Three more short days and then we start gaining daylight again, people.
We can do this!
Every winter day
I cling to the sunshine each day and when the sun drops behind the foothills, my heart immediately feels dark and heavy. That abrupt loss of warmth and light is incredibly demoralizing.
January isn’t my friend.
Story in 3 parts
Sunday Confessional: my son’s mess helped me feel better
Late this afternoon I crawled back in bed. Despite the fact that I’d taken a brisk 2-mile walk around the neighborhood, I was sad and depressed. I slept for a bit, but when I woke I still felt blue-blue-blue. I decided I’d stay in bed until tomorrow morning. Screw this almost-last-day-of-December. I’d had enough.
And then I remembered Wildebeest’s car. I’d borrowed it last night and discovered the floors behind the front seats were filled with trash. Receipts, wrappers, water bottles, etc. As I huddled under my covers I thought about that finite amount of stuff in his car. I could do something about that! I would see instant results! I got out of bed, put on clothes, and went outside with a garbage can plus a bag for recyclables.
As I unearthed layers of stuff from the floor I came upon what appeared to be a whole lot of bird seed. That’s odd, I thought as I continued excavating. Wildebeest doesn’t share my bird love. Why would he be feeding birds? Then I reached under the seat and pulled out a flattened box. Rice A Roni. In fact, I eventually found two destroyed boxes of Rice A Roni in his car. But the real treat (not to be confused with the ♪ Rice A Roni, the San Francisco treat ♫ ) was a clump of fossilized dog poop that’d clearly come off a friend’s shoes as said friend rode in the back seat. (You’re probably thinking I’m rude for publicly calling out my son’s slovenly habits, but he came by them honestly. When I was his age I was a smoker who wasn’t good about emptying the ash tray in my car and sometimes the filled-to-capacity ashtray would start smoldering when I put out another butt in the gigantic pile of butts. I know, I know.)
Wildebeest’s car was a dumpster on wheels. Oddly enough, I was quite content as I cleaned and vacuumed the interior and then wiped down the dashboard. Instant results, baby. Tangible progress. A job well done.
I’m pleased to report my blues are gone for the time being and that I’m not getting back in bed for a good long while. Wildebeest’s mess + my unorthodoxy = WIN.
Wrote some blues
Woke up this morning feeling low,
nothing specific driving my blues.
More like a muffled blanket of sad
wrapped around me.
I forced myself out of bed for:
but still wanted
to crawl back under the covers.
Grabbed some coffee and breakfast
along with my YA project notebook and pages.
Got to work.
but still blue around the edges.
Trying to use it to my advantage.
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
~ Duke Ellington
On this election night, I’m taking steps to avoid a full-on freak-out:
- I vacuumed up the dog hair, cat hair, geranium petals, and miscellaneous debris because I feel less angst when I’m doing something, even if that something is a mundane housekeeping chore.
- Then I listened to The Clash’s Combat Rock at full volume while lifting weights.
“Know Your Rights” felt particularly timely and I pumped that iron with a fierce determination.
- I just remembered the photos I took this morning, of the tenacious cottonwood leaves clinging to the tops of the trees down the hill from me. I’ve been watching and admiring them for the past week and I’m posting them here as a reminder that all the political ignorance and ugly out there right now is no match for nature’s beauty. So take that, climate-change denying authoritarian soulless candidate who might be my next “voice” in the Senate!
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
(And you know what else? In the spirit of self-preservation I’m also gonna quit wasting my time trying to get that effing bullet point to line up where it should line up!)
I Am Not My Brain (and Other Insights)
Three weeks ago today I wrote about going on my first run in a long, long time.
Today I am writing about not being able to run. Again.
When I received the go-ahead from my PT dude to ease back into running, I ran a total of four times. The first two runs were completely pain-free. During the third and fourth runs, my left Achilles tendon was sore. Not excruciatingly sore, but it did hurt. I backed off, but I should’ve backed off sooner.
I’m now on forced rest and cannot even take walks because that’s enough to fire up
the ol’ tendon. Joy in the land. Last week during my PT appointment I was so discouraged
by what felt like a never-ending cycle of injury jumping from one body part to another, that I smacked my kind PT dude in frustration.
Yesterday I had another appointment, and I started with an apology. I then explained that while my tendon was still giving me trouble, I had a better attitude.
What happened? YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN happened.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN is a book that’s helped me recognize the false messages my brain sends me, messages I’ve internalized over the years until they were hard-wired in my circuitry. The book is helping me rewire my brain so I’m not held hostage by that nasty voice. Basically, YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN is a highly readable how-to on neuroplasticity. (Say it with me, people: neuroplasticity!)
Testimonial: Monday afternoon I lifted weights (an activity I’m easing back into) and as I stood in front of the full-length mirror that helps me maintain good form while lifting, I felt a wave of all sorts of yucky thoughts and feelings around the fact that I’m weak and now must lift much lighter weights and have put on some pounds and don’t look so hot in my workout togs. The thought of starting over to get back to my strong and fit self felt like too much; I felt ugly and weak and worthless and overwhelmed by the entire situation.
And then I reined myself in and talked to my brain. I followed the steps and began the process of rewiring my brain by lifting weights while maintaining eye contact in the mirror. I didn’t look anywhere but in my eyes, because that’s where my true self was evident. Not in my waist or thighs or arms. My eyes. I smiled into my blue peepers and lifted those weights, knowing that by taking action I was drowning out that voice and making it harder for it to reappear. It will come back, it always does, but each time I take positive action while that voice yammers at me, the voice loses power over me.
In the meanwhile, I’m rocking the RockTape and trying to focus on how far I’ve come. I won’t be running the Bolder Boulder next month and am still royally frustrated with my limitations, but I’m trying hard not to take those personally.
One step at a time.
Running Wild, Running Free
The last time I went for a run was 81 days ago. Today, with the full blessing of my physical therapist, I ran again.
It’s been a hard bunch of months around here as I went from being someone who did yoga almost every morning plus ran a couple times per week plus lifted weights three times per week plus sneaking in a hooping session or two, to a woman who couldn’t do much of anything.
How did that happen? It was the strangest thing but apparently my old gluteal muscle aka left butt cheek issue didn’t like how I ignored it and let it get tighter and tighter, and so triggered other tight points in my body which culminated in my back getting so tight and painful that it hurt to move. I literally went from being able to put my palms flat on the floor to the next day not being able to reach much past my knees. It was bizarre.
Depression ensued. As did loss of muscle and weight gain. Many tears were shed as I wallowed in what I was afraid would be a permanent condition. I went on my first job interview in about twenty years (with the hope I’d be better by the time the job started) and was hired to work at the library, but ended up having to tell them I couldn’t take the position due to my physical limitations. I never, ever would’ve guessed I’d have to turn down a job for that reason, and it was humbling.
But my physical therapist and I persevered, and then I started getting massages from a genius therapist who focused on trigger points which then allowed me to do more of the stretching and strengthening exercises without pain. We saw light at the end of the tunnel.
Today I came out of that tunnel. I walked for ten minutes then ran (slowly) for fifteen minutes then walked another ten, ran another fifteen, and walked ten more minutes for a whopping total of 60 minutes of exercise! All I’ve done over the last several months was walk for about thirty minutes at a time, and when I walked home this afternoon I wept tears of gratitude and happiness and oh-my-goddess-I’ve-missed-running-so-very-much-tears.
I’d left a note for Zebu letting him know when I took off and when to expect me home, asking him to drive up the street to find me if I hadn’t returned by then. Just as I walked into the driveway, the garage door went up. There was my son, the one who’s been so sad on my behalf as I struggled to regain my mobility, getting ready to come haul his sad mama home. He smiled when he saw me there and his smile got bigger when I told him I felt great.
Here I am, fresh out of the shower, so very happy to be back: