Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The glass is half empty today

It's gorgeous and sunny outside and I am in my pajamas still, working from home. With all of this running I have been doing my left ankle is really bothering me today so I opted for the safe route and am icing it. Deep down though this ankle pain seems as though it is seeping out of my heart and into other body parts to get me to pay attention. I have good days, great days and lonely days. Today is the latter of the three, where I seem to have lost my grip on the "everything is going to be alright" line and am slipping into the "oh my god, my life is too hard". Which it really isn't. I have my health, a healthy child, a roof over my head. I am not swimming through feet of water due to a hurricane. But man, this single parenthood is an empty lonely place. My older friends call it "trailblazing", when you are the first in your group of friends to: get married, buy a house, have a baby, get divorced, etc. I have done all of that already, all on my own warp-speed of living and it has left me empty in a way I am finding hard to describe. Having done all of this, it still isn't enough.

This is a good "I want my mom" day. A day where someone says "everything is going to be alright", and I can blubber words through tears and not feel ashamed for the dumb choices I have made. Where I can laugh at how pathetic I am even though I feel like a pancake on the sidewalk that no one is noticing. Most of this loneliness is my own fault. I tend to make sure people think I am a tough cookie and that "I am fine" when I am truly quite the opposite.

Monday, August 29, 2005

In my next life I want to be a 68 Camaro.

I sort of believe in reincarnation. And with that said, in my next life I want to come back as a 68 Camaro. A red one with metallic-fleck-type paint job. OOh and racing stripes. If I were a car I would be THIS car. Hopefully there is an 8-track of Van Halen's "Aint Talkin' Bout Love" permanently jammed in the deck and stuck on repeat, too.

Think about it. This car is BADASS. It's gorgeous. It turns heads. It hauls ass. People respect it. MEN respect it. It always has a place in the garage. It burns rubber, leaving mere mortals in a cloud of smoke. The engine rumbles. It has a story to tell, and stories yet to be discovered.

Ladies, what kind of car would you be??

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I have kept my child alive for 2 whole years!

I got up at 5AM in Austin Texas today, and in between 5AM and now I have had numerous conference calls, emails, plane rides, bus rides and car rides. On top of which I also baked a cake ( I couldn't bring myself to buy the cake too! I do have some motherly instinct in me), bought and wrapped presents, went grocery shopping, decorated my dining room and ordered pizza.

Now I am sitting here reflecting on this exact moment, 2 years ago. It's hard not to think of how far you have come. I mean 2 years ago at 9:49 PM I was pushing my son out of my body. This pushing experience brings back memories of huge veins popping out of my forehead as I tried to hold the push-pose for an 8 count. My eyes felt swollen in their sockets and with each push I swore one was going to burst. And now, I am sitting here comfortably, healthy, happy for the most part - so far from even a remote chance of being pregnant. At times I amazed I made it through the hazing phase of motherhood when I was so sure I wasn't going to.

I was very recently in Austin Texas and came across the weirdest sign. It read, and I kid you not "Jamie's is a breastfeeding friendly restaurant!". I promptly took out my camera and snapped a picture of it to share with you all. What the HELL KIND OF MARKETING IS THAT?? I don't want to see anyone breastfeed while I eat my dinner! I am all for the discrete nursing mom who drapes a blanket over her and you don't really notice - but please please please don't whip your naked milk-engorged boob out while I am eating! yuck.

Later on this evening, I proudly brought out my son cake while singing happy birthday to him. His cousins chimed in, and I was amazed to hear him singing along too! How cool! THEN HE BLEW OUT HIS OWN CANDLES. I didn't know he knew how to do that. We have only had one other time to practice this! My twin brother caught my expression on my face immediately after he did it.

nighty night.


Monday, August 22, 2005

I ate a toy one night

A few years ago, as a 3-week old bride I ate a toy in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. No lie. My x-husband and I went to Virginia to visit his Uncle and family on our way down from Boston. We had packed up his explorer with all my stuff and drove there. His teenage cousin graciously offered us her room to sleep in while we stayed with them. I forgot all about this until today while I was shopping at a toy store and came across a clear plastic bin of the exact toy I ate. It all came flooding back.

Now, this is the first time I meet these people and I pull the weirdest stunt of my ever-lovin' life?????? *sigh* Enjoy the details!

Ok, so I was dreaming of a butler passing a tray of semi-circular dark chocolates by my face with a very serious sense of urgency. Eating one of these chocolates was a life or death situation for me, so I slipped my pointer finger under the chocolate and popped it into my mouth. During this dream I remember feeling my hand brush against the hardwood floor next to the bed I was sleeping in. I faintly remember putting something in my mouth and biting it, chewing it as it's brutally bitter taste flooded my tastebuds. In a daze I pulled a tissue from the box on the nightstand next to the bed and spit out what was left in my mouth. I folded up the tissue and put it on the floor by the bed and drifted off into a deeper sleep.

At some point I woke up due to the horrible taste in my mouth. I started to think about what I had done and couldn't really believe it myself even though I had all kinds of "textured" pieces in my mouth. The taste was so foul I was convinced I had picked up some cat shit and ate it. With this thought consuming my brain, I got up and slipped quietly into the bathroom and smiled into the mirror. Black specks covered my teeth. I brushed my teeth several times and began to wonder what was in the tissue on the floor by my side of the bed. I climbed back into bed and picked up the tissue and could feel that there was indeed something in the tissue. At this point it's about 7 am and I wake up my x-husband.

"Ah, honey I need to tell you something. I did something really weird."

which freaked him out!! man he was wide awake glaring at me as though I slipped out of bed in the middle of the night and slept with the farmer next door. unreal.

anyway, I recapped what I had done and then unfolded the tissue for us both to see just what it was I had tried to eat in the middle of the night. Colored wood, a head I suppose that had two little eyes painted on it lay mangled in my hand with all kinds of splinters and fragments. It was abundantly clear that I had picked up a little wooden toy turtle, the one with the bobbing heads, off of the floor and ate most of it.

Now, what I didn't know until two weeks later was that I was pregnant. Apparently you do weird things when you are pregnant. I haven't stopped doing weird things, but you have to admit that this is really strange!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Holy shit, I finished.

Swim, Bike, Run and then Cry tears of joy

There is no better feeling on the planet than forcing yourself to do something you hate, realizing you don't hate it and that you can in fact suck it up and do it. Let me also mention how great it feels to do something you never dreamed possible. This experience was harder than child birth with the same result at the end. Not exactly the same, but the end result being a type of happiness you cant describe but must experience to understand. I say that child birth was easier because of a couple of things: I was heavily medicated and I had no choice but to give birth. It's not like I could say after 12 hours of labor, that I had had enough and was going home! Oh no. My body was going to have a baby no matter what my brain wanted to do. This triathlon was harder because I had to make myself keep going. If my brain told me to stop, I could . That's the hard part.

This past Sunday I completed the Acworth Women's Triathlon in 1 hour 46 minutes. I have never ever enjoyed running, but I did this time. It was actually the easiest part of the whole experience. The swimming part was complete insanity. Let me start from the beginning, at 4:30 AM

4:30 AM - I awake from my sleep at the lovely Econo Lodge to the sound of an engine that wont turn over outside. Someone swears and slams a rusty door. I sit up, my heart pounding with excitement and grab my blackberry. It reads "4:27 AM" much to my relief. My adrenaline is surging through my body, my hands ache from the nervousness that is building inside of me. Today is the day!

5:00AM - I am now in my $85 dollar Nike bathing suit, applying "Bull Frog" sunblock to my shoulders while eating a power bar. I am now shiny. This sunblock is like a silicone spray, damnit - I look like a pro wrestler now.

5:30AM - my bag is packed, I have ingested some gatorade and STILL cant decide what to wear for the race. Just a bathing suit for the swim and then yank on my padded bike shorts for the bike while - WET? OR wear it all in the water and hop on the bike in no time flat? Hmm. I opt for the complete package so I can increase my speed. (who am I fooling here? I am not here to win, or compete but to simply finish!)

6:00AM - My fabulous friend, Yellow Lightnin', is being wheeled out of my hotel room to be strapped onto the roof rack of the waiting car. I love this bike. I "adopted" it from Decatur Yellow Bike, and then re-built most of it. Yes, I took every piece apart on this, including the tires, brakes, gears, pedals and seat. Now it is a speed machine with a sticker on it that reads "Adopted". awww.

Ok, so I will hurry this up a bit more. It was dark as we pulled into the park and down to the fog coated lake for the start of the race. Women were everywhere, all different shapes and sizes which I found liberating and exciting! There were the 2% body fat types, there were big girls and there were people 35 years older than I - all here to bring it. sweet.

I walked up to the bike area where they were blasting Earth, Wind & Fire reminding me to enjoy this experience. A woman takes out a permanent marker and draws 449 on both of my shoulders, both thighs and then writes my age on my calf. This was actually a godsend later as I struggled to find the motivation to keep running until I noticed the 57 on the women's calf in front of me. What was my excuse? If she can run so can I, get going!

I stood on the beach in my bathing suit, bike shorts, fluorescent green swim cap and goggles ringing my hands with anticipation. There were over 500 women participating and my group was the last to go. We cheered all the other waves on as they started their swim too. Would men do that?? NO freaken way!

I stood at the back of the pack, hoping I would be somewhat free from the craziness of 100 women diving in at the same time. WRONG. "go!" bellowed from the megahorn and we all dashed into the water. Some started swimming right away, in knee deep water mind you, others piled on top of one another, I found a spot to doggie paddle and tried to calm my own ass down. Water was splashing everywhere, bodies were on top of me, next to me - I couldn't find enough space to put my face in the water and start swimming. Finally enough space opened up and I could lay in the water and stretch out my 5'9 body and go. That is until some loser in front of me flipped over on her back and started doing the backstroke. This particular stroke requires lots of leg propulsion, causing a small rooster tail of water - thus drowning those who are trying to swim directly behind them. Unreal. So I doggie paddled my way to the first buoy. I was so exhausted by the first buoy I seriously doubted why the hell I was doing this race to begin with.
I swam mainly the breast stroke and fought my way through my own lack of oxygen to get to the other side. Everyone cheering makes such a difference! I ran out of the water, stripping my swim cap an goggles off, waved to the camera and bee-lined it to my yellow chariot.

They time you on everything. How fast you swim, how fast you change from swimming to biking, how fast you bike, how fast you change from biking to running and lastly how fast you run. If you aren't constantly thinking "go, go go go!" in your head you are not focused. :) ha ha.

I tossed on my bike helmet, latched it under my chin, drank some gatorade and put my sneakers on. You have to run next to your bike until you cross the bright red spray painted line where you can mount your bike and haul ass. I did just that. My bike was awesome. I peddled up the hill, past all the folks who swam much faster than I and breezed out onto the main road. I wasn't quite sure what had just transpired. All I knew was I was wet, wearing a bathing suit and peddling my butt off! I did this very well for 6 miles, passing more and more people. The entire ride was 13. That feels GREAT. I am sorry but it does!

About the time I finished the bike, my body was in shock. Not for what I had just done but for what I still had to do. A 3.1 mile run. Oy vey. I did it though. I ran the whole way (except for the hill right at the beginning). I charged down toward the finish line, all kinds of people cheering me on into a shower. The showers were brought to us by Hansgrogh (sp?) and what an epiphanic experience! I had finished in under two hours. A medal was draped over my head making me feel like a little girl at her first horse show, and I struggled not to cry in front of my good friend as he handed me a bottle of water.

I am still in shock that I even did this. The past two years have been hell, full of self-doubt, severe illness, homesickness, sleep deprivation, abuse, anger, etc. I haven't done anything for myself like this, ever. I have never consistently put myself and my own needs ahead of anyone else. There's no way to train for a triathlon if you don't. I have pulled myself out of a violent, controlling marriage and proven how strong I am by finishing this. I have triumphed. I am more important to myself as a result. It's ok now, I have myself to rely on and my yellow bike.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

There are more of us out there

I found Rachel Sara last night:
She describes feelings I have felt about being a dating single mom, the "bad girl" side in particular. A side of myself I thoroughly enjoy but curse equally as much.

Here is a snippet for you all:

"This bad girl hasn't been out in a long time. That's what I call her -- "the bad girl" -- even though she's not exactly bad. She's this desperate part of me that wants too badly to feel strong. She makes her most dramatic appearances when I'm feeling out of control, and the only way to calm her is to seek a man and wander into dangerous territory with him. Briefly, when she's in his arms -- in another circumstance, it could almost be mistaken for love -- she's safe and powerful. She can lean over the edge of a cliff, and she knows she will not fall."

Thank you Rachel Sara, that about sums it up.

I also came across the best poem on her site., "Perspective, by Deanna Jones".
It describes my 2 year old son perfectly.

I will now go clean up after my tornado two year old.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Triathlon training.....

In a matter of days I will embarke on my first triathlon. My body has transformed somewhat which I am rather pleased with. After all I kick my own ass several times per week. What's important here is how I got here. I have to make an effort to do it. My YMCA has a child care center - so my son can play, or rather I can work out while he plays. Fortunately he is such a happy little guy that he actually enjoys it. However, twice I have been so overcome with guilt while riding the stationary bike I had to stop and go get him. After all the poor kid is in day care all day, he spends an hour with me and I drop him back off at yet another day care center? ALL because I am trying to train for a triathlon? Something feels wrong about that inside of me. I recently came up with a better solution though. I time my work out to coincide with the "open swim" hour. I do my 400 yards and race through the locker room and scoop blondie boy up, wrap a bathing suit around him and take him swimming! ta-dah! He loves it.
I float on my back with him on my chest and he pretends to swim. At least it is a temporary patch to my guilt.

So back to my point. I wanted to do a triathlon the day I found out I weighed 205 pounds. Granted I was 9 months pregnant, but still! 205 pounds?!! I spent the first 6 weeks of my sons life going for brisk walks and trying to loose the weight. TOUGH job when you are sleep deprived. In the past two years I have gathered the courage to go through a divorce and fight Grave's Disease. Last summer my body went hyperthyroid on me making me very sick. I lost about 2 pounds a day, and had no strength. I couldnt turn the shower off, or lift a gallon of milk. I also couldnt sleep. My resting heart rate was around 140. This is all behind me now and I am finally stronger than ever. Finishing this triathlon represents an end to an old way of life. A paradigm shift into a whole new life oriented around doing what's best for me, first. I hope I can really grasp onto this and weave this thread through my love life too.