Because I can

I’m still fighting with a bout of depression that seems to nag and pull at me daily and whisper to me that I just don’t measure up. Despite its best attempts at making me feel inadequate, I continue to challenge and push myself.

Today I find myself exhausted, but accomplished. I covered more miles than my training plan prescribed because I ran to and from a meeting place one day and I put in extra miles on another so I could run with a friend. I’m at the halfway point of mentoring for the half marathon and I’m on week 4 of training for a full marathon.

This weekend, I ran a 5k race at Lake Evergreen that I ran last year as well. It was apparently the same week in my own half training because I had 4 miles to run after and so did the group training this summer. I was aware that the race had some challenges going into it and I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to reach for beating my best time of 29 minutes. Each race after the one I made that time, I’ve set out just to beat that time even if it is by a second. Saturday morning was sunny, but not too hot. The gnats were swarming around the race venue and we swatted them away as we made way to the start line. At first, nobody was lining up in front of me at the start line and I attempted to move back. A few people finally went to the front of the start and the race began with everyone taking off down the road. I tried to just remember that I could hold as close to a 9 minute pace as possible to get my best time. I spent a little time praying. There was a person that was near me in the race that seemed stressed, so I prayed for that person. I prayed for myself to have the resolve to finish and I was thankful that I was able to run and able to train for a full marathon. I started telling myself that I’m “scrappy” because I always overcome challenges. I pushed myself hard. Toward the end, I kept trying really hard to pick up my pace and it seemed like every time I looked at my watch, I wasn’t getting any faster or I wasn’t picking up as much as I needed to get the time I wanted. Toward the final stretch, my husband and my friend were shouting at me and I actually mustered up a little kick of energy to push through to the end a little faster. Some guy passed me right in the last 50 feet, but I was going my fastest. Imagine my surprise when I pulled through the finish line and saw 28:49 on the digital clock and on my watch! I didn’t place, but last year, I finished the race in 30:57. I beat my best time and I killed my time from last year by over 2 minutes. Scrappy…lol. I ran 4 more miles right after the race and was back in time to see the tail end of the awards where 2 of my friends and my husband had placed in their age groups.

Sunday is long run day for full marathon training. While I normally complete my long runs on Saturday instead because of my half marathon mentoring, I did my goal pace run Saturday and planned ahead to do 12 miles on Sunday. Jane, who mentored me during my first half last year, is my primary running partner for the full marathon. We match pace and we amuse one another. So, we ran 12 miles with a couple of breaks to adjust, refill, and loosen up. Only towards the end did I feel anxiety and have to zone myself out and Jane was there to pull me out of my head. We even got to go to a brunch afterward just for women to shop for bras and have mimosas and pancakes. It was fun and a nice incentive during our run was that there was a mimosa in it for us. After that, I went to a nature center and hiked around a little with my family. I needed a nap after.

Monday, I woke up with ear congestion and a sore throat presumably from being in the great outdoors so much over the weekend. I spent most of the day feeling a little ‘blah’ from the decongestant. My husband worked late and was preparing for a business trip through the middle days of the week. After dinner, we had problems discussing then arguing with my oldest child. She nitpicked at me and tried to break me down seeking out insecurities about my parenting. She walked out of the house and after a little while, I had to call the local police to help me find her. They opened a case with a national database. She returned home around 10 pm and I called off the search. The police came by for a welfare check and then we went to bed.

I didn’t get to run last night. I won’t be running tonight with my group. I’m sad and I’m disappointed. I’m still a little angry and hurt. When I get to run, I will do it. Because I can do it. Not because I have to. I want to run 26.2 miles because I know that I can, so why not do it? I train for it because I want to do it right. Sometimes, I carry on because I don’t know what the other options are. I don’t know how much of my strength was a choice on my part, but I’m here and I’m pushing forward. I know that I’m not always confident and I worry how people see me and how my children see me. I also know that I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else and nobody is perfect no matter how much they appear to be. I have depression and life doesn’t slow down or ease up on me when I’m down. It doesn’t matter how far down I am, it’ll still kick me. So, I just have to get back up more times than it knocks me down. That doesn’t mean I’ll just spring up and be ready for more each time, though. I’m tired. I get worn down.

So, I’ll get back to running once I can later this week. I’ll do my long runs and I’ll put in the time to train for my 26.2 mile race. Not because I have to, but because I can and I will do this.

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Hubby and I after the race. He got 2nd in his age group and I PR’d!

 

 

Ready for structure

Under the surface

“This stay at home mom gig is sometimes more rough than others. I mean, as a mom, I already always feel like people feel they’re open to judge me as a woman and a parent. I feel pressured to go out of my way to constantly do fun or educational things even when I’m physically or mentally exhausted. I fear posting to Facebook for people will judge me for spending time online. I feel bad when my kids are watching TV, or playing on their tablets….I just…I’m tired!”

This was a message I sent one of my friends during the day. I meant it. I know that being a parent is a tough job and there will always be some ongoing resentment war between the stay at home vs the working away from home parents. This situation was specifically about my sudden abundance of time to spend with my children during summer break.  I have been a single working mom, a married working mom, and a stay at home mom all over the last 16 years of my life, so I’m not minimizing the responsibilities of which mom/parent someone is.

Why do I feel like I have to justify everything I say or do or quantify it to “as a mom” or some other way? Sometimes, I just want to let some steam off and say that I’m spread out really thin or I’m exhausted without having to qualify the statement with a reason or reasons to make it acceptable for me to feel that way. I feel that way and I don’t need an explanation to excuse it. I want to say something out loud so it isn’t bubbling under the surface.

If you’re someone who knows me, you probably know that I truly care about everyone I meet and I pray for them and will listen and do what I can to help. Heck, there are some people I’ve never met that I truly care about and pray for. I don’t expect anything in return for it and I don’t feel one must explain him/herself for feeling a certain way about something. I’m sure a lot of my feeling constantly scrutinized is in my head as part of my anxiety, but that doesn’t mean that I write it off as anxiety. I get anxious about my anxiety.

Filling my buckets

Kerri Walsh Jennings was on NBC’s Today for an interview and she mentioned her buckets in her life and how if she starts to feel grumpy, she goes back and looks at which bucket isn’t being serviced.

While my interpretation isn’t parallel to the way she discusses it in her interview, I do see that there is probably a reason behind my frustration. I have been running, but I am not currently involved in any specific training. I haven’t had anything holding me accountable and I don’t have as much time to go for a run as I did when the kids were in school. My fitness is still being taken care of, but as more of an afterthought than a priority. Then, I need to worry about people claiming that kids are the only priority when you have them and anything less is sub-par parenting. I can understand devoting time to kids and not being able to be self centered as a parent, I cannot see a person being expected to completely focus all of their energy and time into parenting. In my opinion, that would deter growth for the parent as an individual and affect interpersonal relationships.

Tie it together already

I am excited to start half marathon training next week and training for my first full marathon in a few weeks. I’ll start out with mentoring the half marathon group 2 days a week and add 2 more days with the full training. I know a lot of time goes into training and I also know that mommy is gentler, less anxious, and more energized when she’s doing something she enjoys and getting out of the house. So, I refuse to feel guilty for looking forward to my time away and enjoying it when I get it. I look forward to interacting with people and even seeing people reach their goals this fall. I also am excited that my kids can see me set and reach goals for myself because they will ultimately follow my example, not my advice. While some people might tell their kids to reach for the stars, I’m going to do my thing and let them see me reach for them, too!

So?

I know I’m not the only parent who feels like the judgement is constant and unrelenting. So maybe you could be gentler on others and on yourself? Maybe if you think something someone else is doing is wrong, you could take a look in the mirror and do an inventory of yourself.

 

 

Group victim blaming…

The internet is full of memes meant to shame all different types of people, especially parents.  I think that if you have time to judge other people for who they are and what they choose to do, you probably could use that time to work on yourself and whatever insecurities you have that make you feel the need to pass judgement on to others. That’s just my opinion.

I have a teen daughter. We’ve had a rocky past few months and have gone through a lot. For whatever reason, without her consent, a friend recorded video of her in the bathroom and shared the images with a large group of people. My daughter is 15, so this is essentially, pornography depicting a minor. Not soon after, she tried to commit suicide by overdose and things have been a bit difficult from then on.

She has been in counseling and doing very well lately on her medication. She has been earning things back like usage of her technology. We have had a few bumps, but nothing as severe as the episodes that landed her in inpatient care at a facility. Then comes this weekend, where someone starts sending her ominous messages about how she will ‘ruin her’ and ‘share her nudes’. Suddenly, a boy posts the photos to social media and a group conversation turns to calls of “kill yourself” to my teen daughter and “you should’ve taken more [pills used redacted].”

So, this week, I did the right thing. I consented to press charges against the person who posted the images. This has not turned out well for my daughter, who is being called names at school and told that she is ruining the boy’s life by having him arrested. Other kids have told her that her mother (that’s me) is suing all of these people and posting things with a “#free[the perpetrator]”. This behavior is dangerous. This behavior among a group is ridiculous.

Not only are they literally blaming the victim, they are siding with the person who committed the crime here. They’re also confusing criminal with civil legal proceedings. I haven’t sued anyone. The perpetrator committed a crime and now he may face criminal charges. In a court of law. This isn’t a modern idea where people blame the victims of crimes for somehow causing the crime itself. What is more modern is that people use the internet to say and do horrible things and don’t anticipate consequences.

This is about parents looking at their own kids’ social media accounts and making sure they aren’t using them to hurt someone else. This is about asking other people in your friends or family group to follow them and pay attention to help you catch on. Raising a kid actually does take a village and if you’re so busy judging watching other people raise their kids, why can’t you use that time to offer a helping hand or at least a head’s up?

You can assume what you will about what transpired. You can even assume that I’m in the wrong, but when will we stop saying that someone was asking to be hurt by being present? When can we honestly stop saying that criminals act because their victims somehow lured them into a crime? Do you honestly think that the person who set out to hurt my daughter is sorry or feels any remorse? What if this had been someone in a much worse place and someone lost his/her life over this? Would people still be blaming my daughter if his post caused her suicide? Pressing charges may make someone else think twice before doing something so careless and wrong and I will not stop pursuing what will protect my family and potentially prevent other families from having this experience.