Monday, July 31, 2017

Confessions of a DIPS-omaniac

I got mad at a book. Yes, an inanimate object that I read voluntarily. Yes, I am aware this is ridiculous. But I finished reading this month's Extreme Book Club book, You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, and I was angry at it. Not like defenestrate-the-damn-thing angry. (Though that would have been fun. Except it was a library book. And I live in a ranch, so it would have been like a 5 ft drop. Highly unsatisfying). Just angry in the sense that I felt a lot of swears towards it. Like fuck this fucking vision board/manifesting your ideal life shit. Sure, I'll just glue some pictures to a goddamned poster board and think positive thoughts and then everyone will get affordable healthcare, no one will ever be discriminated against and my dad will be alive again. It's not the book's fault. The book is just trying to help people. Probably I'm not the right audience for this particular brand of helpfulness.

So I went back and finished my current non-book club book, Mike Doughty's The Book Of Drugs. Drug memoirs fascinate me, even though drugs and alcohol have never appealed to me in any way whatsoever. But many other people enjoy them, some moderately and some obsessively. Maybe I'm just trying to figure out why I'm so different. I'm starting to think it might be the whole reality thing. People talk about turning to drugs or alcohol seeking an escape from reality. Whereas I have sought to run into reality and experience the agony and the ecstasy, the excruciating pain and utter exhilaration, for mile after mile after mile. I have not wanted less reality, only more of it. I have not wanted to dull the edges of life, only to sharpen them, to feel everything - every weird, wretched, wonderful thing.

So I'm not a vision board person. I'm not a dipsomaniac. Though I guess I am a DIPS-omaniac (possibly a DIPShit?). For those of you more sane than me, DIPS stands for Donuts, Ice Cream, Pizza, Speedway, this ridiculous/crazy/awesome idea Valone and I had to run 14ish miles, stopping to eat donuts, ice cream, pizza (and runner's choice of gas station food/drink at Speedway) along the way. Because we're lucky and we know a lot of awesome people, we had plenty of company on our DIPS Challenge half(ish) marathon Sunday. It was a gorgeous sunny day, filled with gorgeous sunny people, Misfit Donuts, Salvatore's Pizza, Perry's ice cream from Sonny's Deli, gas station Mountain Dew (me) / Slim Jim (Valone) and 2 long, epic hills. Here is some hard-core reality: eating cheese pizza and then running up Browncroft Blvd and Penfield Rd is not a thing that makes stomachs happy. But it is a thing that makes hearts happy. Infinity of thanks to Valone for being an epic human/ridiculous run co-creator and to all our friends old and new who came out to run or tandem bike with us. If I had a vision board, it would just be pictures of you. (And Pete and ice cream and toucan shorts and hundreds of dogs). Until next time, my loves. And there will be a next time. We still have a lost cactus to find (We saw a missing cactus poster outside the donut shop and it was the best/saddest thing ever.)

And it begins (Photo by Gustavo, running/photographing superhero)

Donuts! (Photo by selfie-expert Valone)
Speedway! (Photo by selfie-master Todd)

Pizza! (Thanks to Todd for capturing our pizza toast)

Ice Cream! (Photo thanks to our fearless leader/selfie taker Valone)

Lyric of the moment: "Before the time runs out, there's somewhere to run. Wake up. Run for your life with me..." ~Foo Fighters "Run"

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Skin and bones and muscles and guts

I watched To the Bone on Sunday. I'd heard about the movie and told myself I wasn't going to watch it. But then I changed my mind. I changed my mind about a lot of things last week. Things like ginger (Delicious!), radishes (When roasted, not entirely terrible!), underwire bras (I quit! No more of these ever!), long road runs (I do like random, weird adventures and hey, my joints didn't hate me afterwards. Score!) and flowers (I still think giving someone fresh flowers is like saying, here I got you this thing that is going to wither and die very soon! You get to watch it die! And it's going to drop pollen and petals everywhere, making quite a mess! But! That's life. Those flowers are all of us. We're living and dying simultaneously. The people in our lives are a gorgeous bouquet that we get to watch live, and die. It's joyful, sorrowful, messy and a beautiful privilege).

So when I was browsing Netflix and saw To the Bone listed there, I changed my mind about that too. I hadn't wanted to watch it because I knew it would feel more like a memory than a movie. I was mostly right. Though with the added bonus of Keanu Reeves. I would watch paint dry if Keanu Reeves was in it. Pete came in the room at around the midpoint of the movie, watched a few minutes and said "I don't get it. This movie has no plot." There was a scene where the main character measures the circumference of her bicep with her thumb and forefinger. I hold up my hand, thumb and pinkie finger touching to form a circle and say, my arm used to be this small. Pete says "And now you can do chin-ups!" For a moment I wish I had the luxury of seeing this as a movie without plot. But to me the plot is everything. Starvation, physical and emotional. Emptiness. Perfectionism, a death by a thousand tiny cuts. Choosing life. Becoming a person who believes she deserves to live and love and enjoy life. From skin and bones to muscles and guts. And Living - really, truly, completely living.

For a moment I wish I did not understand this so acutely, that I didn't recognize so much of myself there. It's a past I am happy to leave behind. I haven't been that ghost of a person in a long time. But I stop myself from wishing this. I can't erase the past. I'm not held captive by it, but it is a part of me. It will always be a part of me. The part that led me to here, the awesomeness that is my life today. Sitting on the couch, eating chocolate-covered bananas. Watching a movie that's like a painful memory. Feeling the old pain rise up and leak out my eyes, only to be assuaged by compassion and overwhelming gratitude.

Choose life. And then fucking get busy living it. It will change everything.

Lyric of the moment: "Skeleton you are, you are my friend. And I will be there for you until the end. And even though, when I take you out, you've got me, you've got me standing in an awkward position. With unwanted attention and a need for explanation. I could, I could never let you go. And that is all I know..." ~Kate Nash "Skeleton Song"

Friday, July 7, 2017

Good Grief

One of the many gifts distance running has given me is the ability to tolerate feeling multiple, seemingly contradictory, emotions simultaneously. Whatever I'm feeling in the moment, be it pain, fatigue, sorrow, discontent, annoyance, impatience, there is also an undercurrent of thankfulness that allows me to feel happiness even in the saddest times and to maintain a lightness even in the darkest moments. So in the aftermath of my dad's death, I have been able to ride the wave of grief on a surfboard of gratitude. I will never see or hug my dad again, but I got to have a funny, loving, amazing dad for 35 years. I didn't get to say goodbye to him, but I got to have decades of shared laughs and adventures. My dad will no longer be physically present in my life, but nature and nurture made me so much like him that my mom has often exasperatedly exclaimed "Why do you have to be just like your father?!" And for that I am eternally grateful. Every tear, every pang of sadness is a reminder of the vast beauty and overwhelming amount of love that I have been fortunate enough to experience. And yeah, it really sucks, this sudden and unwanted initiation into the dead dads club. It sucks so unbelievably much. But a life without loss is a life without love. And that's a far, far sadder fate.

sparklers, campfire

Lyric of the moment: "And wherever you've gone and wherever we might go, it don't seem fair. Today just disappeared. Your light's reflected now, reflected from afar. We were but stones, your light made us stars..." ~Pearl Jam "Light Years"