Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yeah, but a hero?


Recently, an NBC article talked about a nurse who agreed to take in the son of one of her patients. When the nurse met the dying mom, they felt an instant connection.  The cancer was pretty severe but  the patient, with a mother's instincts, instantly knew the nurse would be a perfect fit to raise her child when she passed.

I made a comment on the website that I had a somewhat similar experience. I was surprised by how many people made comments on my post. I had initially written to wish both women well. Even with an internet full of trolls, with the exception of one woman? The posts were incredibly supportive.

And some of them were also kind of weird.

Not just the people on Today.com but lots of my friends say phrases like,

"You're such a good person."

Am I? I mean I am, but not because I became a mom. I'm a good person for a lot of reasons, most of which have very little to do with being a mom by choice. 

"There is a place in Heaven for you."

This one is particularly interesting, as I am not sure where I stand on the Heaven concept. I just hope I see Candace and others I love, wherever I end up landing.

"Do you know what an amazing thing it is that you have done?"

This one truly puzzles me. Seriously. I don't get it. I want to tell these people that I am the lucky one. I am the one with the incredible daughter. I am the one who gets to see my best friend's eyes reflected at me every single day. I am the one that gets to take my kid to a bar, because I am a good parent, darn it, so she can get her jersey signed by the hockey players she thinks are 'cute'. Me! How did I get so lucky?

Yes, there have been difficulties. Lots of them. And power struggles. And 'Seriously? Just empty the dishwasher!' comments...among many many others.

And yes, as much as my kid would like it (and believe me she would), every day together isn't full of Pegacorns and sparkly rainbows.

But I truly feel like I am the winner in this story. Even if it means my life is now more complicated. Certainly finding a date is a bit harder and finding someone who wants to navigate my busy life with me is more complicated... But honestly, I don't care that much. I had that crazy all encompassing love and it crashed so hard, and so disrespectfully that really - I feel like an 80s Tina Turner song sometimes.

I'm not focusing on what is difficult - there's no time for that.

Right now, I am focusing on running every other day. Heck, yesterday I managed week 4 day 1 (c25k) on my first try. I assure you, I could not have done that a month ago. It's a slow process, but I keep plugging along.

Right now, I am happy recognizing my family life is quite full. My joy is already doubled and my sorrow halved - all because I have another human being that needs me and that I need as well.

So no, I don't think I'm a hero. I don't think I'm special. I think I have a tremendous amount of love to give, my friends and family know that - my best friend especially knew that. And I feel fortunate that I have a kid in my life that wants and needs that love. It has given me direction, helped me mature and helped me make difficult decisions because my life is no longer just about me - it is about having a family and figuring out what is best for that family.

Right now, my life is about love. Or as Tina would sing, "What's Loooove got to do, got to do with it?

I think I'd tell Tina... 'everything'.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Lip-sync for your Life!


Let me just admit right now that I am a fan of RuPaul's Drag Race. My daughter and I binge watch it. At the very end of each show, two of the contestants are forced to lip-sync to a dance club song (you know ala Donna Summer crooning MacArthur Park is melllllting in the sun...) and the winner gets to stay and the loser must gather her makeup and 'sashay away'.

I started running three weeks ago. Running is a ridiculous word and not even remotely accurate. I don't even think I can fairly call it shuffling. It is a slow process. My body has a long way to go before it is ready to 'run' anywhere. I pray the zombie apocalypse can wait at least a year to give me some time before I have to worry about running to save my life. It'd be better if the zombies were drag queens and I had to lip sync to save my life. Now that I could really manage. Heck, I could rule that future world of zombies lulled into submission by my lip syncing.

I digress to a better place - a world where life depends on one's ability to lip sync to be healthier and stronger. Too bad life isn't like that and being healthier isn't that easy.  For some, with a lifetime pattern of self care, perhaps it is easy; for me, is it a true shift in mind-set. It is making myself get physical. It is pushing myself to compete in a 5M run in November (that I only agreed to because I thought it was 5K. Lori totally suckered me into that...) that looms ahead of me on the horizon taunting me.

I have been walking all summer and increasing my distance each week. Until I started to focus less on distance and more on intensity, I was up to three or four miles of pulling, I mean walking, the dog. When I made the shift to prepare for the event in November, I started using an iPhone app for the couch to 5K (C25K) method of training. The first two times weren't really hard, but then my body realized what I was doing and went into revolt. I didn't give up, but decided that instead of pushing myself too hard, I needed to focus on just one week at a time. I did week one for two weeks until I was comfortable, now I am working on week two. I don't really care how long it takes me to get to week three. I will walk the 5M if I have to. The goal for me isn't perfection, it is finishing. However, I find that even as I choose to push myself to do this, old patterns fight in my head to re-establish themselves.

Do you remember my blog post about when I went into the store to buy bento boxes and freaked out that they were too small and I couldn't fit enough FOOD in there? Well, clearly there was enough food in there, and using those boxes for a while helped me eat smaller, healthier lunches, and overall portions. However, the there isn't enough mindset took me a while to get past. Two weeks ago, I had a similar experience that made me realize that old programming can be tremendously strong.

My friend Lori invited me to go cliff diving at a park in Anacortes. Neither one of us had gone to the lake before, but we were meeting her daughter who was going to show us the way. Lori, my daughter, and I, packed into her car and off we went. I wore my bathing suit, my hippy tye-dye dress, and flip flops. I was ready for swimming!

When we arrived at the park, we got out of the car and gathered our water gear.  I was ready! Until Lori's daughter told us it was about a two mile walk to the water.

TWO MILES???? WTH. No one told me I was going to have to walk two miles to get to the water!

I started to feel that familiar panic. The script in my head started to play the familiar tape of  I can't do it. It's too far. Everyone will make fun of me or worse pity me. I've been with partners in my life that ridiculed me for not 'keeping up' and partners that would walk faster than me when we'd go out, even when I asked them to slow down and walk beside me. All those thoughts played in my head.

All the jogging/running I have done over the summer meant nothing. All I could think about was that I had to walk two miles!!! The idea of walking that far truly terrified me. But my kid was there. And I was being a tantrum-throwing two year old. Lori even offered me better shoes, but I was all NO! and I'M NOT GOING (insert stompy foot here). Lori just looked at me, did her best to let me get it all out and then said, "Ready?" She was not putting up with my childishness.

Damn her.

So I started walking. In the hot sun. Through the woods. In my dress. And guess what? I was fine. I saw the lake in the distance and I thought woohoo! I'm there! Except I wasn't. It was another mile to where we were headed. But I kept going. In my stupid flip flops (and boys and girls, that is what pouting gets you - crappy shoes), I kept going. All the while, Lori kept my pace and let me blather on about my exes and about love and about life and whatever came into my mind. She just listened, pointed out some very insightful things, and let me distract myself. I kept going while everyone else went a bit faster and Lori, because she loves me, stayed at my side. Next thing I knew, we had arrived. It happened that fast. *poof* we were there.

And wow. It was glorious. The water was so flat and still. There wasn't anyone else there. The cliffs were high, but not so high you couldn't jump off them. I was hot, but not breathing hard. Not only had I made it, it wasn't even that big of a deal! All that panic for nothing. I took off my dress and flipflops and dove into the crisp, clear water. And it was cold. And it was stunning. And I remembered all those times as a kid that I had walked forever and swam for hours. And I wondered why I had forgotten all those moments in my past of being athletic and strong despite being a big girl.  I loved walking when I was a kid and I would take walks for miles and miles and hours and hours - by myself! Just because I could.

I realized, again, how difficult it is to shift a lifetime's worth of perspective. The perspective of I can't to the perspective of, I can.

And when the zombie apocalypse comes? I am going to sing, at the top of my lungs, ALL THAT SWEET GREEN ICING FLOOOOOWING DOWN..." as I do not sashay way, but instead outrun them. Because seriously. I should be able to outrun zombies.

I think that is a realistic goal.