Catching Up.


Hai, everyone.

Clearly it’s been a while since I’ve carved out the time to write regularly. For a while I had been at least journaling every morning, getting a half hour of writing time in. And then, when work and stress and whatnot picked up, that whole plan went to hell.

Writing is like a spigot for me. I need to do it regularly in order to keep the water clear and ideas flowing. If I shut it off, then all of a sudden I feel like I have nothing to write about.

So, yeah. That’s probably a long explanation for why this post might not be the best constructed piece of writing.

But it’s been a while, and I have lots of things I want to say, though!

First of all, I want to thank you for the comments and emails and Facebook discussions about my body image post. I didn’t actually realize until Turia commented that I DO have issues with disordered eating under stress.

Which makes a whole lot of sense. When I feel overwhelmed, it’s the thing I have the most control over – what goes in my mouth.

And I’m realizing that I’m a control freak.

Because controlling shit largely helps me cope with my anxiety.

I’m not going to lie to you, the revelation that I am an anxious person took me by surprise. I mean, I have had bouts of anxiety here and there throughout my life, but I assumed that it was situational, and pretty much anyone would be anxious in the same circumstances. And I had a hard time reconciling the idea that a person could be anxious and strong at the same time. (Truth be told, I’m still working my way through that.)

But I am actually anxious a LOT. I used cope with it by controlling as much as possible; researching the hell out of ALL options to figure out my plan for all iterations of those options – including the worst case.

It was exhausting, and I discovered with our infertility that it didn’t actually WORK to help me cope when my worst case scenarios came true.

So I stopped. Mostly.

Except once a control freak, always a control freak.

The whole thing over controlling what goes into my mouth and how much I weigh totally makes sense if you look at it through that lens. And it’s a HARD thing to let go of, too. Finding happiness in the woman who is looking at you from the mirror today is almost impossible. There are billion dollar industries out there who are based on the simple fact that the majority of women have a hard time with that.

At least I’m aware of it. That’s something.

Right now I’m not certain how to change it, other than recognizing it and trying to keep track of whatever my triggers are.

Work is a huge trigger.

As is parenting.

I have been having a tough go of it lately as it relates to parenting. With me, O seems prickly, and argumentative, and negotiates for EVERYTHING, and everything is a fight. Not only that, but he tells me as much as he possibly can that I do everything wrong. If I use the wrong word on something, he picks it out and corrects me. He nails me on details of his behavior, and when I DO have my facts straight, he’ll straight out deny it.

So on top of the argumentative bit, he’s dabbling in lying and hiding things from us as well.

(All of this is totally developmentally normal, by the way.)

But in a lot of ways, he’s basically me as a kid, and it’s really, really hard to parent me. And this age also brings back memories of BEING a kid which I would have preferred to forget. His insistence and enthusiasm for math problems, for example. I hated math pretty much from the get-go because I just didn’t GET it. And so his love of it puts me right back in that place where I feel completely inadequate.

He’ll ask why, for example, you have to add a zero to a three digit number to line it up with a four digit number to add, and I have no answer.

Uh, because that’s the way it works?

Bottom line: parenting right now makes me feel, well, inadequate.

(Seriously, I really, really, REALLY miss the toddler years.)

What IS going well, though, is my training.

I’ve thought for a while now – maybe the past year or so – that running 6 days a week would get me into trouble eventually, physically-speaking, unless I managed to carve out time for regular strength work.

I haven’t managed to carve out regular time for strength work. Largely related to time, but also, motivation. Running is so freaking CONVENIENT. I have limited time most days, and being able to thrown on my sneakers and run means I can wring EVERY second of free time I have to exercise, versus the 30-40 minutes round trip it takes me to get to the gym.

But. In 2014 I had some nagging, tweaky, not-really-injuries-but-not-100%-either which made me feel like I was on borrowed time unless something changed. My achilles was acting up for the first half of the year. Then I had some naggy pain in my left IT Band. Then, around Christmas, I threw out my back (which was oddly related to tight hip flexors).

So yeah, it was time to start crosstraining. And per my usual, I kind of needed a goal to get me to do other things.

I decided to sign up for an off-road sprint triathlon – my first! – to get me doing other activities.

And so I’ve spent this winter scaling back on my running days and mileage, running 3-4 days a week. On my off days, I swim or spin instead.

I LOVE it.

I can’t overstate that sentence enough.

Seriously, I haven’t felt this good – and fit – in what feels like a long time.

I love my long swims.

I mostly love spin class, though I’m kind of having a hard time lately with how loud the music is. (Shit, does that make me old?)

I love the change of pace and the flexibility.

I love that in a winter where we logged the most snow ever, I don’t feel like I NEED to get out and get my miles in, because I have an alternative – the pool or spin studio.

I love the challenge of something new; getting outside my comfort zone and doing something I wouldn’t normally do and leaving what’s comfortable.

And I love how it makes me feel: I can swim a mile and a half without a break now – the day after a 14-mile run.

You guys, 5 years ago, I was the girl who looked at running my first 5k and thought, OMG, can I even run 3.1 miles all in a row?

It’s just silly and ridiculous and awesome and amazing to be in this place. And I love it. I love everything about it.

And plus, regular exercise helps take the edge off my anxiety.

Which is good, apparently, since anxiety seems to be, well, my thing these days.

So there’s my update. I have some more stuff in my head, about the rest of my year training-wise, and how crazy the kid-doing-sports thing is THIS early and I’m nervous about the spring, and summer camp decision-making, and what I’ve decided to do this year with work in the hopes I can carve out some more time for my family.

But I’ll save that for future posts. 🙂

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5 Responses to Catching Up.

  1. noemi says:

    Wow. Everything you said about parenting. All of it. My daughter is constantly pointing out my mistakes and flaws. CONSTANTLY. It makes me feel so shitty and it’s hard not to let how shitty I feel show. And the arguing. And the negotiating. And the whining. It’s so exhausting. And then I try to get away to see a friend and recharge and she has a meltdown, and then my son also has a meltdown and then my husband basically has a meltdown and it’s a total shit show and I feel so bad for being away that I can’t even recharge. It’s so infuriating. I feel like a failure as a parent right now. And as a teacher actually… but that is for another post (or comment).

    I’m sorry I didn’t ever end up posting a response to your body issue post. I wanted to. I wrote most of it in my head. But then I went to write and I just found that I didn’t want to. I’m having a HARD time motivating to write right now. A HARD time. So I’m just not writing, because the last thing I need is another obligation. And yet, I know without writing things start to feel sucky. I don’t know what the balance is.

    The one thing I did want to say about the body image post is that I had the great fortune of dropping to my ideal weight during a very emotionally tumultuous time when I lived in Spain. I was a size 4 and I had never been skinnier (I don’t think I have ever been skinnier, actually). And I was still miserable. An emotional time bomb. It was horrible. It took a whole year of being as skinny as I’ve ever been, and probably as miserable as I’ve ever been, to really understand that being skinny didn’t make me happy. That was a HUGE lesson to learn and even though I know I am happier when I’m at a weight I feel comfortable with, I know that being thin won’t make me happy, I have to find that some where else.

    I also have realized that if I start worrying about how I look, it’s a symptom that something else is bothering me. When something in my life feels bad, or out of control, I turn to my body because how I look feels like something I can control, so I tighten my grip on what I eat and how much I exercise in an attempt to feel better about the other things in my life. Of course it rarely works. It took me a long time to realize that, it happened just recently actually. It’s been eye opening.

    Anyway, that is what I wanted to say. There was more, but that was the gist of it. It sounds like you learned A LOT from writing that post and the comments and I’m so glad for that. Being aware is a big step toward affecting change. I hope this knew knowledge helps.

    And I’m SO GLAD you’ve found contentment in your new workout regimen. That is awesome. I’m going to sigh off now to do some working out of my own. I want to nap, but I know I won’t fall asleep and I’ll feel better if I jump on the elliptical so I’m going to motivate to do that right now. I hope you enjoy your workout today too!

  2. Turia says:

    I wish SO MUCH that we lived near each other and we could go running together and gab, because so many of your posts sound like you’ve been inside my head and put it all down on paper. It is almost scary how similar we are. I love your posts because I often feel like you’ve put me into therapy, and you’re better at looking at the hard truths than I am.

    Exercise helps with my anxiety immensely. It is about the only thing that consistently does. Work the body to quiet the mind. I am still figuring out how to balance so I don’t become obsessive with exercise/getting fit. I find it hard to maintain- the anxiety starts creeping in again.

    The disordered eating is entirely about control (or the lack of it that I’m feeling) over other parts of my life. When I was in the UK two summers ago and having a huge dissertation crisis hugely compounded by guilt (because how could I be having a crisis when Q. was looking after E. so I could write the damn thing) my eating went off the rails. When I came back and things settled, all was fine again. Now I’ve noticed it creeping in with the last few months with all the uncertainty over the job/baby/where is my life going. I’m aware of it, which will hopefully help. But I feel so out of control with the rest of my life, and that is usually a big big trigger for me.

    E. is also taking great joy in pointing out my mistakes, but in his case it’s actually a relief as we’ve made a big point lately of talking about mistakes as learning experiences and not a big deal (he is showing a few too many signs of perfectionism for our comfort), so right now I can live with it. But what you are experiencing sounds HARD.

    I am so glad exercise is a plus for you right now. You need something good, something predictable, something that builds you up. I hope you can squirrel out more writing time soon (says she who has let her blog lapse as well).

  3. Turia says:

    Also- when I was skinnier than I have ever been (and I will never be that skinny again because it was my misery that made me so), I still thought I was fat. It never stopped. It never got better. And it taught me that a number on the scale can’t make me happy.

  4. Ana says:

    I don’t have time for a long comment, but I wanted to say that I can relate to ALL of this: the inability to write, the realization that I am anxious, the need for control over something, and how exercise is the one consistent thing that helps (and the child negotiating and nitpicking EVERYTHING, and he’s only 5! the toddler days were truly much more SIMPLE and almost funny). I completely quit running last fall in exchange for strength/high impact training and haven’t looked back yet—my knees/hips/ankles and feet are SO much happier and I’m stronger and leaner than I’ve been in years. I think I just needed a new physical challenge.

  5. Justine says:

    First, I loved this: “Writing is like a spigot for me. I need to do it regularly in order to keep the water clear and ideas flowing. If I shut it off, then all of a sudden I feel like I have nothing to write about.” YES, YES, yes.

    I am also anxious, and I’ve coped with it in a variety of ways … perfectionism in academics, disordered eating, obsessive cleaning … all ways of trying to order the disorder I experience. Exercise is probably the healthiest of outlets, but I don’t seem to have time for that, now, so I find myself in less healthy frames of mind. At least I recognize that now, which is something. I love to hear you talk about your training, though. 🙂

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