only one way to go.

i had to do this again. this swallowing of the pride, and going where i did not want to go.

i had to ask again, and sat there and bawled while she told me how i was going to live for the next month.

i cried for two hours as i made my way through the system yesterday.

i did this a few years ago, and it was novel, and fresh, and i was just learning how to swim in that pond.

but for the first time in my life i had to get that little card that would give me food…

and i stood there while they issued it to me, and i cried, and they said pick a pin number and i simply.

could not.

my hand was shaking, and they were waiting patiently, while giving me the dignity i needed.

no stares, just waiting.

then i had to go and get a medical plan, and that nearly set me back.

i’ve been working since i was 16. i know the system is designed for people like me, but i do not like it.

because i have painted nails, and a guess purse that was given to me

and i just went to palm springs for christ’s sake.

i drove home talking and crying to my little sister all the way. the one who offered me work on her store.

i had spent hours texting my friend who kept reminding me to.

breathe.

and i kept trying and then i would start crying again.

i went to the bank and took out my last penny. and squirreled it away.

i got on my pajamas, took some cold pizza out of the fridge, and curled up into a ball.

i slept.

i remembered how when i was driving home late one night this week…

how i nearly fell asleep, and when i snapped my eyes open…

i went, damn.

it was scary. to feel that way. like everything was caving in all at once, and i was at rock bottom.

i slept on the bed for hours. dozing on and off. just played seinfeld in the background.

my sponsor. she called me.

and within minutes, we had a plan, we were laughing, and she was reminding me of my purpose in this life.

to be of maximum service to god and his kids. that the sun does rise every morning,

and i am to be right in the middle of life.

and i was reminded that…rock bottom? it has a trap door. and i’m not there.

i have a house, 2 great teenagers who swim fanatically with their buddies as i type this.

i went to the market. i used the card. with $103 dollars.

i buy lots of fun teenager food so as to give the illusion that we have more than we have.

i bake a cake because they are coming back.

and today. it was a new day.

one way or another, i will survive, and it’s not just a donna summer song.

truly. i will survive, and with panache.

day is done.

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Hardware.

I’m not sure even how to begin this.  I come home from a busy afternoon.  My son and I are decorating a new bedroom for my oldest, who turns 13 on the last day of his trip.  He will walk in, and he will…for the first time, have his own room.

A very dear friend @Bfrein, sent me the most beautiful and thoughtful gift…a rack for my medals.  It even has a holder for the STUPID baton that we got at San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon.  I was so excited, I put all the medals on and pounded holes in the walls without measuring or anything.  Okay.  Start over.  SO I got everything together, and followed directions, and put the thingys in the wall, and screwed it in, and then it was done.

And, it looks perfect on my wall of fame.  All my bibs from 2008 to now.  My race plans for marathons on the wall.  And I centered my LA Marathon one in the middle, because I’m thrilled for Marine Corps Marathon, but LA is when I’m coming back for redemption.  So, it’s my focus.

Here is the rack close up:

And, as I was putting all of these medals on the rack, one stood out to me…and it was so seemingly insignificant that I nearly missed it, sitting on a pin in the far back.  It was red and dusty, and not really a medal at all.

It was the ribbon I got when I crossed the finish line at my very first official race in January 2008.  We had only started Couch to 5k that previous Halloween, and this was the FIRST BIG RACE.  We carb loaded Friday night.  We were so nervous that we woke as early as possible to drive there.  I don’t even remember where it was.  The bay area.  The race report was so miniscule.  I didn’t even know how to write one.

But this red ribbon.  THIS one.  It’s the one that started me on my way.  Other medals, such as the Half Marathon of Death, which is shoved to the left…they are markers of races and times and friends and the journey.  There are miles of stories to tell with each one….The first place medal I won….out of one…The relay race I ran with Row’s husband…The relay team of “We Run This Town” and laughing and shivering…The 3rd place medal I won as I ran to the finish line as the race organizers were picking up the cones…the heartbreak at Napa to Sonoma of finding out a betrayal of many years…and meeting a new and kind friend…

The stories are all there, on that wall.  But they don’t have any numbers…no PRs next to them…because for THIS girl?  It’s never been about the numbers, except for my new goal.  It’s always been about the people.  The places.  The stories.  The friendships and love.

All the teams and the times and the towns.

And the red ribbon is moved to the front…right in the middle.  Because it says the words “RUNNERS”.  And this community of misfits and rockstars and slow and fast…and young and old…we are all just RUNNERS.  It’s not my runnerversary, but again, in my most humble voice, I say thank you to all of you.   In the voice of a 51 year old single mother raising boys in the most interesting of times…I say I love you. 

Inception-What is Down Below

***warning:  spoilers***

 

If you have not had any therapy at all, have not dug down deep into your psyche, this movie is possibly not for you, save a Hollywood experience.  If you have had therapy, and you’ve worked through a significant amount of stuff, you will get it.

In this scene, Leo (Cobb) is going down into his stuff.  Into stuff that is so hidden, that it haunts you daily.  That you have to keep it locked away for only you.  I’ve had that stuff.  And it’s scary as shit.  The stuff that you don’t want to admit to your closest fellows…that MAYBE you will admit to a therapist, but it’s locked away because somehow, you have been able to deal with it on your own.  Until now.

Before he goes down into his psyche via his dreams, however, he tries to take someone through THEIR own.  Trying to get into the bad guy’s dreams to find a safe combination.  And, I’m looking at the movie, and there are TONS of bad guys in the snow.  In a blizzard.  And they are trying to keep this guy protected, while our guys are trying to shoot down the defenses.  The metaphor of the snow…the ice…the frozen…the way to keep all our secrets in stone.

And, I’m sitting in the movie, and I realize that with all the therapy work I’ve done, both as a professional and on the other side of the chair, I really have few secrets left in my psyche.  I was thinking of the baby that died when I was 12, the boy next door…visions of snapshots that are my childhood.  How my Dad used to step on that first step as he came home from work.  Mom’s spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove.  And there’s really little down there, because the first rule you learn as a therapist is:  you can’t go into your clients’ psyche unless you go into your own.

But then something else came up.  When did I know?  When did I know he was having an affair?  The affair that lasted 8 years on and off?  I knew early.  I confronted him early.  And he denied …for years.  But, I knew.  I watched Cobb miss his children, and how he couldn’t have them back until he let go of the past.  Really let go of his wife.   He says to her:  “I miss you like crazy, but I have to let you go.”  In a sense, I need to do the same thing. 

As much as I am still hurt and angry, and feel like a mama bear trying to protect my children, I am in no position and have no control over this.  I receive more bad news in the mail via his antics, and I have just decided to give up.  To stop fighting, to stop swimming upstream.  However, if I’m going to get better, then every time I get disturbing news, I have to stop bringing this old story back in to my psyche.

I’ve only known about it for a year.  But, it was down there…a long time.  And I wonder if my whole marriage was a sham, but I know and remember good and sweet times.  And I have to let him go.  He did drive me crazy.  I hid way down deep what I knew.  And I knew all along.

Bravo to Inception.  Way to take us down there.  And, in the end…the only way that Cobb transcends his history is to let her go…and to forgive himself.   

And, so it is.

Left its seeds while I was sleeping*

Morning Glories open themselves up to the world, in the morning,
in all of their glory, hence the name Morning Glory.
And if you look closely at them, you will see how extraordinary
they are both in colour and texture and that in their centre is
a kind of golden light that shines from within.

But here is the hard part…
At the end of the day, they turn a most beautiful shade of lavender,
and then close up, wither and die. They live for only one day
and then they are gone.

(from The Lesson of the Morning Glory, by Veronica Hay)

This may mean nothing to anyone else but me.  This is my house.  This looks like trash in front of my house.  I assure you, it’s not.  Just when I think I’m ready to start again, or move on or whatever people say you should do, something else in my house breaks…or something reminds me of my past life…and while most people by now have made big changes, I seem stuck in mourning yet another part of my previous existence.  Today was one of those days.

A few weeks ago, my fence blew down during that big storm, and with it, the very vine you are looking at.  Twelve ago, we put up morning glory on an 8 foot piece of lattice, all the way around our pool area.  We put in 3 vines.  Within a year, the whole fence and yard was covered in morning glory.  The vine went everywhere…into neighbors’ yards, over fences.  I could see the morning glory three houses down.

Last week when it fell down, and the dogs went out of the yard, and the pool was a mess and the cement was a nightmare, I could not deal with this morning glory.  I finally got someone to come and take down the lattice, and the morning glory with it.  In the winter, it looks like this…always…but in the summer, it is glorious.

So I came up to my house last night, and saw the pile in front of my house, and because I tend to look at everything in terms of endings, I immediately fell sorrow.  Because this is the protection my yard has from the outside world, from the neighbors’ eyes, from noises everywhere.

Again with the maudlin review of everything in my house, but the death of this plant surely must signify something.  We planted it before there were children.  Before we thought we could.  Three plants, took over.  I swam in front of the moon and the plant, and cried and laughed.  I gave my kids countless popsicles, pondered my life in love with someone else, crying out in the black night for God or whoever is running the universe to hear me.  The Purple Hood, shielding me and giving me comfort and anonymity.

And now.

Now, my fence stands naked and broken.  Propped up with some metal stakes, 2 feet shorter, blonded wood that I haven’t seen for a long time.  Just one side of it. 

So, there must be some sort of requiem for the Morning Glory.  To anyone else, it looks like refuse that the city will pick up in a few days.  To me, it’s yet another piece of the history of my family, and oh.  If it could talk…

*Lyric from Sounds of Silence

I thought it’d be different

Sitting here on a Saturday night, planning tomorrow’s 12 miler.  Baking banana bread.  Doing laundry.  Dogs sleeping somewhere in the house.  Christmas decorations still in the garage, ready to go in the rafters.

And somehow, I thought it would be different.

I thought I would spin out yet another relationship.  Meet, Marry, Repeat.  Because.  I was 30 the first time I divorced.  The world was my smorgasboard.  The men were prolific.  Silly, fun.  Still young enough to wear tank tops and go braless, and flip flops to the market.  I was the kind of teacher who could take a week off with her current boyfriend to just go…and do what you do when you’re able.

So, I am two weeks shy of a 3 year separation.  And.  I thought it would be different.  I thought I’d be dating.  I thought a new man would suddenly appear, and I wouldn’t have to go to one of those dating sites because you know…GOD should put him in my path right?  (Sidenote, eharmony said I was *stable*, after I took their test.  I knew then that it was bullshit) I would be getting ready to go out to an adult date.  Whatever that is.  Whatever adults do on dates.  Opera? Line Dancing? I have no idea.

The fact that there are 2 boys involved here make it so much less easy to try to get *out there*.  I don’t want to disparage their dad.  I don’t know.  I don’t want them to have to pick.  To have a step-dad or step-mom’s boyfriend or whatever it’s called. 

I walk through my house some days…the house that I’m losing, and I think I need to stay here.  I have put so much into this…but there are ghosts.  Marriage voodoo, leftover bad mamajama in certain rooms.  No amount of sage & praying will remove the room where I confronted him about the affair he said he wasn’t having.  Or where we had countless arguments about how I couldn’t move on.  About how I couldn’t let go.

There are days that I want the house.  And days when I can’t wait to leave.  Wherever we go, we have a lot of baggage, furniture, a room full of old toys and books that my boys can’t bear to give away, no matter how many trips to Salvation Army I beg them to take with me.  I have their college fund in Thomas the Tank Engine.  We have dogs.  Expensive, fence eating dogs.

But, I thought it would be different.  That I would have moved on, moved in, or established something new.  I thought I was 30.  Twenty years later, divorce is different.  For many reasons.

So, I bake my bread for brunch with the girls tomorrow.   I fold laundry and watch a movie, and take the time to wash my hair after the spa. 

I’m not waiting for a man to complete me.  I’m complete, and happy.  I’m just ready.  Where is he?

*Stole Many A Man’s Soul & Faith

*Lyrics from Sympathy For The Devil, by The Rolling Stones

I’m not sure how to start this post.  Or if I even should.  I have enjoyed relative anonymity in my town, but I know there are some who may read this blog…however, I check my stats, and don’t see a connection to my town.  For the people who’ve read this blog from it’s inception, you’ll know that it started out as a teaching blog, then a PE blog, then an “oh-my-God-my-life-just-fell-apart-blog”, to a divorce blog, and finally…in it’s current state, a running blog.  Essentially it’s been about me, and who I am…or who I am becoming in the Now.

I have written about this here.  When my world absolutely fell apart.  Even though we had been divorced, the revelation that infidelity had also hit my home, nearly knocked me to the ground.  I was in the middle of Nike Marathon training, and I simply…stopped running.  I briefly put it out on my blog again.  Telling the story in a non-descript, vague and anonymous way.  I finished the marathon, I worked damned hard.  I didn’t sleep for a long time.

And…and, then one day…I did.  I turned a corner.  I stopped writing about it.  My ex husband and I decided that we would do whatever we could to protect our children…which in a small town of 15,000 means shutting the hell up about it.  I told 4 close friends who were not of the native Dutch.  I told no one else in town.  He told no one else.  

It took my three months.  I embraced the principles in The Power of NowI wrote and read and prayed and listened.  I learned these two important things:  that we create our own pain, and can learn to live fully in the present, and that drama is not accepting what *is*.  Right now.

I can live in the Now.  When I’m at my best, I am fully present in this moment…which is where I try to stay.  Until tonight.

*She* started talking.  To her friends, told her husband.  And he told his friends, and now those very friends…the ones who are the Christians, the ones who claim to have forgiveness and redemption.  They have now started to ostracize him.  He has lost business, customers.  Old friends have started to spread rumours that he really isn’t trustworthy in anything…or that he was a bad employee. 

This is a woman who had five random affairs before my ex-husband.  Who had one-night stands and quickies.  Who would never leave her husband because she has no marketable skills.  Who sat across from my family in church for 12 years.  Who followed us to church, to the pizza parlor…who came to my home when I was in my private practice…who followed my mother when she was in town…Who was my babysitter…my housekeeper…and yet.  yet.  she never felt remorse.  …who continues to call my ex-husband.  who called me and wanted to have coffee (um, no)…

Whatever she told her husband was her version of what happened.  On the day that I confronted her, she denied everything.  I told her, you know what’s the worst part?  I knew, and you tried to make me crazy…her response?  Well, Linda…you WERE crazy.  Huh.

She doesn’t feel bad.  She never felt bad.  and. now, because he won’t have contact with her, she has set about her mission to destroy him via her husband and the local farmers.  These are men who have known our family forever…who have been at my childrens’ baptisms, our wedding, birthday and Christmas parties.  And now…they are vicious gossip mongers.

Perhaps three months ago, I would have felt the same.  But tonight, I don’t….

My challenge tonight is to discern whether or not I am to allow my ex husband to walk through his own dark valley.  (This is not co-dependency.  I fully realize he has to accept consequences on his own…) My challenge tonight is to stay in my business and not call up her husband and explain the five other (maybe more) random sexual encounters that his wife has had.  My challenge is to be quiet.  To live right now.  To accept that people will hurt you and your family, especially when they need to save their own skin.

I am so grateful that I have forgiven him.  Because love does not make sense.  Just because it happened does not mean I loved him any less.  I have forgiven him, and I pray that he finds someone wonderful who will love him totally.  This only happens because I have a God who is all…everything.  And, because I worked damned hard to process every feeling that came up on this journey.

I’m in a good place…just for tonight.  Tomorrow is another day.  I only hope that the day comes when I will be at complete peace…when I won’t hate fake Christians, who use Jesus as a tool to soothe themselves when it’s convenient…when I can truly live in the now.

Until then, I continue to trudge.

What would you do?

Mind Games

Haven’t blogged too much this week.  Trying to ascertain the need for the blog.  HE has been telling me that “people in town are reading your blog”.  Someone close to him (and to me, apparently), even told him that on my blog, I said I never loved him and that I liked to control him.  Hmmm.  Judge much?  So, I start to post, then stop, then say to heck with it anyway.  And, I’ve been fine with it.  Mostly.

Then, this came out.

And, while for most of the time, I’ve handled this issue in my small town with style and grace, and have been able to stand by him when he needed it, this week’s headline news story brought it all back for me.  It showed up in my runs.

Tuesday was a 1 mile w/u with 6 x 3 min. intervals and a 2 mile c/d.  I chewed and drove my body through the town, past the park, past the street.  Looking neither left nor right I vanished like the wind crossing streets with neglect.  I was just. Angry.  Over the catwalk.  By the cemetery.  By the places that I never had to look at before.  By seedy motels.  Yes, we have it all.

Wednesday was a 5 mile *easy* run, which took us in at 53:20 or so, and seems a bit fast for us.  Before I ran, I turned to Kim and said, “What is it going to take for your life to change?”, because in our pre-run therapy, we had lots to talk about.  As I turned on River Road, and ran into the moon, I started asking myself the same question.  What…What will it take?  As it turns out, my dangerous word with him is *HELLO*.  Stop. Saying. HELLO.

We are ready for the CIM Relay this weekend.  I was to do the first leg, but since I have 8 on the schedule, it looks like I’ll be doing 2 or 3.  One of our members bailed, so we’ve been punting all week.

Staying up late.  Chewing on the news.  Like taking a band-aid off before it’s completely healed.  The Tiger Woods story is not about having an affair.  It’s about going away.  Dealing with it.  Not saying you’re sorry to all the people who looked up to you (really?) ….It’s about doing everything.  Everyday.  To make sure your wife knows it had NOTHING to do with her.  Nothing.

Because, you were having a blast.  Until you got caught.