In the Eye of the Storm

Most of you (at least my personal friends) know of the personal journey that has been mine and my son’s family for the last three weeks.  I can’t tell you just how much it has changed me as a person. I realize that it is most personal for me and that we are no more special than you. I choose to be transparent. I lived too much of my life in pretense. Maybe it’s an age thing, maybe not.

I’ve spoken of my issues with depression and ADD before. It does not define me. I am whole, I am free. We all face battles that are specific to us. We are all pilgrims in this journey called “life.”

I wish I could put into words how much the last 23 days has changed me, but I cannot. I can only relay the revelations that have been shown to me.  I will try to outline them here:

When you think that you have no more tears to cry, others cry for you.

When you have no more to say to God, others fill the gap.

When you worry as  a parent and grandparent about the financial aspect of the horror story that has befallen your child, others come through.

When you are at your lowest, you will get a text, facebook message, or face to face encouraging word that will illuminate your path and set your heart on fire.

Though I describe myself as a “social introvert” meaning I love to be around people, but I need my alone time to regroup and refocus, I have a better understanding of the phrase “no person is an island.”

We need each other, we do. I am fiercely independent and feel smothered by too much togetherness, but I have come to realize that there needs to be a balance. One has to establish boundaries to let others know when “enough is enough.”

I am not responsible for the way others perceive things. Their perception is their reality. I need to be true to me and let them deal with their issues. They may never deal with their issues and continue to blame me (i.e. my mother). I am okay with that and will not internalize it.

Thanksgiving is upon us. I am SO thankful for my true, genuine friends and their presence in my life. I am thankful also for those who sharpen me and challenge me to “turn the other cheek.” They illuminate my shortcomings.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -Joseph Campbell

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving,

Stephanie

 

I Have Learned

I’m over a half century old-an antique! During these 50+ years, I have learned a few things…

I have learned:

That life is best lived one moment at a time.

That things don’t always turn out like you thought- good or bad.

That some folks will change, and some will not,

And I am not in control of either.

That some people will come and others will go

And they all will/have taught me something.

That it’s good to have goals and dreams

And that some will support me and others won’t…

And that’s okay.

That time really does go faster as I get older

Or at least my perception of it does.

That children grow up fast

And they turned out good despite my failings.

That “things” don’t really mean too much to me anymore

But experiences do.

That some people will look me in the eye

And stab me in the back

But I will keep moving forward.

That in the end

The choices and responses I have are really

The only ones that matter.

That prejudice will always exist

And that I must check myself daily

To not get caught up in the fray.

That no matter how good I am to some people

Some are just incapable of reciprocation.

I must do good anyway.

That unlearning all of the preconceived notions

And judgmental doctrine about God & my worth

Will take a lifetime to completely get over.

That age and what society says about it

Are not in my favor as a woman.

I have learned

That I am free to be me

No matter what others think, no matter their opinion,

No matter their gossip.

It doesn’t matter.

The free me likes me the best.

The free me is able to look at others

More objectively and non judmentally

And love them in their freedom.

I have only to answer to me,

And to God.

I am without a shadow of a doubt

Convinced that He loves me

Despite the fallible me

I most often times see.

I have learned…

That rejection is survivable.

Even by a parent

Or child.

That dogs are just children with fur

Who love unconditionally.

This life is meant to be shared-

With those less fortunate,

And that includes animals.

That politics can divide people,

Sometimes irreparably-

And that is a travesty.

That running may not be the cure

Or answer for some people,

But it has kept me sane.

But most importantly

I have learned that

I have a contribution to make.

I matter to some

And for that

I will never apologize

For being me.

Older women don't follow the rules

 

I Yam What I Yam…(No Apologies)

I’ve been called lots of things-

A whore (my ex), Ms Aster (mother), a dog (classmates),

Among other (not so great) trappings.

Most recently a “braggart.”

Well, I suppose it’s so,

If to “brag” means the adjective

Of “excellent,” “first rate”

Holding myself to a higher level

Than the status quo.

You see, I’m no better than any other,

Not my sister, not my brother.

From dust we came and from dust

We will return,

The ground is level at the foot of the cross,

Six feet under or cremation and burn.

I only seek to demonstrate

That whatever point you are in life,

That it’s never too late.

If that is bragging, than I am guilty as charged.

Life is too short to squabble over semantics,

Whether I’m right and you’re wrong.

The world would be a much better place

If we would just stop and give each other grace.

For whether it’s you or it’s me,

We can work together if we

Agree to disagree.

I make no apologies for who I am

Or who I have become.

I respect your right to your opinion

For it is yours, and not the force of

Anyone.

Just be respectful of mine as well.

I will treat you with respect, be courteous to you,

Encourage you.

I may not understand where you have been or where

You are coming from.

I do try, and in the trying I do not hate you.

Hate me if you must, hate what I stand for,

Hate whom I trust.

I “Yam what I yam,” as Popeye would say.

Love me, or hate me…whore, Ms Aster, dog, braggart…

I know of no other way

Than to be who I am,

Carefree, FREE, unhindered, totally myself.

There was a time I lived in a shell.

My loyalty is to ME first,

For it is only THEN that I am capable

Of loving anyone else.

220161a0e1ea0d7c8ca2d7a008d39923

Stephanie

 

 

 

This Crazy Life

Eventually I will get back to “Living in the Present While Reflecting on the Past.” Ideas flow through my brain like marbles down a staircase. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Although, I think marbles are pretty. Most of them anyway.

I’m a feeler. You know the type-we like to FEEL things! I guess I have always learned about my world this way. The squishy feeling of play-doh, the cool grass on bare feet (except when you step in dog poop-yuck-squishes between your toes)! The feeling of the wind on my face, soft puppy fur, a cool shower after a run or working out in the yard.

I have always been a hair twister. Nervous habit maybe. It somehow is comforting. Some people smoke, some people twirl hair. Don’t judge me!!! Whatever it takes to calm the soul. Running calms my soul. Music calms my soul as well. Music is the universal language.

Have you ever been so down on yourself to the point of being disgusted? I have. I think being a mother is the most challenging, frustrating, rewarding thing in life. Yet-when you are a “feeler,” your soul doesn’t let you forget. A mother holds things in her heart forever-the good, the bad, the great, the sad. Things that she wished she could go back and change, yet she knows that life is not that way, and that she did the best that she could with the circumstances at hand at the time.

Mental pain-it is a real thing. It is much worse than physical pain. Physical pain eventually comes to an end-unless it is a chronic physical pain that you just get used to . I think this is why I have such a high pain tolerance. Physical pain is nothing compared to some of the mental anguish that I have been through. I think that is somewhat of  a good thing. It helps me get through life-this crazy life. And sometimes I feel like Bat Woman.

12079613_970326989677688_9066231221191873829_n
What I think I look like running

Hope to see you out on the roads or trails,

Stephanie

Living in the Present; Reflecting on the Past (Part I)

Today was a day of firsts for many, in my town at least. It was the first day back to school after summer vacation. What??? Wait a minute. The calendar still says August and the thermometer is registering 90 degrees. In fact, I cut my planned seven mile run down to four today because I didn’t get out until 1:00 p.m. I truly do not understand the concept of starting school this early. What ever happened to starting the day after Labor Day?

Ah, the ponderables of life! I don’t know when the powers that be decided to start school in the middle of August, but for the record, I think it is ridiculous (Disclaimer: this is MY blog, with MY opinions. If you do not like what I say that is fine. Leave a comment and frankly my dear, I do NOT give one good DAMN)!

Okay, now that that is off my chest, let’s move on shall we? After seeing all the facebook posts of others’ back to school photos, I am SO thankful that that period of my life is over. It was fine at the time, because that was the season of life that I was in, but I do not miss it one iota! Thankfully, my kids are all grown and married. I have had an “empty nest” for quite some time. It is the natural flow of things.

I remember my first day of kindergarten. I DID NOT want to be there. I remember screaming and crying when my mom left. It was SO different than what kids experience now. It was in a little building called “Washington School.” Only kindergarten was held there. It was my first real social experience.

I can only recall a few things that happened there, like the boy eating the string when we were playing some game with marshmallows, and of course, the dreaded “nap time” on the mats. I always got in trouble for fidgeting and giggling. Such a concept, kindergarten.

At any rate, summer IS winding down. School starting at crazy times or not, some things never change and are not controlled my mankind. Take for instance this little guy:_20160816_201453

I say “guy” because it is the male that makes the loud shrill droning noise. “He” got in my house and was very noisy! He was whisked out and I found him dead the next day out in the yard (it is an educated guess that it was him). That familiar noise of the cicada in this part of the good old U.S.A. is a familiar sound of the end of summer. I always thought they were cute little creatures. Those big old eyes had me at “hello!”

It got me to reflecting on other aspects of summer as a kid. I don’t mind extremely hot weather that much because I didn’t grow up with an air conditioner for a good portion of my childhood. When we did get it, it was a window unit that froze the room it was in, but the bedrooms were still relatively hot. What was central air? Fans were put in the hallway to try to blow the cooler air to the bedrooms. Being overly hot and going indoors was a real treat. I spent most of my time outdoors riding my bike, going on adventures in the woods, going to the pool, playing in the hose, catching snakes and toads, or just hanging out. It was the best of times. Then when the frigid window unit made me too cold, I would go back outside to get warmed up!

Drive In movies were always a fun summer thing to do. My mom would pop big paper grocery sacks full of popcorn, load up the neighborhood kids, and we’d all go to the drive in. My mom made sure we had a fun childhood to the best of her ability, even though she worked full time.

I think about my parents a lot and how they have affected my life. My mother was 20 years old when she married my dad on his 30th birthday. Ironically, I married the first time at 20 and my daughter recently got married at age 20. The apples don’t fall too far from the trees evidently. My mother gave me her wedding dress from 1958  and I have had their cake topper for many years.

I look at these two people and wonder what they saw in each other. I heard so many stories growing up from my paternal grandmother (who was my primary babysitter), but I was a child. I know that my dad was married once before, very briefly. My childhood was pretty turbulent. Though I love these two people very much, their legacy lives on in their children-some good, some bad. It is by trying to make sense of the past that I am trying to make sense of the present.

Come on this journey with me, won’t you? Maybe you can add to the tapestry that weaves itself together in this thing called life. Maybe we aren’t so different. Maybe we can learn from each other. I hope so.

IMG_20160818_143022

I have 7 weekends of racing starting this weekend. Hope to see you out on the roads or trails!

Stephanie

Breaking Out Again (of this rut I’m in)

May  I be painfully honest? I have really not felt like running since Grandma’s Marathon on 6/18/16. In fact, I’ve really not felt like doing much of anything-except sleeping! It’s summer for goodness sake, what’s WRONG with me???

I tend to internalize crap that I shouldn’t. Like having a crappy race experience when I know I am capable of so much better! Oh there are other things like not hearing from my kids for weeks, worrying about my mother’s health, and thinking about the project I need to get done for work. Some things are out of my hands, this I realize. Other things, like knowing I should be training more (or better) are completely in my control!untitled (89)

I refuse to blame it on age, because I have always believed that age is a number. We get out of anything what we put into it. I know 90 year old people that have more energy and spunk than a lot of 40 year olds (and younger). I am definitely not a lazy person, but I have discovered that I am definitely one who gets bored easily. I thrive under pressure. I am always looking for that new experience and adventure.

I have never followed just ONE running plan. I tend to glean from a few different ones and adjust them to my schedule. I also admit, that as a nurse on my feet for 12 hours for 2 days in a row completely drains me mentally and physically. Running is usually my outlet, but then again, I have been in a rut of sorts.

So I decided that I needed something more. I need accountability to help me get through the rough spots. So once again, I hired a trainer to get me to the finish line of my next marathon pain free and under 4 hours. The last time I did this was early 2014 before my first Boston qualifier. It’s so easy to get lax when one doesn’t have someone pushing them and expecting more out of them. PLUS, when I have spent the $, I expect to get my money’s worth! It is definitely no quick fix. I MUST put in the work!

Variety is the key. I love being around people who are constantly trying to better themselves and do not accept mediocrity. The dumbing down of our society as a whole is so frustrating! I have mentioned before that I am SO thankful for the high school teachers who pushed me and didn’t let me get away with less than my best! I will forever be grateful for my college prep teacher who instilled in me a HUGE vocabulary!

So once again, discipline is key. July first will be the start of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. No more rest days when I need to be training. No more talking myself into less miles than I should be running. I need to “get out of my head” and be a little selfish with my time.

Would I like my kids to visit/contact me more? Certainly! Would I like for my mother to be completely healthy? Of course! But those are two things that are completely out of my control. What is in my control is the goals I have for myself and the steps it takes to get there. That means core work every day even when I’m sore and running when I don’t feel like it! 049c711c262d57cf3909b8a1cfa92bb7

Everyone experiences low spots in life, it is the human experience. Realizing that  you are not alone is a major step to breaking out of ruts, no matter what it may be. Maybe it’s not running. Maybe it’s life in general. The news media certainly doesn’t help with making our world a cheery place. Depression is real. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is treatable, and you are not alone. You are not a weirdo or a freak of society.

This month marks 7 years that someone I was close to chose to take her life. She is missed every day and her contribution to society is forever gone. It doesn’t have to be this way. Reach out-there are people who truly care and can help you through this rough spot.

Sometimes we can get so down on ourselves that we can’t see the beauty of our lives for what it really is. ALL lives matter. Whatever you’re going through, don’t let it defeat you!

“I choose to be strong by being soft and pliable rather than inflexible, brittle, and hard.”–Affirmation by Wayne Dyer from Living the Wisdom of the Tao, verse 76

Hope to see you out on the road or trails!

Stephanie

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255