Blogging, Everyday, Fitness

I felt consumed

I was up at 5am for some early morning speed work at the track.  It was crazy cold, with feels like temp of about 35 degrees (well crazy cold for Central Texas).  So I layered up, ate my sweet potato breakfast and was out the door.  It was really dark at the track and only 3 other people showed up.  The work was hard; 8×400 repeats at about 5k pace with 2 mins rest between.  The view was great as the sun began to start it’s day.  If camera contact lenses existed, I would have taken a picture.  We were also taunted by an owl; with each lap came his distinct ho hoo.  He probably watched us and thought we were all crazy running around and around in circles.  His day was coming to an end while I was just starting.

It felt good to have gotten that accomplished before most people had even had their first cup of coffee.  The runner’s high did wear off pretty quickly into the progressing day.  Work was taxing.  My work has never really been “hard” in the almost two years I’ve been there, but there is a first for everything.  I had the Midas Touch but in the worst possible way.  Everything I touched turned to absolute shit.  It was horrible and I let it get to me.  I could feel anxiety creeping in to take over my day.  It wound up being 7 long hours of nothing good.  7 hours that I just wanted to end more than anything.  I wanted nothing more than to come home, draw a hot bath for my achy muscles, and wash away my tears fears.

I finally came home.  It was finally time to unwind.  I went to my soaker tub, poured the epsom salt, started the hot water, and put on some of my favorite music.   I mentally eased my way into relaxation.  After a couple drags, I began to think.  I thought about the music I was listening to.  It made me think about my dad.  I wondered if he had been scared during the last hours of his life?  I think about things like that a lot.  Death is so foreign to me and so out of anyone’s control.  I felt consumed.  I became consumed by my own morbid thoughts.  But then the music crept back into my mind.  “……echoed in the wells of silence.  And the people bowed their heads and prayed……”  I really want to make a video using that song*.  I would dedicate it to my father.  I wanted to share it with the world.  Should I go back to school?  Would I be able to make it?  To learn?  To teach and be heard?  I have no idea, but I feel a need to share my thoughts.  Maybe I need to talk to someone?  Sometimes I wonder how I get around these feelings.  What was I doing?  What will tomorrow look like?  What about the space between?

I got out of the tub and finally felt relaxed and ready to end the day.  Tomorrow had to be better.  There would be another sun rise waiting for me in the morning.  There would be another workout to tackle and another day to go onto.  Another day to love my family and miss my dad.  Another day closer to figuring it all out.  I wonder if the owl has nights like this?

 

 

 

 

**Song reference was to:  The Sound of Silence, composed by Paul Simon.  But by far my favorite rendition was performed by Disturbed.  I highly recommend listening to it here if you have never heard it before.  It is very powerful.

 

 

 

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Blogging, Everyday, Running

Gotta do what you got to do

Something that I have heard a lot of writers or authors say to aspiring writers is that some days you have to sit down and write even when you don’t want to.  Today is that day for me.

Writing when you don’t have the urge to, is like try to make a baby when you are not in the mood.  Come on hunny, I’m ovulating!  I know your tired and just got done mowing the lawn but if we don’t do it now, we will have to wait another month.  Sure it could turn out to be fun, and hopefully will pay off in the end but damn if you aren’t in the mood, you aren’t in the mood.  Ugh.  Everyday that passes that I don’t write is just another day wasted towards my dreams.  If I want my writing to take off, well then I HAVE TO write.  Just as simple as that.

I’ve also been feeling that way when it comes to my running.  I am currently signed up to do the Austin 3M Half Marathon at the end of January and right now I can barely get past running 3 miles, let alone 13.1.  My training should have started a month ago and I am in need of some new shoes as well. Excuses, excuses, excuses.  I have been keeping up with my strength training twice and week but my endurance is shot.  Plus, it doesn’t help that central Texas has not decided on what season we are in yet.  Running when it is hot and humid is why I don’t run in the summer.  Running when it is warm and humid and DECEMBER is just a cruel joke.  I am a cold weather runner.  60 degrees and under is my ideal running weather.  When it is 75 degrees and just as humid, I have a really hard time moving one foot in front of the other.  I did manage to get up and do 6×100 meter repeats on Wednesday morning.  Stupid me also did my first leg workout in two weeks the day before that.  My calves felt like water balloons ready to pop and foam rolling was excruciating.  Thank goodness our new house came complete with a soaker tub in the master bathroom!  Epsom salt to the rescue (along with some well, lets just say recreational plants of choice) to really help take the edge off.  Ahhhhhh relax-o time.  By Saturday I got back out and did my first 4 mile run in months.  It was rough but just like the baby making and writing, it had to be done.  And afterwards I felt really glad that I did it, just as I do now because I wrote about it.

But seriously, I need to get my shit act together.  Whether with writing or running (no baby making for me) it’s time to get back out there.

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Everyday

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my wonderful mother’s birthday.

I wish that I could give her everything she would desire, but I know this year the only thing she would wish for is to have my father back.  He died on July 21st and both of our live’s haven’t been the same.

My mom loves to receive Hallmark cards for every occasion.  She has told me in the past that even if I was late with a gift, that I better always have a card for her.

This year, I didn’t get her a card (sorry mom).

When I was at the card store searching through all the birthday cards they all seemed “fake” and “cold”.  Something that a million dollar corporation puts out that really doesn’t cater to all of the emotions that a single person can have at any given time.  How exactly do you wish anyone a happy birthday after they have had one of the hardest years of their life?

All I can do today is to let my mom know that she is very loved and that my husband and I can only hope to live up to my dad’s last wishes to take good care of her.  I try my best everyday.  I hope you know that mom.  I love you more than you could ever know and I miss daddy too.  It is bitter-sweet.  With his death, he gave me my greatest wish, to have you in my life again and not with miles between us.

Thank you daddy and I love you.

The holidays are coming up fast.  We all will be faced with new emotions as we feel the void of our missing loved one.  I’m truly grateful that we have each other and we will get through it all together.  I promise that to you, today, as always.

I love you mom and Happy Birthday.

 

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Blogging, Everyday

Feeding my fire

I feel like I need a reset button.  A control, alt, delete for my life this year.  End task now and restart.

2017 has been a really hard year.  I’m not writing this looking for sympathy, but to merely remind myself that even though things were treacherous at times, I have to keep moving forward.  My husband tells me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for but I need a break and a hard reset.  I need to look past the sadness and come out on the other side stronger than before.  I’m not sure yet what that might look like, but I have a feeling deep down in my very being that some big changes are in my future.

This year was full of changes.  I had to say goodbye to one of my fur babies after 13 years back in the spring.  I had never felt my heart hurt the way it did as I said goodbye for the last time.  Loosing her brought me to a different level of empathy.  And just as I thought I couldn’t hurt any worse, I lost my dad to cancer.  It went undetected for what was probably years, but took his life in less than a month.  I never understood what it was like to lose a loved one; a parent.  It feels like a small piece of your very being dies right along with them.  One of the two people who made you whole, who gave you life, is no more.  My mother lost her life partner of over 40 years.  Literally half of her heart and soul.  She had been with my father longer then any other signal human being.  I cannot even begin to understand her loss.

Loosing him meant gaining her in my life.  I am an only child and I was the only family she had left.  So she chose to pack up and change her entire life and move 1000 miles away to be with me and my husband.  We have all faced an array of feelings because of this.  The three of us are reforming the small family that I came from.  Years of being apart are bring us closer together but it is tragic that we had to lose someone along the way to get here.  It is bitter-sweet.

In the last week that I spent with my father he made me promise him to keep writing.  Yell from the roof tops about my beliefs.  To make sure my voice was heard any way that I could.  He had always believed in me and I want to make him proud.  I want who he was to live on through who I am.

This is one of the first entires I have made since he died.  I have been so tired and so uninspired.  I haven’t been writing, reading, running or really anything else that I used to enjoy.  Each day feels so long but at the same time goes by so fast.  But lately I can feel a small fire inside of me that keeps pushing me forward.  It keeps me from wanting to just crawl up in a ball and give up.  If I do that, then I would fail myself and worst of all fail him.

You only need one small spark to set the world a blaze.  

 

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Everyday, Fitness, minimalism, Running, Vegan

Living with intention

I want to live a more intentional life.  I want to eat better.  I want to love harder.  I want to exercise and get faster.  I want to cut out the crap and be more inline with my personal values.

I know today is actually June 5th, but for me it marks the start of many things.  For awhile now I have gotten a little off track with my eating (don’t worry still vegan, but being vegan doesn’t automatically mean being healthy) and with my exercise.  I want to incorporate better food choices into my diet and get back into my running after a brief, but very much-needed break.  I also haven’t been to the gym since maybe November?  My work picked up and my hours changed to a point that I couldn’t get motived to workout.  To be honest with myself, yes work did pick up, but I am still working under 30 hours a week, so not having enough time is not an excuse.  And my hours did change, but truth be told, it’s more about me not wanting to wake my ass up earlier to hit the gym!

Having a good balance between food and exercise is very important.  Even though I haven’t been eating as well, I am by no means overweight, but I have noticed that my muscle to fat ratio has changed.  Last summer I actually weighed more but the extra pounds were from the extra muscle I had built.  I would like to build back some of the lean muscle I have lost in the past 6 months.  I am not sure what I am going to do about the gym; whether I am going to rejoin or join a different one, but I am going to get back into my running, actually starting today.  I have joined an 8 week speed work program that meets every Monday and Wednesday at 6:30pm.  I don’t particularly like speed work.  It is hard and the Central Texas summer weather doesn’t make it any easier, but I am more motived to get back into it because it is a group effort.  I have a couple close friends that are joining the group and our coach, is my trainer from the gym that I have been friends with for over 3 years now.  Plus if you can run in the summer you will be in tip-top form for when the fall/winter races start back up again!

As far as food goes, I am going to try to focus more on whole foods; getting in more fruits and especially more vegetables.  Last week I went to see my new doctor (Dr. Linda Carney in Buda, TX) because I was having issues with dizziness, foggy mind, and my cycle had been going  a little wack-a-do these past few months.  Dr. Carney is a 100% plant-based, vegan doctor.  So many people have raved about her in the Central Texas vegan community.  She is located about 40 miles from where I live, but after meeting her I have absolutely no issues with the distance.  She promotes healing through nutrition and tries to steer clear of medications whenever possible.  She ordered up about 15 different blood tests for me, to help her narrow down what/if anything is wrong.  I go back to hear my results on Wednesday!  This doctors visit was the first one I was ever excited to go to.  I had no anxiety and I can’t wait to find out what blood tests say.  Dr. Carney had a great “bedside manner”.  She sat and went over a bunch of different things with me for probably over 40 minutes.  Asked a lot of questions and took notes on our whole meeting.  Her office has plant based resources everywhere.  From Forks Over Knives posters on the walls, to a book shelf full of plant based authors (many of whom’s books I currently own) and a website for clients filled with even more plant based nutrition information.

I mentioned that my female cycle has been off for a little while now.  Nothing too extreme but sometimes, somethings are just too much to let go unnoticed.  I ordered a book called:  “WomanCode:  Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source” by Alisa Vitti.  The author takes a very close look at how what you eat during your 4 stages of your cycle (yes I said 4 stages) can affect your overall health.  While she doesn’t promote being 100% vegan, I am curious to read about what foods she suggests to eat when and then why.  I do not plan on adding animal products back to my diet but I am open to reading as much information as I can about how what we eat can affect who we are.   The book has great reviews, so hopefully I won’t be too disappointed at the mention of animal products.

One more thing that I am finding to be more and more important to my overall health and welfare is just living my own life.  Cutting out things that don’t add to it and focusing more on things that do.  I realized this past weekend that I had spent a lot of time on social media.  That time could have been used for far more important things.  I literally could have written this blog yesterday and then had time to write another one today.  I could have spent more time with all of our fur-babies more evenly (we recently got two new kittens and our rabbit I think has been feeling a little left out).  I could have went out and bought the rose-bush that we wanted to commemorate the passing of our 13-year-old kitty, Raspberry.  I could have read more.  Talked with my husband more.  Or just enjoyed the silence, that comes with the lack of social media clutter.  (OMG I just realized that I just checked my Facebook page, oh my phone, while typing this on my laptop!)  It is time to disconnect a little.  The Minimalist talk about how they both took all social media off of their phones and only allow themselves 30 mins or so a day to scroll through their feeds while on their computers/iPads.  I mean do we really need that much information at the tip of our fingers at any given moment?  No.  I know for a fact we don’t because I am old enough to say that I grew up without the internet (until I was in High School) and without a cell phone (until I was out of High School).  (OMG I literally just did it again!  Something live came across my feed so I had to click on it!)  We have become like Pavlov’s Dog when we hear our phone “tweet”;  we are zombie slaves to our little glowing screens.  It is time to make a change.  So besides changing up diet and exercise, I am going to delete all social media platforms from my phone for the rest of the month.  Hopefully I will live to share the accounts of my actions with you all.

Oh and one more thing I forgot to add is that I will also be cutting back on all alcohol and caffeine intake as well!  Man, when I set out to do something, I really know how to go to the extremes, don’t I?  Honestly, I don’t drink much of either substance.  Alcohol I am eliminating just from the weekdays, and will only have a drink with dinner on the weekends.  And the only source of caffeine I have is from my morning tea, but I also have plenty of decaf teas and herbal teas that I can use as substitutes if needed.  I love having the will power to make these changes in my life.  I am the master of going “cold turkey” and I can’t wait to see how I feel about everything in a month.  If you have changed up anything that you consider pretty drastic in your life, please feel free to share your story in the comments!

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Everyday

Changing who is in control

Change is a necessary evil in life.  It can be so hard and so rewarding all at once.

Without going into great detail, my husband and I went to our therapy session last night and one thing that we discussed was being able to let go of control.  No one likes to feel like they are out of control, but there is a fine line that you walk when it comes to just controlling your actions and not trying to control the actions of another.

We discovered, when you inadvertently try to control another person, it can really change the dynamic of the relationship you have with that person.  For example, a husband and wife can turn into a parent and child relationship if one person is trying to control the other.  Most people don’t even realize what they are doing because, of course, we always think we are just trying to do whats best for our partner.  But maybe what we think is best for them, really isn’t.  And maybe it isn’t our job to point those things out.  Of course couples (or anyone in any type of relationship with another person:  parent/child, friends, boss/employee, etc) need to be able to express their thoughts and feelings about certain situations with their partners.  The person on the receiving end is also allowed to voice their opinions and feelings.  When we run into issues is when we try to persuade each other that our thoughts and feelings are more valid than theirs.

Trying to let go of this learned behavior is a challenge all of its own.  The dynamic of trying to control others is learned.  In both of our cases, but in very different ways, we experienced being controlled or watching people in our lives be controlled, as children.  My husband’s experience with control was that he never really had any control over himself as a child.  He was deprived his “voice” from a young age and with his lack of control, came fear.  My experience with control as a child was a little different.  As an only child, I personally always felt like I was in control of everything that I did because I didn’t need to worry about one of my peers/siblings telling me otherwise.  But I witnessed (what I feel was) the imbalance of control in my parents.  I had to laugh when our therapist asked where I felt like I learned about control in my childhood?  My response was “mom was always in control of everything”.  I literally laughed out loud just thinking about it.  I grew up in a household where if momma wasn’t happy, then no one was!  (I love you very much mother, and this is not a negative reflection of you, just the truth from a child’s eyes.)

As a side note, my mother had also learned about control with negative connotations.  She was forced to have to take control of her own life and her mother’s life/wellbeing at a seemingly young age when her father passed away unexpectedly.  My grandmother and mother both experienced a huge lack of control in their lives when this happened.  My grandmother succumbed to her fears, which unfortunately left my mother to pick up the pieces.  Right when she probably felt the greatest lack of control in her life (facing the loss of a parent), my mother was forced to literally shift from being a daughter to being a parent/partner to her mother.  She had to take care of everything because her mother couldn’t deal with the traumatic loss.  It was sink or swim situation and unfortunately it shaped her perception of control from that day forward.

Later in our session we discussed my blog post from yesterday about letting my husband drive my car (my baby).  The anxiety I was feeling from this was literally just control rearing its evil head again.  I was anxious because once that car left our house, I had no control over what could happen to it.  My husband could spill coffee in it.  Someone could park too close to it and dent our door with theirs.  It could hail today.   Those things could still happen to me as well, but in my head, I felt like I could prevent (control the outcome) them from happening if I was there.

Learning to deal with the anxiety of letting go of control is very uncomfortable but very necessary.  Later in our session my husband said he wished that I could better understand the traumas that he went through as a child.  That if I could just understand I would be able to understand why he does the things he does and how hard it is for him to change those negative actions.  I told him, that even though I may never know what he went through, I do understand how hard it is to change.  My letting him drive my car is not the same as the lack of control he had over himself when he was a child.  I explained to him that I understood that.  But the anxiety and uncomfortable feelings that come with trying to change one’s self is universal.  Letting go of past negative connotations can be very difficult.  Any form of change can be difficult.

But without change, there can be no growth; and without growth, nothing changes.

I think light bulbs went on in both of our heads last night.  We changed the way we looked at each other and ourselves.  We learned that our relationship is much more important than the control we try to inflict on each other.  I also learned that even though people can come from very different backgrounds we all face the same struggles as humans.  That was very eye opening and also a very good topic for another day……

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Everyday, minimalism

With logical decisions, comes illogical anxiety

I was feeling so anxious last night.  My husband and I made a very logical decision.  But I had to keep telling myself it was a logical and very responsible decision.  It didn’t require a whole lot of thought or work to achieve and in the end it will probably save us some money.  Then why is it so hard to feel ok about it?  Why do I feel like I am missing out on something?  Why do I feel like I am turning my back to an old friend?  Why am I giving such deep emotion to a car?  Yes, you heard me right….. a car.

Let me explain a little.

So last year, we decided to try being a one vehicle family.  We traded in both of our current vehicles and bought a new 2016 model.  Since I was working so close to home (literally less than a half mile) we thought only having one car for a while just made sense.  We picked out a new car, with all the bells a whistles and shared it for over 6 months.  In that time, if I needed the car I would just take my husband to work and then pick him up later, thus giving me the car the rest of the day.  Or when I didn’t need to go too far I would either ride my bicycle or my motor scooter.  Over time, my work and social life started to pick up a little more and we also realized that we were putting the miles of two cars onto one, so later in the year we bought a second car (a 2017).  This would be my car.  By the time we got the second car, the 2016 was a year old and had over 20,000 miles on it!  (That is about double what an average person drives in a year.)  Now, after 4 months of having my own car, we realized that I still don’t drive as much as my husband does.  By the time the 2017 would be a year old it MIGHT have 7000 miles on it.

In comes the logical decision.

This past weekend I really got to thinking about the general maintenance for each vehicle.  We have extended service warranties on both vehicles and they are mileage based.  Basically, so many services, every 5000 miles, for so many years.  Well my husband had already used 4 of his services in the first year alone, while I hadn’t even used my first one yet.  So I thought, why not switch cars to balance out the mileage for a little while?  I mean I basically picked out both cars and liked both of them anyways, so what difference would it make which one I drove?  Makes sense right?  Of course it does.  But then why do I feel so much anxiety about such an easy decision?

Because I am still learning about how to not place feelings and emotions into inanimate objects.

I have always loved cars.  I’ve had so many cars in my 20 some years of driving that I would run out of fingers and toes if I tried to count them all.  And I literally loved some of them; gave them names and kept them in spotless condition.  Now my husband… not so much.  He likes cars as a daily tool, but never really cared too much overall about what he drove.  Just not his thing.  To him, a car, is literally just a thing.  He takes care of his car ok, but nothing like the way I do.  My cars have always been clean, inside and out.  I love trying to keep that new car smell for as long as possible.  I park far away in parking lots to avoid door dings and I visit the car wash often.  If I run over a curb, first thing I do is pray to the car gods that I haven’t scratched my wheels.  Again, my husband not so much.  He doesn’t necessarily “trash” our cars he just views them as what they are; a tool for getting from one place to another, carrying whatever needs to be carried; whether it be people or objects, nothing more, nothing less.  If some coffee gets spilled or a window gets left rolled down, no big deal.  But my car is almost like my pet.  I tend to personify them and when I drive my car I view it as an extension of myself.  Like my noble steed.  So having to “give up” my new “baby” after only 4 short months feels like, like…. I don’t know.  I can’t explain it.  Like I am saying goodbye to an old friend after a short, but over due, visit.  Which is crazy because the car will come home everyday to our house.  It’s not like I sold it to a stranger or dropped it off at the scrap metal yard!

I guess maybe the anxiety comes from a lack of control.  I can’t control how my husband will treat my car.  I know he isn’t as mindful with our vehicles, but I also know he understands how I like to keep them in good condition.  He wouldn’t do anything on purpose to “damaged” the car, but I just feel like I am more careful.  Whether that is actually true or not, I really can’t judge.  Maybe since I don’t drive as much and my car doesn’t get as much ware and tear, it gives me a false sense of validity that I take care of it better?

So after switching out our things from each car, and parking my “new” vehicle in the garage (what will my car think having to spend the night outside?) we came in and got ready for bed.  I started to talked to my husband in a very serious manner.  I really wanted him to understand that I wasn’t messing around and that I was really struggling with this new idea.  I truly think he did try his best to understand my anxiety.  He told me that he understood that it’s always been very important for me to take really good care of my vehicles even before he knew me.  He said that he remembered me explaining to him that “a car is your second biggest investment to your house” and that he could understand why I would have some reservations about all this.  But he did remind me that financially this was a good and logical choice (plus it was my idea in the first place).  Then he said something that really resonated with me.  Something that really made me think about how silly I was being for having such anxiety.  He said to me:

“Don’t let the things you own, own you.”

I couldn’t have said that better myself if I tried.  It was 100% on target with everything I had been trying to live by lately.  It was ok to appreciate the things that I had in my life but that was just it.  This car was a thing.  It was not a person or a pet; it was a thing.  Somewhere down the road I forgot that.  Sometime in my life, probably when I was younger, I took a turn and started to really place human emotions into an inanimate object.  I also was a guilty of letting what I drove speak for what kind of person I was.  I traded in cars left and right just to have the newest model with the newest gadgets.  Or something faster.  Or something bigger.  Or….  or….. or…… and so on and so forth.  Always looking for something else and never just being satisfied with what I already had.  I would literally ride the high of buying that new car but over time it would fade and I would need another “hit”.

Come to think of it, I went through a similar situation about two weeks ago.  My three-year old, iPhone 5s, had finally crapped out on me for the last time.  I had to face the music and go to the store to buy a new phone.  I had been holding off for months.  I really didn’t want a new phone.  While I was talking with the salesman, I felt that same sense of anxiety and loss of an old friend.  I loved that 5s.  It was paid off and in my opinion, just the perfect size and shape for me.  I felt like the new 7 couldn’t possibly take its place.  But here I am, weeks later and I don’t even think about the old phone any more.  I already bought a new case for it and several people have told me that they can hear me better when I talk to them on it.  The battery lasts a lot longer and it doesn’t just randomly shut itself off anymore.

Why do we do this?  Why do we “love” our things so much?  I mean we LOVE them.  The Minimalist have talked about this many, many times.  How can we use a word, that expresses such a deep emotion, so freely, on an object?  You love your parents, kids, pets, partners, PEOPLE (and animals); but to love a phone or a car?  That’s where the disconnect is.  That’s where we need to evolve more and check our priories.  We need to:

“Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.” -The Minimalist

Change isn’t easy and it is an ongoing process.  I heard my husband leave this morning in our car and I got hit with a little rush of anxiety again.  But after finishing this up and really putting things into a different perspective, I can say I feel a little better.  I feel like in a weird way doing things like this, letting go of my car, letting go of that control, is something I really needed to do in order to evolve a little bit more.

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