NABLOPOMO! Are you in?

Somewhere back in 2006 or 2007 I joined in on the first National Blog Posting Month which was the blogger’s answer to NaNoWriMo – the longer-lived National Novel Writing Month. I successfully completed blogging every day for a month and I was super proud. I’ve not been successful since.

BUT THIS YEAR! This year I shall reign NABLOPOMO supreme!

Mainly because I think I need to use this space more to work out some of my demons. I’m not promising you that every day will be Kim’s Therapy Corner by any means (That sound you heard was a collective sigh of relief from you – my blog friends.) but if I don’t have any concrete topic to write about, I’d like to at least vent a little about what made me binge eat or what made me cry that day. I think I’ve steered away from using this spot for cathartic purposes in the last few years and save it for the Big Bad Days Of The Mental Breakdowns, when maybe if I mentioned the small stress triggers daily I wouldn’t reach the Big Bad Mental Breakdown days. So, Tomorrow? NABLOPOMO! BRING IT ON.

If you’re going to try the same on your blog – let me know. I’m going to post a list of my blog friends doing this in the sidebar for the month of November and I’ll add your blog to the list too!

Now…on to today’s topic: Bad Costume Choices Of The Postpartum Womam

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At the time I had never missed dressing up for a Halloween and I didn’t want my postpartum body to thwart that, so I obviously chose appropriately. But couldn’t I have put on some mascara? Or maybe smiled? JEEZUS.

On the other hand – here are my three favorite Hallowen costumes of my kids in the past.

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Happy Halloween, Yo. And here’s to a successful month of daily blog posting starting with tomorrow’s entry that will certainly be titled: OH MY GOD…I ATE ALL OF THE CANDY.

I mean…SERIOUSLY about punctuality!

There are a lot of things that happen in the world that have never happened to me, necessarily, but I can totally relate. I feel like I actually empathize quite a bit with people which often helps me see and understand the “other side” of many situations. Donnie and I discuss this a lot because he feels he isn’t quite able to do it as much as I can. He’ll say, “I just don’t get it…” many more times than I do in life, where I spend hours trying to explain to him where someone is coming from.

When I hear about tragedies that involve a mental breakdown of some sort, no matter what horrible action followed, I can usually empathize on some level. Not that I’ve ever had a breakdown that’s led me to irrational behavior, but I’ve teetered on the edge – or close to the edge – enough to understand how easy it would be to fall over. I bring this up – the ability to truly empathize with crazy behavior – because I want to now bring up the very mundane things I just don’t understand AT ALL.

People Who Are Late All The Time

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. But I just don’t get it. There is no part of me that can understand how a person lives always being late. Punctuality is a physical urge in my life. If I’m going to be late…HELL – if I’m going to be ON TIME…I get anxiety that has physical manifestations. My heartbeat races, my blood pressure rises, I get headaches and anxious. I lose my appetite. We aim for early everywhere we go and if we’re on time? We feel VERY late. And – god forbid – if we’re late? We feel AWFUL. We rearrange our schedules, we plan ahead, we schedule every step 5 minutes early so that when the end result happens we’re often 15 minutes early to everything. People who are late all the time, and then who JOKE about it? “Oh, yeah…I’m always late…I don’t know what’s wrong with me…” I sit back and just stare at them like they’re alien. How does that work? I don’t understand? How are you perpetually late but not curled up in a corner in the fetal position losing your mind about it? I once called a friend at book club to apologize that I was going to be a few minutes late. Five TOPS. I had some complications and I feared they were going to push my schedule into the “LATE” window. I got there one minute early still…which cracked my friend up because she had kinda guessed that’s what would happen.

People Who Don’t Put Buggies/Shopping Carts Back

Our Target has PLENTY of shopping cart bins. They’re never more than 30 second walk from your car. Yet still…there are always buggies around that aren’t in the bins. I DON’T GET IT. What is the situation in your life that is so urgent that you couldn’t take that 30 seconds to put your cart back? I’ve had small kids, I’ve had two kids at once, I put them in the carseats and THEN put the cart back. Do other parents not feel comfortable leaving their kids buckled in the car for 30 seconds without them? Or are they all just lazy and just don’t care? How is there not a HUGE pang of guilt that rushes through your system when you drive away leaving that buggy there to cause damage in some way to someone’s vehicle. They don’t stay still! You know that, right? The slightest gust of wind and they’re hitting someone’s car! PUT THEM BACK.

People Who Litter

Seriously. How is there ANY part of a human with a functioning brain that does not feel guilty when they leave trash on the ground. I never even consider littering, much less actually do it. I just don’t see how you have trash in your hand and think it better on the ground than in your hand or car a little longer. I’ve never EVER been in a position where I needed to throw something away THAT BAD and there wasn’t a garbage can close. ESPECIALLY in nature. SERIOUSLY? PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET. OR YOUR SOCK. I just don’t understand how I see trash everywhere in a civilized society.

People Who Smoke In The Paths Of Other People

I used to smoke, and I was constantly worried about pissing people off with my habit. I tried my best to stay out of the way, to hide behind buildings or stay in my car. I never wanted to be anywhere where people might be pissed of to have no choice but to walk through my smoke. I always felt HORRID about that. Of course, I felt guilty about smoking anyway because I knew it was the stupidest thing ever, but I did it the best way I could. If there were outdoor areas that said “no smoking” I found another place to smoke. I would try to find the actual “smoking area” if I could – because most hospitals and parks have those designated. At Vanderbilt the smoking area was the back corner of the parking garage. I went there and smoked, passing dozens of people along the way smoking in “No Smoking” areas. It drove me crazy.

NOW! Having said all of that, I also know there are things I do that people just don’t get.

Things I Do That Many Can’t Empathize With

  • I don’t volunteer at my kid’s elementary school. It scares me too much. I’ve been showing up at the periodic even this year, trying to do something, but I will never be room Mom or on the PTA. TERRIFYING.
  • I don’t tend to my eyebrows. I’m constantly seeing women complain about the state of another woman’s eyebrows and I know mine must irritate so many people. But I just don’t know how, and I just don’t care enough to learn.
  • I wear loungewear out of the house. Yoga pants, workout clothes, tons of outfits my husband wouldn’t be caught DEAD in, in public, but I go around in them every day. It drives him crazy.
  • I don’t get pedicures yet I still wear flip-flops. I see a lot of women on Twitter/FB complain every summer about seeing people with gnarly feet in flip-flops. That’s me! Sometimes I paint my toenails myself, which I hope helps, but my feet are gross and often I don’t paint my toenails so you see how bruised and battered my feet really are.

What are the things you don’t understand at all? What do you understand that you know other people don’t?

Facebook: The Nurturer and The Killer of Casual Friendships

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Facebook has done more to help me with my social anxieties than any medications ever could. It’s given me a low-stress way to get to know people, so that when we are face-to-face, I feel way more prepared.

See, I’ve always been fine with social gatherings involving good friends. Friends that I know well enough that I can ask them about their family, or their job, or their parents, and then discuss topics surrounding those things for awhile. It was always the gatherings where I either A) Didn’t know anyone or B) Barely knew people that freaked me out. How do you converse with someone if you don’t know their name? But that’s even better than if you DO know their name, but nothing else, because then you don’t even have the ice breaker of, “Hey! My name is Kim! What’s yours?”

But Facebook has helped so much with that. Once we’re Facebook friends I can become more familiar with your kids, your hobbies, your lifestyle…so when I run into you at the store, or see you at dinner, or sit next to you at the PTA meeting – I can say, “How’s the new puppy doing?” Or maybe, “Did you finish ‘Doctor Sleep’ yet? What did you think?” I can start a conversation with you because I know enough about your life that I don’t have to see there and pretend I don’t know you.

I love this so much. It’s also helped move some of my “casual” friendships with people I might only see periodicially in the real world to more solid friendships because of our discovered similarities.

What? You love Doctor Who? And Diet Coke? AND YOUNG ADULT FICTIONS? Here’s a friendship bracelet that says “BFF” – I hope you’ll wear it forever.

Facebook has just really helped support and nurture those casual relationships in my life so that my anxieties over events has dimmed greatly.

But then…THEN…there are the times when it kills my chances at even maintaining a casual relationship with someone. Someone who I might have been able to run into and chat with for decades without ever flinching, until they posted that thing they posted on Facebook.

I should point out that I rarely send out friend requests on Facebook. Mainly because I post a lot of stupid shit on Facebook and I hate subjecting someone to that. But, if they send me a friend request then it’s their own fault! Also – I only accept friend requests from people I know in real life, since I get tagged in pictures with other people and I feel like they would appreciate if I knew everyone who was seeing them.

All of that said – I don’t get into religion or politics a lot on Facebook. It’s a much more filtered version of my Twitter/Blog persona. I don’t talk about supporting reproductive rights at all, I don’t talk about being an Atheist, I don’t talk about being a former Loser Who Mooched Off The Government. (NOT A LOSER, by the way. THAT WAS SARCASM. I really wish I had a sarcasm font.) The only kinda touchy subject I’ll discuss is my support of Gay Rights and that’s because that issue hits so close to home in the lives of my friends and family, that I’m not sure I could be even casual friends successfully with someone who didn’t support it. So, I put it out there RESPECTFULLY and POLITELY often so that if someone is completely against it – especially if they’re vocal about it – they’ll know my stance.

And that’s where the problem lies. The FB friends who like to post things about not supporting gay rights. And it makes me sad. And it makes it very difficult for me to even maintain a casual relationship because they’re basically saying, “You know those people in your life that you love and would sacrifice everything for? I don’t think those people are worthy of the same rights that I have. Also: They’re going to hell.” And it’s REALLY hard to even greet someone on the street with a smile knowing that.

But I do! Because I’m a grown-up.

Except when it goes beyond the simple declaration of a lack of support. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t believe those Gay People you love deserve to get married. And my church says they’re going to Hell, but I’ll pray for them for you!”

It’s another thing entirely to say, “Those Gay People you love are abominations of humanity and God would never make something so disgusting and they’re all pedophiles and I wouldn’t let them near my children.”

UNFRIEND.

And while part of me is like, “I’m glad to know that person feels that way so I can eliminate that connection in my life,” another part of me longs for the days before Facebook where you could see someone around town and not know that they’re homophobes.

But – for the most part – Facebook brings much joy to my life and helps build relationships and friendship which this Sufferer of Social Anxiety needs desperately. For every one person I’ve had to unfriend, there are 50 that I’ve gotten to know much better and found many points of commonality we share. So, overall? I’m very grateful. It makes my need for a Xanax before social gatherings very minimal.

Anatomy of a Downward Spiral

You step on the scale first thing in the morning, like you do most mornings, and it reads 2.5lbs more than you expected.

This makes it much harder to fight the demons in your head later trying to keep you from going to BodyPump. So you skip the class. You work. And work some more. You face a few headache-inducing tasks, but you drudge through them.

But skipping BodyPump makes it much easier to listen to the demons encouraging you to eat that chocolate cake for breakfast. And for lunch. So you do.

And you eat other things. And suddenly you lose motivation to get dressed or fix your hair or shower.

You drudge through your work day, oozing the bad food choices out of your pores. You cross off tasks but the day just keeps getting grayer.

You drudge through your domestic chores but you have no idea why. You’re now in robot mode.

Work. Laundry. Cake. Work. Laundry. Chips. Work. Laundry. Cry.

You take a break to pay some bills. You realize one medical bill is almost $3,000 more than you expected. You spend hours crying on the phone only to find out that suddenly you may be financial responsible for a surgery that A) Your doctor recommended and B) Changed your life for the better.

But because of the gray day and the bad food choices and the drudgery of work/laundry/tears…you are not equipped to process this new stress. So you cry some more.

You finally make it to school pick-up time. You’re wearing sunglasses because you’ve reached that point where you just can’t stop crying about the gray of the day. The bad food choices. The extra pounds on the scale. The medical bills. The laundry. The drudgery of the day just brings the tears.

The kids get in the car and feed off all of that negative energy to produce more. They fight. They whine. They sass. You demand some quiet time at home and yet they still keep going. The fighting. The whining. The sassing.

So you yell. And while you’re yelling part of you thinks it’s making you feel better to yell. The other part of you thinks it’s making you feel worse. Because now, on top of the pounds and the food and the medical bills…you’re a shitty Mom.

You send them to their room and you lay in bed and you cry. And cry some more.

You put the pillows over your head and think about how nice it would be if your insurance paid for therapy so that you’d have someone to talk to about days like this. But hell, your insurance isn’t even paying for the medical procedures you needed, much less your psychological ones. You’re just screwed.

And you curl up in bed and just pray you can get out of the funk before your husband gets home.

Falling in love with trail running. In EVERY sense of the word.

When I ran trails in Denver with my brother last year, I experienced something I knew to be true based on photos in trail running magazines: Not all trails are the same.

The Green Mountain area where we rain has a terrain more of shubbery instead of trees. I’m sure there’s a more accurate way to describe the flora/fauna there, but the point is? No huge roots. And whether or not related: No huge rocks.

Here, in our state park, the trails are covered with tall trees, huge roots, and a SHIT-LOAD of rocks. Hazards ABOUND. And while Denver still poses the “No Oxygen!” hazard, that one is not as treacherous to your limbs by creating huge fall risks. So, less scary to me. But our trails here? SO TERRIFYING.

I started trail running here one one of our simpler set of trails. Bucca Family Bike Trail, and the White/South loop. Neither of the trails descend really at all, and since good chunks of them are design for mountain bikes, they’re well worn and relatively easy to navigate. However, compared to the surface of the trails in Denver, VERY HAZARDOUS I learned. I’m very jealous of trail runners near Denver. Anyway – I eventually tried out our North/Blue loop which also didn’t descend, but was waaaaaay more treacherous with rocks and roots. I guess I started getting my “trail legs” on those two trails.

When you run on a trail that is “technical” or maybe not very “runnable” (those are terms trail runners use a lot to describe difficulty in trails) you find that you can only think about one thing: Where do I put my feet? You learn to trust things like: If you pick up you’re feet, you decrease your likelihood of tripping greatly. You also learn to trust parts of the trail that you’ve navigated before. You learn things like: THOSE ROCKS DON’T MOVE, so running over them is a possibility. You wear trail running shoes that have more protection between the bottoms of your feet and those rocks so they don’t impale your arches on every step. You remember the first rule: PICK UP YOUR DAMN FEET.

And then there’s the descents. There are very few trails that lead down the mountain up here that aren’t covered in rocks and roots and probably make the casual hiker hold on to trees along the way. My first year of running? I became a hiker on those downhills. I held on to trees and gingerly stepped the entire way down the mountain. Even during races. I was surrounded by runners, some twice my age, running down those trails…but me? Nope. Hiking. And holding on for dear life.

But last spring…I started to trust my body, my feet, and the surface more. I learned to work with to momentum and basically I get my adrenaline rush every week but running down these treacherous trails, one specifically that I’ll have to do three times in my next 50K. I get better and better every time. But every time there’s a voice inside my head that knows that one tiny wrong move and I’m toast.

But the thing is – on the most dangerous parts – I’m the most focused. I’m paying attention to every rock and every root and I’m always aware of trees to grab if I stumble and embankments to aim for if I gain too much momentum. While it’s the most dangerous topographically, I’m probably the most focused, and therefore safest, mentally.

That brings me to THE FALLS.

I’ve had dozens of falls. And several “bad” ones where my first instinct was not to laugh or jump back up. And all of those bad ones? ALL of them? On the stupid “easy” trails I mention in the beginning of this entry. I’m not saying I won’t ever bust my ass on the dangerous trails, but it seems my worst falls are the ones I take on the trails where I stop focusing entirely on my steps and maybe think about things like: I’m almost to the car! 20 miles done!

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Which is EXACTLY what I was thinking this weekend when I had my worst fall EVER. Mile 19.7 or so of a 20 mile run. I was feeling great, thinking about how great I was feeling, and just coasting along when BAM! I hit the ground with the left side of my body SO HARD that I momentarily considered that fact that my running buddy may need to carry me the rest of the way to my car.

I didn’t even get up at first, I rolled over and surveyed my body. Everything hurt. I was bleeding already on my thigh. Once I tested out all of my extremities I checked on my clothing. Damn it if I wasn’t going to be pissed if I tore my $60 running skirt. (I didn’t!) I wiggled my fingers and moved my arms. Decided the majority of the pain was in my hand, my shoulder, and my thigh…but nothing was in so much pain I couldn’t move. I got up (slowly) and decided to walk that last bit to the car. And man…I was SO SORE. This was Saturday and I’m feeling better this Monday morning, but man…I fell SO HARD. It was super scary. And on the stupid easy trail because I don’t pay as much attention on those as the harder ones. I was almost angry at myself because my 50K on those SAME trails is in 3 weeks…I do NOT need a new mental hurdle to surpass with any sort of gun shyness going on.

So, we’ll see how the quick trip on the trails next week goes. I’m hoping I’ll still trust my body/feet/reflexes on the downhills and maybe I’ll pay more attention on the “easy” trails. But MAN…after falls like that I totally get why people avoid trail running.

But then…THEN…you remember how AMAZING it feels to be out there in the woods. While I always say running is therapy – TRAIL running is like therapy AND a spa day rolled into one. You soak up so much energy from the nature around you, and you leave all of your worries behind because out there the ONE thing you think about is: WHERE DO I PUT MY FOOT? And this time of year it’s beautiful and you don’t have to worry about snakes or heat and the leaves are changing and you just coast down those trails deeper into the woods and think: HOLY SHIT, IT’S SO GOOD TO BE ALIVE.

Which is why I’ll still be out there, regardless of my nerves or pain. Because, while I enjoy road running and road races…I LOVE the trails.

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