This is what my mind feels like… as I have been written two lines each to about a dozen blog posts…
This will have to do for today…
As I was on my after work run last night and my head was telling me that I can’t, I remembered something an old friend once told me about why she ran. Because I can. Because I am capable of running and exercising. Because there are people that physically can’t do it and it would be such a waste to be someone that CAN do it and to take that for granted.
That thought has stuck with me for a long time… She told me that right near the time we first met and that was in around about 2002 so it’s a sentiment that managed to stick in my brain for the last 11 years.
I was thinking about that as I ran last night. Because I can. I do this because I am capable of doing this. I have been blessed with mobility and perseverance (God knows I’ve used a lot of perseverance in the last while) and a time in my life that I have next to no commitments or demands on my time. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a significant other, my pet is pretty self-sufficient and I can work my 7.5 hours a day and then go home. This is not said to gloat of course, I know from the outside it looks like I’ve got it pretty easy and maybe comparatively I do. This is said because I think it would be grossly taking advantage of this time of my life and not pushing myself. I could go home and play with the kitty and have a nap and watch crappy tv while I eat crappy food… I’ve done it in the past and I COULD do it again… Or I could put my runners on, grab my ipod and go outside and run as hard and as fast and as long as my body will carry me that day because I can.
In the last… oh, lets say 36 hours, I’ve logged 9.6 miles in a combination of walking and running…
I went for a run on Sunday… I woke up to find it raining and very cool outside and as I had languished in bed and on the sofa in an attempt to get rid of a ripping multiple day headache to no avail, I figured that going for a run in the rain, as suggested on Twitter by Tara was the next remedy to try… I also figured that if it didn’t make me feel better, it wouldn’t make me feel worse so I wasn’t in a position to lose anything by going.
I don’t think I broke any land speed records for my time… I ended up accidentally turning off the timer halfway through… I was ticked that I turned the timer off… and then I realized that altho I like to know my time and I like to improve on it, sometimes being out there, running in a downpour with a ripping headache isn’t about the time, it’s about the effort.
Yesterday I headed downtown and went for a long walk with a friend. We took a cab into Stanley Park and then headed out toward the Lion’s Gate Bridge. The plan was originally to walk to the bridge and then turn around and walk back as we were hoping to stay on the shady side. By the time we got to the bridge the sun was going down and altho it was still incredibly hot, we decided to walk on the sunny side for a while… Friend isn’t crazy about being so warm so we were both very surprised that we managed to keep going… We were glad we did because we happened upon the Brahm Tam’s Stanley Park drum circle. It was kind of cool and we stood and watched for a bit before continuing on…(the video is someone else’s but that was exactly when we were there) and then happened upon the bit of beach that the rock stacker guy does his magic… and then on past the ‘In the Park After Dark’ location where they were showing Dirty Dancing. I LOVE that movie… we didn’t stop tho… we kept going, stopped for a bottle of water and a snack of a slice of pizza and the icing off the top of a cupcake (It worked out perfectly… I like the icing and he likes the cake…)
We strolled through the residential areas of the West End on the way back to my bus stop and ended up logging a total of 7.1 miles. It took us about four hours all told between walking, stopping to gawk around and take a pic or two, eating and then wandering back. Next week we’re going to start further back in the park so we go around the entire thing… Should end up adding a couple miles to the total, which is fine by me!
Besides having just a really nice time, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this was my reward. All my hard work and sacrifice (hello, running in the rain isn’t as romantic as you think!) thus far has paid off and a 7 mile walk isn’t really all that big of a deal… I mean it’s not a ‘deal’ at all… it’s a nothing… the thoughts going through my head when the idea was proposed to me was ‘what cute top should I wear’ and ‘should I bring a hoodie’. It wasn’t ‘can I make it’, ‘will I be sweaty or out of breath’ or anything of that nature… All my cognitive effort the entire time was on laughing and telling/listening to stories and being silly. I acted out a whole portion of the Friends episode where Rachel and Phoebe go running (linked here for you… v funny!)
As I continue on in my journey for health and wellbeing, both for my mind and my body, I’m enjoying taking more ownership of who I am…
I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the excuses that I’ve made for myself in the past… in a probably useless effort to try and convince people around me that I wasn’t a train wreck. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think every overweight person is a train wreck… but my weight issues came from trainwreck worthy things and this is my blog and I’m talking about me.)
Ownership of who you are means that you don’t make excuses… you’re just who you are, both good and bad. It’s difficult to explain and I don’t think I’m having an eloquent enough day to try and explain it but it’s a very freeing feeling.
So, to sum up. I’ve logged almost 10 intentional exercise miles in 36 hours, walking on the seawall is fun, I like my friend and I own who I am, both good and not so good. Not bad for 36 hours!
Here’s a pic from about halfway… just to the left out of frame would be Siwash Rock (for those in the know).
So back in March I wrote a little goodbye letter to knitting and put all of my toys away… After years of having stitch markers litter the coffee table (and the night stand, and the kitchen counter) and always having something on the needles somewhere, I put everything away… cleaned it all up and out of sight, out of mind.
It was intentional. I felt very strongly that I was using knitting to protect myself from the world, to ensure that I never had to sit alone with my thoughts… to identify with something external so I didn’t have to do work internally.
When I packed it all up back in March, I didn’t know how long it would stay packed up. I’d read of people who used to be prolific knitters… ten or twenty years ago… I knew I didn’t want it to be a decade or more… I knew that wouldn’t happen. But I didn’t put a timeline on it because as with everything I have undertaken to accomplish in the last six months, it was all to be organic and done by feeling… Everything in the last six months has been done to make myself feel good inside… to heal the inside… and I’ve put no timeline on any of it.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking at sweater patterns… logging back into the knitting community online and thinking about getting back into knitting when the weather cools down…
Yesterday it rained… hard! And sideways… I know it was sideways because there was a great pool of water on the floor under my windows when I woke up…
After I went for a run, showered, ate, went for another walk and then had a nap, I went to my office/craft/junk/2nd room and pulled out a partially worked on shawl that I bought the yarn for on my Arizona vacation…. Just a month or less before everything fell apart… It had been cast on ages ago and I knit on it off and on… I never really got into it, altho it’s very pretty. Well, since it was already cast on, a simple and mindless pattern and available, it was what I picked up yesterday… And I’m now officially a knitter again! I loved it! It took me one row to get back into being as good and fast as I used to be and I enjoyed every minute of it. In a way that I don’t think I could have if I hadn’t put it away this spring.
I have the yarn and the pattern for the sweater I’m making… Two good friends of mine and I are going to knit sweaters this fall together when it cools off… I’m so looking forward to finally having people to knit with that are good company again!
Back in May I got myself on the waiting list for a very talented tattoo artist in Vancouver. At the beginning of July I had a consultation with him where I described what I was looking for, showed some pictures of inspiration and then left the details in his hands. It’s difficult to describe something artistic when you’re as incapable of fine arts as I am… I left with an appointment for the beginning of August and a sense of calm. About a week later I emailed another inspiration photo and a story about why I was getting the tattoo, on the off chance that it would help inform the design.
Throughout the month of July, while I was waiting ever so impatiently for my appointment time, I was constantly asked by friends and family if I’d seen the design yet… No was my reply.. I’ll see it on the day of the tattoo and I have every confidence that it will be perfect so no, I’m not worried. Last Sunday I took the bus (and then a cab, because I am stupid) downtown… I was calm as a cucumber (even tho I find the mere idea of cucumbers most repellant!) and very confident and peaceful. It stood to reason I told myself… part of why I was on my way down there to get this piece of art etched onto me was to celebrate the peace I’d found in the last six months.
I didn’t know what to expect or what the design would look like… but the literal second that I saw his interpretation of my story, I fell in love… It’s a weird thing to say that it was exactly what I wanted; even though I didn’t know what that was until that very moment… His art closed the chapter on the last seven years of my life and celebrated the opening of my mind and heart that has occurred in the last six months. I look down at my arm and see a reminder of the overwhelming peace I feel now… it reminds me to be thankful for it and to continue to seek peace and strength. And, it’s really really pretty!
Please excuse the somewhat crappy picture… the tattoo also looks somewhat crappy because it was only three days old when this photo was taken and it’s still healing… but you get the idea. (also, it’s sideways… but again… you get the idea…)
And for those of you in Vancouver/GVRD who are wondering…
My artist was Logan Howard. And he will certainly be doing my next tattoo… which isn’t as long away as one might think 😉