adventures in quarantine, Adventures in running, Uncategorized

Anything but empty.

I let the universe take care of me today. I let the people who love me turn my day around.

After I posted earlier, I went outside with the boys, but it wasn’t enough. My body needed to move. My mind needed to turn off. I employed R’s help with L and took off. I wasn’t even intending to run. I just needed to move.

I walked the first half, and then, suddenly, down a hill, barely with permission from my mind, my body started running. Experience tells me it was probably a minute thirty. It felt so good. Then I took off again after a short walk and that was probably 45 seconds. Then came the section I ran last night in two minutes. Today I timed it and it was a minute 45 and I didn’t want to forfeit the fifteen seconds, so I ran more. And then more. And again.

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Fucking two thirty! Amazing.

I needed a little extra walking time, so I added another side street, making the walk almost two miles.

I got home and my Chris was there, celebrating right alongside me. Fistbump explosions for days. Beaming with pride.

And then he let me just vent about my feelings. And then we came in and I needed to give a very dirt-covered L a bath. And I wasn’t expecting the company, but the company felt so fucking good and Chris and I just sat in the bathroom and kept talking while L took his bath.

He showed up for me so hard today. It means everything.

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Pick up the flashpoint.

I felt so much clearer after I wrote on Thursday. It was almost alarming how quickly I felt clear again.

I called the tax guy and made an appt for the following day and by 1:30pm yesterday, our taxes were complete and filed and printed. And I have a copy now that I can submit for my student loan deferment at the end of the month.

Breathing.

I also had some calming thoughts regarding L and my stress paths. It doesn’t really matter how these things unfold. I can do my part and everything else is out of my hands. Sure, maybe there was things I was “supposed to” do sooner. Or maybe those things are right on time. Even if they keep me (or L) from something else. How can we know what is supposed to be? Maybe everything that is is supposed to be.

So, I’m breathing.

And I still haven’t talked to Chris about any of it yet. Because life upheaval and his dislocated shoulder. But I feel better about it without the conversation yet and that is the point.

I haven’t even leapt into the dislocated shoulder conversation here!

It is finally (presumably?) back in place. He has an ortho appt in a couple weeks. He hurts a lot. (Understatement of the year). He can’t take the anti-inflammatory til he finishes the steroid or else it causes severe nausea. But here he is with unfathomable inflammation causing an incredible amount of pain. Furthermore, the pain leads to lack of sleep and the lack of sleep leads to seizure activity. He’s his own walking nightmare right now.

I’m in my element with all of this and I know all of it is completely out of my hands and so all I see in this situation is the universe saying to Chris, “I’m not making myself clear here, son” and then shazam! Clear picture comes into focus. Make boundaries (especially to protect you from you). Delegate. Let people help you. Learn new ways to realize your usefulness. Let who you are define you, not what you can and can’t accomplish with one arm.

And, honestly, I just feel blessed to be along for the ride on this one. Chris is kicking ass and taking freaking names in the self-development department. Yeah, it totally sucks and there’s some kicking rocks, but mostly? Mostly he is stepping up and well surpassing all I’ve always known he is capable of.

He was thrust into this seemingly impossible situation, and knew he had to shift mindset or drown. And in the face of it being so. freaking. hard., he is freaking doing it anyway. And I think that is so freakin’ awesome. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

We both have had such fundamental progress during this quarantine. We are thrivers. I’m so in love with us and our relationship and all the goodness we are capable of.

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It took some time to survive you.

I’ve been disconnecting my why and my who from my present the past few days.

I’m sure there’s a reason. I’m sure that reason is important. But I haven’t tread there yet. I haven’t come here to pick it apart.

I know part (most?) of it is stress. I know it’s some of the little behind-the-scenes stuff happening that is out of my control. Or was once in my control (sorta) and I didn’t fight then to turn overwhelm into action. And so now there are multiple overwhelm categories all sneaking to the forefront at once.

I could name them, but that is scary. I’m not there yet. Even tho I know it’s helpful.

So I’m checking them off slowly without naming them.

But even still, I find myself here, now, facing the fact that my why and my who have not been congruent with my relationship with food. And that’s okay. There’s no shame in that. It’s observation. And still, it’s my present truth.

And that’s not to say that has to be my truth the next time I eat or tonight or tomorrow. It’s just the truth of what the last couple days have looked like. And part of my personal development is that I’m self aware enough to notice and acknowledge these things, and then decide where I place my foot during my next step.

I’ve noticed and acknowledged the last few days. Of course I have! I no longer have the luxury of not seeing it. And still I’ve made the decisions that the ideal, future, healthy version of me would. not. make. And to make it worse, when I make the anti-me decisions, I tack on preposterous words like, “future me would give herself a break right now and eat this” and “future me would allow for self care to be this one cookie”.

FUTURE ME WOULD. NOT. SAY. THAT.

Future me would say, “find a different way, sister!” (Because future me will sometimes talk like Rachel Hollis and randomly call people sister.)

Future me would also take the time to write because it’s my therapy. Because it brings me back to me. Because it brings me closer to living and breathing my idealized me.

So I sit here writing. Because it’s important. It’s vital. I need it. And I take breaks for self care.

Today I took L to the doctor and re-set myself on a stress path. I need to solidify some research there and put pen to paper. That will help. Today I will also call the tax guy and re-set myself on that stress path. Actively being on those paths is a lot less stressful than knowing I need to get on them. My higher functioning brain knows this, but the whole rest of my being fights it.

And I should also talk to my husband and speak some stress paths because that may be helpful even tho I keep adamantly dragging my feet about it and it’s the very very last thing I want to actually do.

So. Time to jump.

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The voice that’s been calling me back home.

I had a panic attack this afternoon.

I feel compelled to write about it because I learned a lot of things. First, a panic attack is not failure. It is a lesson learned. Second, it’s not weakness. It is an opportunity to see how strong you were for so long until something got too big. Third, for me, it was a chance to see how far I’ve come.

In months and years past, a catalyst would have been icing on a cake that propelled me into yelling and shaming and damaging my relationships with the people I love the most.

Today, because of constant work I’ve poured into self-improvement, I felt all of the overwhelm, but I walked away. Never did I fall into a victim mentality because “no one helps me”. Nor did I walk toward anyone and spew venom. I didn’t do irreparable damage.

First, I asked myself why it hurt so much that it feels like my family isn’t showing up for me. And I listened. The answer was, even tho I’ve been showing up for myself, today I went a little too far showing up for someone else and it was at my expense. I hurt because I was mad at myself for not setting a better boundary.

Next, I asked myself why it hurt so much that I didn’t feel looked after. I listened for an answer. The answer was that, while it would be cool to have my family, or more specifically Chris, just omnisciently show up for me, it’s not reasonable. And just because sometimes I catch the glimmer of a grimace that he’s in pain and should ice his shoulder doesn’t mean he should catch all my cues. Hell, I may not even have clues. (And there are totally times I miss Chris’s clues.) Therefore, the answer to my question is that when I have needs, I need to voice those needs.

Today I had a panic attack and I invited Chris to sit with me. He showed up for me. I did it with him by my side. I didn’t have to feel alone.

Showing up for myself doesn’t just mean I run on run days no matter what. Part of showing up for myself means I tell other people what I need. I utilize my support system and let others help me when I need help.

Of course, it also means I get quiet and ask myself what I need. And then I listen and follow through.

I could view my panic attack today as a failure. Well. No. I can’t even do that. I don’t even have the mindset to view it that way anymore. I’ll say instead that, plain and simple, I had a panic attack today and it was a huge growth development moment for me.

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It may be quite simple.

What a strange and hard and beautiful weekend.

Friday was a long day after a long week. Saturday was me trying to learn to navigate in the face of all the everything….while also doing a 12 week goal challenge, maintaining my home, decluttering, mom’ing 24/7, attending virtual Al-Anon meetings, showing up for myself, backpedaling and flailing around in my progress, etc etc etc.

Saturday Chris and I successfully and safely walked through a conversation about overwhelm and needing help and support. Neither of us seemed to jump or get defensive and while I was reacting to the overwhelm, he wasn’t reacting to me and that brought us to a really great place.

I also talked to my sponsor on the phone for the first time. It’s something I wanted, but not something I felt “enough” to initiate. That’s an interesting thing for myself–not feeling my enoughness. I’m also navigating people and old friendships and new ones and common denominators and trying to feel a bit more whole. And I got to talk about that with someone who knows the right things to say back. Someone who is a good active listener and who can role model active listening. I need that. We talked for an hour on Sunday too. I could cry for how fulfilling it is.

Then Saturday night amidst all the pandemic and quarantine, we had a tornado touch down less than an hour from here. Downstairs we went at 10pm.

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Don’t let this happy face fool you. Just moments before, my sweet 75 pound pup had to be carried down the stairs because she was petrified.

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My favoritest girl. (And a trash run that needs to be made. Ha.)

The tornado (and R) helped me to realize that we need a better tornado plan. And I am ready to get back to work on the basement. I don’t know that it will happen soon, but I can at least put all that stuff in the car and make a trash run. Or I can start putting some of it out for trash little by little. But yes. No more basement stagnation, even with a bunch of other things going on. A five minute timer each day.

Overwhelm turned action.

Sunday brought us one last day of Spring Break downtime.

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The boys made a gingerbread cake and, later in the night–when it felt late and like the night should be wrapping up–S asked me to roast Brussels sprouts. I retorted, “help me then.” And he did! And we chopped together and took quality time and listened to Martin Sexton play on facebook and it was goodness and turned a hard weekend into pure beauty.

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Trace the moment.

Chris and I have a perfect place. He found it first. He shared it with me. It’s this little tucked away place that doesn’t even feel like it’s part of our town. Or our state. It’s our sacred place. It’s hitsuzen. We have to have a certain kind of weather for it tho and winter is often not it.

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A couple weeks ago it was perfect outside tho. Still snow on the ground, but the bike path was almost entirely clear of snow and ice. The air was crisp, but the sun was so warm that it didn’t matter.

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Despite the fact that the car had been making this weird noise, we risked the 20 minute drive to go for the walk. It was worth it to get that kind of time in that kind of place. A place that brings us back to ourselves. For me, it doesn’t bring me back to an older, idealized version of me or an older, iidealized version of Chris. It just always brings us to a more grounded place of our present selves. I think that’s what I always love most about it. The everything else falls away and we’re stripped down to our purest, naked selves and we can just be.

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We walked for maybe an hour and munched clementines and kiwi. We showed L all the cool things we love and he ooh’d and ahh’d the 50 foot wall cliff and the train tracks and the river and the trees.

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We stopped and marveled the sewer/tunnel pipe and L made up stories about it coming out into the river. And then he sang songs as we walked on.

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The day before this walk, we walked too. The weather begged our presence. Our relationship begged connection. We showed up. It’s the greatest thing we can do.

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We always walk back to us. This season has been filled with ebb and flow and pain and growth. Distance and connection. Falling away and coming back. As the earth warms again, I feel a tingling of change. There’s a buzz my skin feels. A fire sparking. Despite the ebbs–and there will always be ebbs–I can feel the flow’s energy building up momentum.

Yesterday Chris and I had a…discordance. It wasn’t an argument. It was just….an overwhelm of feelings and thoughts and fears. It was vulnerability and anxiety and honesty. In years’ past, it would have broken us. It would have been a full on argument. It would have been irreconcilable for hours, the day, the weekend. It would have been the thing that, Chris especially, wouldn’t have been able to navigate through. (I say Chris especially because for the most part, I lean toward compartmentalizing as an involuntary coping mechanism. I’m not bragging here…)

But yesterday, because we’ve both had so much growth–because he is diligently searching to reclaim his self–it was only discordance and an exchange. The moment of ebb made the subsequent flow that much more energized. It was like reaching hitsuzen without the walk.

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Why are you running away?

Part of my sponsee homework this week was to flesh out my higher power a bit more. Not necessarily to share with Beth, but to have a more tangible and articulated foundation for myself.

Chris and I had this two hour conversation tonight that rocked my night. I love those nights where we set up the computer to watch Heroes, but then fall into deep, connected conversation instead. The world falls away and it’s just him and me in this moment.

And it wasn’t until we had this two hour long conversation that I truly grasped the validity and necessity of forming and articulating your higher power. In part for myself, which I’ll expound on in a minute, and in part for Chris because he’s been in this process of working his fourth step for a couple months now. And it’s completely his journey and I want him to walk it as such, and at the same time, I know it’s been a hard process–one I don’t have experience to speak on–and it’s been on my radar that he hasn’t written anything yet. I imagine it’s a crazy hard thing to sit and explore and he’s so incredibly brave to even go there. Tonight, with our talking, as I articulated my higher power and he shared how he’s been fleshing out his own, I realized the beauty of the sequence of the first four steps.

How can you write out a “searching and fearless moral inventory” of yourself alone? That sounds terrifying and traumatic. That’s not a process I’d want Chris to endure without a solid higher power. You got a clear picture of your higher power tho? That sounds terrifying and completely doable. That’s the experience I prefer for him.

I haven’t done my fourth step yet. I’m not there. Tonight’s conversation was pivotal to all of this tho. I was saying how I had this solid higher power picture. I was saying my foundation is solid. So freaking solid. But also, I’m a sponsee for a reason and I don’t claim to know all the things. Beth wants me to be able to come to a point of articulation. Cool, I can comply with that. And I even said to Chris, “so while *I* feel I’m set with my higher power picture, Beth, she’s the poker and she comes in to poke at my views to show me what’s strong and what needs work.”

I know my place. Even when I want to snarkily boast about my evolvedness.

So I eloquently tell Chris about my higher power.

My higher power is the universe. I unquestionably view the universe as a thing that will always take care of me without exception. It is always looking out for my best interest, and the best interest of all.

As an added characteristic, I also view my higher power as a parent, who, when I come to it, vulnerable and broken and damaged and hurt, it will always show up with open arms, always wrap me in comfort and will leave no room for me to believe anything except that I am all-loved.

That is my higher power.

(Pretty cool, huh?)

And then, I played Beth in my head for a moment (poke poke poke) and considered “ahh, my higher power only works in the present.”

OH MY FREAKING GOD–

(No pun intended.)

I have spent all this time with a freaking kickass higher power and I only let him play with present me. Oftentimes I think about including him in future me stuff, but it’s not really in a tangible way. Never do I let him interact with past me.

This is where I call upon my inner Julie and allow her to say, “what would it mean to you that the universe was looking out for past Jill?” That past me-the scared little girl me–is safe with the universe. That she was being looked after back then, as well as right now–if I so chose to dive into the psyche of all that.

And I guess my immediate, involuntary response is, “Fuck you, you can’t be trusted. She got hurt and you didn’t look out for her at all.”

……

Well, that was unexpected. I probably have some work to do there. That was very honest and vulnerable of me. I was expecting to go somewhere else with all that. I was expecting that posing the question would bring a sense of relief and provide an immediate safe haven where past Jill could come out to play and heal.  I expected immediate growth here and the opportunity to wrap it up in a neat little bow and call it a day. Figuratively and literally.

Instead I think I’m just going to call it a day and sleep instead. And think on this again tomorrow. There is time for forgiveness in tomorrow.

xo.

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Illuminate the blackest nights.

It’s fascinating what a difference a day makes.

Thursday was a day. Thursday was such a day. It hurt. It was also a day of growth that propelled me into today. Maximum amount of growth from a maximum type of experience.

This morning someone said something that reminded what Chris and my communication looked like at the start of our relationship. There was an obscene amount of us being present for one conversation, but experiencing two wholly different conversations. Our very different sets of experiences and baggage provided very skewed filtered translations of our words.

I’d repeat back to him what he said, but really what I was repeating back was what I heard (how I translated it), and he wouldn’t understand what the hell I was talking about. Or worse yet, I’d tell him and he’d get mad I took it that way, which only served to make me feel more terrible. Or sometimes I would have said something once and maybe even off cuff, and then a year later he’d be like “well, I’ve never done this thing because this one time you said you didn’t like it”…. and I’d have no recollection of saying that and would have had no issue with this random thing he wanted to do, but had never done.

We spent a lot of time navigating that. Until we maybe didn’t have to navigate it so much? And we were just on the same page most of the time.

And then life, as it is wont to do, got bigger and deeper and more layered. And perhaps we took the communication for granted and the translators surfaced again unbeknownst to either of us.

There are things that I felt on Thursday–things I wrote–that are totally valid. And then there are other things that were filtered through a broken translator. Things that were filtered through pain I have compartmentalized and avoided. It doesn’t make them any less valid. It doesn’t make them any less real. It just makes them…not the truth.

Part of the defective translator is my long past experiences and apparently not having properly explored them. There have been times I felt slighted or dismissed or overlooked and I react from those moments. Not because I’m mad. But because it hurts. I support him because it’s in my nature to do so. I want to feel it in return. He is supportive in other ways, but it’s not the same to me.

Another aspect is a fresh wound. The fresh wound has been something I haven’t wanted to peel the bandaid off of to look at yet. I haven’tbeen ready. I don’t know what I’ll find exactly and also I don’t know whose help I’ll need to employ. Will a nurse do? Or do I need a surgeon? Can the wound be cleaned and heal with time or is the whole limb a lost cause? Will the body survive the loss of limb? So, I keep the bandaid on.

And mostly it is fine.

Every now and again “mostly” leaves and “not fine” shows up.

For now, I know that no matter the solution I choose for healing it, I need to make the choice soon.

I tangented tho. The point I was wanting to make is that Thursday I translated communication through my pain (and maybe Chris translated through his something as well) and I was inaccurate. He didn’t think the enneagram was stupid and he didn’t think me stupid for having interest in it. He took a quiz today and listened to some of the Rise Together podcast episode about it and seemed genuinely interested in it, just the way that I hoped. And I hoped it because he is such a bright light and for too long he has been trying to dim himself.

And I guess now begins some me/us work because all the things I’m feeling and protecting just under the surface only serve to dim bright light as well.

I’m nothing if not the girl who finally catches up to remember I practice what I preach.

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Tap on my window; knock on my door.

This hilarious thing happened. Where I was listening to the Rise Together podcast and Rachel and Dave were fucking geeking out about their enneagrams and I wanted in on it, despite having previously been vehemently (read: quietly) against taking the quiz. So I stopped the podcast and took a quiz. And apparently I had gone and decided some expectations beforehand because of all of my growth and accomplishments. I thought my results would give me further fuel to kick ass and take names amidst my personal growth journey.

And then I got a 2.

And I was like “what the shit is this?!”

Here I’ve been working on personal growth and growth mindset and so much me me me for a really long time and now I have this thing in front of me saying I do everything for everyone else and at my expense and to top it all off, I disrespect others’ boundaries.

I was not pleased.

To add insult to injury, I had been chatting with Chris about it beforehand and I felt like he had completely dismissed my everything about it. Which then triggered me to remember the random things he has dismissed in the past that mean something to me.

(Side story. The first time was back in 2014 when I went to a neuromusculoskeletal specialist (MD) who gave me an adjustment I was ill prepared for and I experienced my first…I’m not even sure what to call it. I had to navigate trauma that was released from my body. I sobbed. Like, sobbed. The doctor called me a delicate flower and he said it in such a sweet and loving way that he made me feel loved and worthy and strong in a way I had never felt before.

After I navigated this experience I felt so at peace and free and practically giddy and I relayed the whole thing to Chris on the drive home and he was so….mad. And he was so….oversteppingly protective. And then suddenly I felt invalidated and stupid.

This memory hurts. I know he never wants me to feel hurt. I know he wouldn’t want to be the thing doing the hurting. I also know that the reality is, we hurt people without realizing, especially when we ourselves are hurting.

I can view that part objectively. It doesn’t ease the hurt. Both things exist simultaneously.

I don’t purposefully hold onto this. I have never mentioned it to him, tho we did talk about it shortly after it happened. I don’t hold it over his head. It’s not usually any source of resentment or ill feelings. It’s not a chalkboard checklist of ways Chris has done wrong. It’s mostly just a feeling that resurfaces when I feel triggered by invalidation, if I feel unseen, or if there is something I’m interested in that is…not tangible.

The interesting thing to note here is that Chris has interest in things that he himself deems as hokey. It must hurt a lot to follow something, to take stock in it, to have it have meaning to him….and to also invalidate it as crap. I wish he could see that believing in something “other” or spiritually unexplainable doesn’t make him less than.

So it shouldn’t surprise me when he dismisses love languages and enneagram and whatever else could help give him insight into himself or me or our children or the relationships that intermingle all those things.

Also, I want to say, that I have never been anything less than wholly supportive and compassionate about anything he has ever had interest in, be it Jesus/god, when he was super religious, or cigars or pipe tobacco or vaping, for that stint, or when he was blending tobacco or making snuff (ground tobacco) or blending juices and making his own mods. I was present and stood next to him for all of it. Even when he drank. Twice. I show up every time. He could never say I don’t show up. I am there and I support every endeavor and every mistake and every rabbit hole. I listen through every news blip and political rant and all the Joe Rogan and UCF fights and Sargon of Akkad.

And some days I have real, tangible pain that I don’t feel the same in return. Not all the time. Not every day. But enough.

And I know I should say something. And I would. If I had any idea how to. Without it sounding needy or ungrateful or petty.)

So, back to today. I was trying to talk out my feelings about maybe being a 2 (77%). Or perhaps even being a 5 (74%) and he went the route of talking about coding those kinds of quizzes and how stuff like that is easy, and I…I closed off and shut down.

And there was no good way to say “but I want to talk about me”. And…it was such a 2 thing to do and to think.

And even tho it happened 10 hours ago, I’m laugh-crying about the irony and sadness and amusement of it all. I’m certain that any person who was well versed in 2s would say “oh, sweetheart” and envelop me in their arms and I could cry about how much being alive hurts and how much pressure there is and how I never feel seen and usually I’m okay with that, but today it just hurts, and they would get it.

But I don’t know any enneagram people because I don’t feel like I have any connections with people and it is a chasm that deeply aches.

So I’ll cry my good cry and I’ll “through; not around” and I’ll keep chugging along anyway. ‘Cause while I may be a 2, I’m also a fierce fucking fighter and I refuse to ever feel stuck.

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A perfect day for doing the unstuck.

I’m a little of the mind, in this exact moment, that personal growth is stupid. I’m a little stompy about it. I’m a little salty.

I’m leaning into the (perceived) (temporary) inconvenience of having growth.

I wanted a morning.

And I didn’t get said morning. Because I can’t control how other human beings spend their time or how they process information. And I wouldn’t want control of that. I’m good to not have control of that. And also, when there is such a strangely skewed processing of things, I just….

I have to stop to breathe.

And maybe cry some.

It’s not about what did or didn’t happen. It’s not about the other triggering things this morning–I’ll write about that soon. It’s not even necessarily about the apparent crapshoot of miscommunication. Right now it’s only about how I find the way to constructively put one foot in front of the other and stay true to my path.

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So I’m at the library. Typing. And watching my little watch the fish.