard work as common place and expected? Your child learns from you. They watch you. They see you interrupt her speaking and know she is not of value. Her words are not important. They see you ignore her. They see you lie to her. They see you take her for granted.

The step mom of your child committed to sacrifice so many things; her ego, her everyday decision making freedom, her time, her tears, her strength, her sanity, her damn freedom! What have you sacrificed for her? What end of your bargain are you holding up? When you look around, did you get all the benefits of having a child, but none of the responsibility?

Have you left your partner alone to suffer and struggle while you kick your feet up and occasionally say thank you?

You must try harder than most men. You must be more than most men. You do not get to sluff off the responsibility of being an engaged, thoughtful, aware parent because you found a woman willing to do it with you. She said she would do it with you. What did you hear in that promise? Did she say SHE would do it for you?

Your wife is not your child’s mother. Your wife is not YOUR mother.

Are you honoring her sacrifice, or are you just like the rest of the world allowing her to go on invisible?

 

In here, at least, I am not invisible.

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Lawn mowing: Do not try this at home

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My husband and I…..

 

Oh wait did I forget to tell you???? Yep, we got married. (I’ll wait so you can finish celebrating, I know it’s a HUGE deal)

 

So my husband and I had a very rare Sunday where we were both child-free and plans-free. This has not happened in almost two years, mostly because I work too much or school too much or even family too much! But, we had a free Sunday. We both woke up refreshed, made coffee to enjoy on the deck, realized we woke up at 10AM and half the day was gone! So we decided to take the mutt to a dog park for the first time, which was enjoyable for all parties, and then out to a bar for lunch. There is a great place near our house that allows us to bring the dog with us and hang out. So we are sitting at the bar, and the beast is so exhausted from all his dog park running that he mostly doesn’t mind all the people stopping to pet him. I say mostly, because let’s face it, that dog minds everything!

As we are sitting there a husband and wife combo starts chatting with us about the dog. They politely joke about feeding him chips, which she points out her husband should NEVER do because it is not their dog.(Thank you for that my dear!)  I allow the chip to be fed, as he has never had one (at least to my knowledge) and I am sure it would make his beast face happy. They are quite friendly and we get into a bit of a tear filled laughing fit as her husband begins to tell us a story……

 

This is all true…. according to what I was told.

 

Let me describe this man to you. He is about 5’5”, bandana around his head (we are at a biker bar), maybe in his 40’s, tanned skin from a summer of Harley riding I am sure, a leather vest, chain wallet, the works. He is clearly a burly, tough dude. He begins to tell us about his recent lawn mowing experience:

 

I was mowing the yard last weekend, and it was pretty hot out. I had a shirt with the sleeves cut off on, and all of a sudden I started having a heart attack. I dropped the mower, clutched my chest and thought, “This is it, this is how it ends.” I was home alone so I was sure I wasn’t even going to make it back inside. I began to try and make my way back to the house. Clutching my chest, I heaved my person toward the door. I remember stumbling a few times and I fell down to my knees at least twice. The pain was intense, searing heat spreading across my chest. I was certain this was the big one. My arm began to go numb and tingle. Again I got up, heaving myself toward the back door of the house. Praying to all of my Gods I would make it to my phone and at least call my wife, maybe even the hospital. I fell again to my knees, pain shooting through my entire torso at this point, my arm completely numb dangling at my side like a useless octopus’s arm stunned by a sea urchin. I began to make deals with God about what kind of life I would lead. I would do charity work. I would put the toilet seat down! I would even start reading the bible, just let me survive this! I heaved myself up one more time, continuing to make deals and promises to go, octopus arm dragging behind my keeled over body. I made it into the kitchen and there was my phone. As I let go of my chest with my only good arm to grab the phone, I felt the enormity of my situation take over my whole functionality. The world began to tilt. I saw the cabinets I swore I would fix slip up onto the ceiling, my sink and refrigerator suddenly tipped onto the floor, the white hot pain spreading like needling fingers further down into my spine and legs when suddenly I found myself on my back, staring up at the ceiling. Gasping for breath and clutching my phone I dialed 911. I could barely speak and what came out was a series of sputtering dry-heaves meant to pass for the words “Heart attack”. She confirmed I was home and what was my address. I began praying now, we were well beyond promises and negotiations with God. The heat was climbing up my neck and into my skull, much like an aggressive masseuse who just won’t heed your requests to be gentle, digging further in until I was certain if I reached back with good ole Octopus arm, I might feel the gooey insides of my brain. The operator begged me not to hang up, but by now I was sure I was a goner and needed to connect to my bride one last time. Somewhere deep in the oozing recesses of my mind I remembered she was working. I caught what wisp of air was left that I could call my breath, and dialed her work. She answered immediately, and went into a rant about some woman having an attitude as I lay dying on our kitchen floor, staring at the remnants of a spaghetti explosion from 5 weeks ago that I was sure I had mopped off the ceiling. I attempted to interrupt, but it came out as barely a whisper. Finally, she asked why I was calling and I was able to heave out of my lungs, “Heart attack, I’m having a heart attack.” Suddenly she was alert, began asking questions. Where was I? Had I called 911? Where was I going. The pain grew more intense and began to pull back into my chest, locking all of its violent energy back in and around my heart. I realized this was it. I began making confessions, I was ready to apologize for every yellow light I had ever run, I was ready to confess things you should never confess!! I reached up to clutch my heart one last time, certain this was the end. I whispered, “I love you” to my wife. And then I felt it. The bee sting right over my heart. I had been stung in the chest while mowing, and dramatically I survived.

Not only did I have to explain this to my panicked wife, but I also had to convince the EMT that I was not sick and yes it is possible to mistake a bee sting for a heart attack, and no I have not taken any drugs today thank you!

 

This story was fundamentally followed; however, I took some creative liberties with permission from the original teller. Careful when you are mowing y’all!

Damn Sales People! :)

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Thought you would appreciate this, but I’m not certain which Cialdini practice this falls under.

Magazine subscriptions- auto renewal. I get it. People forget to cancel a subscription that they never wanted and actually may never have signed up for. However, the magazine sends you a notice saying you are on auto renewal and your subscription will automatically renew so that you don’t “Suffer the inconvenience of a missed month of women’s health” (Insert dramatic eye roll). Of course in really tiny print they say, contact this # to cancel your auto renewal.
I understand most people probably don’t cancel it. They think, oh I will read it at some point, it has articles, etc etc etc. I’m in grad school. My stack of HBR and Simple are getting to be a mile tall WITHOUT me adding Women’s Health and Harpo magazines to the pile. (Whoever the hell signed me up for Oprah is dead to me).
Anyway, I emailed (so I had a paper trail) to cancel my auto-renewal about 2 months prior to the due date so that they had no argument to continue sending them to me. These mother flowers continued to send me the magazine….they even tracked me down when we bought our new home and updated (NOT forwarded) our address!! Then they started sending the “bill” saying I was enrolled in auto-renewal.
Well, since we are finally on a break from school and I have time to catch up with all these important things in my life like Women’s-freakin-Health, I decided to arm myself and call the sales rep over at WH. Surprisingly, as I printed out my sent email cancellation, the guy was pretty nice about it. He said he didn’t know why it never got cancelled, but I should expect to see nothing more from them. (This I doubt, I’m sure I will get “great deals” sent to me).
But it got me thinking. They were nice. They didn’t bully me. They didn’t force me to prove I cancelled it. So is it all a ploy? Does everyone who cancels still receive the magazine for quite some time until they finally call and cancel again, or WORSE, feel such remorse for having read the damn thing for free for 5 months that they just send a check to pay for that year? And thus the cycle of swindling continues????
Well, Harpo and Women’s Health didn’t factor in this customer’s tendency to be ever controlling. I brought a spreadsheet to my last car purchase for God’s sake! Don’t think after my Sales class with Milovic, that I’m gonna be swindled!
Happy Wednesday! 🙂

I read a book…

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I know! Holy bananas, when did anyone have time for that again lately??

It was an assignment for work. Not for school, no no. This was in addition to the onslaught of projects I just can’t seem to say no to. Ok, it’s even more bananas. I read a book that my president sent me at my house for Christmas.

(Pause…..let it sink in)

This is a new president that I find to be fantastic. I’ve never had a leader of this caliber, loyalty, vision, and downright intensity. He kicked off a 5 year major cultural overhaul to our company with an hour long introduction about himself and his life.

I’m not the only one there that raised an eyebrow….but he was dead nuts on. We needed to know who he was and where he came from before we could trust this crazy path he was taking us down!

So I read a book.

In the middle of learning how to shoot and develop my own movies for marketing. In between my Corporate Finance homework I’ve self-taught myself. After being nominated for a new corporate steering committee.  After my 4 hour flight, but before my 6 hour site visit. I read a book called “The Servant.” (Update- I corrected the book title after a google search made me realize there are a LOT of these book themes out there)

If I may, I would suggest I have been feeling mostly in control lately. There was a moment about bowling ball elephants last week that I will just have to hope to remember to tell you about another time. But,  I’ve even started to feel like I am doing a good job. I’m in grad school and haven’t been kicked out…yet. My kid doesn’t totally hate me, so that is going well. I’m still on track and scheduled to get married, so good job there! And I just got approval for my first home loan ever! I am doing just dandy thank you very much!

Until I read this book. I read this book on Monday. Its Tuesday and I’ve already ordered and informed 5 people that they will be reading this book. (This is a problem statement right here, but I digress) I read Psychology Today for fun and entertainment, I am not one of those people that believes I am going to glean much from a self-help book. However, this one blew my hair back in a new way. This one pointed out everything I just said, how I have it all together, except it adds another layer….

It points out how that’s all bullsh*t.

I do not have it together. I am not doing great. I haven’t been kicked out of school….yet. My kid doesn’t hate me….but does she enjoy me? I’m buying a home, but am I even part of the process? This book made me question value. Made me look at how I’ve behaved toward my staff, my family, even strangers and enemies. It made me realize there are many ways I could do life, and perhaps I should evaluate some alternatives. I’m doing a good job, but I’m not exactly proud of who I am. I could be a much better person, a forgiving person, a kind person.

I could at least not talk crap about people!

So if you want to blow your hair back, question most of your personality, and start a self-help journey of enlightenment and hopefully positive impact on the world around you….well then by all means, join me. And read “The Servant”.

Cheers friends!

 

The Servant- Hunter, James C.

Someday

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Someday I hope you know all those times you saw me crying, I was trying to show you there is strength in your emotions, and there’s no shame in your tears.

Someday I hope you know, all those times I told you not to cry, I was trying to help build your strength and confidence, and sometimes I contradict myself as a mother.

Someday I hope you know, all those times you rolled your eyes when I said I had to study, I was showing you the value of education. I wanted you to know you can be anything in this world.

Someday I hope you know all those times Daddy and I argued in front of you, I wanted you to know what a healthy relationship looked like. I wanted you to see me stand up for myself as much as I wanted you to see Daddy stand up for himself. I hope you learned how to behave in a healthy relationship.

Someday I hope you know, you never needed those sparkly pants on New year’s, I wanted you to be surprised for once by me.

Someday I hope you know, I didn’t give you gifts every day to show you I loved you, I wanted you to understand the value of money and be grateful for what you had.

Someday I hope you know, I interrupted you interrupting me to tell you interrupting isn’t nice. Sometimes moms aren’t perfect.

Someday I hope you know, when I was gone for weeks at a time, I prayed someday you would understand the value of a woman’s career as well as her family.

Someday I hope you know, how many times I bit my tongue because I love you.

Someday I hope you know, I didn’t bite my tongue just as often, because I love you.

Someday I hope you know, I made you cover your butt and not wear just leggings to help you learn to respect yourself and your body.

Someday I hope you know, I worried and overanalyzed if that might give you an unhealthy perception of your body when you were older, when you are already perfect.

Someday I hope you know, I ran every day to show your health is important, and so is sanity.

Someday I hope you know, I wished you would run with me.

Someday I hope you know, even though sometimes I was very sad for long amounts of time, I never gave up on you or Daddy, and I valued every hug you offered.

Someday I hope you know, I could be jealous. I struggled not to be, to show you acceptance is kind and there is plenty of love to go around.

Someday I hope you know, I’ve done the best I could to be the best I am for you.

Someday I hope you know you can be just like me, but I hope you are just like you.

A Registered Democrat Voted for Trump: Why America Shouldn’t be Surprised

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The pain and anger in my news feed today is familiar. I remember refusing to get out of bed on November 2, partially due to a hang over, and mostly due to utter defeat and hopelessness. I remember spending months on end tirelessly struggling to gain support and grassroots momentum for Kerry, and to witness all that hope and energy crash and burn as I sat at a bar with my new friends of democracy. I remember saying the same words, “How could this happen?”  I see friends, coworkers, even family members today lashing out in anger, crying in hopelessness, and searching in bewilderment for answers of “Why? How could we have done this to them?” Well, you aren’t going to like the answer America; you did this to yourself, and if you had paid attention you would have seen it coming.

There are most assuredly two America’s. The left and right, democrat and republican, are no longer applicable; the lines have blurred. Obviously they’ve blurred if you have registered democrats voting for the most anti-democrat candidate in history. So how did it happen? Today many of my Dems are crying out that America is more racist than we thought. Really? We thought America was tolerant? I’ll tell you what, we are tolerant. We’ve been tolerant. We’ve watched as a significant chunk of America took political correctness to a whole new level. We were tolerant while our hard work was taken and handed off to someone who wouldn’t or couldn’t work themselves. Does this mean we hate people? Does this mean we want them to suffer? Not in the slightest, but we are all clamoring today to believe that is the case. Most people that I know who voted for Trump are hard-working, compassionate people like us Dems claim to be. But they take it a step further, they are giving back. And I am sure there is a collection of Democrats that give back in their communities on their own, just like I’m sure there’s an equal collection of uneducated red-neck Trump supporters out there too. But are we the majority? Or do we just talk about giving back? Do we demand the country establish laws to give back? Do we just throw a $5 in the collection plate at mass and say a few Our Fathers and consider our hands clean of what’s happened to our country?

The majority that voted for Trump didn’t vote to turn their backs on immigrants. The majority has friends or even family that are immigrants. They voted to turn their backs on freebies. You want to be a part of the Great America? Then prove it. But don’t think you can sneak in the back door and we haven’t noticed for the last 30 years. It should not surprise us that they came out to vote in this election in the face of opening the flood gate of American Freebies, and finally put their fed up foot down. It shouldn’t surprise us that they are the majority.

Depending on upbringing, I think many Democrats eventually grow up. We get jobs and start planning our futures. We watch people around us do less and less while we pick up the slack. There are two paths to take at that point; fight the injustice of freeloaders, or give in and join them. I can understand your initial surprise at the sheer number of people who voted for Trump. Do you know why you are surprised? Because your conservative pissed off voter isn’t shouting from the roof tops, or the radio, or a damn parade float. They are listening, and have been listening. If only the racist, vocal, uneducated Trump supporters had voted, then we could expect Hillary to win. But they weren’t the only voters, and you my Dems, didn’t pay attention. This one is on you America, reap what you sow. But remember, if you choose to stay you are choosing to be a part of America. And right or wrong, I don’t think you have the choice to NOT be American in America anymore. We just made it mandatory with years of complacency, yelling, and failure to pay attention. We allowed the media to twist both candidates in to fun-house mirror representations of who they were. We allowed the candidates to feed and build these images to an even higher level of absurdity. We never said, “stop”. “Enough.” Well, now we all have to deal with it. They never said no either. They didn’t say anything…. until election night. Now come hell or high water, you and the world will have to listen for 4 years. I hope America made the right choice, and I pray that this country can pull itself together again. I pray that this is the reset America needs to grow strong in their convictions, provide a system of growth and opportunity, and reduce the ideology of handouts and lack of accountability running rampant in the street. There is nothing wrong with accountability. There is no sin in stating failures. We need to stop pretending that everything is acceptable and everyone is a winner. Start holding yourselves accountable Dems, because America just did.

 

Why Trust the Future We Created?

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Well it has been quite a while since I have had time to even try to write in this highly therapeutic journal. I have been struggling as usual. Work. Home. Friends. Everything. We recently moved to a new home, which was a chaotic and depressing nightmare, but now we are settled in somewhat. By settled I mean, we’ve unpacked, hung pictures on the walls, put dresses on hangers and stuffed animals on the bed. There’s a nightlight in the corner on the off-chance that we sleep at home more than once this summer. It’s summer, and you can guarantee 2 things in summer; construction and a full calendar!

Tonight is our nieces first big girl sleep over birthday party. We have all been excited for this for a while now. On our side, we have been hesitant to get too invested and excited, as if anyone remembers last year, we were in the exact. same. situation. And last year, we were all excited and ultimately disappointed when she wasn’t allowed to go because, and I quote, “Oh, HER family, so no one really important to Peanut.” Tuesdays, are not our nights. BUT, Peanut always spends Tuesdays overnight at her grandparents house, an arrangement we agreed to about 6 months after it was happening and we were finally “notified”. As agreed by all 3 parties (grandparents included), Peanut gets to spend the night at her best friend’s house tonight. She is so excited. She picked out a gift, wrapped her birthday present, and talked all night about what they were going to do and “You’re not going to stay are you?”(to us)

In keeping with general expectations, Peanut is no longer allowed to go to her first big girl sleep over party. I’m heart-broken for her. I’m heart-broken for my niece. I am angry beyond words. The statement, “I put my daughter first in everything” is a lie. When you take something away from her, from another little girl, and a family, because you are angry, because everyone didn’t bow down instantly to your insane demands, you are not putting her first. You are, as you always have, putting yourself first and trying to paint over that this beautiful picture of a loving mother. Your paint is water, and your canvas tissue paper. How can you punish a little girl, because your irrational emotional brain can’t move on? How do you hurt “your whole world” because you’re still angry your ex doesn’t love you anymore? Where in your mind does this cruel behavior and punishment of a child for the wrongs done to you 5 years ago compute to rational, acceptable, appropriate justice?

How do we shield her from all of this? How do we combat the ever-present rotation of boyfriends? The misguided lessons? The warped view of the world and how it works? The new belief that all boys are bad? All boys lie to you and trick you? That you can live a positive and successful happy life by taking and demanding and throwing a fit until others comply? How do we fight this?

To her credit, my beautiful smart little Peanut tries every day to be a good person. She tries to learn, speak properly, apologizes too much for her age. She doesn’t understand empathy, but she shows it. She doesn’t recognize when she is behaving rudely, but she corrects it. She gets too rough with her puppy, but accepts our direction to be loving and changes her tone with him. She questions people’s behavior that she sees and listens to reason, but doesn’t realize she acts similar too. She’s so little, and so sassy. She believes in us and she believes in her mother. She fights with her best friend, and makes up instantly. She understands this world in the way we create it for her. She trusts us, she trusts her mother. Why would you ever allow her pain because of your grown-up issues? Why would we not try to learn, to speak properly to one another, and to apologize too much? Why would we not show empathy, and try to understand it? Why would we not recognize when we are behaving rudely, and correct it? Why would we not be loving when we are too rough? Why do we question other people’s behavior and not our own? Why can’t we be little and sassy? Why can’t we believe in us and believe in her mother? Why can’t we fight with our best friend and instantly make up? Why can’t we understand this world that we created for her? When do we trust ourselves, will we ever be able to trust her?

Burying pain with kindness

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Let me start by wishing all of you Mommy’s out there a happy Mother’s day! I hope those of you who struggle regularly with the general lack of acceptance of you as a “real” mother, have someone out there this weekend who will call, or write, or text you “Happy Mother’s Day!” In case you do not, let me be the first to honor you, all that you do, all of your heartache, all of your sacrifice, all of your tears of joy and pain; let me be the first to honor you, and wish you a beautiful, blessed Mother’s Day.

I have been crushed through my core in the past. I have been hurt in ways that even my anger couldn’t conjure a cursing riddled with my experiences against another person. I’ve fought and clawed my way back from pain that I shouldn’t have known. Because of my fight for me, I struggle with believing in others. I often struggle with believing in humanity as a good and kind body, capable of honesty and value and positive impact. My career dampens my faith in others ever more, showing me daily the cruel, selfish, and self-serving side of our futures. Trust is a priceless commodity for me, and it takes years to acquire it.

Quite expectedly, it takes moments to shatter what trust you may have stored in your cache of me. I have been building, and working, and fighting for trust to surround me. I have limited my circle to very few, count maybe two hands (including my family). I recently welcomed a few into my circle, believing, having faith that I could trust in them. Believing that they supported me, supported us, what we are trying so desperately to do. I am heart-broken at the loss. I searched frantically for a text-book response to my hurt. Searching for a way to put my heart back together. Angry at how easily I’ve allowed yet another human being to get close enough to crush me. Shocked at my naivety that maybe they wouldn’t. I can’t go back into that black hole. I can’t come back from that darkness again. I never want to be surrounded by that kind of sad emptiness. I can respond differently. I can be stronger. I can bury my pain with kindness, even though you would say they don’t deserve my kindness.

I went out for a bottle of wine. And came back with supplies to make homemade Mother’s Day presents. One for each Mommy in her life. The grandma’s included. She is so excited to be making gifts. So ecstatic to pick out paper to wrap them in. So joyful to have something to give to those she loves on this blessed day to honor Mothers.  So beautiful as her eyes light up in understanding as she points to herself whispering “My Mommy” when I say, “And who is the best Mommy in the world that we should make the most special gift for?” Such accepting, beautiful, wonder and fascination in “our” little secret. No, these are not my Mothers, these women have managed to level a pain against me that I don’t fully understand, can’t fully process beyond my very rare tears. No, these Mothers are wonder and beauty and loving and kind to her. So in my pain, the only thing I can do to continue forward, is to repay in kindness and honor who they are in her life with love.mother-429158_640

Choosing your life

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Most of my life, fell in my lap.

I stumbled into my job right out of college. I stumbled into relationships. I stumbled into promotions from success. I’ve been good at most things I try. Not number one, but good. My therapist says I need to try guided meditation and envisioning therapy. Like, visualize your goal and you succeeding at it. I’ve never really had a goal. I’ve just been doing. And if I ever had a goal, did I really work that hard to succeed at it? Or did it just come naturally?

I know you are sitting there thinking, wow, think highly of yourself?

I don’t.

We’ve been talking about moving lately. We’ve put it off and put it off for one reason or another. I do well with deadlines, and there is no deadline for moving. There’s no promotion or transfer at work. There’s no lease about to expire. There’s just the need for quality of life improvement. I need to be closer to work. I need to spend less time in my car. Although, on good traffic days, that hour is nice to just sit and ponder over things I don’t have time to wonder about.

We discussed moving the other night and he has been emphatic about this being the natural next step. My perception is that he is quite cavalier about it. Very much taking for granted that this is a choice. For once, we actually can choose. I don’t think people realize that every day they have the choice. Instead we make assumptions about life, and just continue on in our routine never stopping to say, “wait, do I want to keep doing this?” For us there are so many things that make that a scary question no one wants to ask.

Well of course we are going to keep going in this relationship. It would be hard to explain why we aren’t to Peanut. It makes sense to continue. We coexist well together. We help each other. We this, we that. At the end of the day, how many of you can honestly say, “I wake up every morning and choose to be with you”?

I asked this question of both of us, and we discovered some truth here. Neither one of us wakes up everyday and says, “I’m making a choice. I choose you.” With divorce rates in this country at a ridiculous high, no freaking wonder! I read this man’s story about wanting a divorce and started to wonder myself. He asks his wife for a divorce and she makes one demand: he must carry her from their bedroom every morning for one month, then she will agree to a divorce. In the end he falls in love with her again after making the commitment to her every morning. Are we making a commitment every day? I know we are sacrificing. Lord knows, we are challenged and sacrificing on a daily basis. I complain I have no choice, no say, no freedom anymore. This is one choice I can still make everyday. And by waking up and making that choice every morning, I am actively committed. I am actively choosing to stay together. I’m not reacting to the latest round of crap. I’m not doing damage control to piece it together. I am choosing, first thing, to be here, be present, and be a member of this family. Perhaps if I make the choice to be in this family, I can forgive myself for the heartache I’ve brought on myself by being in this family. It is still my choice. Everyday, it is still my choice to be here. So rather than feel trapped by external factors, some days I can feel empowered, I chose this. I’m strong enough, and this was my choice today.

Choice

http://www.godupdates.com/he-wanted-a-divorce-but-her-secret-brought-me-to-tears/

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85608594@N00/12024129713″>Deepak Chopra No matter what the situation, remind yourself I have a choice</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Being My Own Champion

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I discovered that underneath all of my independence, is someone who is dependent on others to validate their work. And underneath all that reliance on others to validate them, is someone who finally knows how to celebrate themselves. Yesterday was a trying day. It was a last minute decision to join a race, rather than cheer and support. I had trained some, mostly inconsistently. But I had trained. I was getting there. Rebounding from illness, times two, and a round of depression that still seems thick on my skin, I was getting there. So when I signed up for yesterday’s race a mere 5 days prior, I was nervous and doubtful. I had no idea how I would perform, let alone finish. I had multiple layers of fear, both rational and irrational. What I didn’t have was my direct support team. I was doing this solo. Don’t get me wrong, I had some of my direct support, but they had their own things to get through.

As race morning was upon us, one member had spent the last 24 hours fretting and pacing, stressed and worrisome over the length and potential performance in the race. I spent much of my morning in silent support. Another member was battling her own demons with an injury that forced her withdrawal from her original race, to a lesser distance: my race. I spent much of my time trying not to be insulted and trying not to speak.

One thing I know to be true; I am the sensitive one. If I have an opinion, that is deemed excessive or too passionate, the natural response is “uh oh, she’s upset again, lets walk on eggshells around her” When in actuality, I’m just expressing an opinion or telling you how you make me feel. So I have a large basket of emotions at 6AM of race day. I’m doing my best to support the other two, as I still don’t believe I belong here, and therefore my fears and concerns about the race or my performance are not valid. I didn’t train as long or as hard as they did. I didn’t sacrifice the time I don’t have like they did. My battle is nowhere near the earned level theirs is. So I kept quiet. I said minimal about my injury. I said nothing about my fears. I tried my best not to retaliate, or even worse, pathetically beg for attention and validation on this cold run morning.

We arrive at our race, and the first runner takes off. We cheer, take pictures, we yell and clap for her and all the other runners. Then a nervous silence descended on the park. We had 3 hours before our race was scheduled to start. I set up to cheer anyone who came through the first checkpoint on. The injured went to sit in warmth. She was angry. She was frustrated. All of her hard work, training, sacrifice, and tears came down to destruction in her eyes. She was not going to run the race she signed up for, and all because part of her body had betrayed her. It wouldn’t function. It gave up. It gave in, and it would barely let her walk. I watched silently as she struggled to process her disappointment. That process, by the way, looks like rageful anger tinged with sarcastic humor. We are very similar creatures, using passive humor to somehow mollify the pain of failure. It wasn’t working. In fact, while not working, it was creating anger and resentment in me. It was pushing my limits of patience and understanding. I was near tears at one point, and considering lashing out in passive angry humor (ok maybe no humor). Here she was, shrouded in her own frustration and mutiny from her limbs, completely unaware of neither the words she was saying or the attitude displayed toward my race.

I accepted much of it. I accepted that my run wasn’t a real run. I accepted that the race I was doing wasn’t for real runners. Why? Because I lacked confidence in me. I lacked belief that I deserved to be here. I didn’t understand that although my race wasn’t the cream of the crop goal of every runner, it was still going to be an unbelievable accomplishment for me. I didn’t accept that I deserved to be here. I deserved to own and earn this accomplishment. I was spending my prep time battling for someone else’s sanity, and I deserved to have someone invest in mine. I was terrified. I didn’t think I could run as far as I had signed up to run! I didn’t think I could do it alone! I didn’t think I would make it. I feared I would be laughed at, walking this trail, by other runners that I’ve always believed were a supportive community.

And then, something changed.

I’d had enough.

I made an internal decision, which had an outward impact. I decided I deserved to be here. I decided my race was important. I decided my race was amazing. I decided I was valued. I decided to be my own champion. I decided I was important.

From that moment on, I was done worrying about others. I was done being an unresponsive emotional punching bag, intended or not. My race mattered.

The start lineup came. We lined up. We made the decision to run our own races. So often runners will unconsciously make the decision that they cannot leave each other behind. They will keep pace with a slower runner out of guilt, even though they may have trained harder than the runner they are pacing. I know from experience. I am the slow runner! I’ve had team members run their crappiest races because they have this internal desire to motivate and lift the entire team. I’ve had my mom make up songs in the middle of the race, just to keep me motivated and going. And she’s a regular marathoner! So we decided to run separate races. We decided based on our own needs, it would be best to do our races and do them for ourselves and on our own.

Best decision made. Injured took off like a bat out of hell. Her strategy was to run, and run fast before her limbs realized what she was doing, and hopefully once her limbs caught on she would be crashing through the finish line many miles later. I had committed to a 14 minute mile pace in advance. Based on the distant and my training, I believed this was a pace I could finish at.

The run was amazing. It was hard. It was trying. I had to stop 3 separate times to stretch out my own injury I was battling. But I never walked. Half the time I didn’t even pick my head up to look around. The scenery was amazing, but I didn’t know it. I was both my own cheerleader and captain. At one point I was babbling to myself through the trail. I called myself my own last name and my sister’s last name to chastise into running faster.

In the end, I sprinted my last 0.3 miles. I sprinted past our cheering team and Injured yelling and cheering me on. I sprinted over the finish line and claimed my medal at an average pace of 12.36 minutes per mile.  I did this. I did this for me. I accomplished something unbelievable, and I did it alone. No one else on my team really knew or acknowledged what it took for me to accomplish this, and it didn’t matter. I am amazing, and I know what I went through to smash this goal.

So in the end, your take away is this: Sometimes you spend your entire life reliant on others to validate your existence, to empathize with your struggle. And in the end, there is only you. In the end, you might be the only one who notices you. And that, needs to be enough. In the end, you are enough.

“The good you do today, may be forgotten tomorrow. Do it anyway…..In the end it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway.” –Mother Theresa