There's a change in the sea
From now on, there'll be a change in me
My walk will be diff'rent, my talk and my name
Nothin' about me's gonna be the same
I'm gonna change my way of livin'- and, if that ain't enough-
I'm gonna change the way I strut my stuff
'Cause nobody wants you when you're old and gray
There'll be some changes made today
There'll be some changes made
- Benny Goodman, et.al., There'll Be Some Changes Made
I had crafted this marvelously expressive blog entry earlier today and lost it somehow, so you'll have to excuse the rough condition of these thoughts and believe that the original was far more eloquent and meaningful.
When I originally posted the entry below, I was in a really bad place. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, everything was much, much worse than I was willing to admit. I felt like I was living four separate lives: that of a professional, adult student, dealing with contracts and clients and deadlines and research and brokers and lawyers; that of a young, single woman, filling her calendar to the brim with dates and parties and social engagements, mostly with Sherpa; that of a newbie triathlete, desperate to jockey more training time, especially since training was the only thing in my life that made me feel healthy and vibrant; and that of a frustrated and misunderstood invalid, juggling medicines and doctor's appointments and tests and mysterious illnesses.
As if in answer to the whining I continuously did about all of the above, things got worse. Whatever relationship that was left with Wubsy exploded, my new job seemed likely to dissappear just as quickly as its predecessor, my health got worse and I gained 15 pounds between trying not to vomit every day and not being able to afford healthy food.
And then things got even worse.
Money got tighter, things got tough with Sherpa (aka exbo), and I got pregnant. I gained 10 more pounds and made even more trips to the hospital. When, I would think, does it ever end? Believe it or not, I began to pray for the days when all I worried about was how feeling ill made me miss my training. I wondered how on earth I ever felt guilty for missing a couple of workouts when it became impossible to afford a coach, a club, and then even a gym membership. And I lived with some serious denial. I would tel myself, Everything will work out fine. I'm not all that bad off. I'm really doing okay.. But some of the more perceptive people could tell the difference between my usual biting sarcasm and plain old negativity, no matter how much I pretended I "believed."
Now, in the midst of things being so much worse and - some would speculate - as bad as they could possibly get, I'm starting to feel as though they've never been better.
While I would never, ever, ever wish for those days to return, and while there is plenty of turmoil ahead (of that, I can be sure), I am suddenly unafraid. Almost everything I could have encountered has already happened, so any scenario I imagine seems not only manageable but downright yawn-inducing. And, perhaps more importantly, I am unquestionably certain that I could not have rediscovered my wit, confidence and self-efficacy had I not been through everything I've gone through and am going through. I no longer have room for self-flagellation or guilt; my schedule, focus and finances grew so incredibly unforgiving that there is no longer any margin for insecurity.
Another strange thing has happened: I don't seem to need my medicine any more. Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic or speaking too soon, but being forced to function without it for over two months seems to have seriously reduced, if not erased, my dependence.
The "me" I was becoming when I wrote this entry has finally made her way through the mess that was/is my life. And suddenly it's not a mess any more - it's just...my life. The person I see now in the (figurative and literal) mirror is stronger, smarter, more beautiful and amazing than I ever imagined she could be. There is absolutely no way I could feel that without having seen and done what I've seen and done.
I really did sack up. I really have learned how to live dangerously. It was never the way I planned, but it's turning out better than I ever dreamed. All because I decided to take another piece of my dad's advice and "let the chips fall where they may."
So, if I want to avoid ever again treading the path I've taken to get here, and if I want this me to stick around, for good, there'll definitely be some changes made.
The theme of the weekend is A Fresh Start. After all, why not spring ahead in spring, right?
I woke up this morning without an upset stomach for the first time in weeks. This only happened because I slept 14 hours last night. That sounds like a lot, but if you add up the sleep deficit I've accumulated since I filed for divorce on December 18, 2007, I would need to sleep that long on most days of the week for the next two months just to catch up. (This is, of course, assuming that one could make deposits into the Bank of Sleep. I know it's been proven that lost sleep is effectively lost forever.)
The past few months left me physically and emotionally depleted. My only escape was training. The problem was, I was living with nothing, in a bad part of town, spending all my time trying to get back and forth to the Y, bike trails, my old house and work after my ex-husband kicked me out, which left me no time or energy. (By the way, the Y and the bike trails are in cycling distance now!!) Needless to say, I was continually ill in every sense of the word, but I kept training as hard as I could and began to see amazing improvements, even if it made me sicker. (How much more amazing they can be is soon to be seen. )
But by now, you're surely asking yourself, "How early did she have to go to bed last night to get 14 hours of sleep on the morning of a race?!!!!" And, no, the answer is not,"Well, it was a 9am start." The answer is, "She didn't race." But don't think because I've had a rough few months and I missed a race that I'm down in the dumps. My directions for the race today said "no excuses, no regrets." And I have neither.
WHAT??!?!? The queen of woe is me has no regrets?!?!?!!?
You bet your booties, granny. This ain't a swan song.
Change is scary - I'm not saying it isn't. Especially when it happens all at once: new job, new house, new side of town, new (short) hair, new attitude, new (larger) clothing size (BLECH!). But I've decided that I'm not going to let it stop me. The me of 2 years ago would have - she would refuse to go out with short hair, wearing "fat clothes." She'd curl up in the fetal position because she was scared of all the commitments she'd made (house, training, singlehood). And she'd bitch herself out for missing her race on a weekend when she needed sleep - because, she'd reason, only wusses would be scared to move all day, drive 2 hours to a race, get up and race all morning, then drive home and move some more, hoping they weren't too sick to make it to work the next day. Especially when the only other thing they have going on is a new job, the purchase of their first home, moving, the flu, and a divorce.
But that was the old me.
A talk with my friend John this weekend made me realize that I obsess too much. And you know what? He's right. And Rob's right (both of them sadly). And Nate's right. And so is IM Able, and everyone else who has told me for the past few months to 1)simplify my life and 2)cut myself some slack. So, from now on, I'm going to follow the time-tested laws of KISS (keep it simple, stupid) and To Thine Own Self Be True. That doesn't mean I'm slacking, just that I'm preserving my authenticity. I don't have to answer to anyone but me. God knows know one else is going to be staring back at me when I look in the mirror. (At least not as long as I'm sober.) So I'm not going to worry if someone else doesn't like it.
That seems awfully impossible and scary. But, after all, this was supposed to be the year of living dangerously.
Besides . . . better to miss a practice race than FL HIM!