I was lying in bed tonight trying to fall asleep and I remembered a TA I had my sophomore year at Iowa. He was the one that pointed out to me, and the rest of my undergrad creative writing class that The Foxhead was a “writers workshop bar” and George’s was where the English majors hung out. I remember thinking how odd that was the distinction even matter.
Matt was that TA’s name. He was probably only a few years older than I was. Everyone in the class had to write an original short story. Fiction. The day I had my personal conference with Matt to hear his feedback on my “fiction” story about a poor college girl…let’s call her Alicia, who got dumped by her loser boyfriend and couldn’t let go, may have been one of my most awkward human encounters. We sat on a bench on the front porch of the Dey house, where the cool fall breeze blowing and crunching the leaves were my only distraction from the utter embarrassment I felt while Matt attempted to analyze my character development. He had to know very well, if not by the absolute patheticness of the “story” then by my red face and avoidance of eye contact that I was the sucker in this pathetic prose.
Everyone in the class had to read each of the other students
stories. Mine was bad, but the bar for crappiest excuse for a short story because its really just a personal essay about the happiest/ saddest/ proudest moment of our uneventful first couple of decades, was set very high.
After being kept up past my bedtime with this memory I have realized three things. 1. Matt had a really shitty job. 2. Fiction is hard, and it takes talent and creativity that I do not have. 3. I understand why the distinction between George’s and the Foxhead is so important to the few who can do Fiction well.
I have always prided myself on my sense of self preservation. That looks dangerous? A quick risk assessment will tell me if its worth it or not and I proceed. I have made it to nearly 32 years old with no broken bones *knock on wood* and have had a pretty satisfying existence. If I die tomorrow I won’t have any regret.
Those are good things. At least I think so. Where the self preservation is really getting to me is on the trail. I want to run. I want to be fast, efficient and athletic. I hit the trail or the treadmill as often as I can make myself and I never fail to end up angry at myself as a scale back my jog to a walking pace when the going gets tough. I know I can keep going. I also know that I have an instinctual need to never let myself get to the point where I can’t keep going. When my tank gets down to a quarter left, I pull it into the station. I want to know how far I can get on one tank. Whoever said that running is more mental then physical had it right. Any tips on getting over the hurdle? Today I tried to slow down, focus on finishing my 5K without any walking stops, even if it meant jogging slower then I could walk just to not break my form. I finished in just over 35 minutes, but I slowed to a walking pace no less then 4 times on the route and I cursed myself every time. I wish I could be happy with my progress and not feel like a failure when I turn up Windsor Drive towards home.
Oh, and as a follow up to my previous running entry…I am no longer Obese. I am firmly overweight and pretty pleased with myself about that.
Every morning when I wake up, I slip on my glasses and pick up my cell phone. I look at Facebook and my e-mail before I even get out of bed. It has become part of my wake up process. A little time looking at my phone and I can roll myself out of bed.
I get a lot of junk email. Sales and advertisements from every online store I frequent. Recipes that I probably won’t take the time to read, let alone cook. Quotes and articles I won’t read. Notifications I don’t care about. Junk, waste, noise.
The days fly by, when they aren’t dragging along through the hours of doing the things I have to do until I get to the part of the day when I get to do the things that I want to do. At that time, I generally want to go to sleep.
Running the girls to school, hurrying into the office, hustling from meeting to meeting, trying to stay focused at my desk. Running to schools to pick up kids, trying to figure out what I can cook that will be done before someone has a meltdown and will get eaten by children. Dinner. Bath. Prepping for the next day. Fall into bed. Lather. Rinse Repeat.
At the bottom of all of those junk emails is a barely legible tiny blue word that reads “unsubscribe”. I clicked it. Message after message I opened, and scrolled directly to the bottom searching out the magic link, and I clicked it. Will an empty email box in the morning lead to a less chaotic day? Probably not, but I can’t find the “unsubscribe” link anywhere else.
Last week I ventured into the local public library for the first time in months. I owed them money from a book that I lost and no library needs seemed so important that I was ready to go in and pony up the bucks. Summer is here and Leila is officially old enough for her own library card. That seemed like a good enough reason for me to head back there, and while I was there I decided to find myself some reading materials.
I don’t like fiction so I strolled past shelf after shelf before I found myself at the back of the library reviewing the old familiar dewey decimal numbers. I tend to look for non fiction that relates to my life and lately I have been focused on running.
I picked up a book about women runners and began flipping. I put the book back on the shelf, it wasn’t about or for me.
I am not looking for the best marathon for beginners. I am not interested in a marathon at all.
I am not trying to lose baby weight (unless you are referring to the weight that I have been carrying around since *I* was a baby. I am all too familiar with that weight. “She just hasn’t lost her baby weight yet, she will thin out.” 31 years old and I am still waiting for the miraculous thinning. As far as the official baby weight, meaning the weight you still have after you give birth, I don’t have any. In fact, I am currently 35 lbs lighter then I was when I got pregnant with Leila. So that excuse doesn’t work for me.
I am not looking for tips on getting my pace under an 8 minute mile.
I am looking at ways to get my BMI under obese.
I am a real, regular fat girl. For now.
Me and my mothers day loot! 🙂
Me: girls, what do you think you want to be when you grow up?
Leila: A singer!
Thea: a lion!
Leila:Thea, you still have to be a person!
Thea: umm….ok…a crocodile!
After driving through Manchester, IA where a cemetery flanks the road on both sides, “Oh Daddy! I just saw a great place to put some more dead people!”
Forgive me internet, for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last post and these are my updates:
Leila turned 6. She even had her first big kid birthday party at a local gym with a dozen of her friends.
Leila started Soccer, and the season is already over.
Thea continued to get more adorable, and stinkerific.
We finally made it to Chalk the Walk in Mt. Vernon. Every year I plan to go, and it never works out. It was very cool.
Leila taught Thea and Mabel how to read.
Leila and I enjoyed the final kindergarten fieldtrip to Bloomsbury farms.
Leila graduated Kindergarten. It was a big day. Can’t you tell how happy she was to be done? But seriously, it was a yucky rainy day (hence the crappy flash photography) and she wasn’t excited to be done with her teacher. She loves Mrs. Halverson, and so do Cory and I. I couldn’t even get her to fake a smile.
Now we are done with swimming lessons until the fall and starting up Tee Ball. With summer camp, Tee Ball, Cory’s golf league and my increasing devotion to running…our evenings are busy.
So the fast paced life of a Coobs coupled with my typical summer bitterness about juggling work and life and I haven’t been feeling it lately. So forgive me, Please?
I know you can’t say no to that face. I’ve tried.
A friend posted this on Facebook today, and it struck me, as I am sure it strikes a lot of other women. Just this weekend I was walking around outside with my girls after chatting with some neighbors. I noticed that the grassy field at the end of our street was covered with dandelions that had gone to seed and I remembered seeing lots of cute shots online of kids spreading dandelion seeds. I ran inside and grabbed my camera and the girls and I headed off to the grass. We all sat down and I starting taking pictures of my little ladies while I toyed with my settings.
The girls wanted to take turns taking pictures too. I told them they could take pictures of each other with my help but they both insisted, “No! I want to take your picture!” Ugh. T-shirt, pony tail and all day on the go…but really, this is me. I am not kidding anyone, I never wear make up, always wear my glasses (too lazy for morning contact and make up routines). This is me.
I took the pictures off of the camera last night and I skipped right past these. And today, I read about Aleida and as much as I would like my proof to be in my words…that is a better “picture” of me than anything a camera can capture. I want my girls to remember me in their photographs no matter where I am physically, because taking their photos and being a part of the photo worthy moments has made my life worth remembering. Here is my proof.
We may need to work on Thea’s photography skills…
One recent night I found myself lying in bed with the familiar feeling of anxiety washing over me. My heart raced, and even as I closed my eyes and breathed deeply I could feel the lump creep up and into my throat. This is a common feeling for me, along with the accompanying sensation that I have swallowed a rubber bouncy ball and all of the pressure inside of my core is holding that ball right in back of my throat where no amount of swallowing can dislodge it from its uncomfortable perch.
“I am having a bad night,” I whispered into the darkness. Cory reached over and took my hand in his. At first I felt the squeeze of his fingers. The firmness of his grip comforted me. As I lay there listening to him breath and concentrating on relaxing my own mind and body I occationally wiggle my fingers. Sometimes the most comforting and secure contact can become so much a part of yourself that you no longer recognize it. The wiggling reminds me, and it tells me that I am not alone.