Friday, September 28, 2012

And I can't decide which side I'm on

Last night I was stopped at a red light and I gave $5 to the homeless guy standing at the side of the road. He said "Alright! My girlfriend and I only need $15 more dollars to make it to Richmond!" I can't decide whether to think Even the homeless guy has a significant other. There must be something terribly wrong with me that I don't. or Even the homeless guy has a significant other. Maybe there really is someone for everyone.

All week on my way to work I've driven past a dead raccoon on the side of the road, body in rigor mortis, arms in perfect Heisman trophy pose. And I thought, Well, I'm having a better day than that poor little guy.

The ice cream cone is either half full or half empty. And I can't decide which side I'm on. I'm too optimistic to give up hope but too realistic to have lofty expectations.

I feel adrift because I have nothing to look forward to. No upcoming races, no epic trips, no exciting changes. Well, nothing that I know of yet. It's a little upsetting, but then I think...So don't look forward. Just take one day at a time and make it the best day you can. Love and appreciate the crap out of every day life gives you.

Lyric of the moment: "I know you're wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by..."

Monday, September 24, 2012

On showing up

On Saturday afternoon, I got a call from Chris, who had signed up to volunteer at the Rochester marathon the next day. When someone asked if he'd be part of their relay team, he figured why not run the first leg of the relay then finish the race to get his Boston marathon qualifying time (because he is super hardcore like that). He asked me if I'd take over his volunteer spot so he could run the race, and of course I said yes.

I'll admit there was that instant pang in my heart where I wished I could be running a marathon too, but the reality is that I can't run long distances right now. It is what it is. I'm doing what I can to get back there, but it's a slow process. And it's not about me. Sometimes you have to put aside your own shit and show up for your friends. I'm incredibly happy for and proud of all my friends and their amazing athletic accomplishments, regardless of whether or not I can be out there running with them. As they say in Grease, "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter."

And volunteering was a lot of fun. I was a road marshall near the 9.5 mile marker and it was great to be out there cheering for all the runners and chatting with other volunteers and spectators. Plus I got to wear a sweet orange vest, wave an orange flag and yell "woohooo, good job!" approximately 3,000 times.

Last fall I was not a very good friend and I regret it wholeheartedly. So I'm not going to let a boy or an injury or anything else keep me from showing up for the people I care about.

Lyric of the moment: "If you're lost and alone, or you're sinking like a stone, carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on..."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Because if I can't run, I will climb

Last night I went rock climbing for the first time. I'm not sure why it took me 30 years to do this. I love heights and I spent my childhood on monkey bars and climbing trees. But like anything else that is new and potentially epic, it was easy to make excuses and talk myself out of it.

What if I'm terrible at it? What if I can't make it to the top? What if I fall? I don't have a partner to go with and then I'm going to be that loser standing around by herself. I started to think, what if I'm so heavy that no one can hold me and I break the ropes? And then I thought, 'Seriously, woman? You are being completely ridiculous right now.'

So I told myself, just try it one time and if you hate it, you never have to go back. But of course I loved it. I was pretty terrible, but I enjoyed it. I made it to the top a couple times. I fell even more times, but that was just as fun. Everyone was really nice and it turns out one of my high school friends was there. Plus there was pizza! When I woke up today, everything hurt in that slightly uncomfortable way that's indicative of awesomeness building up inside ye olde body parts. And I knew then that it would be more than a one time thing.

I can't say I'm happy that I'm still injured and can't run. I'm not there yet. I may never get there. But in a weird way, it has been more of an opportunity than a limitation. Sure, I miss the long runs and especially the camaraderie of the running community. But it forced me out of my comfort zone, out of some things I didn't want to admit weren't working for me, and opened me up to new adventures and hopefully future marvelousness.

Lyric of the moment: "And I went crazy again today, looking for a strand to climb, looking for a little hope..."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Robot's log: stardate 41023.5*

I went on a few really cool dates with a really cool guy but unfortunately I didn't feel any chemistry. So I had to be the jerk who says "I'm sorry. I like you and you're so nice but I don't feel a romantic connection. I'm very sorry." He was exceedingly nice about it, because he's an exceedingly nice person. And later he told me "You are an amazing, wonderful woman. Don't let anyone, or yourself, tell you otherwise." I can only hope that if the situation were reversed I would have reacted with as much magnanimity.

And all I could think was, wow, people are extraordinary. And surprising. In all the very best ways. I feel lucky to have met everyone that has come into my life.

If, as my old roommate Jeff posited in 2005, I am a robot fueled by sugar and sent from space to learn about the human race, I couldn't have picked a better subject.

*Because Jean Luc Picard's voiceover "Captain's Logs" were my favorite part of StarTrek: The Next Generation.

Lyric of the moment: "And after that the floodgates opened up, and I fell in love with everyone I saw..." (I got excited that, for once, the radio was playing a Snow Patrol song other than Chasing Cars. And because it's one of my favorites.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life is funny

Life has an infuriatingly fantastic sense of humor. Sometimes Life gives me what I wished for and then I realize it's not what I want after all. Or maybe I'm too messed up to accept it. There are too many signs and I don't know how to read any of them.

The thing that Life keeps trying to teach me and I keep failing to learn is that happiness is not in wanting things to be a certain way and in seeing those things come to fruition but in recognizing the inherent happiness wherever I happen to be and trusting that things will work out in time. Which is very easy to say and incredibly hard to do.

It's exquisite really, the way we can torture ourselves by wanting something so very badly that we currently lack, convincing ourselves that there's something wrong with us because other people have it and we don't. I don't want to play that game.

I know that I am notoriously bad at predicting my own reaction to future events, that my head and my heart aren't always on the same page, that sometimes I don't know what I want until I see it and that other times I am completely oblivious to the obvious. I know that certain things may not happen for me and I will have to find a way to be ok with that. I know that I will always be awkward and weird.

I know that Life is funny. I don't understand its method but I appreciate the humor.

Lyric of the moment: "Call it surrender but you know that that's a joke. And the punchline is you were never actually in control. But still, surrender anyway. Tell me what you said you'd never do. Tell me what you said you'd never say. Read me off that list of things 'cause I used to not like you but now I think you're OK..."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This time

Sometimes I think this time is going to be different, I am going to be different. But how much can a person really change? Despite my best intentions, the reality is that I'm probably not going to go grocery shopping. I'm probably always going to have doubts about everything. I'm probably always going to be suspicious of the things that come easy and keep fighting for the things that are challenging, as if I don't deserve something unless it has taken all my effort to get there. Sometimes I wonder if I am incapable of making decisions that are good for me.

The only thing that saves me is that I am incredibly lucky. Evidently someone somewhere is looking out for me, even if I'm not doing it myself.

Thank you to whoever brought back the little fence that went missing from my front yard, even, especially if it was the person who took it in the first place.

Lyric of the moment: "And if you're paralyzed by a voice in your head, it's the standing still that should be scaring you instead. Go on and do it anyway..."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seemingly contradictory things

The thing about life, and especially about love, is that sometimes seemingly contradictory things can both be true. A good person can do a bad thing. You can love someone you don't like and like someone you don't love. Someone may think that you are amazing - attractive, kind, intelligent, all that good stuff - and not be the right person for you. Or be the right person for a short time but not forever.  It's possible to feel simultaneously wistful yet content, nervous yet hopeful, a sense of loss but also of wonder. Sometimes the best way to love someone is to let go. When you love new people, it doesn't crowd out the ones you loved before - somehow the heart has an infinite capacity to expand.

The thing about life, and especially about love, is that it is heartbreakingly beautiful and overwhelmingly amazing.

Lyric of the moment: "There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all..." (Because it will always be one of my favorites.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Because maybe there is some hope for me yet

There's an episode of The Simpsons where Homer tells Bart "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try." And it's funny. But it's also tempting to think like that sometimes. When I try my best but don't get the results I was hoping for or when I put all my effort into something that doesn't work out, it's tempting to think that it was all a waste of time. But it all depends on how I look at it. If I really think about it, every run has made me stronger in some way, whether or not it was fast or felt good and every relationship has made me wiser in some way, regardless of how long it lasted. I can take something positive away from every experience, if I choose to do so. The lesson is not never try, it's keep trying. The only true defeat is in giving up or becoming bitter.

I went to physical therapy yesterday morning and there was a sign on the wall that said "There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them." There are some difficulties that can't be altered, but there is usually a way to alter myself or at least alter the way I perceive/think about them.

And then I found myself at Starry Nights on a starry night and a homeless woman asked us for $2, which we gave her, then she came back and asked for more money because she spent the $2 on lottery tickets, then the homeless guy who tells racist jokes came over on his bike, did his stand up routine and asked us for money, so we gave him $10 and he blessed us and told us to "Keep laughing" and "Take care of each other" and then we figured we should call it a night before we gave all our money away to everyone in Rochester and then he said "You are pretty fantastic" and I thought, just for a second, that maybe there is some hope for me yet.

Things that are ridiculous: mosquitoes now love me so much they are biting me on the face.

Lyric of the moment: "You'll be loved, you'll be loved like you never have known. And the memories of me will seem more like bad dreams. Just a series of blurs, like I never occurred. Someday you will be loved. You may feel alone when you're falling asleep, and every time tears roll down your cheeks. But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet. Someday you will be loved..." (Because I hope Death Cab For Cutie is right)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Right here, right now, there is no other place I'd rather be

One day I got an email from Adam asking if I wanted to go to the Metric concert, to which I replied "Yes, definitely!" (because when awesomeness calls, that is the only answer). And then we were waiting in line and a random guy on a bike, who actually looked like Rodney Dangerfield started doing his Rodney Dangerfield impersonation and it was hilarious. And then I said I probably wouldn't know anyone else at the concert, but it turned out that the Zarcones were there too. And then it was crowded and hot and smelled like sweat and I kept waiting for the part where my brain would be all "What are you doing here? You're not a concert person. You don't stay up late. You hate crowds." and where my body would get all restless and want to run away. But it never happened. I was happy, content to be exactly where I was with whatever was happening around me.

And I thought this is how I want to feel all the time. Like wherever I am at that moment, there is no other place I'd rather be. Maybe I just need more reasons to stay up late. Maybe that feeling I thought was sadness was actually relief.


The reason I find meeting new people uncomfortable is that it seems rife with potential disappointment. Either people aren't interested in me or I'm not interested in them, but either way I feel like I am letting them down. I actually prefer the former to the latter. I can totally accept that some people won't like me for whatever reason. But I don't like being the one who doesn't like someone else enough, in the way that they want you to like them.


I read this article the other day and it made me feel like a real jerk. Here I am giving my body shit for its tendonitis and cellulite and all the parts I think are ugly when I should be thanking my muscles for not turning to bone overnight and thanking my blood for not being full of ammonia and just generally being over the moon with gratitude that I am even alive at all. It's a slow process, but I'm working on it.

Hopefully someday I will finally outgrow this awkward phase. Hopefully someday I will wake up in my body and realize there is no other place I'd rather be.

Lyric of the moment: "Now you see life, these colors shimmering around you. You must decide to risk your heart for love to find you..."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Destination unknown

I saw a bumper sticker that said "I took the road less traveled. Now where the hell am I?" I feel like that sometimes. But the truth is that everyone's destination is unknown.

They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want a bunch of fish. I want a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

I feel like I have options, but they're not ones that I want. I could swim, bike, row, go to yoga, walk. They're all perfectly nice activities and enjoyable on occasion. But all I want to do is run. Even though I know I'll get about 3 miles in and it will start to hurt, I want to do it anyways. I don't want a lot of options, just one option that I really, really love.

I tried to give up. I tried to let go. But my heart is unruly and never listens to me. And the only thing my brain likes more than glucose is hope. One doctor told me tendonitis takes 3-6 months to heal. So I keep thinking maybe today is the day I'm going to wake up and it will be all better. But I don't feel better. I feel worse for being fooled by my own stupid optimism.

The thing is that I would be okay with all of this if I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that someday my future self, looking back from my new residence in Awesometown, would see how it all made sense. I'm hoping that perhaps there is a cosmic reason to be here. But I'm secretly afraid that is is all for naught.

On the bright side (perhaps I should attend some kind of Optimists Anonymous meeting), I'm getting to do a lot of things I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. I watched hot air balloons take off at the Dansville Balloon Festival, I'm going to the Metric concert and a hot potato party this week and on a camping adventure later this month. I signed up for rock climbing lessons at the end of September and a beginner Spanish class in October. I found a pair of jeans that fit perfectly and only cost $3.27 (and if that is possible, I have to believe anything is).

I haven't been able to give up hope or effort, but I'm having better luck letting go of control. So I'm up in my metaphorical hot air balloon going where the wind takes me and and accepting whatever invitations come my way.

Lyric of the moment: "The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found. Just know you’re not alone 'cause I’m going to make this place your home..."