Rain On Me

I miss running. I haven’t done much of it lately due to stress (do I wake up at 4am to run so I can take my husband to his appointment then go to work?) or because my body and mind are incredibly sluggish from said stress and lack of sleep. Yet I become more tired the less I run and feel bad about myself so I eat a bit more and gain weight and feel bad and so on and so on and so on. Have you been on this ride before, too? Yeah. Not my favorite.

But this past week I was determined not to feel bad about myself. I was already missing my brother and I didn’t need to feel worse by treating myself like shit. So I did run on Tuesday then snuck a few walks in the next few days. My son and I went on a fantastic hike on Friday that began with his non-stop complaining and ended with his non-stop praise of the scenery. 🙂 We never saw another soul and loved the isolation. This was followed by amazing gelato at the Pugnuts Ice Cream Shop in Surry with my sister and brother-in-law.

The next day I went on a hike by myself and saw funky mushrooms and another little stream, all while listening to the birds and stopping every once in a while to just look up at the canopy of trees with the sky peeking through. It was cathartic and peaceful and I enjoyed nearly every minute of it, until I met someone at the end who had two dogs, one that barked and growled at me. But even that creature couldn’t ruin my tranquility.

When I woke up this morning to grey skies, I knew if I wanted to run I needed to do it soon. I drank coffee, folded clothes, watched a bit of CBS Sunday Morning (my absolute favorite news show for the positive stories that are portrayed), then decided I could do a little run. I ate a banana, put on my “hanging out at home” clothes instead of my usual running tank and wicking shorts, and went out with the attitude that I was going to have a good time.

Just two minutes in and “Little Bird” by Annie Lennox started to play in my ears. I smiled broadly and looked to the sky. “Thanks, Phil!” I shouted. My brother’s love of Annie Lennox was infectious and this song in particular was always one of our favorites. “I look up to the little bird that glides across the sky. He sings the clearest melody. It makes me want to cry….I wish I could be that bird and fly away from here. I wish I had the wings to fly away from here.”

I can’t fly but I pushed my shoulders back, picked up my head and ran a bit stronger and faster. Even when the rain did start coming down just past mile one, I kept chugging along, looking to the skies.

At mile three I had started to lag a bit, but yelled and waved hello at a few of my neighbors that never acknowledge my existence. (They did today!) A half mile later with the rain coming down in a nice, gentle pitter patter, “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande hummed through my earbuds and right down to my toes. That’s when I saw a lone bird flying through the sky, possibly trying to catch up to its buddies, or just out for a solo jaunt like me.

For once, little bird, I don’t want to fly away from here. Not sure how long I can hold onto that feeling, but I’ll take it today. ❤

Lightweight

It’s Wednesday night, yet it feels like it should be Friday night. It’s been a horrendously long and stressful few days, and apparently I’m not the only one feeling it. Maybe because of the full moon on Monday? Maybe because we’re waiting to find out what our children’s school days will look like? Who the hell knows? We’re all just damn tired and stressed and so fucking sick of being tired and stressed. Right?!?

Yet, I know I have it good. I have a job, as does my husband. We’re still relatively healthy. My kid is happy some days. This is about all we can hope for right now. But for whatever reason, as soon as I got home tonight, I started searching for the wine. Then I remembered I had all the fixings for a margarita.

My husband was kind enough to cook dinner, so I made my drink and headed out to my porch. Our boy was watching videos about the Declaration of Independence (seriously, this kid is freakin’ awesome), so he was ok not spending any time with me. I sat down on my porch in the warm air but with the loveliest of breezes, opened a magazine and took a few sips. After a bit, I listened to a podcast (Fake Doctors, Real Friends), sipped my margarita some more and put my feet up on the railing. I have not been that relaxed in such a long, long time. My husband came out after a bit to say dinner was ready, but I wasn’t ready to go inside. More time passed and he came back out, but I told him there was no way I was going to stand up (not sure I could) and I intended to stay out there for as long as possible. The good man brought me a bowl of food after that.

My son came out a few minutes later and we chatted and laughed and talked about the upcoming school year, but then with our morbid humor discussed hazmat suits and gas masks because that’s where we’re at. My husband joined us and we laughed and chatted some more while relishing the warm summer evening. We really had a wonderful time, just being together at our home enjoying one another.

Of course then I had to get up so I could go pee and the moment was broken.

Yet afterwards I felt energized. I did the dishes, made my lunches for the next few days, did a load of laundry and took a bath. I finally found that bit of motivation that I’ve been lacking. I even shaved my legs! I think I just needed those few hours to find a way to relax and forget but also spend quality time with my family. It was literally less than 30 minutes, but it was exactly the amount we all needed to become reconnected to one another. It was our version of perfect.

I’m not saying you should drink every night to ease your stress. I, the daughter of a recovering alcoholic, would never say that. It might be ok with you and if it is, then go for it. But both my conscience and my pancreas say it’s not good for me. Plus the level of relaxation I had tonight is not typical for me. I had to let everything else go and not think about work or relationships or the world or even myself. I just had to breathe, read a bit, and listen to others. I had to lose myself for just a little while. And if you can find a way to do that with yoga or meditation, then do it. Hell, if you need a drink or a smoke to relax and let go occasionally, that’s ok too.

We all need to lose ourselves sometimes so we can find our way back again.

Hang in there, friends. I’m thinking of you.

The Comforts of Food

Since I was 7 years old, I have turned to food to ease my anxiety, to diffuse my anger, to make me feel good…or at least better. I have eaten away every emotion until only what appeared to be happiness remained. Looking at it now, I’m sure it was the sugar and fat that gave me that euphoric feeling.  And yet knowing this, and after losing over 80 pounds to finally get out of the fat lady’s clothing store, I *still* turn to food when the going gets tough even though I promised myself I wouldn’t ever again.

These past few weeks have been extraordinarily stressful. It’s not the best excuse, but there it is. Fortunately, my food choices have at least changed since my big girl days. I used to eat lots of chips or ice cream or leftover Chinese takeout as my binge foods of choice. Now, when I’m feeling blue or need to take the edge off, I eat rice mixed with canned peas and shredded cheese and a teaspoon of butter or a big bowl of Cinnamon Rice Chex with almond milk.

I know, I know, I’m so naughty!

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Me, 4 years ago, eating a scrumptious gluten-free cupcake from Babycakes in Orlando.

It may not seem like a big deal and honestly, in the big scheme of things it’s not. Since I lost this weight, I’ve been obsessed about keeping it off. I still intend to keep it off and I’m sure I’ll keep counting those calories and running when I’m able, but I also realized this week that I have to start making some kind of effort to let this go. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be overnight that’s for damn sure, but I have to find a way to make myself a little happier and a lot less stressed. That may mean I’ll skip a morning workout and read instead or maybe have a snack between breakfast and lunch so I don’t maim any of my co-workers.

Does this mean I might gain a pound or two? Maybe. Will I freak out if I do? Of course I will. I’m not naïve enough to think that just by saying, “Hey, I won’t get stressed by that little bit of weight gain!” that I *won’t* get stressed. I most certainly will because that’s who I am. What I’m shooting for, is to not get AS freaked as my normal. To try to take it a bit in stride and realize that it’s not the end of the world.

This past week I thought a big chunk of my world really was about to end, and gaining a pound or two doesn’t feel like that at all. Gaining a bit of weight can be resolved at some point by eating less and exercising more and going to bed hungry more often than not. It’s a serious pain in the ass, but it’s not the apocalypse.

 

So tell me, what are YOUR comfort foods? Anything funky or boring (like mine)? I’d love to hear it if you’d like to share.