Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Peace Out, Summer Vacation...

Hi.
Now I have a seventh grader (and he happens to have the same bus stop and middle school as seventh grade me).
Summer treated me kind of...oddly.
We had so much fun having goofy, impromptu little adventures; but, there was also a slightly darker side that I'm still coming to grips with.
Most of that darkness stems from a pretty nasty cycle of depression followed by an almost unbearably happy...high, for lack of a better word.
And during that very high high, I crashed my bike on a rather peppy, way too aggressive/confident jaunt on the trails with my husband following close behind.
It wasn't a violent, bloody, helmet-cracking spectacle of a crash (I've had those, too)...more like a solid, defiant thud. I wish I could say I was ripping down some gnarly descent littered with loose rocks and criss-cross slick roots in every direction.
Nope. Quite the opposire. 
So opposite, in fact, I'll spare you the boring details. 
I hopped right back on my bike without assessing any damage (there was none, except of course my ego).
It wasn't until much later that day when I couldn't recall certain words, couldn't quite focus, coupled with a pounding unrelenting throb in my head that I thought, "Huh. Maybe I should get checked out?"
Then boom ER boom Neurological exam boom CT scan BOOM concussion boom...go home and rest. Then rest some more. And rest even more than that when you're done resting.
And we all know how much I LOVE to be idle & sedentary for days on end. 
And I love it even more when I'm unable (not allowed) to watch TV, use my phone to look at garbage and/or cute pictures of puppies (thanks, Maggie) or text my friends all the shit that pops into my head randomly throughout the day...no reading, no focusing in general.
It's harder than it sounds. 
In the midst of all this, I was dealing with some changes to my *meds*/crazy pills...whatever you want to call them. 
So, I took all the ass-kicking in stride with just a teeny tiny pity party for myself...now I'm clawing my way back to some semblance of normal.
Normal for me requires a healthy dose of sweating outside while traveling briskly over dirt or pavement (or both) on my own two feet or on two wheels.
I think I will have run a mere 30ish miles for the entire month of August. 
So that's a bummer.
But.
It's really nothing & such a minor insignificant *blip*
when I get out of my own head and consider all the really hard shit that people are dealing with right now in Texas or Charlottesville or right on my nephew's own street in Coatesville. Just to rattle off a few.
Come on.
So that's where my bitching stops.
I always come back & sometimes, even stronger.
(Hopefully, that's the theme going forward...not just for me, but for this utter shitshow that has choked our beloved nation...and the world, at large; side-eyeing us & just waiting for yet another outrageous misstep or injustice).
Enough already. 






Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stretched

Man.
Feeling like I'm being pulled in so many different directions lately...(much like all of you, right?).
When I say I'm thinking of you/rooting for you/have your back/feel your pain/share your joy because 
Your mom's cancer is back
Or
Your kid has a big basketball game
Or 
You're about to run your first half-marathon
Or
You just quit your job and you're scared
Or 
You want to leave your asshole sociopath husband 
Or 
You're thinking about moving out west
Or
You want to take up with a much younger dude to break a waaaay too long dry spell and you don't want to be judged
Or
Your parents drive you fucking nuts
Or
Your trying to stay positive even though you've been in jail since 2013
Or
You just had a baby and feel like you don't have a fucking clue
Or
You're fed up with our surreal state of political affairs and need some direction and support
Or
You're trying to lose weight in order to be healthier and around longer for your kids (even though they are assholes lately)
Or
You've just returned from a year away and all your friends have cut you off and you're lonely
Or
You are nursing a bad breakup
Or
You can't make rent or pay child support
Or
You are in the throes of a deep, dark depression
Or
You're embarking on a brave adventure all alone
Or 
You are fighting hate and standing up for what you believe in
Or 
You're training for a big race and falling short of your goals
Or
You're just happy to be here, happy to be anywhere (I think Keith Richards said that...maybe I'm making shit up).
Anyway.
I can barely keep up with myself let alone all the wonderful people in my life.
That doesn't mean I won't keep trying.
Peace xxoo


Monday, January 23, 2017

I was There (Women's March on D.C.)

The night before the march, my dad implored me (like any good dad would) to reconsider going.
"You have kids to think about and come home to."
His well-meaning words gave me pause (and a fair share of knots in my stomach/anxiety).
I shared my thoughts with my husband and quickly crafted an email to my dad (knowing I would have gone off the rails or lost my nerve had I called him). 
Here it is:

Dad,
I value and deeply respect your insight & advice perhaps more than anybody's. I thought about what you suggested; that I reconsider going to DC tomorrow & I am sticking to my plan.
There are security & safety protocols in place tomorrow. The march is legitimate, has a permit and immense support from the city's law enforcement. I'm confident this will be a peaceful demonstration.
Obviously I'm going to be cautious, but I'm not worried about violence.
I bet most of those rioters likely didn't even exercise their right to vote, nor do they even understand what their purported "cause" is.
This isn't, as you know, just an anti-trump rally. It's a show of solidarity & an uprising; it's a long overdue wake up call to unify, become active, to become aware, and to be heard. Too many of my peers and younger friends are uneducated about basic government. I hope this sparks a movement to learn & be involved.

I feel like the march is a good start and an important example.
To not despair, to literally and metaphorically march on...to pick our heads up no matter what "side" we're on and show ALL of our leaders that we will be heard and we are looking out for the best interest of 
1) the people who have defended our country and still sacrifice their lives for our freedom and safety
2) the health of our ailing planet & its people
3) our kids...our future generations who are watching and listening.
I hope my own kids are a lot more interested, involved, and educated about our system than I ever was. 
Wow.
That was long. Whoops.
This is not a goofy whirlwind girls day out in DC...I hope you feel better about me going.
There's a calculated risk in just about anything worth doing & I learned that from the best.
Love,
Kim 

Upon hitting "send", I knew I'd sleep better, albeit not much with my alarm set for 3:30am.
Edit: his response the next morning was an enthusiastic "go for it!"
When I arrived in Washington (having traveled with five women I didn't know at all) there was an unmistakable buzz in the air...any anxiety I felt dissipated and gave way to excitement.
And pride.
I did not expect to be so at ease standing shoulder to shoulder with seas of people for hours on end, barely shuffling forward only to step back...and to the side...and forward again and again again.
All. Day. Long.
The organized march component of the March didn't even happen as anticipated because there were far too many of us. 
When one of the six among my little group remarked that she was bummed we couldn't get close enough to see or hear the speakers, all I could say was,
"What an awesome problem to have. Don't you see?? There are too many of us!!"
Shortly after 1pm, when the march was supposed to commence, we found ourselves making our way from the capitol building to the Monument.
Marching on the mall.
In that moment, it really hit me that we were indeed making history.
It's hard to describe what it felt like to be in such a vast crowd.
I never felt unsafe or unsteady or unsure.
In every direction, literally as far as the eye could see, were crowds teeming with women, men, kids, babies in strollers, toddlers on the shoulders of moms and dads, elderly women and men, hipsters, hippies, teens, teachers, people in wheelchairs, people of every color, people worshipping in various faiths, sorority sisters, chic/perfectly-coiffed women, cops, members of the National Guard, people holding witty/clever/smart/lewd/artistic/creative/rough-hewn/carefully made/outrageous signs, people chanting/drumming, people singing, people holding hands, people people people people people...
And yet, all was calm and positive and utterly, completely peaceful.
 
I left Washington feeling empowered.
Fired up.
Hopeful.
Proud.
I left Washington ready to take action; to organize, learn, do.
I came home far more aware and forever changed.
 
And, kindly, to the detractors and doubters (I'm related to and friends with some of you):
Don't presume that I am naive or idealistic...try to see this without cynicism or judgement.
And please, don't call us (or our hats) ridiculous.
Thanks for reading.
Peace.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hey There, New Year...

I have misplaced my spark for writing.
2016 was the year my blog kinda faded away.
Even now, as I write this, I feel so...meh.
I'm eager to share my thoughts, but too busy/tired/lazy to do it here...or to sort it out in words relevant or meaningful enough to write.
For a while, I think my meds were numbing my creativity.
I'm okay with losing some of that (if it is just temporary) in the name of fixing myself.
Now I feel like a less sad/worrisome version of myself so I am hoping there will be room for something...else.
Something else to pour my energy into.

Anyway.
I rode my bike with my dad on New Years Day (also happens to be his birthday and it's become tradition to start the day with a ride).
The trails were muddy in some areas, but I was able to stay upright & attack some tricky spots with confidence.
I hadn't touched my bike since OCTOBER.
In fact, I logged way more miles on foot than on two wheels for the year.
And I only rode at Harmony Hill, the most local trails to me, all of 2016.
First year in ages without even one bike race.
First year ever that I didn't venture out to other trails or ride with groups.
I've noticed the less often I ride, the more efficient my effort is; I'm more inclined to ride aggressively and do everything I possibly can to not get off my bike to hike it or carry it over obstacles I know I should/can just ride over.
It's still incredibly fun and I'd love to get out there on my humble little hardtail more often in 2017.
Different trails and hopefully with my husband.
Other than that, I don't feel like reflecting on the past year here beyond:
  • I ran many, many miles with a fantastic group of friends, with my dad, with my son, and by myself . I am a runner, no getting around it anymore.
  • I painted and drew and shared and sold my art; that felt great. I will keep moving forward with that endeavor. It deserves more of my attention.
  • I tried hard to maintain strong ties with my brother, still incarcerated until at least 2018. There have been times I have needed him last year and simply just couldn't connect, which is frustrating and sad. Our family has changed so much since he began serving time in 2013 and it feels lonely to not have each other's backs right now.
  • For now, I am not in therapy...I feel so fortunate to have found a psychologist that I click with. It's been two and a half years since I started treatment; this past year I have really grown to understand the cycle and nuances of depression. I feel better prepared than ever to handle the inevitable lows. Knowing that I can pick right back up with therapy whenever I need to, without shame or embarrassment, is more comforting than I can describe.
  • My kids are growing up so freaking fast. I feel like an absolute farce of an adult/parent sometimes for being responsible for these two awesome children...it is equal parts what the fuck am I doing please don't let me screw them up too much and Damn! I am pretty great at this.
That sums up what I feel most strongly about, looking back and looking ahead.
2017 will mark my TENTH year blogging, or "hardtale-ing", as it were.
I'd love to come back here more often.
Thank you for reading, always.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Taper is Real/Personal Shit

Against my psych's wishes, I'm tapering off one of my meds (Zoloft, if you are nosy like me & have to know).
I can get into the hows & whys in another post (and probably should, for my own sake; writing helps, sharing helps). In short, I'm happy about the decision, but the process is a little rough.
Next.
Running/racing...
I've been doing that a lot. 
Yesterday, I bundled up & headed out for a local trail 5k with my dad.
Had he not generously pre-reg'd me, I would've bailed. I wasn't feeling great and wasn't into it. Usually I am all about muddy, windy, wet conditions, but yesterday?  Not so much.
With twenty minutes to go until the start, I downed two advil & sulked in the car forgoing my usual warm-up. My head was pounding & I was debating pulling the plug.
After a quick phone call to my husband, I decided to line up & see how I felt. I had no qualms about bagging it if that's how it was going to play out.
(Needless to say, I started and finished)
With .5 mile to go, I finally caught up to my dad & hung on behind him (shielding myself from the brutal wind). As we approached the finish, I pleaded, "dad, please don't sprint me."
To which he replied, "nah, we'll finish together."
(And we did)
The race wasn't awesome...I never quite found my rhythm or shook my headache.
But, I crossed the line with BP & honestly, that was the silver lining/best part of an otherwise very bleak week.
Last night, I got a text from him saying I ended up 3rd in my age group (and beat him by a second).
Just another day of literally & metaphorically putting one foot in front of the other, even when the easy thing to do would be staying in & putting those feet up.

Peace out, homies...happy Sunday!
(My apologies for not editing/revising this post; I'm sure the five people who read this will understand)
 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On coincidence, serendipity, running, and reading

Weird chain of events today...follow me, if you will, while I tick through them:
  • Discovered my nook was dead this morning (it belonged to my mom & I have been reading books on it for the past two years)
  • While showering after a four mile run, I thought about books. What book I should read next. Thought about revisiting one of my mom's favorites (one of mine, too, actually), John Irving's The World According to Garp. I read it as a teenager and wondered what my take on it would be now, a seemingly lifetime later.
  • Upon collapsing into bed very early this evening (8:28pm early), gave my nook one more try. Nope. Dead. Decided to finally pick up the copy of Born to Run by Christopher McDougall purchased roughly a year ago (recommended by my brother of all people; not a runner, but an avid incarcerated reader).
  • Eleven pages in, the author references Garp. Motherfucking Garp. How about that??
Serendipity, at its finest (or something, right?)...
 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lost

This is what I'm reduced to when given the blessing to enjoy a child-free weekend at the beach with two very dear, very fun girlfriends.
 Ginger beer (no, it is not alcoholic). Mini Animal Crackers. A generous dollop of Nutella. And the December 2015 issue of Vogue. Because that is how far behind I am.