It's 9:45 pm on December 30th and I am feeling particularly cliché-ish in my desire to reminisce over the last year...as well as to purge my thoughts on who I am right now.
For better or for worse, I am different.
I remember thinking back in April---when things at the Fruitstand were particularly crappy (I worked for a total misogynistic, racist ass) and I was stressed over my son's recurrent seizures and lack of progress at school, "Oh shit. I feel myself slipping away. How do I keep it together?"
I gained a few pounds, hadn't been running regularly but still was running and I was doing the group classes for yoga at my work gym. I kept thinking I had time to get it together. I could lose the few pounds. I would start training soon for my marathon...
Things didn't get better at work--I was doing okay (read: hanging on by a thread) but I had reached a year and so could explore other opportunities within the organization. Plus, I was being head hunted by another company!
Things barely got better at school for my son and we upped his meds for his epilepsy...so, there was hope.
But, every day...I felt lonelier. And more exhausted. And less like myself.
I didn't want to run.
I didn't want to workout.
I didn't want to watch what I ate and I didn't care.
I didn't care.
That was the change. I began to feel myself not caring. I went on a few dates. And I couldn't feel myself caring. I went on a few dates with the same person--and that person flaked out.
I found myself caring less.
There was hope when I started a new job. I immersed myself in work that I found myself loving! But now I was mentally exhausted when I got home. I was stressing over making sure I was at the top of my game with my new responsibilities. And I made excuses to not run. To not work out. It's why I couldn't eat well. It was easier to eat what was quick and available.
And I put on more weight.
And I was more tired.
And I found ways to cope--hanging out at happy hours, bar food, craft beers, drinks with coworkers and friends.
I did what I could to feel better. I was lonely and slightly angry by people who weren't. I was worn out by single motherhood and I was slightly jealous by people who had a parenting partner. I was burning the candle on both ends and wearing myself thin and I was envious of people who had a team to share the load.
You see where this is going.
I was so tired and exhausted and just DONE. I don't even know how to say it. I stopped loving things. Nothing tasted good. Nothing felt good. I don't even know why I am saying this in past tense, because to be honest, I still fight this feeling.
I am not the same. I knew I wasn't the same when two weeks before the 40th Chicago Marathon, which I was last year SO EXCITED TO GET SELECTED TO RUN IN THE LOTTERY, I still couldn't muster a training run. I ran the day before the marathon, and the day OF the marathon (obviously 26.2 miles) and not much before or after. I RAN A MARATHON WITH NO TRAINING.
A year ago, I was running a minimum of 125 miles a month, averaging 150 miles a month.
Now, I get in maybe 12 miles a month?
And I've gained a ridiculous amount of weight. Nothing fits. I can't stand looking in the mirror, but I still have to get dressed in the morning. I still have to have confidence. I still have to believe in myself.
But I don't want to. I don't want to. I don't want to love myself or get dressed or fake confidence.
WHO AM I? WHERE DID THE REAL ME GO?
I am going to be honest. This doesn't feel like me. I don't feel like me. I feel like hormones and chemicals and a body and mind that has turned on itself. I feel gross and unattractive and like a phony. I feel like I don't deserve love and to be honest I don't want to give it anyway (minus my kids--those little dudes I adore and worship and love and all that).
I keep thinking it's part of aging, something is off, I have a hormonal imbalance. And to some extent I have medical evidence that I am right.
But it doesn't make me feel better or make the uphill battle that I started fighting on December 26th any easier.
I have cut out sugars, and breads/most grains. I have cut out alcohol and dairy.
I have added in exercise, and meditation, and weights, and running.
I am starting a run streak tomorrow (December 31st). I have two months of membership at a yoga studio until the nearby Orangetheory Fitness opens up. I am committing to two-a-days for workouts when I can and I am committing to just MORE MOVEMENT.
I am committed to myself. I always have been. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health. I am different. But the difference in me isn't the obvious one. It isn't the weight gain, the thicker hips and butt, the rounder face. The difference is I have been knocked down and instead of hiding it, I am okay with sharing it. Instead of searching for someone to love me through this, I am loving myself and searching for a new version of me.
Yes, I've been away. Yes, I couldn't keep it together. No, I am not the same. I am stronger. I am better. I am wiser. And I have only started.