Nature, Nurture and Me.

We’ve all seen this meme.

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Honestly,  I’ve always wanted to adopt this mantra. I love it; but nature has interfered with my ability to do so.

About ten years ago I had a quaint little apartment with my bed made every day, fresh flowers on the table every Sunday and my clothes folded and hung in their place, daily. (ugh, just writing it out is exhausting) Fast forward to this very moment and from my current station planted on the couch, I can see spots on the TV, a pillow that needs to be sewn, walls and baseboards that need to be wiped down, a laundry basket reminding me to get folding and I’m pretty sure that’s “sprinkle cheese” in my child’s hair. None of which is enough to make me move. Who was that girl?

Instantly I replace all of that negativity with justifications (er.., I mean) positive reminders of what I did get done. Today I accomplished a great deal at the office, Madz’ homework is complete, dinner was made for all, dinner and dessert are prepped for tomorrow; little faces are clean. (side note: I will not let the child go to bed with cheese in her hair) and soon stories will be read. Until then snuggles and chats about our day are the priority. Conversations and the fulfillment of teaching my children what it is like to simply -be.

The older I get the faster time goes by, why should I stress to strive for perfection in the things that don’t really matter? All of which will eventually get done. I’ve learned, mainly through being tired, that it doesn’t have to be at this very moment. Existentially, my being won’t really allow for big messes to sustain. I can’t sleep if the house is in COMPLETE disarray- for this I blame genetics. That’s nature. From a perspective embracing nurture, I’ve gained an acceptance of control and letting go. Simple exhaustion has brought me to a place of chaotic bliss. Possibly the best management in dealing with my perfectionist tendencies. It’s also the path of one very tired of mama- Main Street, Mommywood, USA- but I’m okay with it.

I look over, they smile. I ask, they tell.  I reach for a hand and I have three reaching back. None of which really care whether or not I am perfect. I can handle that.

ox

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“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Three weeks ago I sat in my car, embarrassed and melting in a puddle of tears. I was beyond disappointed in myself. I knew when I registered for my second half marathon that training was going to be hard. My schedule was booked crazy for weeks. I didn’t have time to properly train. I knew this and still I thought, per usual, “I’ll just make it work.”

The thing is, that doesn’t work so well when you’re not really a runner. It was pathetic. I had just completed probably the hardest-short-run since my first 5 miles two years ago and it didn’t take me long to realize I was completely void of self-care. I had physical pain and a huge mental block. I didn’t feel strong. I so badly wanted to give up, and I tried. Fortunately, unfortunately, I had paid my registration fee and there were no refunds. No way, no how, am I losing out on that kind of money. Race entries are no joke. The race goes on.

Once my self-loathing and pity-party wrapped up, I reinstated my commitment to 13.1. I’ve never run for time, I run for me. I run for the feeling of pushing personal boundaries and for the sense of accomplishment that comes with stepping across the finish line. But this time I was running for my family, too. This was the first time they’d ever been to anything like this. In the past there has always been some sort of conflict in schedules or travel so it just hasn’t worked out. This time they were going to be waiting at the finish line for me. Come hell or high water I was going to do it.

Race day arrived and it was ridiculously cold…for Raleigh in April. As well, it was a super early morning and there were multiple conversations of stopping even before the start. After mile marker 1 I began creating strategies and excuses for getting out of this utterly dumb decision. If I trip and need stitches it’s not reallllyy quitting. My family will still love me either way. Not being well trained is a perfectly adequate excuse. Here’s the thing, running is one challenge, running a race, yet another; but running in Raleigh, the City of Oaks …and hills…well that just completely sucks. By mile 5, I was still not in “my stride” (haha this makes me laugh to assume I’d ever get one) but I felt okay. I did a mind and body check. Nothing hurt, it was slowly warming up, I had no muscle cramping and I was doing it. In another mile or so I’d be more than half way. I’m not a quitter and my girls will be there in the end. All worth it, just keep going.   :::and step, repeat, step, repeat::::

Then something wonderful happened, mile marker 10. It was a beautiful sight. I loved it and I felt really good, okay, good-no, but not bad. I was in the home stretch and somehow I felt better this go around then I did my first half marathon. In Kiawah mile 11 just about sent me packing. Not today. Today, I sailed through and felt stronger and better at the finish line than I did at the start. I had a cheesy grin the whole last leg. Man! Who knew? And if I had actually trained appropriately I would’ve killed the time (that I don’t run for lol).

Here’s the coolest part, for the first time ever I understood what it meant to feel strong. Instantly my mommy-mode defaulted to the thought of childbirth, but this was (respectfully) better. Of course the end result doesn’t compare, our girls are my everything and those 16 and 30 hrs of labor were hard and strong work, but that was my body being taken over my another being forcing through me. Today, was 13.1 miles of me. I had no reason to go and every reason to quit, but I didn’t and it felt so, so good.

As I left the race I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of one of the volunteer groups, the Jimmy V foundation. Of course! It made perfect sense…it had to be Jimmy V.

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

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-ox-