Thursday, March 27, 2014

Her Tears

The tiny little drops break my heart.  Her tears fall warmly onto my shoulder.  I can do nothing but hold her and let her know how much mommy loves her.  My littlest little cries.  A lot.  As do most children,  but my little girl, she cries because she misses her daddy.  Today, while she cried, I cried too.  I used to hold them while they cried and tell them everything will be ok.  That we were going to be ok.  We are.  I know that, well someday.  Yet today I couldn't not cry.  I wanted to stay strong and mom-like for her, but the broken woman in me won.  She doesn't come out as much anymore, but she is there, under the surface as a constant reminder to what will never be.

And that, that is why I cried today.  My tears mixed with her tears.  When she told me she missed her daddy, I told her I did too.  I do.  I miss my family being my family.  I miss that we, together, won't be watching our Littles grow.  That because he wanted a different life it was ok to ruin ours.  One of these days I'm going to see no more tears fall from her eyes because of this.  It is my fear that it will be because apathy has grown where the hurt was planted.  I don't want her, or my other two girls for that matter, to think that marriage is a disposable thing.  That commitment and honor and trust are words spoken in movies and dreamed about in romance novels.

The littlest little has since dried her tears and run outside to blow bubbles.  She is my little who is the most organized and clever.  The one where her mouth overloads her backside.  The one who gives the sweetest hugs.  The one that still lets me be "mommy."  But my tears, they are falling faster and faster as more words are typed.  You see, I know the hurt.  I know it through and through.  I want to let her know that while it is ok to cry and be sad that it doesn't have to rule her day.  I want to show her that so badly.  Regrettably I still have that lesson to learn myself some days.

Perhaps we will just let today go.  Her with her tears and me with mine.  Tears are good.  They are necessary.  They are a true expression of something that is not right in your heart.  And for that the tears need to be shed.  I just hope that one day she can look back and see that her tears were not shed for naught, but were a part of her healing too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Only True Love I Have

I've had a rough weekend.  There are days that I feel great.  Days where nothing gets me down.  Then there are days like today, well, the last 3 actually, where I can not find an ounce of joy to save my life.  Oh, I don't let others see this.  I show them smiles and laughs and all of that, but inside there is nothing there.  These are the days when I am completely full of pain and hurt and buckets full of tears that want nothing more than solitude so they can fall.

I was sitting here Saturday morning and I looked over at my littlest little and all I could do was cry.  Here sits this beautiful little girl who never would be here if we didn't fight for our marriage and work through some of the ick.  Every marriage has ick.  Every relationship has ick.  Each and every one of my littles is a reminder to me that at one time all of the ick was just small potatoes compared to honoring a commitment made before God.  But, that was then, this is my reality now.

I'm sure I've shared this, but the ex-Mr. has a live in girlfriend.  One who just recently quit her job  and he takes care of her.  He takes care of her.  This is another thing he never did for me.  Never.  I always had the job.  I always worked. He, well, that was an option for him, regardless of my feelings on it.  I put myself through college to get a better job (I'm now paying the student loans), he didn't want to do anything more than put in his 40 hours and come home.  Now, now he makes a significant amount more than what I make and has worked his way up to a very nice promotion.  Now, she and her child get to have someone take care of them. While I get to continue to do what I have always done, take care of myself.

It isn't that I can't, because I can. Honestly, I am not the dependent type.  I know how to live with what God has blessed me with.  He is so faithful.  He has provided for every need that my littles and I have.  Notice I said need.  Not, want.  I am not one of those women that desires material things.  I don't need flashy baubles or designer clothes.  Sure, a thoughtful gift is always well received, but more than anything I just want to be loved.  My whole life it is the one thing I have chased after emphatically.  I'm learning that when I do this I wind up with something disguised as what I'm looking for, but never the real thing.

So, day 3 of crying and well, my tears are about the only thing I can count on in life right now.  Besides God that is, and myself.  I don't want to believe that He would rather I be single forever, but right now the facts are stacking up in that direction.  Another case of "it is what it is." 

I think the hardest thing is hearing others say that "this too shall pass", "give it to God", "be happy you have your kids".  Really?  I am happy I have them.  The other two things just negate my feelings.  Oh well, perhaps that is what I need.  I need to turn off my feelings.  Become a robot.  Not feel.  I think that would help in the short term anyhow.  Then who knows, maybe in the long term it will have passed. 

Until then I'll run.  After all, it's the only true love I have.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear Self

I know we have all, at some time or another, thought about what we would say to our future self if we were given the chance.  This has been on my mind a lot lately.  I know that I cannot change my past any more than I can foresee my future, but what I do know is that I can take what I have learned and apply it to my future.  So, if I were to write a letter to myself, today, with what I know now, this is what I'd say.

Dear self,
It's ok.  No, really.  It is quite ok not to have all of the answers.  You weren't meant to.  I know that there is going to be a day when you will search deep to find them and you are going to come up empty; really, really empty.  Again, it's ok.  Honestly there may not even be a place to find the answers.  There are things in life that can't be found online or in a book.  These are the things you may not even get the best advice from others for.  It's ok. You have to be ok with not knowing.  It will be hard, but you've been there before.

Listen, where you are right now isn't guaranteed to be the place you end up.  The struggle you are in, the constant self doubt, the irrevocable knowledge that you have suffered a great heartache, these things, they don't define you.  These are merely circumstances.  Yes, dear, they do stink.  They hold with them the power to reduce you to nothing.  These are the things that, if you let them win, will change you.  They will create in you a person that you aren't as you cling to anything, anyone who will help you forget.  Don't.  Simply don't.

You can do it.   You can utter the word NO.  You have the strength to be true to yourself and tell that person NO.  Do not focus on them, this is about you.  You know.  YOU KNOW what you need to do.  Do it!  While in some way the want for a change, even if in its fleeting-ness looks great, deep down you know that some change is not worth the end result.  Say NO.  Then, say yes to yourself. 

Mandy, really, find yourself.  This isn't some new-age gypsy type thing.  This is you discovering the woman God designed you to be.  He did that you know.  He designed you.  You know what makes your heart hurt and you know what makes  your heart smile.  If you find yourself in a position where those two are fighting and what you stand for is the fulcrum...listen to the truth.  God's truth.  He designed you after all.  Oh, and yes, you will stumble a time or two.  Be ok with being ok with it.

No, this isn't an open invitation to do anything you want in the pursuit of yourself.  This is you being confident in the woman you are to know what does and does not work.  Don't chase after anything that is constantly pushing you away and for the love of all things holy, do not fall for what is chasing you when God is pushing that away.  Yes, dear, you DO know what that looks like. Again, be ok with not having what you think it is you have to have.

I know there is so much more that I could say, and perhaps another note to myself will be in order, but what I know today is that I am not where God wants me to be.  I am too broken to truly know what it is that I want.  I know what I want in my irrational mind, but God has some sorting out of the details yet to do.  I think it may be time to listen to myself.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

100 Miles

A little over four weeks ago I set a new running goal.  I do that - sometimes.  I set goals.  I wouldn't like to admit I fail at most of them, but sometimes I am a bit more aggressive in thought than I am in action. Regardless, I set a goal to run 100 miles in 4 weeks time.  For some this isn't a hard goal.  In fact, many of the running pages that I follow, for them, this is a small amount of miles to achieve in a month, then for others the goal is equally as challenging. The point is, I did it.  For the first time ever I was able to finish my 100 mile goal. 

I'd like to say that it was my marathon training that did it.  Truthfully it actually was.  (With a slight modification to have that many miles.) You see, there is something about the rigid training one has to go through to prepare for a race that long.  I've read many articles on line and in my running magazines that say training for a marathon is more than strapping on shoes and hitting the pavement.  This is true.  Training for a marathon is a mind/body sort of thing.  It is more than the flippant mind over matter thought process we've all had drilled in our heads.  It is so hard to explain, it is digging in and finding yourself.  It is searching for that last ounce of strength when you know you have none left.  It is simply not giving up to the voice in your head that profoundly declares you are spent.

In the beginning I remember feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment when I could complete 3 miles.  I made it a goal to get faster and faster.  Then on those days when the speed wouldn't come I was hugely disappointed in myself.  Training for this marathon has begun to show me that even though speed workouts are important, its finding that place where nothing else but the next step is what matters.  For instance, a couple of Saturdays ago I was actually able to run outside.  (A big deal for my neck of the woods...since it is snowing, yet again, today.) I did my 3 mile warm up then set out on my run.  I only had to complete 11 miles for my training.  I timed my pace at 9:20 and set out.  By mile 8 I looked at my Garmin and realized I was running an 8:00 pace.  I have no idea how long I had been at that clip.  The point is, that I'm finding that zone.  That place in my mind that just lets my body go.

However, so I didn't die a slow painful death on the return loop home, I did back off my pace.  At the end of the 15 miles that day I had averaged 9:04.   It isn't bragging rights I'm going for here.  There are many, many more runners that can stomp me to the ground. I am proud of what they can do.  It is, however, what I have learned to do.  This sorely out of shape body, this bruised and battered mind, has worked together to find that place where they come to a point of peace.  A place where they no longer fight each other for what may happen, but have shown what can happen. 

I beg you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life.  I don't mean just physically, but also mentally. While I have a ways to go to get to 26.2 miles of running bliss, I find that what used to be a hurdle is now a joyful run.  I find that those parts of my body that used to look horrible are those that I am proud of.  Mostly I'm thankful that God gave me a passion and has given me the ability to use it.  Run, people, run.  Don't worry how fast you go just focus on the going.  After all, sometimes the best things in life come after the pain of going through them is over.

And, because inspiration is often found in words, not just actions, here are a few quotes that bring tears to my eyes:

  • "The marathon never ceases to be a race of joy, a race of wonder."  -Hal Higdon, running writer and coach
  • "So many people crossing the finish line of a marathon look as happy as when I won. They have tears in their eyes. The sport is full of winners."  -Gary Muhrcke, winner of the first NYC marathon
  • "The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race."  -Marathon spectator sign
  • "Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too."  -Richard O'Brien
  • "The marathon. How an average runner becomes more than average."  -New Balance
  • "I love the fact that not many people can say 'Oh, I went out and ran 20 miles today.' I love how much dedication it takes and how much you learn a lot about yourself, your physical and mental limits. There's just something about it."  -Shalane Flanagan, 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathoner
  • "I dare you to train for a marathon, and not have it change your life."  -Susan Sidoriak