I Am Woman

Today I am struggling. Well, I suppose I’ve been struggling this week, truth be told.

You see, if you hadn’t heard, Ohio has gone ahead and attached anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-woman riders to their budget bill. Let me repeat that. TO THEIR BUDGET BILL.

Under the guise of “balancing the budget,” Ohio lawmakers have taken steps to make it nearly impossible for a woman to make her own reproductive choices, very similar to the ones I make daily since, like so many women I know, I am not ready to be a mother. GCB and I are not ready to be parents and have jointly and consciously made that decision.

I am at a loss here. I do not understand why such things were added to a budget bill. I do not understand how taking away access to birth control will do anything but cause more unwanted pregnancies, the results of which will be subsequently forgotten about by the state due to, you guessed it, budget cuts.

I do not understand how something can be signed into law that blatantly ignores the science of pregnancy.

I do not understand why an ultrasound is needed prior to obtaining birth control.

I do not understand how a law could consciously deprive a woman emergency health care. Have women become so loathed that if they choose to have an abortion, they deserve potential death themselves?

I do not understand how those who are anti-abortion are also anti-birth control as one leads to the prevention of the other. It seems that wanting to prevent abortions would push people to throw as much birth control to anyone and everyone. Fewer unwanted pregnancies = fewer abortions. It’s simple.

But it’s not really about that, is it? No. It’s about depriving women of making their own reproductive choices, about punishing their sexuality.

I will tell you that I have been utterly sick to my stomach at the image of multiple old, white MEN writing into law something that will rarely affect them.

And what kills me? Is that it’s not just single women who utilize birth control. I know MANY married women whom employ the use of IUDs, which could be deemed an abortion in and of itself by these new laws. I know some women who have said verbatim, “Our marriage would not have survived another child.”

How is it so easy to ignore half the population?

At this point, I’m sick and worried and sad. Ohio is a blue state, yet they signed these laws into being. My state? Well, my state nearly re-elected Todd “legitimate rape” Akin.

Why? Why do they hate women so much?

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Sing for the Moment

This morning I got word that a friend of mine passed away in her sleep after battling rather aggressive brain cancer. She left behind a husband and a two-year-old daughter.

Today is odd. As another friend said, “I can’t decide if I hate this day because of what happened, or if I love it more than ever because of what happened.”

And there have been both tears and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everything I have. It sucks that it takes such horrible things happening to put so much into perspective.

However, in spite of all the bad news, this made me smile.

I hope it makes you smile. I love you, my friends.

Pain

I’m in a lot of it.

It all started around mile 4.5 of yesterday’s race, and continued to the point where I wanted to sit down and just quit by mile 11. It was brutal.

By far, this was my worst half marathon. By far. I am not pleased with this.

I would recap the thing, but I kind of don’t feel like it’s worth recapping. I’m at a point where I’m not proud of myself, where I’m disappointed with my body and kind of feeling like it’s failed me a little, and I’m absolutely fucking terrified for January now.

Today I am limping. My hip is aching, both achilles tendons are making it difficult to go down stairs, and I am still so tired that all I have been thinking of since I woke up today is getting home and taking a nap.

Right now other people have more confidence in me than I do in myself. GCB has been an incredible support system, and tells me I’ve motivated him to get into running some races (which is the reason I pre-registered both of us for next spring’s Tough Mudder……yes, I’m bitching about a half marathon and am looking to do nearly that distance plus obstacles).

And then there’s Miranda who almost DAILY leading up to my races sends me motivational pictures like this one:

She believes in me more than words fully express, and I will forever be grateful to her for that.

I feel a bit like a masochist right now. I’m miserable with yesterday’s race, yet I have another in (now under) two weeks. I’m looking at races in the future, and I’m still dead set on finishing January’s full marathon.

Even though right now I don’t feel it, I know that I love this. Even though it’s really difficult to remind myself through the popping Advil like candy, this brings me joy. Because I fucking finished it. I wanted to quit over countless miles, and I didn’t.

That right there is something I can be proud of.

And now I have two weeks, then two and a half months, to make my next races better experiences. It will happen.

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As a completely unrelated note, but one that should be shouted from the rooftops, the HUGEST of congratulations go to my girl Ali who got engaged on Friday. I’m so beyond thrilled for her!

A wedding? I love weddings!! Drinks all around!!!

What Are Words?

Words. So many words.

Sometimes words are impossible to forget.

There are those words that will always make you smile. An “I’m getting married” from a good friend. The whispered “I love you”s from the pillow next to yours. Or perhaps the “It’s so good to see you” accompanied by the embrace from a loved one who lives far away.

Then there are those others. The ones you can’t forget. The picture captions that have seared themselves into your memory, unexpectedly returning to the forefront of your brain and forcing tears from your eyes. The emails you don’t see coming, “I don’t think we should be friends anymore.” The horrific ones you can feel rolling off your tongue in explanation, even as they feel foreign and ungainly, the ones you choke on and can barely even say, and when you finally do it feels like someone else saying them entirely.

Sometimes words are impossible to adequately use.

I hate you. I love you. How could you? What were you thinking? You’re not who I thought you were. I’ll always be here for you. I can’t have your back on this. I’m hurting. I miss you.

Never the right words. Never good enough. Never fully articulating what you want to say.

Sometimes there aren’t enough words. In all the languages in all the world, dialects, derivatives, words not even in use, there aren’t enough. Some things are completely indescribable.

So many words.

And the Lightning Strikes

One awesome week in Portland ended with a sucker-punch to the gut of some shit life has thrown at my extended family.

My mom’s already said it, I’ll say it. If you would, any and all prayers, if you’re into that sort of thing, or good juju, or whatever you have to offer would be beyond appreciated.

How do you process real life when you feel so numb?

*vague post is vague*

Give Me Novocaine

Last week, I hit my limit. Well, slammed face first into the brick wall of my limit is more accurate. Done doesn’t even begin to cover just how I felt about many, many things.

The resulting breakdown Saturday night as I drove home at three in the morning was just one aspect of the aftermath of a combination of exhaustion, cynicism, pain, resentment, anger, frustration, and a sincere inability to give a single fuck about anything but not feeling that way anymore.

Over the past two days, I’ve been forcing myself to let go. I’ve had no other option. I recognize that it is not healthy to hold those emotions in. It’s not helpful whatsoever to just shove everything down further and further until it comes bursting out of my eyeballs, and let’s be real. Sobbing while driving down the highway is neither safe nor productive.

My long run this weekend was supposed to be eight miles. I’ve skipped it so far. Physical exertion only gets me so far when it comes to ridding myself of all of that negativity.

So Sunday I went to see The Lorax with my awesome friend Alison and her most adorable three-year-old daughter (who spent the movie bouncing back and forth between her mom’s lap and my own. My goodness, I love that kid). Just being able to giggle at an adorable movie and laugh at the giggles of the kid, as well as make silly references to the real people some of the characters looked like with Alison was refreshing and much needed. Simple. Happy.

Then, joy of all joys, one of my best friends in the entire world, Nic, who I haven’t actually seen since August…..of 2010…..got here. I actually cooked a legitimately kick ass dinner (roast and garlic mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables and oh my god I’m drooling again), we had wine, we had the world’s best catch-up session, and then we got to see American Idiot at the Peabody. The show was actually really fun and entertaining.

You know how you can have the best of intentions and sometimes all of that gets blown out the window? That was today. I took today off and had planned to get up and run my eight miles before doing anything else. Nope. It started with passing out on my couch last night and then subsequently sleeping until nearly ten this morning. Apparently last week wore me out. Those eight miles get to wait now. Instead of running, Nic and I went and got a pitcher of margaritas followed by nearly $40 worth of gourmet cupcakes. No, we did not eat them all at once.

This, all of this, was so precisely what I needed. No stress about how well my training is going. No work. No guilt over the stupid amount of calories I’ve forced into my body today. These past two days have been my Novocaine.

The thing about Novocaine is that it wears off.

The result is not the same feeling as before, but similar, deadened. This is the difficult part. The things that bothered me last week are still there, still sitting and patiently waiting to see if I’ll go ahead and succumb to that which would leave me stupidly depressed and incapable of any sort of positive thought. I can see them, but still being cupcake drunk (twisted pink velvet….oh yes), I can’t feel them.

I don’t want to feel them.

And so comes the active fight against that sinking. So come the days of faking it if I have to, of finding those things that will distract me to the point where things that bug me, that hurt, don’t anymore. Now is the time of consciously deciding to just, quite simply, let things go. Sometimes anger honestly isn’t worth it.

On Sunday I got the newest Kid Cudi album. The two before this have come out at incredibly poignant times in my life and have surprisingly enough gotten me through some really rough patches.

I wonder what Cudi has to say this time around.

In the Middle of the Night

It’s frustrating to not be able to sleep. It’s even more frustrating to be absolutely and completely exhausted from fighting away the wicked cold from hell who just won’t fucking quit and still be unable to sleep.

Insomnia is a motherfucker.

There’s something about the dark that can be comforting. It’s quiet, it’s enveloping, all-encasing. The highway just outside the window doesn’t scream like it does with the windows open, but instead is a soothing hum not unlike the white noise machines so many people seem incapable of living without. Darkness feels like it holds all of your secrets, never letting anyone else get a glimpse into that time when you are at your most vulnerable.

When it’s dark, when I’m sleeping, my defenses are down. I’m not hiding anything, I’m not intentionally keeping anyone out. I am perfectly relaxed.

When it’s dark and I can’t sleep, that’s when darkness turns.

That’s when all those secrets start coming back at me. That’s when darkness stops being friendly.

It’s when the memories I fight away every single day seem to become stronger, where I can be reminded of the things that were done, the things I failed at, the things that hurt me. Darkness mocks you when you’re unprepared for it.

Waking up in the middle of the night has become so commonplace it’s no different than any waking hour. Being unable to fall asleep is torture.

Laying there, wishing past hope that there will be some sort of reprieve from the torment one’s subconscious can bring, yet it’s never enough. At that point, sleep will become the chains that push you deeper into dreams that feel like reality, where you’ll find fears and doubts come to life.

Failure is so much worse in the dark. Second-guessing past choices. Did I try hard enough? Did I say the right thing? Should I never have said anything at all? Am I doing enough?

These are the dark nights where years of personal growth come crashing down around me, where the demons I thought I exorcised rear their ugly heads, where I have to consciously look them in the eye and tell them “You have not defeated me. You will not defeat me.” In the dark is when they try harder.

It’s so easy to realize just how alone you are in the dark. There is no movement besides your own constant fidgeting, trying to find that one position that will allow you to breathe and hopefully find solace. Tossing, turning, sheets and blankets ending up twisted around your legs making the weight of those memories feel like they’ve gained the ability to physically hold you down.

A straight-jacket holding you in place.

These are those dark nights that all you can do is wait for morning. A new day, another chance to push everything away and start again.

Dawn is so close. Dawn is so far away.