Monday, July 30, 2018

Road to emotional independence

           A friend on facebook who has been suicidal since I knew him over 10 years ago has recently been writing lots of concerning posts on his Facebook page. The posts blame his deep depression on his loneliness and then presses his FB friends for answers as to why he is still alone and has no one to love him. After a few weeks of sporadic people, including myself, coming on his page and trying to give him some advice, the responses from his friends began to slow down. We all soon figured out one thing, that no matter what we said, his mind was made up and a made-up mind is a mind that's built a wall around itself, and no amount of reason can reach such a soul. He was so sure that if life would simply provide him with a life partner, his depression would be fixed, just like that. Sadly, from experience, we don't get to bargain with life. If we are unhappy, a partner might mask the pain for a little bit, but it will not make it go away. We can throw the biggest temper tantrum we can muster at not getting our way in life but nothing will change the trajectory of the world outside ourselves. Life's resolve is much more vast than any tantrum we can imagine, an exhausting fight I have taken on many times in my youth. 

            I can list so many things here that I wish would happen for me, but to focus on them would only make me sink into the same depression he's experiencing. For the past 2 months I have been struggling with so much physically and emotionally but to place my mind on such things make them more real, more palpable, and render me stuck in the muck, the muck of depression. Some may consider this approach non-realistic, or liken it to living a lie...yet, it's very simple....with the switch of a thought you can break through your walls of solidified ideas and  breathe hope and faith into every problem. Let me show you with a few examples....

1. I could think: "I wish I had more friends who liked to listen to me chat about running"----- but instead I think, "I have a huge community of women runners on FB of which I can tap into anytime, and besides, this whole thing is your thing anyway....."

2. I could think: "I wish my hubby would know how to buy me gifts for my birthday"----- but instead I think, "He takes such excellent care of me and the kids daily. Not one day goes by in which the fridge is lacking any of the essentials, he always gets me everything I need to the letter."

3. I could think: "I wish my body could run faster"----- but instead I think, "damn, my overweight, 45-year-old body ran 6 miles today and just a few months back I ran a 50 miler under the cutoff ...what the hell are you feeling bad for? snap out of it girl...what other full-time working mom do you know who runs as much as you?"

4. I could think: "I must look super bubbly in this bikini at the beach ----- but instead I think, "Other woman my size are here's so important that they see me be confident and at home in my body...we all must inspire each other. Most importantly, my daughter is here.....she needs to see mommy loving her body, always!". 

                These are just a few examples to show how one has zero control of anything outside our heads. The world is a place full of its own ideas, its own momentum, its own reasoning and it takes no notice of how we would like or want things to go.... it's our job to disconnect from these harmful ways of thinking and begin choosing healthier thought patterns that provide us with the sanity we seek. There are a million things I wish for on a daily basis but I would be a sucker to think those things will come my way by pure luck or wish....if I want anything it's purely up to me to imagine it into life and make it happen..... The love and attention of friends and family are great, of course, but if you yourself cannot reach some peace between your ears, no one out there can save you, not your husband, not your wife, not your mother or even your best friend.... Running has taught me to trust my self, my body, my intuition and those are some heavy duty gifts there. Running has helped me feel free, emotionally independent and content in my own company. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

6 miles around the lake 

         I guess I have just gotten use to feeling super inadequate at this running thing. But thanks to my mantra, "don't ever give up." I have paid very little attention to how shitty I feel about my running.  I woke up at 5:30am and dragged my body out of bed, had coffee and used every mental tactic in the book to get my ass out the door. Once I am out though, everything changes. This other person emerges, a more confident, happy, driven person. So no matter how I feel when I wake up, having done this process many, many, many times over I know that the better me will for sure emerge once I get moving. I trust the process so much that I don't question any part of the struggle any more. I did not see another runner for almost 4 miles into the run....which always gives me an even a bigger boost.... who else is crazy enough to run on this gravelly mess of a trail. My ankles have become much stronger and can now handle more of the uneven terrain. 

These sneakers.... in case you can't see there is blue stitching on both sides. I have had to sew them....I say they have about another year and a half of running in them... I have probably already run 3 marathons and a 50 miler in them, but they are so damn comfy. You see, when you wear you shoes evenly, your sneakers become like those minimalist shoes, and your feet get stronger and more use to running with less and less padding. It's a great natural way to becoming more minimalist without the injuries often associated with minimalist running. 

Felt good today and chose to pick up all types of trash left by losers on the, two people sat and enjoyed the beautiful lake as they are, then left their crap behind.... 

Came back home to discover that my dahlias were finally blooming. They had all died last year. I had dug them out and stored them in a paper bag until to find them all dried out completely over the winter, so I had to buy all new here are my new babies.... I will not be digging them out this year, instead, I will leave them in the ground and hope they do not freeze in the winter. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

6 miles with mamasita

Mud, lots of mud..... and more mud... we were slipping all over the place for the first 2-3 miles. 

          My daughter rode her bike while I ran....this is after she has been doing yoga for 3 hours, for fun!! and then has gymnastics for an hour and half in the evenings. 

Muddy shoes...then became wet shoes as we had to cross a stream to get to the other side. 

My little Mamacita looks so adorable in her workout outfit....and that smile..... MMM!!

Showing off her flexibility before we move on...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A world where men and women are.....

              We have a long way to go for true gender equality.  I watched Nanette, a movie on Netflix showing a standup comic, Hannah Gadsby, doing her self-professed 'last' comedy special, in which she shares her experience being gay in a small country off of Australia where being gay was not legal until recently. In her special, she touches upon how just her more masculine ways of dressing brought violent outbursts from men in her presence, enough to have her beaten by one man and raped in a separate incident by two men. In her special, she invites men to essentially "man-up" and toughen up and she even jokes about how could one's outfit bring about such 'violent reactions'. Even though laws are now in the books in the US to bring about more gender equality you can't sensor what's in people's heart and you certainly can't sensor people's insecurities. I say insecurities for I feel anytime you have sexism, or cases of misogyny, or gender discrimination it's almost always about one's lacking sense of self. 
                I don't think I could emphasize enough the powerful effect this movie has had on me. Life works so beautifully this way. You never know what's going to come your way and change your life completely, in this case, for the better. Nevertheless, this one stand-up show made me realize two things. One, it's okay to be mad, really mad, but most importantly, her stand-up taught me that it's okay to seek and create new ways of being a woman that does not require smiles, sweetness, "rolling over" and being of service to all, always. I don't need to behave like a sweet puppy  or be "lady like". I don't need to come across non-threatening, and especially, I don't need to behave this way whenever I encounter a man who has insecurity issues. Please understand, that I am by no means advocating roughness or some version of a mainstream rendition of the "angry feminist"; the opposites of anything is never a solution, for like a pendulum, when pushed it comes back to hit you back on its return.  

                Yes, the issue lies in that there are very few already-established paths for women to follow. Joseph Campbell, whose videos about the Hero's Journey I devoured as a young adult , apparently believed that women are not part of the hero's journey. Yet, I question that assumption, for women have only been recently been allowed to have stories. Just a few generations ago women were not able to vote, drive, own land, marry other women, divorce....on and on and on, etc.... so I say yes, women could also follow the hero's journey, but first we have to write it, for it has barely begun to be written. 

                 So what does a woman, young adult or girl in this new world look like, act like and think about? First, she'd listen and respond to your words and expect fully for you to be able to handle criticism; handle your shit, essentially. She'd move around her space perfectly comfortable in her body. She'd walk into a space never thinking on how she's perceived externally. She would trust herself explicitly. I have had the opportunity to play with these new ideas myself lately and I have to say it feels so light being able to walk around only worried about what's going on in my own damn head and not carrying so contradictory and unnecessary thoughts all the time. Women, especially young ones, have a tendency to always worry about what others are thinking of their words, movements, clothes, tone, etc, rendering them fully at the mercy of their observers. Imagine a world where we see women become their most genuine selves and our younger generation absorb the strengths of these older women and grow to be even stronger, more confident with each generation. Our community, our country, our world can only win from the wisdom of women. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mysteries of the Mind

             I went to the 24-hour gym to do my 9 miles at 10pm last night. To help my mind from melting into mush during the run I watched endless episodes of some unsolved mysteries on Amazon Prime.... the normally fearless Miriam left the gym at 1am absolutely terrified that I'd be the horrible victim of some crime, worse yet, an unsolved crime!!!..... it's funny now....but last night I was not in a good space parking and walking to my door...alone, in the dark. This is coming from a woman who use to run DC streets at 4am, in winter. This proves that we humans are very impressionable beings, we believe completely everything we put into our minds....the operative words here are, "we put in"....meaning, we all along we can control what we put in our thoughts......... NO MORE unsolved murder mysteries shows for me.... next time I will stick to comedy...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Let the Chips Fall Where They May

                As women get older they change in many ways that are different from men. Surely there are lots of studies out there specifically describing the many differences between both sexes as they age, yet, it's been my experience that women shed a lot as they get older, they get bolder, they feel less afraid, and more decisive overall; women find a more powerful versions of themselves as they age. They shed the drama, the fears, the doubts. They shed the need for approval and reach a level of self-dependence that undoubtedly creates rough ripples in  the delicate relationship balance that exists between one's friends or family. Yet, these casualties are a necessary part of finding inner peace. If someone were to offer me youth over staying at my age of 45 I'd stay put, thank you very much.  

               I feel MUCH more comfortable in my own skin at age 45 than I have ever felt my entire life, and that is change worth celebrating. One aspect of getting older which has helped to make my life better overall has been making sure that every energy that comes from me strongly aligns with my comfort level. Depending solely on my own intuition on whether or not to trust experiences as they come has been instrumental in this mass shedding. The older I get the more emotionally independent I feel and the more clearly I am able to see people's true motives, and, the older I get the less I need to act upon these external influences. Let the sleeping dragons sleep. AS mentioned above, the delicate balance that has been built between you and your family and friends will undoubtedly be disrupted as you find your inner strength. Because lots of these relationships have been built on top one's own disingenuous past self these relationships may most likely be unfortunate victims to the mass culling. 

                 Not all relationships are victims of this mass culling. True loving relationships always find a way to make it past these hurdles. I remember when I first started running it shook up my family dynamics quite a bit. My husband and I had lots of fights. And please understand that my husband was in full support of me running, yet, he was not used to the amount of time I put into it. Most loved ones, no matter how much they love you, will always fight against any and all change, totally normal; it is the way we humans are built. The key to my change was it's relentlessness. I, of course, listened to his concerns, such as about being out too much for long runs on the weekend and I made sure to accommodate his concerns by running earlier in the mornings before anyone was up yet. Yet, I made sure not give up what mattered to me the most, which was do these races and to train for them over long hours. Relentlessly seeking out what makes you YOU is the key. People that love you will be there after it all blows apart and when all the dust settles, they will be there adjusting, but there. The few that continue to wait for you to be the old you and never manage to acclimate to the new you will silently distance themselves into the background. If the YOU that you genuinely are is not the right you for someone and they expect you to be something you are genuinely not, one cannot in all honesty call that true or pure love, that is closer to bullying or bordering on control. Both results, staying or walking away are perfectly okay in my world. Both results are part of our learning experience here on earth. I love the ones I love dearly, but this round of growth I love ME so much more than anyone else in my life....and in the end I need to be able to live with myself first and foremost. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Reflexion on Forgiveness

        Been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. After hearing about Anthony Ray Hinton and his book, The Sun Does Shine I was so impressed and humbled by his ability to pick up and move forward after being incarcerated for 30 years while innocent and it started me thinking about forgiveness, about what things have I got to forgive and vice versa, and how easy is it for me to forgive? 

       First, I believe in learning from your mistakes. Yet, that approach is only the "cousin" of what one considers real forgiveness to be, for 'learning from your mistakes' acts in similar ways, yet, although we learn from our mistakes there's nothing there about what our hearts need to do to truly move past the pain. Let me provide you with the perfect example. A dear friend I use to work with and whom I have devoted many hours helping get her life together came to my house for dinner a little over a year ago. In the time we had not seen each other, before the dinner, I had put on a few pounds. The minute she saw me at the dinner she began talking about how much weight I've put on, in front of my other guests, my husband and my kids. Now, to someone that's grown up with severe negative body issues (and even to anyone who hasn't), someone mentioning your increasing weight is like a thousand little stabs to my heart, it was a very scaring experience. Last week, she called me and left me a message wanting to hear from me and I could not get myself to call her back. Not only have I not lost the weight she made such a huge deal about but every time I thought about the incident I felt like curling up in a ball. It hurt a lot mostly because she was a friend I trusted, and for me, trust is not to be taken lightly. just could not get past that I cooked a homemade meal for her, invited her into my home and in my heart and she chooses to focus on what? weight!! So I am not having her over for dinner, I am not sadistic, nope, I learned from my mistake. Yet, what I am not able to do for me and my heart is forgive and I feel I need to get there. No matter how I think about it I go right back to the feelings of humiliation and the pain of that moment. This is why someone telling you they like/love you is never enough, NOT even close....RESPECT and paying close attention to your loved one's true needs is more important than just spouting out professions of love. Believe me when I say I really want to move past this. I thought time would heal my soreness but the more time that passes the more I think walking away is the only solution. 
              Perhaps my answer lies in how my husband and I deal with forgiveness. I am with my husband now for 18 years. There has not been one week in the time we've been together in which we have not had at least one argument but we always resolve it within 2-3 hours at most, and most importantly, we truly move past it, both of us. The minute we make up I could hardly tell you what we argued about. One of the key here has been that both of us are super quick to tell the other when the other has wronged. Me, being Latina cannot and will not sit on any grudge for more than a second, I need to tell you IMMEDIATELY..... If I am mad at you you will know it cause I will be sure to tell you about it the minute it happens. Now, If I call you, if I talk to you and share any part of my life with you whatsoever know that I love and trust you deeply or you would not get a second of my time. Equally, my husband who loves to live a peaceful existence will quickly tell me what's bugging him and give me a chance to fix it. The other part of the way we argue that really works is that each of us fully respects and allows the other to have whatever feelings they bring to the table. We don't get mad at each other for bringing up a grievance or having a gripe; we accept that a gripe exists and now it must be addressed. When you respect the other you afford them the right to have a gripe, even though it might be tough to experience the force of the anger coming our way. Oh, I have had my share of those relationships where you bring up a complaint and the person turns it around on you and is upset that you've opened your mouth, that, my friends,  is a recipe for a dying relationship. So there you have it! two tips for forgiveness in a marriage, or any relationship really. To review, to bring peace back to any relationship, the hurt party should bring it up and second, one needs to feel listened to when bringing up grievances for any relationship to work. 

          So, seems like I answered my own question here. To bring closure to that issue with my friend who fat-shamed me, and if I want to give her a chance to stay in my life and feel peace I need to begin by letting her in how how her comment made me feel. How she reacts is not as important really, what matters is that I move that pain off my body, off my heart and say my peace. 

         I will report back what happens.