Tuesday, November 8, 2016

really long post about how my life has changed

In the last six months my entire life has changed. Not because life itself is all that different, but because I've had a complete and utter personal transformation.

I'm not sure where to start. I'm not sure where it really begins, or if I can adequately explain.

I just read the last post I wrote in April, which reminded me of what an awful spot I was in. I was feeling terrible, all the time. My brain chemistry was shit, in spite of being properly medicated. My body was feeling old. So old. So tired. So...just done with everything. Not suicidal, but just so fucking tired.

I went to the doctor in May because I was feeling so awful.

I was diagnosed with prediabetes. Basically, she told me that if I didn't do something RIGHT NOW about my sugar (which was stupidly high), I'd be in full blown diabetes within the year. That sounded...terrifying. And awful. A life full of needles and no beer.

It woke me up. Anyone who's ever read my blog, at any point in the last ten years, knows I've done things before. I've done Paleo. I've done a stint as a runner. I've done food tracking in many forms. None of it worked because my brain likes to feel better via the endorphin of food. Exercise sucked. I hated it all. I never stuck with anything because it didn't matter enough. It was never important enough.

Diabetes made it important enough.

So I went to the gym. I started lifting weights, doing a program called Strong Curves. I started feeling stronger and better, and started eating less carbs. Got my sugar under control.

In June, I went back to work full time. I'm an ABC manager at a local craft brewery and I fucking love my job. I bartend 5 nights a week, and going back to full time work was one of the best things I've done for myself in ten years. I didn't realize how much I needed the stimulus of being outside my house. Working full time helps my brain chemistry in an amazing way. Working full time at a local place that people come to regularly means that I now have this huge circle of people I know, and hang out with, which means I'm not pathetic and lonely anymore.

I was still not healthy though. I was still depressed.

A friend somehow convinced me to sign up for a Spartan Race. I couldn't run a mile yet I signed up for a race that required five. Since I paid for it, I decided to train for it. Started running again, working my way up to 3 miles by August. Kept lifting weights.

And then ran my first Spartan race. It was the worst day of my life. 4.7 miles, 22+ obstacles. Even the starting line is an obstacle-you have to go over a 4 foot wall to even start the race. I couldn't go over the wall. It was humiliating. I couldn't get myself over and I'm standing there with all these people and I had to have my friend boost me up to go over.

In Spartan races, if you fail an obstacle, there's a 30 burpee penalty. I failed so many obstacles. I couldn't climb the rope, can't do monkey bars, and don't get me started on the inverted wall. It was awful. So awful. I was a complete and utter failure on so many levels.

I was such a failure and hated it so much that three days after that first race I signed up for another one.

It's hard to explain if you've never done OCR. Or, if you've done it and truly hated it.

That first race did something to me. I didn't do well. My buddy had to spend half the race helping me over things-I'm pretty sure I kicked him in the face at least once. I failed so many things. I couldn't run most of the course and kept losing my breath so the point where I had to stop on the side of the trail and catch it. I lost my footing and tripped constantly. Every hill I fell. I was terrible. Awful.

But I finished. I finished the race and got my medal and signed up for another one because I wanted to prove that I could get better. That I could DO better.

The second race was 3 weeks later and I still failed. A lot. But I went over the walls. I had that improvement. I was able to do a few small things I couldn't before.

And then I signed up for a third race, in Pittsburgh, 4 weeks after the second race. I wanted to see how well I could do. I wanted to run the entire race. I wanted to be able to complete the burpee penalty. I wanted to not fail so badly. So I trained even more. I ran more, I lifted more, I did lots of burpees. I knew I'd still fail the rope climb and the monkey bars, but I wanted to fail LESS badly.

And then I did Pittsburgh. It was FUN. It was so much fucking fun. I ran the uphills and sprinted the downhills and didn't lose my footing or trip once. I made it over walls. I passed people. I had so much fun. SO MUCH FUN. I still failed a bunch of stuff but I did my burpees and I didn't die.

I was hooked. Hardcore hooked. I don't know what it was. I can't really explain, except to say that apparently I had a tiny seed of crazy inside me that's been there my entire life waiting. I love it. I love the people (they're all insane-it's awesome), I love the energy, I love the training. I'm obsessed. Utterly, and completely obsessed.

In the last four months I've lost weight. But...I don't care. I don't really care about my weight, which has never happened before. I care about the fact that I still can't do pull-ups (that legit pisses me off all the time), and I care about the fact that I'm a slow runner (11-minute miles on my long runs, dammit), and I care about the fact that I still need help over the 6+ foot walls. I don't care about the scale though, even though it's at a weight I haven't seen since I got married.

The only reason I even know that number is because the doctor makes me stand on a scale when I go for my bloodwork.

Two weeks ago I was in New Jersey for a race. It was a Super, which is 10 miles. It was on a mountain, at a ski resort, and it was my first solo race. I've always had a friend with me, but this race was my own.

It took me 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete. Right smack in the middle of my age group. I still can't do a rope climb, and I still can't do the monkey bars or the multirig, but I can move my body at a decent pace up and down a mountain in 40 degree weather after wading through a lake. I can crawl under barbed wire through mud and I can sling myself over some walls and I can carry super heavy logs and buckets.

I'm not the same person I was six months ago. I'm not sure where the change occurred, or why. I'm not sure I can timeline it in a way that makes sense to anyone. I do know I'm happy. Like, actually soul-content in a way I've never been before. I'm centered. I'm not lonely. I'm not depressed. I have energy. So much energy, in fact, that I annoy myself if I have a day where I don't work out. I eat things because I'm hungry or need energy for a run, rather than eating things to fill an empty hole inside. I work out because it makes me better and stronger and more capable.

I've signed up for so many races next season I can't stand it. I can't wait. CANNOT WAIT. I've got one more race in December, in Atlanta, and then the season is over until March. I'll be doing Crossfit between now and then to try to gain the upper body strength needed.

Because I just want to do some fucking pull ups. Pull ups would make me happy.

My March race is in upstate NY. Upstate in March means snow and cold and OMG it's gonna be awful. And amazing. So amazing. I'm running that race with two friends and they're both lunatics like me, to the point where they're contemplating running it in Speedos. Pink speedos. If they do I'll wear a tutu or something equally ridiculous.

I'm happy. I can't remember ever being this happy.

The husband is happy too. He's always wanted me to be this person, but I've always shit on his efforts to pursue his own fitness. He's so happy he's signed himself up to do the Bigfoot 120 next fall. He's always been a bit nutty that way but I didn't support it. Now I'm all "OOH YES" because I have my own insane goals I'm pursuing. Legitimately insane goals. Like, the kind that nobody understands. Except my two crazy Speedo friends. They're as nutty as I am.

****

I don't recognize myself most days.

I'm okay with that. I like this person better. This version of me isn't seeking contentment anymore.

This person is going for badass. I'm not there, but I'll be damned if I ever stop trying.





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

i'm such a damned mess right now

I'm in the middle of a bout of insomnia, and I'm over it. I need to sleep like a normal person so I can do normal person things during the day.  I don't have time to be exhausted from not sleeping. I'm already exhausted from life being a pain in the ass.

As usual, I'm stressed out. I work part time, but it's not enough. Both small girls go to school in September, and I'm trying to figure out what the hell I'm going to do with myself. Do I go back to teaching? Not sure I'm capable anymore. I haven't been in a classroom in 13 years. Maybe I'll sub to get my feet wet.

At 37 I feel like I should have my life figured out to some degree.

But I don't. I'm a disaster on wheels most of the time, and I can't seem to pull it together. My house is always messy, laundry is always behind, and I don't cook nearly as often as I'd like. I cleaned out my car the other day and I felt like I'd won something.

I don't feel like my 'small successes' are successes at all. They're more like mediocre nods to my former capabilities. Basically, I want a clean house, an organized garage, and a job or career that makes me enough money so we can take a vacation once in awhile.

I applied to grad school and got in, and then realized that I have no way to actually pay for it.

And on top of feeling like I'm just one mess away from losing my mind, I've gained weight so I also feel uncomfortable in my skin.

Basically, I'm deeply discontent right now, and it's not only related to my personal failings but also my mental health. I have racing thoughts that never, ever stop. Ever. It's like a highlight reel that plays in my head over and over again, never stopping.

I'm tired of my brain.

***

I have a lot of pretty awesome things in my life, my kids being top tier. I have a husband who is a fabulous man and father, and after almost 20 years together he's still my favorite person.

There's no one thing that I can fix. Because it's ME. All this comes from inside me, my brain, my emotions. I look at my life objectively and think about how awesome it truly is.

And then I look at myself objectively and think 'holy shit, you're a fucking hot mess'.

I'm not being self-deprecating, either. I really am a mess.

Monday, April 4, 2016

my kids are making my brain hurt

I had Liv's transition meeting, and the end result was for full inclusion with pull out. She's going to have a lot of help in the classroom, and will spend a little time in the smaller special ed classroom for extra help with Language Arts and Math.

I'm having second thoughts about the whole thing. Panic-inducing, can't sleep second thoughts. She's SO WOBBLY. She walks really well compared to her previous issues, but she's not remotely stable. She gets knocked over so easily, and doesn't use words fast enough to verbally create space for herself.  I'm going to talk to her teacher about it, because I know she shares those same concerns. Liv loves school. Loves it. And I'm afraid that feeling frustrated all day long because she's being jostled around like a pinball will ruin that love.

I hate this part of parenting. Making decisions and having absolutely no idea what's best. Truly not knowing the outcome. Being terrified that the decision will have negative impact but also knowing that it could have incredibly positive impact. Which one will it be? No idea. Never any idea. It's like I'm walking blind into a tornado, hands out, hoping nothing will knock me down.

***

Oldest kid is 12.5, and every inch of those 12 years is showing in our lives.

Can she go to the mall with friends? Please? Pretty please?

No. You can't. Because a flock of twittering 6th graders walking around the mall taking selfies, paying absolutely no attention to surroundings, is a recipe for disaster. It's like asking sex traffickers to take notice.

I'm not paranoid about much, but my kids being molested or abused in that way is one thing I'm unbelievably protective against. A preteen female doesn't understand that when her and her friends are standing around being silly kids, they're like beacons to all the weird people hanging around. There's no way my kid gets to be in that situation.

She went to the movies Friday night with a group of friends, and I waited until they were finished. I had no desire to see the sad PG movie that they went to, and the absolute last thing I felt like doing with sitting around with a group of kids that age. So I sat in the lobby and read a book and had mini vacation. After the movie the girls stood in the lobby of the theater, snapchatting their night. As in, they took 185 pictures of the same exact thing in slightly different configurations. Twenty minutes I stood there, waiting, while the girls selfied themselves out.

None of those girls had any idea that every single person that walked in or out of the theater stared at them. Not one paid a single iota of attention to their surroundings. Oblivion, thy name is preteen.

My answer of no in regards to the mall has set off a flurry of slitty-eyes and under-the-breath mumbling that has lasted a solid day. My formerly clear-thinking child has turned into someone whose friends take precedence over all else. I get it, and I respect it, because it's a part of being a kid that age.

I'm just not going to change my personal life policies regarding safety of self and sanity to cater to the whims of someone who lives in utter oblivion of life outside her circle of friends.

It makes my brain hurt. All of it.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

kindergarten transition is making me stress

I've been stuck home all week because of sick kids. Liv had double pink eye, Mads ended up with some sort of weird puke/cold type thing, and now Gabe is home sick with a fever and related symptoms.  It's 70 degrees outside and I'm stuck inside, watching Kate and Mim Mim (stab me, please-their voices are the absolute worst).

***

I start a new job tonight, at a local brewery. I'm super excited about it, for a couple of reasons. First-beer. I mean, really. Second-they close at a reasonable time so no more working until 3am for me. I'm too old to be staying up until almost dawn.

Not getting enough sleep exacerbates my anxiety, and we all know that doesn't need to happen. I already have enough trouble keeping my brain chemistry in line, and I'm sick of having to fight against myself just to get through each day.

***

Liv is in preschool an extra year right now, which our county calls a preschool exception year. Basically, her IEP team thought she would benefit from an additional year of the special ed preschool program, and this year it's a reverse inclusion class. Six kids with IEPs, six typical kids. She freaking LOVES going to school.

Loves it. It's been awesome.

Now, though, I'm kind of freaking out. Her kindergarten transition meeting is in a few weeks and I seriously have no idea what to do with her next year. She has so many options, and I honestly don't know what's best.

Possibilities:

1. Self contained class.
Smaller class size, special education teacher. Only...some of the kids have cognitive disabilities and Liv doesn't, and I'm concerned that she'll stop trying as hard. She's SO determined to do well, and she's just got such a great attitude about doing things. She believes in herself.

2. Full inclusion with pull-out.
In a typical class with 25 other kids. She's still a wobbly kid, and doesn't run or jump and walks super slowly. She's very space defensive because she knows she's unstable, and she wouldn't have any sort of aide.

Her PT thinks she'll do great with full inclusion because she IS so capable, but I worry. Will she be able to keep up? She can't even open her own lunch containers sometimes, and needs help with things like taking the top off a yogurt. She can't write, at all, not even her own name. Her fine motor skills are still really, really behind.

But I also don't want her to be feeling like she doesn't need to work hard to move forward.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

I seriously can't stop thinking about this entire thing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

um, hey.

My kids are getting old. Which, by default, means I'm also getting old.

I guess old is relative. I wake up creaky these days. One would think that sleeping all night would mean waking up refreshed and feeling capable. Not so much. I wake up with a sore back and bleary eyes and a foggy brain.

It's not cool.

I'm not sure how I should blog right now. It's been 2-ish years since I've written here, and since then my older two kids have found their way to social media (hello snapchat and instagram), and I don't want to infringe on their privacy. But at the same time, I've missed writing. I've missed dumping my ridiculous brain. I've missed letting go of random thoughts that fill up my headspace at 3 in the morning, keeping me awake.

I've removed all the old posts. I had over a thousand on this blog, this site that I've played with since 2006. Some of those posts were about my big kids, when they were little, and I just feel like they have a right to their own stories. Maybe I'll be using aliases for them-I'm honestly not sure.

A lot has happened since I last wrote. It's nothing super interesting. Mostly the mundane plodding of daily life that's created a new big picture for our family. The kids are growing, I'm still 30 pounds heavier than I'd like, and the husband is still much better looking than I am. He's also nicer than I am, which is why my kids are such nice people.

I'm not being self deprecating or looking for any sort of affirmation. At 37 years of age, I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin and kind of don't give a remote shit what people think about me. I know I tend toward assholery, and I'm okay with it. He and I balance each other, which is how it's supposed to be. I think. He's nice, I'm less so. I'm organized, and he couldn't find his face if it wasn't attached to his head. Balance in all things.

I have no idea where this post is going. I'm pretty sure nothing I've ever written has ever gone any where. I think the last time I posted I was still trying to figure out my direction in life. Now I know the only direction I have is to move forward every day, somehow, and the rest will fall into place.