Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

7:21 p.m.

Around 11:30 last night I realized I didn't write yesterday.
I was in the bed and very comfy.
Needless to say,  I didn't get up and write.

We are still at my mom's and will leave first thing in the morning to head home.
One of the things I like best about being at my mom's is the abundance of running choices. 

I can run on the Jemison Trail.
I can run in her old neighborhood.
I can run on the trails behind her current neighborhood.
Or I can run on 3 other trails that connect at the park where the trail from her neighborhood connects.

I've always loved running on trails.
I don't really know how to explain it.
I've long suspected it has something to do with the trees, flowers, softer running surface, scurrying animals, etc...I still suspect that.  But there's something more that I just recently discovered.

The day of the St. Jude's Marathon, I was a little panicky.  
I still like to run pretty much alone.  I don't care if someone else is with me technically, but I don't want to have to pace with someone else or worry about someone else.  I know that sounds selfish, but honestly, I'm doing good to keep my own self calm, much less having to worry with anyone else.  If anything, I'm sure I would slow someone else down.  I'm competing with myself if anyone...I don't want that to change.
For the St. Jude's Marathon, I had my oldest daughter and a friend with me. 
I was very worried that we would all get separated and by the time the races were over, no one would have phone power to contact each other.
I chose not to run with music the first 13 miles.  
I told myself that I would turn my music on and get lost in my head the 2nd 13 miles if I made it that far.

Running without my headphones ended up not being as big of a deal as I thought it would be.  
I was constantly surrounded by groups of people to see, scenery to keep my interest, and crowds along the way to communicate with.
I wouldn't have missed this for the world and will make sure I don't use my music during the first part of any future races.
Of course, I didn't make it the 2nd 13 miles so my phone was fine.
That's a story for another day...

After taking a week off from running to "lick my wounds," I ventured out to run a slow steady 3 miles.  
I looked everywhere in our house for headphones.
We have headphones in every drawer, in every vehicle, in every bedroom, attached to every phone...etc.
But I couldn't find one pair.
After threatening my youngest daughter, she finally produced a pair from the car that were the earphones with the flat heads that fall right back out of my ears.
The found earphones also were about as tangled as a "rat's nest."

I just said, "nevermind," and tossed them to the side.
I ran 3 miles that afternoon with no earphones.  
No music.
No distraction.
Just me and my thoughts.
And it wasn't that bad.
I did make a mental note to pick up more earphones since I didn't figure the gentleness of the night's run could be a norm.

The next night as I was getting ready to run I realized I still didn't have earphones.
Poop.
My dog Layla reminded me that she hadn't been for a walk in a while so I figured I'd take her since I obviously wasn't going to get in a very good run since I still didn't have earphones.
I fully expected to have a frustrating run where I had to focus on keeping Layla in line more than actually focusing on the run itself.
The run that night was probably the best run Layla and I have ever had.

The next night Layla went with me again.
After a couple of miles, I brought Layla home and swapped out for my daughter's dog Zeke and took him for the last mile.
He was a pest, but we still had a good time.

For short runs, I don't even look for earphones anymore.
Not really any need.
So, when we left for my mom's I didn't worry about whether or not I had earphones.

I pulled up to Jemison Trail that first morning and thought...well, no distractions...didn't think about that.
But, I just went.
Again, spectacular run...I even PRd the first mile.
WHAT?

The air felt so good, the sun was peeking through the trees, the water was high in the brook and running over the rocks...I could hear the water.  I could hear the wind in the trees and the sounds around me.  Some of the sounds were other people and many with their dogs.
I liked it.
I ran in the neighborhood without earphones.
I ran on the back trails without earphones.
I think I might be a no earphone runner.

I can see where I might want my earphones for longer runs, and I will definitely make sure I have them for the next half marathon and marathon.
But, for everyday, I kindof like just being in my own skin, being distracted by nature, and not trying to block everything out.

If you had told me 7 months ago, I would be at a place in my life where I didn't need to block everything out, I would have snorted sarcastically and probably even rolled my eyes.
7 months ago, I might have even cried because I knew my life had to change...but I wasn't sure how that was going to happen.

5 months of 2016 I drank.
7 months of 2016 I did not drink.

The 7 months have been much happier than any months I've had in a long time.
It hasn't been easy.
And the holidays have certainly been difficult.
But this decision probably saved my life.
It probably saved many relationships that are important to me as well.
There have been times where I would like to have a drink...times that most people say, "I need a drink."
But, I choose not to drink.
I wake up every day and choose not to drink.

I have a lot more trails to run.
See ya, 2016.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Choices

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016
8:28 p.m.

I'm pretty brain dead tonight.  We stayed up way too late last night, slept in until about 8:30 a.m, went running on the Jemison Trail around 10:00 a.m., hair cut and colored at 1:30, and lots of eating in between.
Birmingham has some fabulous eateries...all around the area, and we partake freely when we are here.
My mother has lived here as long as I've been married so we've built a list of favorites that would take a month to cover if we were determined to eat everywhere every trip.

This Christmas trip is in shifts...our days of having everyone in the same place at the same time for Christmas are probably over.
That's actually ok with me because I think we are better together when we don't try to force things.

Ed's family's time is Thanksgiving...and that's at our house...pure chaos but no gifts and plenty of room to move around.  Kids can play outside and act like maniacs if they want.

My time with my brother and his family is usually summer vacation. We haven't tried to force Christmas in a long time.

Ed's mom finally realized this year that the giant Christmas with everyone hiding in the corners of the den with paper flying and kids tripped and screaming and everyone getting gifts just to get gifts is really just a waste...and that we could probably all enjoy Christmas with her a little more if we could spend a quiet afternoon or meal with her without the pressure of gifts for people we don't know.

My mom seems to have realized it too...although her Christmas has never been about chaos.
But my older daughters are young adults. I can't force them to be anywhere anymore.
I was lucky to have them at my house for 24 hours for Christmas.  
And one day, I may have to let go of that.

Time passes and people change.
We move into new seasons and remember the past fondly or not so fondly.
I'm not sorry to see some traditions go...others, I remember with melancholy, but I truly don't wish them back.

One of my most favorite Christmas memories was when Whitney was a baby.  She was born in August, so she was only 4 months old. She had woken up at 5 for a feeding and was asleep in my arms in front of the twinkling Christmas tree lights before anyone else woke up. 
We just sat there together...her, warm and snuggly and content
me, warm and snuggly and content too.

I've always tried to find peace.
Quiet and contemplation.
Peace of mind.
Peace of environment.
Peace in my thoughts.
Peace in my actions.
World peace.
Peace.

Wherever I go, I want it.
Peace is elusive.
Or is it.
Could it be there the whole time...until we look hard enough for it.

Lara Casey says in the chapter I'm reading today that Jesus never said, "Follow your dreams" or "Follow your heart."

He simply said
Follow. Me.

Are we trying to force peace?
It's probably time for us to realize that's not going to happen.
Peace isn't forced.
It can't be. 
Peace has to be a choice.
We make a choice even when we choose not to.
(My mother said this tonight in the car on the way back from dinner...I was full of pasta at the time and my brain felt mushy...but she's right.)
We all make choices.

I'm not in AA, but one of the steps of AA is to make amends to all those you've wronged.
I haven't wronged anyone per se...but I have not forgiven those who from my perspective have wronged me. 

The high school soccer coach who belittled my daughter in public bc she didn't understand what a panic attack was...and who now goes to my church.
The English teacher who assumed I knew choices were being made and called me out on it...even though I naively but truly had no idea what was going on.
The boss who overlooked my husband in favor of his best friend.
The friends who were friends but are now not.
The girls who were not good friends to my girls growing up.
(I'm beginning to realize as I get older that my girls could very well be these girls for others as well).
The young men in my daughters' lives who've not treated them well.

I'm sure we all have these lists.
I've spent a lot of time disliking these people, maybe even hating them.
A lot of energy has been wasted on people from the past.
I look for peace, but in these circumstances I have chosen not to find it.

8:51

Going forward, I'm choosing Peace.
I can't do that by myself.
I have to choose Him.
That in itself will be choosing Peace.



8:58

Discussions - the Mother Daughter Kind

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016
9:32 p.m.

I'm at my mom's tonight...with my oldest daughter. 
Our family is a happy one...with its quirks of course as are most families.
As my two oldest daughters 24 and 22 venture into adulthood, we are playing with roles to see where we are now almost daily.
Both have graduated from college and moved away
And then moved back again.
One moved away again.

While our adult children moving back in with us was certainly not our first choice, I've been making the best of it.  
As much as I can anyway.
It's hard to go home.
And I remember that just as much as anyone.  I moved back in at home for a few months before I got married.

We're dealing with our own stuff
aging
aching
wrinkles that weren't there yesterday...even though we swear they don't bother us
coming to the realization that at almost 50, we're thinking very seriously about retirement.

They're dealing with stuff we already dealt with.
starting life
what is life?
who will they start it with?
Will they ever find that someone?
They have college degrees...now what??
They didn't realize everything cost so damn much.

And then, there's the 12 year old, who's just happy to be here...
playing soccer
talking with friends
planning stuff
listening to music
leaving stuff all over the house
setting the table

Somehow, somewhere we meet.
It's difficult.
Some more than others.

9:40 p.m. (8)
Mom just walked in to comment on my pajama pants.

"What are you writing?" she asks.

11:55 p.m.

Mom just went back downstairs.
:)  

She spent a good bit of time up here with me going through old sweaters in her closet.  
Mom has been a self-sufficient woman for quite some time now and has always enjoyed a little shopping.
When she finds things she likes, she goes ahead and buys them in a couple of colors. 
That habit has created a surplus of certain items  as you can imagine.
Tonight we went through sweaters and discussed boots that she may or may not have given me a year or so ago.

She can describe the boots to a T and even describe the day she gave them to me, other items she gave me that day and the boxes the boots were in and where those boxes were placed.

I have no idea what she is talking about.

My oldest just called out to us from her bedroom at Mom's house to ask us if we knew that Debbie Reynolds died today.

I didn't know, but Mom did.

Mom said, "She was just a mom."



12:03 (16)

I was reading a book tonight by Lara Casey where she talks about truly loving unconditionally.
Just loving.
Giving, giving, giving, and giving some more.
No matter how it's received or whether or not you're ever thanked.
And even if you are not thanked, knowing that you really are.

I can't think of a better analogy for a mother daughter relationship.
Giving.
Giving.
Loving in ways authentic to the person doing the loving.
That love being accepted by the others...
Possibly not even really understanding.
But, not really caring whether or not you do understand.

To lose a mother
Or a daughter.
We have to someday...we know that.

12:09 (22)

That doesn't mean we have to like it.
Or that we're ever prepared for it...or even should be.



I think we'll take a picture like this tomorrow...
Don't you know that each of the mothers and the daughters cherished this photo?

12:14 (27)

Life is hard.
Some days are harder than others.
I'm pretty sure this is the way life is supposed to be.  
I hope so anyway.

12:17 (30)



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Princess is Dead

4:35 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016

"Shame is not something I aspire to."

Carrie Fisher said this in Sept. 2016.  
Carrie Fisher said a lot of things.
She was not a bullshitter
And it freed her.

As I was scrolling through my online friends' posts last night, I came across a post from someone who posted about her sobriety anonymously.  
Someone she knew had found her social media account and started following it...and she was freaking out. 
I get that.
I really do.
She was trying to decide whether to shut down her account completely, keep posting and being honest, or what?  

4:39
"post from someone who posted..." oh brother.

Sorry, English teacher disease wants me to go back and edit but I shall forge ahead through my 30 minute commitment to myself.

Oy

I don't share everything with everybody.
And this is exactly what I told her.
Each person has to decide what she is comfortable sharing and when. 
I don't think that's a decision anyone can or should make for someone else.

This journey...mental health...addiction...is a personal one.  So far I don't believe that there is a textbook version of the illness or recovery.  
Some people say we should share everything to help others.  And I see that point.  I do.
Which is why most of us in this galaxy far away choose to post somewhat publicly to begin with.
But the structure of that is shaped differently by the person on that journey...and should be.
Our sobriety is the most important thing.
Whatever it takes to protect that is what we have to do...
So, while we strive to help others...we can't do that if we don't take care of ourselves. 

I'm still learning.
I was scared to comment to others at first in fear that I would say something "wrong."
But, what if there isn't something wrong.
What if everything we have to say touches someone?
Not everybody.
But someone.
Doesn't that someone need to be reached as well?

Could it be possible that mental illness and addiction are so prevalent today because we try to apply rules...a script...imagine how it would feel to not follow the rules of mental illness...to not fit the characteristics of an addict even though you know you are one.
So now, you're not just messed up...you're really messed up.
You don't even fit the profile of a messed up messed up.
Yeesh.

4:48

So who do we tell?
Whoever we feel led to tell...whoever we want to tell, however we want to tell it, whenever we want to tell it.
And, then we don't tell it if we don't want to.
Period.

It's how I feel anyway.

4:50

When it comes down to it, the person is the one who has to come to terms.
The person lives it

5:02

Me.
My life





5:05


Monday, December 26, 2016

Tending


11:15 a.m. Monday, Dec. 26, 2016

I'm writing.
For 30 minutes.
Every day.
Y'all ready?

As much as I have loved Christmas, the peaceful, lighted, family at home, giving gifts, focusing on Jesus, I've had a hard couple of days as well.  
Two nights I've struggled to sleep.
Never in my entire life have I really struggled to sleep.  
I'm one of those people who can nap during the day (and I mean an hour at least) and then go to sleep at a normal time in the evening and sleep some more.

Normally a shot or two of tequila would take care of that just fine if and when it ever happened.
But, that's not an option anymore.
I choose for it not to be.

One thing that helps tremendously is the online communities I've not exactly joined...but am keeping an eye on just the same. 
At 3 a.m. this morning, as I scrolled through IG, I found several others who were struggling...not necessarily at the same time as me but posting about their struggles, the whys, the wherefores, and then other members of the community posted back in encouragement. 

My quiet husband, one incredible friend, and the online community that expects nothing from me in return have been my saving grace on many occasions. 

I have lots of goals for 2017, but I'm not going to stress myself out by trying to list them and check them off the list.  I will work through the goals as I can handle them. 

Today looks better.  I'm kindof off schedule just because I slept late since I didn't go to sleep till later, but that's ok too.

11:31 a.m. 
This is harder than I thought...:)  I have plenty to say...


11:41 a.m. 
Found picture of cat typing on the web...
See what I did there?  

The title of this post is tending bc one thing I'm going to try and do is "tend" to some things on a daily basis. 
I think that "tending" or having a live list of active things I can do will help me channel my energy to positive things rather than get bogged down in my brain and slip deeper and deeper into negative thoughts, anxious thoughts, and even the depression that has been finding me lately.

I truly believe one of the reasons I've been "feeling" so profoundly lately is because I no longer use a numbing medicine.
I feel it all.

In a weird way, alcohol is not necessarily my problem.
The depression and anxiety are.  The alcohol just exacerbated the problem.  
Just.
Alcohol so just exacerbated the problem that it also became a problem.  
So a domino effect I guess.

I have no idea.
I'm just typing.

11:48 a.m.

The alcohol made the feelings stop.
For a while.
But, truly, as packaged as it sounds, when the high of the alcohol wore off, those problems were still there...and it became apparent very quickly...that I was cultivating another problem on top of the already existing problem. 
Two very serious problems. 

Honestly, it's a wonder I'm still in one piece...and that I didn't lose a lot in the process.

Honestly.

I've read about so many women who've lost so much...are truly at a rock bottom that I cannot even fathom.
My own rock bottom was difficult enough...and still is. 
The guilt associated with how my drinking on an off for the last 10 years may have affected my daughters' lives is something I've got to come to terms with still.
Still.

Those relationships are still intact, but I wondered last night in all my late night pondering if it's time for me to let go a little more with the two oldest. 
They are young adults with their own dreams and plans...I need to let them live those dreams and plans a little more.
I have dreams and plans of my own, you see. 
And I need to quit worrying about how the past has affected them. 
 I can't do anything about that. 


Serenity.

12:00