Thursday, January 28, 2010

In the early dark light

Sitting here watching the light change, darkening early with the storm of snow drifting in heavier once again, I am enjoying knowing that I am alone, completely right now. It is a lovely combination, no reason to leave this house right now, except perhaps to walk the tenth of a mile to the mailbox, so I can just sit, and zone out, contemplate, watch tv, read, nap, work, or pet the cat. It is a sweet freedom for which I am grateful.

It is a unique confluence of opportunities that has put me here, where I can ponder, reflect and check my center after a delightful, sometimes challenging long visit with BC. We had eight weeks together, doing various holidays where we recreated old traditions and began to carve out new ones together - testing the waters of what a family together might look like. We even had the opportunity to experience a family vacation by going to Disney World, under the guise of BC running the marathonroller coasters for the first time defying my decades old stance of I don't like them, don't do them, have no interest. It turns out they are fun and I rode them like they were nothing. Few screams of alarm leapt out of my mouth, but essentially I just simply enjoyed the sensations. I also challenge my identity of "I don't like amusement parks." It is true they are never going to be my first choice but I can learn how to loosen up and enjoy the moment, especially when with BC and TK.

Since leaving last Tuesday morning it has been a world wind of traveling about. I discovered that I can make the eight hour drive from Cleveland Heights to Brooklyn in one day and not be totally drained. Yeah me! In Brooklyn I stayed with Greg and Janet, working with them on the new database and other business things. We went to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It's been at least a century since I was there! The movie was a visual delight and there was some interesting twists through the psych of various players. As someone who did not really track Heath Ledger's career or death I did not find the interesting device that was created by his absence distracting or hard to sit with, I found it compelling.

Friday I drove to New Paltz to pick up Hrana on the way to 9 Mountain for the DNE Visioning Weekend in Plainfield MA. First we did some shopping at Trader J*e's, stopped for dinner at Paul and Elizabeth's in Northampton, and then hit Dance Spree. I reached 9 Mountain about 12:30am. The weekend was full, fun, loving, and interesting. Getting to spend time with folks that I usually only see once a year was such a delight, it's hard to express how much it satiates my soul to see them. Sunday, after dark I drove to Sunny's so I could accompanying her for an 8:30am appt for an out patient procedure in Manhattan, which took a good portion of the day (she's fine by the way). Wednesday I drove up to New Paltz to arrive at this lovely place and began to settle in for the next month.

Of course true to form my schedule is fuller than I originally had envisioned. Tomorrow I pick up Greg and Janet to visit Alex and Allyson Gray's property in New Hamburg. The weekend after next I will return to Western MA for the DNE budget meeting. A few days after that BC will visit which will be nice after so much time apart.

In the meantime I need to learn how to create a new layout in FileMaker, follow up on a few web based writing opportunities, do my own writing work (I finally bought The Artist's Way after thinking about it for a decade), knit, read, continue to train for my hike and my health, stay in touch with friends, make weekly visits to Sunny for work, etc etc!

While writing this the light has lightened, darkened back up, and is now brighter. The windows to the right of where I sit have a more glow like quality visible as the sun is veiled by thinner clouds and begins to shift downward. Perhaps in the next few hours I will build my first fire, as in the first time I will do this completely by myself, there is no one but myself to lean on. I am loving my approach of just trying things, dropping away the walls that have phrases like, "I might fail," "I can't," "I don't know how," "I'm too scared to try," etched into them. There will be times I will stumble, by blocked by those walls, but it is just temporary, I have the ability to find a way around or through them. This is my mantra.

Now to the southwest there are patches of blue and sunlit clouds.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Looking through the glass

The rise and fall of days are often measured by the small things. Separating folded laundry: mine, BC's, and The Kid's; days when The Kid is here, often sweet, often too loud, and a lot of fun; days when she is not, grateful for the adult time, relishing the quiet, and missing her; BC and I cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, the rhythm set with ease, few words needed and it gets done quickly.

During this long stay with BC, I find myself stunned at how much I can feel sad at The Kid's departures, how much her stories about life at her other mom's home can pull at me which leaves me wondering about how much it must stab at BC. At other moments I count the days or even hours before the house goes still again. On Christmas Eve were at Uncle J's house with all his kids and an assortment of other guests. The Kid got hurt playing with one of her cousins, twisted her ankle in an odd way - her cousin fell on her (they were playing horse and rider). The next morning, after opening presents (how fun is that to do with a kid who thinks everything they get is awesome!), BC decided she should be looked at by a professional. Calling the other mom, the three go off to the ER, which is how it should be. It was odd to be left at home, presents unwrapped, no one here, and knowing that The Kid would not come home since noon was when she would do her second Christmas at her other home. Luckily there were no breaks, she came back with a boot and crutches (a totally cool thing to the almost 9 year old). It felt odd not to continue to take care of her, to not be able to check the swelling. But the time alone with BC was just as precious. This conflux of emotions is my daily bread now.

Tonight I heard the car struggling up our snowy drive (BC has a tiny car and probably should have taken my work horse) and I moved to the back door in the kitchen. Turning on the outside lights I waited as they unloaded themselves in the garage. Looking out the sliding doors I noticed night sky, the light falling snow caught in the bright lights, and the snow drifts on the deck obscuring the bench, covering the green plastic Adirondack chairs and found myself smiling. This is not exactly the life I pictured for myself - living in essentially a suburb, waiting for my partner and child to come in from the cold, being happy to see them even though I am sick. And yet this may exactly where I belong, where I feel at home. These are my thoughts in the few moments between the car pulling into the garage and walking to the door to greet them, where I swept The Kid into my arms and swung her around. Just because.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Running into 2010

Like Britn*y Spear*, "Oops I did it again," by pushing the wrong button on the treadmill. And once again I did not cancel out the setting. Once again I did 1.5 miles in 30 minutes this way. Here I will treat to you some of my mutterings (forgoing all the times I said "fuck!" during this event:

I can't believe I am doing this again. Why?

BC asked the other day if I felt like I could do anything now that I had done that walk/run thing the other day. Thinking long and hard, my answer was no. I was still too stunned that I had done it, too focused on how much I wanted to cry the whole time I was on the tread, too unclear on what it all meant.

So why am I doing this again, seriously? I don't like it, I am not enjoying it. My knee and ankle are hurting.

Come on there has to be a reason, besides being stubborn.

Ow (knee really hurt for a moment there).

Okay, so why are you doing this?
I don't know.
You must have some idea.
Because I don't want to be defined by fear.

Damn this sucks.

At least I am not using the hand holds this time, and I am not hunching over the during the walk segments.

I like doing things that are hard, that are good for me. Like leaving bad relationships, like taking a risk on this one. There is no way to know the future, all we have is right now. The only thing we can control is how we act, whether we grow. We can influence and hope to intervene others' behaviors and actions but it is only ourselves that we have any governance over.

There is no way I can do 45 minutes, okay I will try for a mile.

I want to stop but I have to make a real attempt.

If I keep doing this I am going to need a sports bra (said as I held my breasts during a run segment, and oh hell how did they get this large???)

Again why am I doing this?
Because I need to learn how to leave the ground, and yes I am referring to more than physically. I need to push myself past the "I can'ts".

I have to not be limited by the things I can do well. You can't become good at new things without starting out doing them badly. Practice is how you get better. I have to be willing to suck, to do things badly, to face that I don't know things.

This hurts.

I still don't know why am doing this.

Okay fine I will a mile and a half, I think I can do that. I just can't do 45 minutes of this. My knee still hurts.

At least I didn't feel like crying the whole time.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Running out on 2009

To say that 2009 was a big year could be interpreted as an understatement. For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about where I was a year ago and how much has changed, how different my life is in a year's time. Last year in late autumn, early winter I was miserable, deeply unhappy, feeling helpless. Now I feel like I have taken my life more in hand. That is not to say that all is perfect - nirvana is a goal, it's a process not an actual state, at least for me right now.

Yesterday I decided to squeeze in some time on the treadmill because like nirvana, working towards better health, greater discipline, and more meditation is my process. BC had mentioned that when time is short for a workout that if I did hill work it would kind of count double, with that I mind I set the machine for "mountain climb" and thirty minutes, where normally I usually do an hour or more.

A few minutes into the work out I discovered I pushed the wrong button and hit "interval" instead. Turns out that means that every minute and a half the speed jumps up 2 miles per hour for thirty seconds. What does that mean? It means one has to run. However I have steadfastly maintained that I.Do.Not.Run.Period. So what did I do? I who am for the first time ever partnered with a competitive runner? I who am reading my second Runner's World cover to cover to understand her obsession, to learn tips that she might not have seen? I ran. God help me, I ran. Every minute and a half, holding onto the hand holds for dear life, feeling panicked and breathing hard, I ran for thirty endless seconds.

I was grateful that I had closed to door as I muttered "fuck" more than once during those thirty second intervals and The Kid was in the next room. Why didn't I stop, why didn't I restart the program? I don't know but I just felt like I had started something and I had to finish, had to see what happened. I could say that about a lot of the last year - trying to give my all, working towards change, doing scary things. But why running? Why this day? Why confront my mortal enemy? A day later I still don't know. I spent most of the time dreading the next
running piece, my knee started aching earlier than usual, my shin spoke sharply to me, and I felt like crying, especially when the tread rotated faster. It felt like a deep well of sad or hurt, or something being poked at, it felt scary. And yet I finished the session.

When it was over my chest ached as if I had cried, or maybe like I was holding back tears. Standing still, holding my face in my hands, my breathing a bit ragged and still feeling totally bewildered, I noticed this tiny seed of pride that despite the pain, fear, my stance of "I am not a runner, I will not run" that I managed to push myself this tiny bit into the discomfort, into this strange land.

BC was happy and proud when I said "I ran." My response? "You actually like doing this?" She insisted I ice my knee, so I gave into the caring response, again not my usual thing. The shower felt good. I dressed for our New Year's Eve gathering and came downstairs, grimacing a bit on the stairs to finish laying out the food. We didn't talk about it again, I didn't tell anyone what I had done. In fact I mostly lost track of it but when I remembered my thought was "why did I do that", and "I have no intention of doing that again." But is that true? Mostly I think it is because seriously I'm not sure which was worse the physical discomfort or the emotional. On the other hand how does one go backwards from confronting a fear, a hard limit that suddenly has the smallest bit of flex? I don't have an answer and since today is a rest day in my training I also do not have to face it. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow or even next month but on the other hand even if I never run again something is changed forever. It is hard to define it or even describe it, something about doing something that is completely counter to how you define yourself, to what you think is possible for you to do, it moves something deeply internal. The shift is tiny, but like the butterfly effect, you never know how a small movement or gesture will reshape the future into something different than would have never been without it.