Tears

Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!

Good Lord, I cry at the drop of a hat sometimes. I’m easily overwhelmed by my own emotions. The last time I teared up was just this morning, in my bedroom, dancing to Lady Gaga. I was doing my hair, putting on my makeup, checking my look in the mirror and doing it all while dancing and singing. “I just love Gaga so much!” I said aloud. I always feel the need to explain my behavior to myself.

I wished I didn’t have to go to work and could just dance around all day long and drive the upstairs neighbors crazy.

True story.

The Dumping Ground

I forced myself to read through my old journals over the last few weeks.

I destroyed the ones from early high school a long time ago. I had to. My sister used to steal them and use them as fodder to tattle on me. My mom was furious when she found out and offered to hide my journals in her room so they’d be safe. I chose to destroy them instead. Quite frankly, I’m glad I did, because the college ones are unbearable enough.

I have four in my possession. One begins at Christmas in my senior year of high school (it was a gift from cousin Kerry) and continues through freshman year of college. The next picks up where the old one left off (it was a gift from Ginny) and continues through junior year of college. The third picks up from there (it was a gift from an old friend Sarah) and runs through my first year of working as an adult. Finally, I have a journal (a gift from Aunt Cheryl) that’s just a few pages shy of being finished. I began that one in September of 2010.

The red flags jump from each page. How could I have ignored these truths? Tolerating someone because you’re afraid to be alone is not love. It’s not healthy to feel like a sullen 15-year-old every time you see your parents. It’s not OK to constantly panic, worry about dying, drink to excess while on antidepressants, throw up after eating, dream of slicing the fat off your body, and choose never to confide in anyone because you’re afraid they’ll think you’re a monster and oh no, you cannot let anyone have a bad opinion of you.

My first instinct was to think, Why didn’t anyone help me? But I already know the answer to that. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t tell anyone how awful I felt. I just crept through life, miserable and afraid.

The good news is I hardly know who that person is anymore. Yes, there are similarities to my current life: my journals are chock-full of snide remarks about my perceived rivals, dreams of the future, and many of the friends have stayed the same.

I’m dying to start a new journal now, because I genuinely enjoyed reading about my day-to-day life and reminiscing about some things. I have a feeling that the new journal will become just as depressing as the old ones because it’s the only place I feel safe to be myself and let my demons out. It’s the only place I can hide from everybody except myself.

It’s the only place I can really tell the truth.

Hanging Out

Get ready…

Ready to start your week off right? [Almost] every Sunday I like to try something new in the realm of strength training. Usually, the moves themselves are familiar, but mixed into an unfamiliar sequence and/or combination keeps it fun and interesting! I get a lot of my inspiration from Women’s Health Magazine (you’ll find the majority of what I’m about to write here on pages 56-59 of the September 2014 issue).

P.S.-I’m not going to go into form here. If you don’t know proper form, learn it.

Get set…

You will need a bench, box or chair; a pull-up bar; something flat to rest your shoulders and head against (I used my couch); 30 minutes of your time; and of course, our good friend the stopwatch.

Go!

The first three moves are eccentric, meaning you need to execute them as slowly as possible. Do each one of these moves three times for one minute.* Your aim is to have each move take up to 30 seconds and use the remaining 30 seconds to rest.

Single-Leg Squat
Stand a few inches away from your bench, box or chair. Put your arms straight out like a zombie and lift one of your feet. Squat on your standing foot until you sit down. Repeat on the other side.
*I broke this move in half by doing each leg for roughly 20 seconds and resting for about 10.

Chin-up
Jump up on your pull-up bar so your chin is above it. Lower yourself as slowly as you can and let go when your arms are extended.

Pushup
I modified this by doing it on an incline. Once again, lower yourself as slow as possible and then pushup to rest.

For the next two exercises, do as many reps as you can in 45 seconds and rest for 15.

Single-Leg Hip Thrust
Put your arms, shoulders and head on a bench (or couch). Get in a table position and lift one leg at a 90-degree angle. Lower and raise your hips. Repeat on both sides.

Bear Crawl

Finally, the last two exercises in this series follow the Tabata method: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 6 minutes.

Rotational Skater Jump
Okay, Women’s Health wants you to do a skater jump but also rotate 90-degrees as you do it. I just did regular skater jumps. By the halfway point, I was no longer hopping, either. Do what you can.

Spider Lunges
Oh my goodness, did these feel GOOD after running yesterday! Get in a plank and bring your left foot to the outside of your left hand. Repeat on the other side.

I rewarded myself with 1 minute of rest during which my little heart kept on hammering, and then went for some core work:

1 minute of “draw a D” – I don’t know what you really call this. It’s a move we did in Pilates class. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air, toes pointed. You can curl your torso up if you want. Keeping your legs together, lower them to roughly a 45-degree angle and then circle your legs up and around to meet in the middle again: your right leg will make an uppercase D and your left leg will make a backwards one. At 30 seconds, reverse the motion.

1 minute of tick-tock – Put your feet on the floor like you’re going to do a crunch, curl up and alternate reaching your hand to your foot so you’re tick-tocking.

1 minute plank

1 minute bicycles

1 minute regular ol’ crunches

That’s all folks!

Goals

I’m certainly not one of those people who always has a goal-oriented plan, but my competitive side (really more like three-quarters of myself than a “side…”) likes to blow things out of the water. Two recent accomplishments come to mind:

  1. Back in April or March I brainstormed our special summer campaign here at work, setting a goal to raise $27,500 between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To date, $29,511 has been raised. If you include the golf outing sponsorships I worked to bring in, we’re at $38,611.
    yessssss-for-the-win
  2. In February or March I walked-ran around Lake Estes and came in around 48 minutes for the 3.75 mile loop. Yesterday I ran with just three one-minute walk breaks and came in at 43 minutes.
    3dd

A Product of Lies

Everyday, I wonder if we cross your minds at all.
Sometimes I think everything’s okay, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I read into things, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I think it’s your problem, and sometimes I don’t.
Trying to guess what’s going on gets me nowhere.
Reactions – physiological reactions – include high blood pressure, flushing and a constant scowl.
A wise man once sang, “There are hills and mountains between us/always something to get over.” I think that sums it up pretty well, if only we could all try getting over it.
Nostalgia tricks me into thinking we were friends. I remember the good times when we all got along, but then just as quickly I remember the bad times and get frustrated again.
Going for subtlety here, but have you found the pattern yet?
Existing in a state of limbo isn’t doing me any favors. I want to fall off the cliff or climb back up it. I’m sick of suspension.
Dishonesty has really torn these relationships apart.

Absentee Aunt

Being an aunt from 2,000 miles away is tough.

Through the magic of Facebook and text messaging, I feel like I know this child and could pick her out of a crowd. I’m peripherally aware of what she likes, how ding-dong* much she suddenly looks like a kid instead of a baby and even some of the milestones she’s conquered.

The problem lies in reciprocity. I am a stranger to her, someone who sends cards and gifts. I had some aunts and uncles like this as I was growing up. I knew them as family, but it was more in the way you regurgitate something you’re taught: “Two times two is four, two times three is six, and I have an aunt who lives in Indiana.” Gifts and cards were appreciated, but perhaps were not as meaningful as they were to the people who sent them.

I understand the odd relationship from both sides of the fence. As an adult, I don’t mind spending time with the aunts and uncles I know from a distance. It has been ingrained in me that I can trust them because they’re family, so I don’t feel scared to see them or talk to them. As a matter of fact, I crave getting to know them because I missed out on “growing up” with them.

As the aunt, I’ll probably never understand why my niece presumably won’t confide in me. Worse, I may offer to take her in for a week or two when she gets older and be consistently denied because she’s not comfortable coming to visit someone she doesn’t really know, on a plane, with no escape in sight. That’s a feeling I can relate to.

Sometimes the only way I can take comfort in this situation is to hope I’ll be able to have my own child someday. The fear of infertility makes me panic, but like everyone else, I won’t know until we try. As the days click by, peeling my youth away, I feel more and more certain I’ll only ever be an Absentee Aunt.

The fear of infertility is uncomfortable for me to talk about, so I’m not sure how to end this post… the end.

*Side note: Ding-dong has become what I say when I want to say a curse word. I have no idea how this happened. I blame living west of the Mississippi.

The Widow

Grief emanates from the church like the lonely wail of an ambulance. I put my arm around my husband’s shoulders as he cries, wiping my own eyes with the sleeve of his H&M sweater as it lay curled around my bare legs. To escape the pain of a 30-year-old widow’s slideshow of wedding photos, I study anything I can find: the ceiling beams, the pen holder attached to the back of the pew, the mountains outside.

It was the excitement in their faces that got us. It was that look we both know so well, the look that says our lives are just beginning and we are an unstoppable force.

It was that look, because what bride thinks she’ll be widowed at 30?