Transitions and Intentions

2013 can really be summed up as a year of transition. It’s felt like crisis management much of the time. Real or imaginary, I’ve managed to make it through the crises of 2013.

Transition

It’s moving away from this constant battle to be better, do better, have better. It’s leaving behind my own expectations for what life is suppose to look like. It’s getting out of my own way and allowing life to occur the way it should. It’s facing forward toward what is coming, ready to take it all straight on. It’s about only glancing into the rearview to check myself. It’s about stitching closed old wounds and stopping any lingering blood letting from them to allow myself to be healthy for what lies ahead. What is ahead is what matters.

Intention

2014 is going to be a year of intention for me. I am setting that out here and now. I will not live this year by responding to what is happening around me but instead by making things happen. I will accept responsibility for my actions, and I will learn to graciously accept praise as well. What happens from here out is because I intend for it to happen.

-To Infinity and Beyond

God Grant Me the Serenity

Today marks one year sober for me.

I never thought that would be a big deal. I never thought I had a drinking problem. I was more of a problem drinker. You know the type…drinks when they have problems…drinks when the problems are solved. Weekend warrior. Binge Drinker. Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t a means to cope with my emotions. I was never an alcoholic, but that’s not an excuse for my behavior. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

I never really made a conscious decision to stop drinking. Well, sort of, and I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s odd that the more my life started to crumble the less I wanted to drink. It just sorted faded out as a part of my former life. I have The Big Man Upstairs to thank for that. (By the way-I stopped drinking and the weight dripped off of me like water. Alcohol makes you fat folks.)

This weekend marks another pause in my life from a year ago as well. I closed on my house a year ago this weekend. I had tickets to see Kevin Hart and went out with someone I really cared about to celebrate. We had a great time. I no longer have contact with this person and that really, really hurts. That was the last time I had drinks. I was dreadfully hungover for an extended period of time after only a couple of drinks (and I was pretty buzzed after only a couple of drinks). My conclusion is that a medication I had started to take (and still do) must interact with the alcohol. I very rarely was drinking at that point anyway, and that was the last straw. It wasn’t worth it to be sick.

There’s several memories tied to this weekend in May. I lost my dream of home ownership, but I could be done with the house and move on. I had a fantastic time with someone I really cared about and now am not on speaking terms with. We were actually very close to a shooting in the parking lot of that Kevin Hart show and got blocked in by the crime scene investigation for a while before we could leave.

When I look at where I am today vs a year ago it just seems surreal. That was the point I thought my life was maybe going to settle some. So, so much has changed since that point. There have been moments in the last year, especially in last 6 months, when I didn’t know up from down or right from left. There was more than once when I didn’t get out of bed for multiple days except to walk the dog, and if I hadn’t had to that, I wouldn’t. But, I’m still here. I’m still figuring it out day by day. And never once in the last year did I try and wash my problems away with a bottle.

A Day of Firsts

I threw myself waaaaaay out of my comfort zone this morning. Believe it or not folks, I am not comfortable talking to strangers, especially making small talk. I hate making small talk with people I know really well, but even more so with strangers. I deeply fear embarrassing myself  somehow in front of people I don’t know. I do realize that is illogical. Depending on which point in my life you met me (if we know each other IRL) you may or may not find this fact hard to believe. This is obviously a contributing factor in my social isolation problem and thus lack of friends. It is also certainly not helping me notice any potential dates either.

Today, I threw all caution to the wind, got up at 5:30am (I know, right?), and met a group of strangers on the streets downtown. The local running/fitness store put out a call for water stop volunteers for today’s Race for the Cure last week, and I signed up. My OCD self was even the first one there. We filled up water cups and passed them on to the racers and walkers and generally cheered with great enthusiasm to encourage people along. I may not be much of a runner, but I do love exercise, and I know how great it feels to have someone cheer you on as you go.  After the race we cleaned up, and that was that. Did I make a new BFF? No. But I made a babystep out of my comfort zone and met people with a common interest.

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After lunch I went to Loft to see about pants for work. It has been a good long time since I bought new pants from a store and not second hand. My weight loss and body reshaping adventures have precluded me from spending any significant amount of money on pants that may not fit for very long. I decided that I am officially ready to buy NEW pants. Loft was on the agenda for today. Armed with a half dozen pairs of size 4 pants, (and a few tops because you have to have tops to go with the pants, right?) I hit the dressing room.

Epic Fail.

Every pair of those stupid pants were too big. I don’t mean a little too big, I mean falling off at the waist. Even the petite size 4’s I tried on today were too big.  Now mind you, I have just given away/consigned most of my size 6’s. Most of what I have are 4’s and the fit is ok.  I’ve been measuring myself regularly out of curiosity if going GF would change my waist line, and I’ve lost a half inch in 3 weeks. That’s not enough to do this. I seriously think that Loft has done what I believe many stores are doing now: expanding the definitions for what each size is based on the average sized American woman today. All that aside, I still need pants. I grumbled back out to the floor and to the one rack of trousers I really liked best. No size 2’s. No petite sizes at all. Are you ready for this? I sure wasn’t. Image

The size 0 fit.

I had to ask the sales girl 4 times if she was sure they weren’t too tight. I didn’t have to hold my breath to get into them but they don’t require a belt either.

Shopping is still an emotional experience for me in a lot of ways. I’m not sure that I can explain how it makes me feel to say I own a pair of size 0 pants that fit. Sure, it’s a good thing, but it’s an emotionally heavy thing too. For someone who couldn’t wear the clothes the “cool” girls did (cool =pretty) as an adolescent because they didn’t come in my size, this is so odd. I remember being so thankful for Lane Bryant because I could get things in the smaller sizes there that were trendier at least. It is just odd.

I think in some ways my identity was tied up in that fat girl. Loosing her has been like loosing an old friend. It’s not the same face in the mirror. It’s not the same clothes in the closet. The fat was an armor against the world, a buffer for me. There is a reason for the stereotype of fat people as funny. I was always SO over the top outgoing that I hoped people would like me and be attracted to me for my personality and see past the fat. I’ve noticed that the less fat I am, the less outgoing I am too. However, the loss of fat also has occurred over an incredibly difficult transitional period for me too, so the correlation is not direct.

My sweet college roommate Alisha posted this quotation from the amazing Gilda Radner on facebook this morning, I think it really serves to summerize my place right now well. I’m not as content as Ms. Radner appears to be, but I am understanding this concept of  “not knowing” somewhat better.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity. ~Gilda Radner

Fitness Goal Met

This week I accomplished a goal I never thought possible.

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I finished a 5k.

I won’t say I ran a 5k because I didn’t run it all. I ran more than I walked, but not every step. I never, ever, ever thought I would run anything, let alone a 5k and I did run probably 2/3 of it. Maybe I even ran a little more. It wasn’t the fastest time in the bunch, but it wasn’t the slowest either. It was the fastest I’ve ever done, and I beat the goal I set for myself by 3 minutes. I am pleased.

Not only did I finish this 5k, I trained for this 5k. I started training about 10 weeks ahead of time. I made a plan, and I stuck to it. It sucked at times. I realized that my body is in pretty crappy shape for running. I may be in the gym 4 days a week lifting weights and doing cardio, but my joints were not prepared for pounding the pavement (or treadmill).

Even when I hurt myself I stuck it out and got back on the treadmill and got back at it. A few days of rest and back to the grind.  I maybe wasn’t able to make it the full 5k running, but I walked it out each time. It certainly was a new kind of experience for my body to train for an endurance event rather than the burst of energy expenditure of weight lifting.

The Color Run was the perfect first experience at a 5k. There’s a reason they call it the Happiest 5k on the Planet. You can’t NOT have fun doing this.

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And I can’t end this entry without saying a big thank you to my BFF Kim for nudging me along into this. I would never have believed fitness could be this much fun.

Life Without Qualifications

“8 months sober”
-today’s facebook status

I started to qualify that with something else. I started to say something like “8 months sober. I know that’s not much, but it’s a start” or “8 months sober. I know a lot of people will see this as condescending, but I really don’t care if you drink.” Then I realized something. I don’t have to qualify my life (or my facebook status updates) for anyone. If someone wants to judge me for today’s post, than that is their problem not mine. Sure, there are other people with worse problems. Sure, there are people who will think I am being holier-than-thou about alcohol. I don’t really care. Life is what it is, straight forward. There is nothing to read into that sentence, no inference to be made, no hidden agenda, no passive aggressive message, no code words. It means what it says. It has been 8 months since I had alcohol. Anyone who tries to read more into that than is there is the one with a problem, not me. This must be what it is like to stop denigrating myself. It’s my life and I don’t have to qualify it as anything else. What an interesting concept.

Coloring on the Blank Pages of Life

When I was little I liked coloring books. Know why? Because the “art” was already laid out for you. All I had to do was pick up my crayon and color inside the lines and I had an instant masterpiece. There wasn’t any creativity or real talent involved, just fill in the blanks. Even better was color by number because those told you what colors went in what areas so it was guaranteed to come out looking just perfect. No surprise that I am still a “rule follower” personality type, huh?

I’ve come to realize that for the first time in my whole damn life I’m coloring on a blank page. And it scares the shit out of me.
Life is suppose to follow the plan:
*graduate high school…check
*go to college…check
*graduate said college…check
*get married…check
*get a Master’s Degree…check
*get a good job..check
*buy a house and get a dog…check
*have a baby and live happily ever after…oops.
The plan derailed. No mention of my big fat divorce in that plan.

My coloring book life had a misprint, but I feel like I picked the pages up and stuck them back together as best as I could at that point. I started a new book and a new outlook. This book looked a little more like connect the dots then color by number, but I was learning to be ok with that. I’ve never been one to accept change easily (and that my friends is the understatement of the year) but I had a rough idea of where I was going and I just had to work a little harder to make the picture appear.

Now that there are no more dots to connect and no more pictures to color I’m left with blank pages in my coloring book. For the first time in all of my 30 years I have no clue where I am going or what I am doing. I have a degree and a job. I have the most supportive parents on the planet. But otherwise it’s page after page after page of blank paper. I have no guidelines on where to go. A lot of people would find this really exciting, a “choose your own adventure” situation, to continue this terrible metaphor. Me? I’m scared out of my mind. I feel lost without a plan. I will let go of the anger and bitterness and resentment of not being able to connect all of those dots when I thought I was remaking my coloring book. It gets a little easier as the days pass. But the emotion looming is just the simple fear of the unknown on all those blank pages. I’m not one to travel without a map, and life is a pretty big adventure to tackle without an itinerary.

15 years

*disclaimer* this is painful. damn painful. I’ve had a damn painful year and a half and this week has taken the icing on the cake. I’m not one to typically wallow in self pity. I’m not asking for pity. I’m damn sure not asking for advice. I guess this is one of those times where I just need to get something off my chest. For those who know me personally, I’ve not published this on facebook for a reason. Please respect that. While the internet is a very open place, my little blog here is a little less known about than that is within my personal circle. And if anything on my blog is personal, this is.*

15 years ago was half my lifetime ago. It seems like so long in the past and in reality it is. I was taken back 15 years this week to one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced when dejavu struck and it happened again. 15 years ago I was 15 years old and I met this boy, not an uncommon thing to do. He was funny, he was smart, he was kind, he was thoughtful, he was super cute, and he looked at me the same way I looked at him. We struck up a relationship as teenagers do. There was some on and off, as teenagers do, but it was good. It was sweet, it was innocent. It was based in an amazing and beautiful friendship. It was clear from the get go that this boy was different and what was between us was different. And then it ended. He had to go back to his childhood love he told me. I was 17 when it ended and was devastated. I still remember the feeling. But every teenager has to go through this, I suppose. There was a traumatic moment for me later on when I knew for sure that any possibility of a romantic future between us was done, but eventually even that pain subsided. We remained very close friends however. He was best friend, and I was his. I told you, this.boy.was.different.

I moved on. I met the most awesomest of awesome fellows. I eventually married this fellow, and it was great. We had a very happy marriage. I lost touch with that first boy. It always pained me to not have him in my life anymore. My husband knew of my close relationship with him and knew I was hurt to not have contact with him. But I focused on my marriage. We had a lot of fun. My husband was an amazing guy. He was sweet, romantic, thoughtful, handsome. Anything any girl could want. Notice the use of the past tense? Our marriage ended a little over a year ago. It was no one’s fault. It just was what it was. I think we both felt the tension rising. We remain good friends and share joint custody of our dog. I have no hard feelings and I hope he doesn’t either.

Along comes this little voice on the other end of the phone one little afternoon. I kid you not that my heart skipped a beat. It was that boy. That boy from 15 years ago. Over 7 years had passed since we last spoke. We spent hours on the phone catching up. Hours in single phone calls. Our first reunion visit lasted way too long while we laughed and sobbed over things that happened between us that we both needed to get out in the air. I felt like I was seeing and hearing a ghost. A funny, smart, kind, thoughtful, and still cute as a button ghost. You know you are best friends with someone when you can go 7 years without speaking and then pick things up right where you left off.

Over the last year that boy and I have done a lot of talking and some visiting. My heart crept back up. Could this really be real this time? We hashed and hashed. I held my heart tight to me for a long time until I felt satisfied that things might really work out. We talked about long term plans. Nothing quickly, but eventually. He came to visit with my parents again for the first time in 15 years. We had planned a little vacation over the Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate my birthday. I was the happiest I had been in a long time.

And then this week that came crashing down with a severe case of dejavu. Once again I was 17 years old and hearing the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, except this time it’s about his son. He says he has to make another shot at a relationship with his ex for the sake of his son because the only way he can be with him is to be with her. That’s not love that’s blackmail. And believe me I told him that. I doesn’t really matter what I said or say. It’s a repeat of my teenage years all over again. But just like a bone that has been broken, my heart was weaker in that spot marked with his name and it broke easier and more deeply. I let myself be taken in. I allowed this to happen.

Where does this leave me? Less than a week before my 30th birthday with a canceled hotel reservation and very puffy eyes. I am once again picking up the pieces of a life that I have cracked.