Too Much

Sometimes there is too much to write about.

Sometimes you just have to live it because processing is a luxury that will come but has yet to arrive.

Sometimes emotional bandwidth is to short, so you just hold on for the ride.

Sometimes you resist the waves.

Sometimes you let them flow over you.

And sometimes – you know that in time it will all settle.

But in the meantime, you wait. And just let it happen around you.

The eye of the storm – that is where I hung out during my brother’s wedding a few weeks ago. Because the dichotomy of something so incredibly beautiful matched by the incredible pain of being all together again and the triggers it provoked was too much to try to sort out.

And it still isn’t there…

So for now I’m hanging out in the eye of  the storm… waiting for it all to calm.

(And go figure – of course now would be when some guy decides it is a good time to pursue me… oh and that person I had to say goodbye to in the summer came in town to visit (hello emotions!) )

And the longing to reach for control is so strong… but I know that isn’t the answer…

So I keep waiting… Oh and hello holidays, bad timing – once again! So we are skipping town for the holidays… Because sometimes it is too much and that is okay. And sometimes we have to give ourselves permission… acknowledge that it being too much is not a mistake.

My spiritual director told me something a couple months ago – “N, you’ve got to accept your humanity.”

And the tears come… as I try to accept it wasn’t my fault I got hurt. I didn’t do something wrong that led me to get wounded. I wasn’t supposed to handle it all better – the high expectations, the perfectionism, the sensitivity, the bipolar parent, the unpredictability, the unpredictable environment, the lack of support, the emotional unavailability, etc, etc, etc… I wasn’t supposed to be able to handle it. It isn’t my fault I got hurt. I am human.

A year ago I started blogging again… sometimes I do… sometimes I don’t.

Tonight is one of those sometimes…

What seemed like the end…

I had to say goodbye to discover…

I had to rip the wound open to let it heal…

I had to face the darkness to find the light…

I think it must be something like childbirth. They say time lessens the pain but you never forget. (I wouldn’t know… at least not yet.)

But I do know that in my life turning upside down… many times over… I found things I never wold have imagined.

And tonight lying in bed, the wind whistling through the leaves on this Indian summer night… a little more crinkly now that they’ve begun to change…

Like I’ve changed… 

I’m not who I was a few months ago. I’ve gone through a lot of growth and transformation these past years… but always it has felt like a steep slope I could slide back down at any moment. But this is different. I don’t think I could go back if I wanted to.

These are new beginnings… but for a new beginning everything had to end… and that was the hard part…

But now, even as the pain is fresh (like new shoes) I also know I’m never going back.

Humanity

Are you ever left in awe, just by the beauty of humanity?

This morning I ran a 10k, mind you this is me the morning of every race… I wake up thinking – maybe I’ll just take it easy and then…

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Yeah, adrenaline is a powerful thing.

Today’s race was great. I am currently in better shape than I have EVER been in my life – largely due to coaching. I ran a sub seven pace for most of the race easily…

But this course is HILLY. At mile 3.5 I had to tie my shoe. (That has honestly never happened to me before in a race.) I did and a fellow runner caught up to me. We proceeded to pace off of each other for the remainder of the race. As we came up on mile six and we were going up [yet another] hill, he waved me on. He waved me on again as we neared the finish.

He finished a few seconds ahead of me, and turned around and gave me a huge hug after I crossed.. (And then puked… But not on him…)

And you see, the thing is all this change, I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself what life is all about… What am I here for? Slowing down and learning to relax for perhaps the first time in my life. (More on that another time.)… has made me stop and think. But when you contemplate the beauty of humanity like I saw in my pacer friend this morning, you see the meaning that life has.

So, no… I’m not a girl who has struggled with an eating disorder that has turned into a running addiction.

My running is in check.

My doctor has approved my running.

My therapist has approved my running. (Okay ex-therapist because I’m on an approved break from that too.)

My spiritual director has approved my running.

And I run as a part of my recovery… because EVERY SINGLE TIME I RUN I discover something more about the beauty of this life, about my own body, about my capacities, about my determination, about team, and about humanity.

Today I learned something through this stranger who paced me and encouraged me. He helped me – not only to complete this race and win first overall for women. He helped me to discover a little by more of what life is all about.

Why We Get Out of Bed…

This post made me stop and think… a lot…

I love her writing and she has a way of saying the right thing right when I need to hear it.

Why did I get out of bed this morning?

After a much needed 10 hours of sleep… After running on a quarter tank for weeks… What is today?

I’ve spent so much of the last (how many?) years running… literally and figuratively… I roll out of bed in my workout clothes, ready to make my bed, grab my bag and head straight to the gym… Looking at emails on my phone as I head out the door… God forbid there be a moment of pause in which all those emotions I fear might creep in…

And so begins every day… panic sets in when the calendar isn’t full… Avoiding myself like the plague… not because of me… but because of what’s inside of me, that constantly threatens to emerge and… what? I don’t even care to know. I’ll just keep running.

This morning was different. I woke up in pajamas. No clear plans until the evening. Having moved on from the job that was my “legitimate” excuse to never slow down, never leave the phone aside, never…

Why did I get out of bed?

Not because of the laundry, the errands, and the home that needs cleaning…

Why did I get out of bed?

Because I believe everything I do has meaning.

Because I know I am worth the still uncomfortable down time.

Because I believe God has a plan for my life and this semi-lonely day is part of that plan.

Because I’m learning not to be afraid of those feelings.

Because I’m learning how to become whole.

Because I want to run… not from the past… but towards the future.

Soul Sisters

For a long time I thought I had a group of friends. Until I discovered that friendships can be toxic. I discovered that sometimes loving people means letting them go.  And I discovered that I was worth letting people go.

And God has filled the void I feared those friendships left behind would leave.

Over the past year I’ve formed friendships with several new people in my life.

Real people.

Flesh and blood.

Flawed people.

Beautifully flawed.

People whom I love because of those flaws.

People who aren’t pretending to be perfect.

And the most remarkable thing is – three of them share my experience of struggling with eating disorders. These souls have opened up their hearts to me, shared their struggle, and across the miles that separate us – I now know people who have fought and are fighting the same battle.

I’ve discovered the beauty of vulnerability.

I’ve discovered that in sharing my weaknesses I can feel support.

My biggest fear for years has been feeling alone. But only recently did I discover that in opening up my weaknesses, my fears, my vulnerability would I find others. The very things that I thought would make others despise me have drawn me closer to others.

Tonight I celebrate these girls, these soul sisters… who  have opened up their hearts, their failings, their weakness, their hurt… and allowed me to do the same… I  love them as they are. And they continue to show me that I’m loved as I am.

The Mouth of Babes

Once again, I have about a zillion blog posts I could write… And no time to do it.

Here we are – a new job, going through some intense healing, transition at work, coaching, and figuring out more about myself every day.

I’ve had the support of an incredible mentor in working through some of the healing.

Opening up the ache of the past.

The pain I’ve run from for years.

The pain I’ve been afraid to feel.

The reason I keep myself busy… the reason I have an eating disorder… the reason I’ve been afraid to be alone… the reason for all my unhealthy coping mechanisms… the reason for many, many things in my life…

It is still healing but it is open now and I’m not afraid.

The healing takes time… and patience… but I trust. I know it will continue to take time.

But today at church I was holding a little one…

I also pray better holding a little one… because the amount of love I have for them… I know God has for me. And as I hold them, I know God holds me that same way.

The little one I held today is a pretty special kid, and he has a very spiritual little soul.

At some point as I prayed, I realized I wasn’t holding him… he was holding me… I wasn’t rubbing his back… he was rubbing mine…

As I prayed I felt Christ ask me, “Will you accept the mother I gave you?” The mother who has bipolar disorder… the mother I never know completely… the mother who is unreliable… the mom who I long to lay my head on her shoulder but just can’t… the mother it hurts to love.

As I prayed, little J lifted his head off my shoulder and looked at me. He asked me, “What did you say to Jesus?”

Yes, little one. I told Jesus, “yes.”

Off the Grid…

Because as I tried to  think of a title this started playing over and over in my head. (And now pizza sounds really good!)

I wish I had literally been off the grid for all this time I’ve been away… But I’ve once again literally been too busy to blog. (And there may have been a little shutting down coping in there – which isn’t really all that compatible with blogging – aka baring my soul to the world.)

All I’ve got for now is the top 30  things I learned during this summer amidst an incredibly hard goodbye and tons of transition in my life.

1.) Feeling is okay… Not just the day to day feeling – feeling the things  you are terrified of feeling… Feeling until it physically hurts. Feeling till you can’t cry anymore. And feeling my way through the events of this summer I’m hoping is going to give me the courage to feel the things I have been running from for so long – so I can really heal and really be free.

2.) Wine, cheese, prosciutto, and chocolate solo on the beach is not lonely.

3.) You can vacation while everything is not okay – without the pressures of day to day the emotions can just sit there raw and there is a freedom in it.

4.) Relapse is only relapse if you don’t stand back up. I relapsed hard a couple weeks ago – ate less than I  have for years. But I  decided I didn’t want to go there – and I  stood back up.

5.) When you allow yourself to be vulnerable – you can actually feel support. Counter intuitive – perhaps, but true nonetheless. I let people know how hard the transition this summer were for me and I’ve never felt more supported in my life.

6.) Picking at your face doesn’t resolve anything – you just hate yourself more. I reached for all my unhealthy coping mechanisms and reconfirmed they don’t work… just to be sure.

7.) True friends are one of the greatest gifts in this  world. They call you out, stand by you, believe in you, and love you for who you are.

8.) Running is my crack. I love it and it has been an amazing tool this summer. I’m having to be very careful as now I am coaching and doing double workouts a day. (Don’t worry my therapist is read in and we aren’t doing anything stupid.)

9.) Pride in my cross country team is an incredible feeling… It is pride in THEIR achievements, their determination, and their success.

10.) It is easier to be angry than to say  goodbye. Mourning someone who isn’t dying is rough… but it has given me a huge amount of compassion for those who mourn.

11.) Cross training does make a difference.

12.) People know my walk – working on mindfully walking.

13.) I tend to bulldoze/bite people’s heads off as a coping mechanism – I found out why the other day when I controlled it and almost cried instead. Still have to work on all of that.

14.) Seeing teenage girls struggle with eating disorders is incredibly difficult for me.

15.) Haven’t been able to be in touch with my parents much – it is too much to  handle right now. And I’m learning that is okay.

16.) Vacation at both the beginning and the end of summer is the way to do things.

17.) Riding bikes on cobblestones is both painful and difficult.

18.) It is possible to right at 10 page research paper in just four hours.

19.) One of my favorite places in Chicago is Cindy’s rooftop bar.

20.) No matter how many times you take the double decker tour in Chicago, you always learn something new.

21.) Read Death by Meeting if you have trouble with conflict in the workplace.

22.) Those traditional Mexican blouses are really practical – totally felt like I was barely wearing anything all day.

23.) When you plant flowers in the early summer and they all die for lack of water, never give up hope – I’ve got one plant that resurrected to prove it. There is always hope.

24.) Give things enough time and relationships you  never expected to heal may heal.

25.) There is nothing like a hug of a mother. We all need someone who can give us that hug.

26.) Even at your worst you can inspire others… don’t be ashamed to struggle because God can still use it to help someone else.

27.) An “I love you” from a child is always healing.

28.) Salt water is good for the body and the soul.

29.) When  you don’t have any more time for anything, it is surprising what happens when you simply have to make time for other things.

30.) I’m a different person and learning that I can be at peace even when everything isn’t  under control… So despite how difficult this  summer has been – I wouldn’t take it back.