Fitness Fatale

So I joined a fitness group.

For some people this would be a non-issue. Simply an added tool in their box toward a fully healthy lifestyle. For others it might be a cause for congratulations. A turn in the tide of an unhealthy lifestyle. For me? It’s anathema to my usual way of life.

Don’t get me wrong. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I make nutritious food choices. I try to stay active with my kids. I fit a yoga routine into my schedule when I can. But physically fit? No. Able to leap buildings in a single bound? No. Able to run farther than the end of my street without vomiting? No.

My husband’s cousin was always posting inspirational quotes on Facebook. Posts relating her physical endeavors to internal strength and fulfillment. As someone always searching for a higher state of being, I was naturally drawn to her posts. I wasn’t about to start doing PiYo, but I’d take a daily dose of encouragement and it was refreshing to see someone working so earnestly to improve her quality of life. Then I made the mistake of telling her so at a family cookout. When I joked that I was going to hire her as my life coach, she said, ‘oh, I’ll have to add you to the list for my online fitness group.’

Me and my big fat mouth.

Now, my husband’s cousin was very clear that she wasn’t out for world domination, but a renewed level of fitness after two children and a hectic lifestyle. However, her level of ‘out-of-shape’ as a former alternate on the Olympic ski team was probably equal to mine at its best.

Still, I signed on when I received her notification and read the group’s description:

“It doesn’t matter if walking is your thing or base jumping off of Mount Blanc.”

Quite a range! But walking? I could handle walking. I joined.

If nothing else, it’s made me more aware of my health. Her ‘Thirsty Thursday’ prompts made me more conscious of my water intake everyday. Seeing other women’s endeavors made me want to partake of and share my own. Admittedly, my first two days were my best, as ‘operation normal’ quickly seeped back in after that, but fitting in fitness is still at the forefront of my mind – if not my feet.

I tried to run through the soft sand as I escorted my youngest to the bathhouse at the beach. I pulled my knees to my chest as I floated in the water, trying to flex my abs. I pushed my legs through the water, tensing against the resistance.

Little steps.

And then there are the days exercise works itself into my day organically.

Yesterday, my girls and I met some friends at a local pond for a swim. The swimming area is strung off by the red and white floats of the summer camps of my youth, the ones that have ingrained in me a nervous sensation if I swim too close, as if that rope barrier keeps me safe from the depths on the other side. It was this marker that a little girl’s beach ball floated past on the wind that skimmed the waves. The little girl had been floating around our periphery, trying to engage my girls and friends in play. It was us she enlisted when as her ball swiftly moved away. Very swiftly, in fact. By the time she got our attention, it was well past the ropes. After a harried mental debate, I instructed my girls to stay put with their friends and their mom and swam toward the ropes. As I ducked under, my adrenaline surged. It wasn’t an emergency, but the way the girl was crying for her lost ball, you’d think it was. Plus, it could very well turn out to be an emergency with an unfit mother attempting a long distance swim. The evening news headlines ran through my head as I pulled strokes: Local mother drowns in area pond after suffering cardiac arrest. Witnesses report they heard her calling as slipped below the surface, ‘I thought I could do it. It didn’t look that far.’

Fortunately, that’s not how the story ended. Unfortunately, the wind carried the ball across the water faster than I could swim. I stopped halfway and looked back to the other mother I’d come with, who was waving me off, telling me to throw in the swimsuit. I took one last look at the ball as it skittered away and stretched my legs out under me, realizing I could touch bottom. I walked back the distance I’d just swam.

I went to the little girl who cried at her grandfather’s feet by the shoreline and apologized. Her grandfather thanked me and said, “We told her it’s not safe to chase balls.” Maybe he should have told me that. Still, I got in one lap at least and lived to tell the tale. It’s always a good day when fitness isn’t fatal.

Surreal Day

Marathon day of school shopping -

not the least disturbing part the leather-topped dresses in the children’s department.

Felt like a refugee by the end of the day -

traipsing through stores and tiled expanses, public restrooms and dressing rooms.

Dinner on the run after an impromptu fashion show -

neon-streaked drive home punctuated by dark.

Squares of Miami Vice tiling across the TV screen upon our overdue arrival – 

reluctant kids late to bed without a story.

Trolling online accounts in the unearthly glow -

waiting, searching for something to reach out and fulfill me.

Crawling into bed without connection -

my love already asleep though I am not.

Out of Touch

Slip of a bra strap
Chain tugging at throat
Hair crawling on neck
Sleeves strangling

Cannot bear
for one more minute to wear
these clothes, these shoes, this jewelry, this head of hair

Lack of sleep
Swirl of chemical chimera
Environmental allergies
Sensitivity to touch

It’s just too much

Whatever the cause,
whatever the combination
it’s an assault on my senses

Damn my lack of defenses

Good and Awesome like It Is

I’m going to keep a folder of notes from my daughter, notes that are so poignant, so ‘heart-on-the-sleeve’ emotional that I see through the difficult behaviors to the core of our love, the elemental mother-daughter bond at the heart of our relationship.  For the days when she thinks she hates me and I think I hate my life.  When I forget the soft little heart beating in that proud little chest.  When I forget the absolute honor of mothering fragile little beings.

DSC_0027

In the eyes of my daughter, I am loved just because I am.  And simply being makes her life good and awesome like it is.  If only I could live such affirmation every moment of my waking and breathing.

 

 

Keep Chipping Away

“Write a short story every week.  It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

 

– Ray Bradbury

wired.com

wired.com

City Bird, Country Bird

 

I flit above the treetops

you hear me chirp as I await the rise of the moon

The hush of evening falls over me

I revel in it before nestling my head under my wing

 

Yet another part of me

thrills to see the moon float above the streetlamps

another bulb – burning brightest

The cool of dark causing their glow to vibrate all the more

The energy of a people awaking to their culture

 

To be in two places at once

To fly from one pole to the other

To appreciate the beauty in each

 

To have a wing in each world

Dinner with Kids: A Play Written in One Act

Setting: dining table; random art projects, crumpled mail, and broken toys strewn about the periphery                        

Time: Witching hour

 

Mom: Time to eat!

Children [from other room in front of TV]:

Dad: Let’s go. Shut that off.

Children [from other room in front of TV]:

Dad: NOW

Oldest child: Okay

Five minutes later

Mom: If you want to eat, get in here now.

Children enter stage right

Dad: So what did you do today?

Mom: Well, I eoifagnioen foin

[Mom's last words garbled by sounds of the youngest singing 'Skinnamarinky-dink']

Dad: I’m sorry, what?

Oldest [in an English accent]: Hello, Governor. How are you today?

Middle Child: erupts in infectious roll of giggles

Dad: Girls, would you -

Youngest Child: AAAAAAAHHHHHH!

Mom: What the hell was that for?

Youngest Child: I got milk on my princess dress.

Dad jumps up to get paper towel as he and mother just noticed milk cascading through crack in table onto floor

Middle: Mom, she’s looking at me.

Youngest: sticks tongue out at both sisters.

Oldest [in English accent]: Would you cut it out, Governor?

Dad: returning from kitchen with wad of paper towels. If you girls aren’t going to eat, leave the table and let your mother and me eat in peace.

All three children: Okay!

Middle: Can we watch TV?

Mom: Fine, go.

All three children tear from the room. Sound of laugh-track mindless teen sitcom comes from off-stage.

Dad: So how was your day?

Oldest [from other room]: Mom, she won’t shove over.

Middle: She keeps kicking me.

Youngest: AAAAAAAHHHH!

Mom: I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Psychosis Sucks

Information on symptoms and treatment of psychosis – Fraser Health Authority.

You may want to spend some time perusing this website.  Its brilliant title is not its only merit.  A pharmacist specializing in mental health brought it to my attention.  Great tool kit.

Quizzical

 

Which character on Downton Abbey are you most like? What color represents your personality? What does your favorite fruit say about you?

Every time one logs onto his or her social media venue of choice, there is an endless supply of such quizzes. I admit, a few have piqued my interest. Perhaps it’s the ever present quest to find ‘my dream job’ that almost lured me into taking that one. But I never wanted to waste precious spare moments on such an endeavor and certainly didn’t want to link up my personal details with some outside entity. One quiz in particular that scrolled across my screen, however, hit me in a personal way even without relinquishing my information.

What mental disorder do you kind of have?

First of all, the qualifier ‘kind of’ is a slap in the face. Those who ‘full on’ have a mental disorder know there’s nothing ‘kind of’ about it. The questions dilute the struggles and pain of common side effects of these conditions, such as a misplaced pattern in a range of tiles. In a list of adjectives to describe oneself, the choices range from sad to crazy. One choice for the question ‘Are you an active person?’ is ‘No, I’m super lazy’. Is that how pop culture would describe the malaise brought on by clinical depression? I don’t think that’s how one suffering from it would. In a range of pictoral representations of one’s demeanor at a party, there are gross caricatures of stereotypical mental states. In terms of treatment, one question asks whether one would choose talking to a trusted individual or taking pills. Is that an either/or question? Is one any less noble than the other?

house party

After completing the quiz, here was my diagnosis:

 

OCD, or obsessive–compulsive disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry. You, while being completely healthy, know your fair share of disturbing and worrying thoughts. Don’t you worry, you’re perfectly fine. Just stop thinking.

Yeah, cuz it’s just that easy. Never mind that fact that I’ve never actually received such a clinical diagnosis, but to dilute overcoming OCD to simply ‘stop thinking’?

I get that I’m taking a silly quiz much more seriously than it was ever meant to be taken. I see the other quizzes in the side bar that invite me to find the decade I was born in or the quote that best describes my life. But forgive me for taking a possibly egregious offense to putting a real life daily-lifelong struggle alongside such drivel. Is this what we’re up against? The stigma surrounding mental illness will never be shattered with online memes like this. I’m all for humor, but this is the kind that pokes fun like a bully on the bus. This is not the release valve, instructive humor that is healthy.

Sorry if I’m ‘kind of’ offended.

 

 

The Center

 

How self-centered we are

to be governed by our emotions

and not the looks of pain on the faces of those around us.

To expect the world to orbit around our center.

 

The way we act shows it a thoughtless given in our minds.

 

To miss the fragile little being in front of us,

the industrious, frenzied flap of hummingbird wings -

the little things that should be front and center

so as not to be crowded out by the hulking beasts oh so eager to rule.

 

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