Marathon Torture

For the past several years, I have been running half marathons (13.1 miles) almost every month. For me, being in shape to run a half marathon at any given time keeps my belief alive that if a zombie outbreak or any other dystopian situation should occur, I might have a fighting chance. I train by running a set number of miles per week and then go to the gym to work any muscle group that is presently disappointing me.  I am in a constant state of sore.

This routine has become pretty easy, mostly. Sometimes I am more prepared for my monthly half marathon and the run seems fast(ish) and easy. Other months it isn’t, but I know that I can squeak out the miles even when I’m not looking particularly pretty or happy while running it.

Recently, two of my beautiful girlfriends decided to run a full marathon. Peer pressure has been a problem for me since I was a teen. I decided to join even though there was really no pressure or consequence to me personally.  I have only run one marathon in my life and I thought that was enough, but apparently not.  I  guess I just wanted to belong to the small group of self torturers.

Torture is in short the deliberate infliction of pain (psychological or physical) in order to fill some desire. Typically, there is a person or entity doing the inflicting, but in the case of marathon training I am both the dispenser and victim. I could make the leap and say that  as a marathon trainer/runner I might exhibit some of the same traits as those who self-harm.  I tend to work out a bunch of emotional garbage while I’m running, and it is a way to control and allocate the amount of pain being inflicted. The striking difference is there are no sharp objects involved. Running shoes are the chosen weapon.

This past week I ran almost 50 miles in total. And I ran out of all ideas of getting needed nutrition during my runs, so I didn’t. I ran out of water on my 16 miler. Note to self and other runners, don’t bring nuts as nutrition. Especially, don’t  bring nuts when water is in short supply.  On the positive, I have not crapped my pants yet or laid down in an attempt to have passerbys just bury me in a shallow grave.

Parts of my brain have stopped communicating with one another. I am not sure if it’s because of some infighting that I am not being kept in the loop on or if all the running has just over heated a few circuits causing permanent damage. However, when the part of the brain tells me to put on my running shoes, I do. I don’t even argue anymore. My brain is the drill sergeant and my body is the recruit.  However, it is important to note, I don’t believe what is presently being made is a warrior set to fight.

When I hit the road, I only hope that I put on all my running clothes, because I could see myself forgetting my shorts and not caring enough to turn around. I can already imagine the internal argument for not turning back. I will be too hot with them, less friction is better anyways or I’m sure nobody will notice. I have had similar thoughts about forgetting my water. It’s Portland, so it is typically raining anyway. I am sure I can find a semi-clear mud puddle to quietly sip from or I can wring out the collected rainwater and sweat from my running shirt. I’m sure it would be similar to the electrolyte drinks that I consume from time to time.

I’m less than a month away from my marathon. I am hopeful that I stay healthy enough to be at the start line, but I also dread the idea of running all 26.2 miles on this given day. In the back of my mind, I do dread and love the idea of a zombie attack happening during my training. It would be anti-climatic for both me and the zombies. Most likely, I would not have the energy or will to run. Instead, I would just lay down and welcome sweet death.  Perhaps I would just saunter up a one of the soulless and present my neck as a gift. The zombie will most likely be disappointed with the muscle atrophy and lack of salt in my blood and will be looking for some type of condiment to add to make the kill a bit more satisfying.

 

 

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Acceptable Amount

I cleaned my house today.  I am not the best homemaker. Saying that my house looks like a bachelor lives here is an insult to some of my bachelor friends who are much better decorators and home engineers than myself. I do want to hire a person to clean my home, but I do have an issue hiring someone to do a job that I know that I should be capable of doing.  Hiring someone seems to be a chore in itself,  because I realize that I will have to clean my home from top to bottom, just so my cleaning person doesn’t pre-judge the person that I am. Not that I’m hung up on what people think of me, but for some reason I don’t want a complete stranger to think I’m dirty. Interestingly, I am totally fine with friends and family thinking this of me.

My inability to home make might be related to issues with my attention span for the minutia. My regard for detail is incredibly compromised and down right broken. I might be the opposite of a person with a super power. I believe that I can only rely on one of my senses at a given time. For example, when I am focused on breathing, my sight fogs ever so slightly around the edges. I don’t think glasses will fix this.

Today, when I was cleaning the bottom of my window sill  I noticed that that there was a spot that I have not seen and cleaned for the past 5 years, on 5 panes of glass in my living room. This was a substantial spot I did not see that had collected all that was bad, disgusting, and evil. Anyone else would have spotted this when they entered my home almost immediately. The fact that I was blind to this large spot of window for so long makes much more sense to why my past relationships have ended in failure.

I dedicated my focus and attempted to undue what time and dog hair had done to my window crevice. I worked for a while. And I grew tired. I thought to myself, is there an acceptable amount of crud that is forgivable? I hated that I was having this internal argument with myself, because I knew the answer. No, clean this shit up! But still I debated the question with myself, because my standards might be different since I can just pull the curtain and hid the window, until the next sunny day.

I am also notorious for shoving as much stuff as I can fit in my closets and storage spaces and shutting the doors to give the illusion that my house is organized, please don’t open the closet doors or my cupboards though. I imagine that  neurosurgeons would find the same horrific sight if they opened my skull, they would diligently try to close me back up in an attempt to not have an avalanche of ill fitted bits and pieces of information that I shoved into my brain hurriedly with the intent to come back later and fit it or organize it into a better location, but didn’t. It makes sense that as I attempt to explain simple concepts to others that I often take longer than usual exploring tangents like I do when I open the junk door in my kitchen, asking myself when did I put that in there and why?

Is there acceptable amount? No. But it seems I have a bunch of it and it wants to make friends. I do watch the California Closets info commercials with childlike wonder. Perhaps, some day I will grow up to be like the people in those ads, so perfectly put together. Until then I will spot clean those areas of my home that get away from me, along with my mind. I will keep my closet doors shut for now and hope to eventually find  a person with an eye for detail needed to help clean my home that is in possession of a magic wand and a non-judgmental heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartless

I recently got my heart ripped from my chest. I wasn’t aware at first, but then it was glaringly obvious without the incessant thumping.  I understand that it (my heart) is cold, dark, and barely beats anyway. It merely hiccups at the feel or sight of anything remotely emotional in an attempt to distract. So, it seems that I am not missing much. Just a small wound really.

But the individual who has my organ is still at large, most likely this person doesn’t know that he has it. I imagine it is stuck to the bottom of his shoe or it was mistakenly shoved  into his jean’s pocket, collecting lint, and he just doesn’t realize. I’m not sure I even want it back. I think life might be a bit more simple without it.

Being pragmatic, I think that the space left behind could be of more use to me if I put something else in its place. I am extremely disorganized and lose everything, so it might be practical to install a key holder. I cannot tell you how many times I misplace my car keys in any given week. The time that would be saved.

Or since I tend to always be looking for “on the go” sources of protein. Instead of grabbing a handful of nuts and shoving them in my pocket, I can just store them in this new found space.  No more hairy pocket nuts. I can pretend to be a squirrel and prepare for the upcoming seasons. And if people call me “nuts”, I can just shake my head and grab a handful.

I am assuming that my organ is still being held captive, but if I am wrong and if it’s wandering about out there aimlessly, don’t let me know. If you should happen to see it, you might not understand exactly what you’re seeing at first glance. It could be walking with a limp, but the limp is often played off as some kind of swagger. It might be looking a bit more gangster than usual and is super attracted to disparaging rap music, the kind that makes you want to slap your neighbor for no good reason. It might challenge you if you look directly at it, so treat it like a stray animal.

If you are thinking about trying to capture it, your best chance is if you approach with caution. If you try to take it by force, it will just play dead. It has no will to fight with anyone. It will most likely remain lifeless, until you give up and walk away. If I know my heart, it will most likely accept a good bottle of wine and and good food, its two weaknesses. My advice is to not be a hero and let it amble by.

I am assuming that knowing my heart they way I do,  it will send me cryptic messages on social media. Potentially, it will follow me on Instagram and send me pics of its whereabouts with a written message of “wish you were here”. Perhaps we will be reunited. Until then I will just store nuts and my car keys, I think the space left behind might be big enough for both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Hat

A few years ago I acquired a free hat at a local fair. I cannot tell you how much I love free hats. I find them along my travels and collect them like souvenirs. This particular hat was thrown into the audience during a dog show and my daughter was lucky enough to grab it. I was lucky, because it fit me instead.

This hat slowly became my crutch. If I didn’t want to “do” my hair, I would wear my hat. Which I would endearingly call my “hat hat”. Well, I might be painting a rosier picture than what really was. I think I would actually say in times of distress after looking into the mirror, “Where in the !@$& is my hat hat!! This perfect hat slowly crept into all of my pictures, too. I realize it may have been becoming a fashion problem for me.

A few weeks ago, I misplaced my hat. I saw it and then “poof” it was gone. I cannot find it anywhere. My despair over this is running pretty deep at the moment.  I have looked everywhere. The missing status of my hat really put me in a compromised position, because it has forced me to attempt to “do” something with my hair. And my missing hat unfortunately, brought another glaring issue to the forefront.  Hi. My name is Amy and I have terrible hair, just terrible.

My siblings have wonderful thick, mostly straight hair. I don’t. My hair is the opposite of pretty. It’s fine, curly, and it defies any attempt to look “done”. I mostly look homeless, even when I try to style it. I thought that if I grew it long that it would look better, but that proved not to be true. And without my hat to cover it up, I needed to do something. So, I shopped for another hat. Regrettably, I have turned into “Goldilocks”, with the hats sitting too high on my head, or too low on my ears.  I have bought three hats so far, but have decided that I just do not like them and they make me appear a bit more destitute than my hair does alone.

My lost hat has had a snowball effect that set things into motion that can’t be undone  and I made a rash decision that I will just have to live with for the next several months.  I decided I would get my hair cut.  It looked really good on paper or should I say when I saw the picture of the haircut with someone else’s hair.

However,  I tried to do my best to look at other girls that have similar hair types, but horribly this haircut that I decided to pick didn’t translate to my hair. Six inches less and later, I have a cold neck and barley can fit my strands into a puny ponytail. My daughter almost cried when she saw me and has demanded ever since that I keep my remaining hair pulled back.  I don’t blame her.

My plight to find my missing hat continues. Now I need it more than ever! I understand that this might have been the universe’s sick attempt at an intervention, but come on! I think the recent consequences were not even imagined by the mere loss of one hat. I am in the process of making flyers and stapling them to telephone polls surrounding the vicinity near my home, like the flyers I typically see when people are searching for lost dogs or cats. All I ask is that my hat be returned.  I promise to wear it  only for the next 4- 6 months, and I will then do my best to find it a forever home.

 

 

Traditions

This past Christmas day I couldn’t stand having the tree inside my house anymore, and by midday I had that bitch stripped and laying in the front yard. My daughter reminded me that the Christmas holiday was over by 12:30. I guess it seems cruel, in retrospect, to  put an end to the holiday so early, but there was much negotiation between my daughter and I about this tree. The debate was she wanted one and I didn’t. Guess who won? For the first four years of being in our new home, we have never had a tree. I just couldn’t.  I figured that my girl had a tree at her father’s house and two trees, well…was just over kill.

She has a love for the Christmas holiday and I don’t have much of a stomach for it. She asks frequently why I dislike such a “wonderful time of the year”.  I shrug the question off.  I tell her it’s just the way it is, and would much rather celebrate every “National” made up day with as much excitement as she exerts towards Christmas. “National Coffee Day”, I am there and fully committed! Bottoms up!

A few weeks ago, I burned my Christmas tree in my fire pit in the back yard and I vote that this is our 11th Federal Holiday (I choose not to count Inauguration Day as a holiday, even if it is counted every four years).  I have not felt this much joy, maybe ever. The tree was burned while having a nice glass of wine, while smoking a cigar with a friend. It might have been the perfect moment in time. I have a picture and my close friends might be getting this captured moment in their Christmas Cards next year.  I will warn them in advance. They might never ever see me that happy in real life.

Why do I hate Christmas? That really is a good question, because nothing extraordinarily bad happened that contaminated this holiday, but maybe it was just pinpricks that built up like the sting  of an electric shock collar that quiets a dog that I imagine once enjoyed barking.  But I do blame my holiday hatred on always wanting that pony and hating me for allowing myself to want such a thing.

When I think of this holiday, two things always remind me of Christmas; cigarette smoke and disinfectant spray, but mainly just heavy cigarette smoke. Gosh, just the thought makes me all warm and fuzzy. Most of my childhood, I spent inside bowling alleys, but for some reason Christmas inside the bowling alley seemed special.  The decorations, the tree piled with tinsel, the blue/grey haze of cigarette smoke, and the smashing of pins being knocked down. Well, this is what Christmas songs should sing about. If I wasn’t running into Santa at the bowling alley and accepting a candy cane.  I was waiting to sit on Santa’s lap at the Elks Lodge.  The only difference between the two was the absence of pins, bowling balls and the smell of disinfectant spray  in the air and the addition of an amazing gift bag that Santa used to give all kids that whispered their Christmas wishes into his ear.

I was always grateful for the generous gift bag that  I remember including a Hershey’s chocolate bar, a popcorn ball, maybe an apple, and a candy cane. I always secretly wanted to trade with one of my siblings their chocolate bar for my popcorn ball, but nobody in their right mind would do this. I felt guilty for just the thought of asking.  I don’t remember what I asked Santa for from year to year, but I did at least ask for that pony a few times. I always felt the gift bag Santa handed out after I left his lap was a parting “I’m sorry kid” for what wasn’t going to be under the tree on Christmas day.

I do remember asking for a animal radio or maybe I distinctly asked for a “cat radio”. For some reason, I think I asked for this for more than one Christmas. I might have gotten a dog radio, too. Do you know what these are? These are actual stuffed animals, but with a radio stuffed inside.  God, I loved these. I would open up my gift radio, disappear into my bedroom, lay in my bed and just snuggle with my hard stuffed animal while listening to it. And I would then cry into it’s sweet fur about the pony that Santa didn’t bring. I do understand that the meaning of Christmas is bigger than what is/was under the tree, but my selfish childhood brain wasn’t able to see past the Christmas tree skirt.

So, when my daughter asks me why I don’t like Christmas, I will continue to shrug and change the subject. My daughter has never asked for a pony for Christmas. She wants a horse.  Not any horse, she wants a Friesian  or Gypsy Cob. I would have settled for any pony, lost or lame with dental disease.  However, her odds of getting a horse is similar to my past circumstances. It depends on me winning the Powerball, which she insists I play. What she WILL get each year is a Christmas tree, because my new holiday can only exist if I have a tree to sacrifice.  The holidays just got just a little bit brighter for me, I am looking forward to the after, after Christmas. I just might buy a bigger tree next year.

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to Grateful

I attempt to wake each day with a practice of reminding myself of why I should feel grateful. I open my eyes and breathe every day. At times I have been proud of my daily practice, and it is this practice that allows me to let the many, many little things that I like to call “the pin pricks from hell” just roll off my back. However, sometimes I lose focus and my practice falls to shit. I am presently in one of my “grate less” holes. I have a shovel, but the dirt I am shoveling smells a bit more like manure than earth.

In order to ground myself and in an attempt to re-start my practice of gratitude, I tell myself the following things and this comes out almost like a mantra. I have a home, job, great kid, good health and I am able to provide for my household. I repeat this often. In some aspects I am living the dream, right? Right! I keep telling myself this as I pinch myself, maybe a little too hard.

Many years ago I decided that I was going to work in public service. I have been working as a social work for over 21 years. I have always worked in the not for profit world cause for me it just felt right. In order to pay for my college and graduate education, I had no choice but to take out student loans. I came from a blue collar family, and I was always extremely thankful that these loans were available to people in my situation. I have been paying on these loans for longer than I like to admit.

A few years ago it came to my attention, after making 120 payments (starting on a certain date) that those who have worked in public service can have the remaining amount forgiven. I was over the moon. So, I made my 120 payments, but only to find out my loans were not consolidated into the “right” federal loan program. I regrouped, did what I was told and consolidated into the “right” program, but was then told that I needed to start all over making the 120 payments, that is another 7 years.

In spite of this program mimicking the plight of a teenage boy trying to figure out the erogenous zones on a female, I sucked it up and submitted the paperwork again thinking that I was in the right program, but again was rejected. I then called the loan program for assistance and was told that I was still not in the right program, but they could help me only if I pay them $500.00 from my credit card to consolidate my loan into the “right” account, so I can begin to making the 120 payments all over again. I have to say I was not overly excited to give $500.00 to this random guy so he could push some paperwork through, so I didn’t. I am not saying I won’t, but I need time to go through the seven stages of grief before I fork over more money or I just might chalk this up to one big scam (after an acceptable amount of grieving).

A few days ago, I was in the pain and guilt phase (Stage 2). I skipped Stage 1, which is called Shock and Denial. However, I renamed it as, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Why didn’t I pay more attention and micromanaged this situation several weeks…okay, years ago! However, I am one of the most actively apathetic people I know, so this makes perfect sense.

Presently, I am in the anger & bargaining (Stage 3) If these were my stages of grief, I might add RAGE to this stage. I do understand that I have “chosen” this career. But I do have to say I cannot do math, and when one cannot do math, your career options are extremely limited. But regardless of my limitation with manipulating numbers, I did decide to STAY in this career. I have worked in unsafe situations and continue to be in harm’s way at times, been assaulted, and have been ridiculously underpaid. The value that is placed on the work that social workers do is definitely not reflected in pay or any perks that I ever received. However, I did get a nice “Seroquel” coffee mug from a former boss in an attempt to convince me not to leave when I gave my notice. I guess my point is that the government doesn’t hold the people we serve any type of esteem, so we, the people who serve them, aren’t regarded either. But I digress…

I know that I will move on to depression, reflection, and loneliness phase (Stage 4) very soon. Apparently, this stage is a bitch. This is a long period of sad reflection that sounds a lot like my normal life. Apparently in this stage, “One finally realizes the true magnitude of your loss and it depresses you”. Well shit, this is where I live. I mean, I swim in these waters every day. I have learned to tread here for years, and I have gotten extremely good at this. I hope awards are given for Stage 4. I might be a master and I think I FINALLY might win something!!!

The Upward Turn is Stage 5. I might skip this one all together; this just doesn’t seem to be congruent with my life now or ever. As a social worker, there really is no such thing, one of the reasons why I consider myself to be dead on the inside. I often wonder if this could be a new category in the DSM-5 called Inside Deadness. There really aren’t symptoms that I can list, but rather side effects. I can be tangential, but I think it’s important to mention that inside deadness includes under reacting to most everything in life, mainly because getting hopes up about anything is just a waste of energy, because the other shoe will most definitely drop. The super great thing about this, and I truly mean SUPER GREAT is that once internal deadness is achieved, life never disappoints. It’s like your hopes and dreams are on Valium. For those readers who are interested, start by lowering your standards and then keep lowering.

Reconstruction & Working is Stage 6. I think my few years in therapy might benefit me here with this stage; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is helpful with this one. This is similar to the SNL skit,” I am good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me”, but with writing it down in guided constructed homework. Sorry to bring up the Al Franken’s skit, let’s just pretend I didn’t. I thought of writing to the Department of Education regarding my struggle or maybe even to Ellen DeGeneres in hopes to shed some light on the plight of social workers. I think that maybe Shutterfly could pick a well deserving social worker and reward that person, like Ellen often does with school teachers on her show. Of course, I would not consider myself.

I would never deserve such a reward. I couldn’t even redeem a free coffee at Starbucks, you know the “free coffee coupon” they used to give out when they felt they messed up your order. The last one they gave me I held on to for 2 years cause I didn’t think I was worthy of the free coffee. I ended up giving my free coffee to a friend. I am still not sure what would have made me worthy of that free coffee. Maybe, if the barista would have elbowed me in the eye or dumped the coffee on my lap. But I would have had to determine his or her intent prior to redeeming that free coffee.

Acceptance and hope is the final stage. Maybe I will get here someday. I am thinking that possibly I will call the loan company back, pay them the $500, so they can put me into the right category to forgive my loan in 7 years or maybe I will report them. I haven’t decided yet. I would like to say that I am hopeful, but that might go against the internal deadness that I have worked so hard at achieving over the last 21 years. Instead, I will strive for being grateful.

Daddy Issues

Can someone have daddy issues if their daddy is no longer living? Or is it just called issues?  Since my dad passed away more than 7 years ago I think about him like most people think about their past loved ones. I often wonder what he is doing to keep busy in the afterlife.  Some people think that the dead come to visit us, coming back in a form of a flittering butterfly or maybe in the shape of a bird, leaving feathers behind for loved ones to find.

Just before Father’s Day there was this big black crow that showed up outside my house that caught my attention. It’s wasn’t only the size of the bird that made me take notice or the fact that it would mill around my front yard with a sense of purpose that even I don’t seem to have. But this bird had a call that sounded just like the noise my dad made when he sneezed. My dad had a loud, powerful, almost violent sneeze. The sound was jarring and off putting. The kind of sound that makes a person need to steady oneself afterwards if they did not expect to hear it.

On the morning, nearing Father’s day, the day I heard the familiar bellow, I made my way to the source of the noise and opened up my front door to spot a crow standing in the middle of my front yard.  I did what any sane person would do. I looked intently at the crow as it stared back at me and whispered, “Dad”?  The bird flew away. It didn’t fly far, just across the street. I believe it seemed to think that across the street was a better distance to stare in my general direction.  I thought that I should make it feel welcome and I grabbed a few pieces of bread and threw them at the far end of my yard. I was hoping that the bread would motivate him to come a bit closer, but he didn’t and the bread just sat as an ignored gesture.

The bird continued to hang around because I would hear the unsettling caw. I tried several times to make a connection by putting out scraps of food and such. But he ignored my friendliness and instead would still stare at me from a careful distance. I sensed judgment. I thought that if I tidied my yard up a bit and made it less scary the bird would soften its glare.  So, I did and looked for a different reaction in the creature, but I got nothing.  He was just as aloof and distant as ever.  I found myself wondering if he would notice and approve of my new outfit when I found him leering from my rooftop as I walked to my car on a random morning, but he just flew over my car and shit bombed my windshield.  I wondered if he was protesting my outfit or my foreign made car. I might never know.  However, I did know that his presence was causing me to entertain insane notions. I wished this scornful flying animal would just drop a feather at my door and make a mystifying mark on me and be on his way to haunt someone else.

I did understand that this could have been just a crow and was probably just a crow. And I am willing to except that I sometimes look for meaning in order to work out deep seated childhood issues. Perhaps my three years of therapy merely just scratched the surface of my semi polished exterior.

I also realized that I might be going down a familiar path of attempting to get an emotional response or maybe any recognition that will nudge me along confirming from an outside source that things are going well and I just might be okay. The only difference between now and then is that presently I am seeking such ratification from a hapless bird. In the past, I did attempt to get such a response from my father, but it seems the outcome is eerily similar.  I fault no one except my own expectations.  My dad was supporting a family of four and always had at least two jobs and still barely made ends meet. The crow is busy eating two thirds of its body weight in order to maintain survival. So, it makes sense that I would believe, even for a split second, that dear old dad visited me in the afterlife as a Raven. And it makes even more sense that my dad would be in a form of a super pissed off bird, because even in the afterlife he still has to work as hard as ever just to maintain. Even as a disgruntled, bellowing crow who scavenges for hours and hours for food, my dad still refused to take a handout.

 

Gym Relationships

Having a bit of a running hang over I decided to head to the back of the gym and jump on the elliptical machine to work out the pain from a grueling half marathon from a few days before.  Typically, I avoid this section of the gym and go directly to the part of the gym that is only for the ladies. The “no man” zone of the gym has no TV’s, music, and the air conditioning is barely there, but it is worth it because this area of the gym is mostly deserted. However, this day I needed distraction of any type to get through thirty minutes of moving very sore, tired legs. Luckily, the men got to the TV’s.  Golf and baseball were already on, because when I work out I do think about watching golf. What girl doesn’t? Baseball being on the other TV was just a freaking bonus.

With all the stimulating things to watch on TV my mind wandered to the man working out a few rows in front of me on the stair stepper.  He had a pretty good rhythm going and I quickly became transfixed on his back. It was a little humid in the gym and he must have been working out for a while because his shirt was clinging to his body in a not unpleasant way, and the pace he was stepping was quite acceptable.  Not to mention his broad shoulders to waist ratio was notable, at least more than golf for me. I thought to myself that I will not only be able to commit to this workout, but quite possible enjoy it.

However, like most relationships the more difficult my workout became the more I began to scrutinize the stair stepping man in front of me.  As I looked more closely, I decided I wanted to see a little more definition in his back region that I was once so fond of.  I realized that his pace that seemed so strong and dance like before now seemed predictable and boring. And then I looked more closely at his style.

Stair stepping man had on a pair of cargo shorts on that went down to his knees. Not typical gym shorts and for the amount of time he was stepping, they did not seem that they would be comfortable at all. I also noticed he had two shirts on. Who wears layers to the gym, unless you are a wrestler trying to make weight for his upcoming match? Then I noticed his shoes. Stair stepping man was wearing leather sandals. It seemed that my stair stepping man might have just forgotten his gym clothes or likes discomfort…well, I will never know.

Our relationship was done. It was over.  I am not sure if it was the wearing of two layers and cargo shirts or the leather sandals. Or maybe life just got too hard on the elliptical for me. I have no hard feelings though. I think this was just what I needed to get through a difficult time, even it if was just thirty minutes. When I passed by him on my way out of the gym that day we both went our separate ways. They only thing I could hear was his squeaky, sweat soaked leather sandals walking behind me, although I might have imagined this.

 

 

Lifter Wanted

I have met many people in my life that look at a relationship as a way to “complete” themselves. I believe this is a wrong way of thinking, but who am I to teach anyone about relationships. All I know is I have never belonged to this camp and never will. Since I have been single for the past 4 years, I do envy those who are able to divide and conquer life’s obstacles.  I do the opposite.  I add to and fail to. And as a result, I seem to singularly white knuckle and clench my teeth until my dentist bugs me about that attractive night guard.

I, dramatically, throw up my fist and say never in defiance to the dreaded night gear, and my dentist just shrugs and says your protest will seem pretty silly when you crack a tooth. He might be right, but I have enough issues. I won’t even subject my dogs to the sight of a night guard when I’m sleeping. However, with no night guard, I do let me mind wander to what it might be like to have a partner of some sorts. My life is much like that of an ant.  I find myself lifting several times my body weight and completing chores that are arduous and obligation filled. Just like a worker ant, I look after my young, find food and take care of my nest.

Most of my house projects don’t require skilled, paid labor. And I know when I need to hire professionals. I recently hired a bunch of guys who put on a new roof. I was not delusional enough to think that I could have done this myself, but my other house projects mostly can be done by me. I do need a person who can “lift” everything and anything. I realize I don’t like asking strangers, neighbors, or friends to lift for me and I need to be in some sort of arranged relationship.  I am willing to hire this person or date them. If I hire them, I will ask them to just stand quietly in the corner until I need their services. If I date them, perhaps it would be the same set up.

I will commit to think deeply about hiring a “lifter”, dating for the service, or just learning to bend my knees more. And I will continue my previous line of thinking and not look for that “lifter” to complete me, but it will be damn close I have to admit.  My ability to not lift heavy things is really the only thing getting in the way of me and my present happiness.  If you happen to come by my home and see a random person standing in the corner, it’s best not to ask questions.

I Will Mindfully Not Be Mindful.

I don’t often write or think about things that happen at my work, because life is short. Thinking about my place of business outside of work just seems to make time out of work that much shorter.  I spend much of my time maintaining a mostly dead from the inside to the outside shell of a person.   Some might think they see a spark in my eye from time to time, but no, it really is just a random light reflecting on a perfectly numbed spirit.

This on first read might sound depressing, but this is a blissful state of functioning.  I like it. It makes me less of a whiner and I never need to “process my emotions” or to use the word “process” when talking about my feelings.  Or say things like, “give me a minute to “unpack” that when talking about a situation that may have been overwhelming. It just doesn’t happen to me.  I am not that deep.  As a kid and as an adult, I truly believe the childish saying, “I am rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” The emotional part of my brain might have a healthy coating of Teflon.

Lately things have gotten a bit out of control at work and so busy that keeping up has become extremely difficult. I haven’t done the math because I am a social worker, but trust me the number of work assignments have gone up a bunch.  I realize that people deal with stress in very different ways. I put in more hours, run a few more miles, and maybe get a bit quieter. I am not sure if the added work makes me disgruntled or if I like being extra distracted by the additional load, maybe both.

It was thought that perhaps a mindfulness exercise would help our team manage the stress. I do understand the concept behind a mindfulness practice. It is suppose to improve stress tolerance, improve focus,   and a good practice could help with communication, leadership and work place morale. These all seem like great things.  However, sitting in a room with my co-workers with my eyes closed while engaging in a mindfulness medication exercise is the LAST thing I would EVER want to do.

I am perfectly okay with mediating, I am dreadful at it, but I am altogether fine with trying to incorporate this as a practice if it would be helpful. What I am not okay with is making it a group activity, especially with co-workers.  It reminds me of when I used to go to step class and I ended up behind a familiar looking posterior. The behind turned out to be my male boss. I picked another class after that day because I am certain it was just as awkward for my boss to have his employee behind him in step class with a clear view of his spandex. Some things just shouldn’t be done with your co-workers.

No. I don’t ever want to close my eyes, breathe deeply, and practice relaxation techniques with my co-workers. Actually, I didn’t participate. I sat in the room with my eyes wide open and watched my co-workers with their eyes closed doing the breathing exercise, while I drank my coffee. I was baffled that everyone did the meditation without question. Maybe, I am the unreasonable one, but I draw the line at being mindful with my co-workers.

I work extremely hard to be mindless at work.  Dropping the less and adding the full just seems like overkill. If the group mindfulness exercise continues I will work hard to remain numb, dead on the inside, and unenlightened.   Unfazed with wide eyes and coffee in hand I will continue to watch my workers participate, a bit guiltily I might add, but not remorseful enough to acquiesce. Not yet, not ever.