Okay, I admit it. I heard about the WAP song via NPR. It's kind of perfect if you think about it. Me = mid-forties listening to NPR on the way home from a 9-5 job and learning about this one week old song. Feeling slightly embarrassed while listening, and knowing that is part of the appeal of the whole thing. I played the song for my husband and we both giggled and stared at each other with wide eyes. On NPR they suggested that this might be song people need during quarantine to spice things up at home. Maybe so?
I just watched the music video. Oh man, it is a whopper. The breast fountains, exotic animals, choreography, wardrobe, set design, etc are all off the chain. Absolutely enthralling. Is it feminism? Is it pure objectification of women as sex objects? Have we entered a new world where there is power in the invitation to look? Has it always been the way? What are the boundaries between oversharing and exploitation?
There is a freedom in the dancers here, but also a questionable approach to exotic dancing becoming merely used for commercial uses. Who gains and who loses power here? When all become more free with our sensuality and sexuality, does it just kind of even out? Maybe so.
But what about this video being available for all ages to see? Are there dangers with having this kind of freedom, voyeurism, capitalization of sexuality just hanging out there? I don't want my elementary school son to stumble across this video on YouTube. Also, please don't get me started on dance studios using this song for kids to compete to at competitions.
I guess I'm thinking this all quite complicated. I LOVE the freedom in the song. I rather ADORE the choreography. I think the set design is crazy awesome. But, I also fear this world and its implications for the future of what sells what, who has real power, and who is really winning. For now, I'll listen and enjoy, try to open up more, and make sure there are childproof settings on the tech in our house.
The plant-based hormonal dilemmas that are also most likely emotional and psychological, or how it is so hard for me to be fully vegan.Read Now
Photo by Elle Hughes
In the fall of 2017, I decided to commit to physical fitness training and certifications. I had always wanted to study Yoga and Pilates further. So when I was faced with limited job opportunities in Southern Maryland, I decided it was time. First was Yoga. I signed up via YogaFit to do their Level 1 workshop over a weekend in NC. We thought it would be fun to go and stay with my husband's parents in Greensboro, and I would commute to High Point for the two-day long event. By the way, the $400 for this is steep. I mean really steep. I was trepidatious about the amount. But decided that it was a now or never kind of thing with these fitness certs. I can write about Pilates, Werq Cardio Dance, and Barre later. For now, I want to hone in on what the Yoga certification did for me and my diet. It was kind of mind-blowing.
During the workshop I talked to a few people about eating vegan. One woman discussed heavily the topic of being grossed out by drinking cow's milk. Another person chimed in about watching the film, "What the Health." I had heard of the film from a film-maker vegan activist as well. All of this coincided with learning more about meditation, reading about Yoga history, and being in mediation for long amounts of time over the weekend.
A few weeks later at my Werq class, I picked up a "how to be vegan" pamphlet that PETA makes. It seemed like lots of things were coming together. So, I told my husband I wanted to try and be vegan. We watched Forks over Knives and What the Health one weekend. Then decided to give it a go.
The process and experience of the last three years with navigating a plant-based diet have been rich and detailed with trial and tribulation. When I am ovulating and having my period I crave chocolate, beef jerky, chicken, cheese burgers, Taco Bell, and a whole lot of other junk. But, for Lent 2020 I went pure vegan for 40 days. It is a complicated whirlwind that I am always charting the course, re-steering, and calibrating.
Sometimes I feel bad that I can't be the full vegan activist that I want to be. Other times I relish the turkey bacon wrapped jalapeños that I'm eating with my husband. I think for now, the best choice for us to be plant-based with meat on the side. I hope to come out of this journey on the right side of history. I love animals and I don't want to hurt another soul by eating its former bodily presence. But, brie is good y'all.
For now, I do know that my hormones are a part of it. My mental state is a huge part of it. The influences around me and preparation tactics are huge as well. Although my relationship to veganism is sloppy and messy, I do really believe in the messages and meaning behind its premise. I encourage everyone to at least try a few nights off, if not a forever commitment (I'm thinking of you Rebecca Burnett) to never eating meat again.
Also, what will happen after this peri-menopause event when my hormones are completely rewired?!?
Photo by United States Army Signal Corps
Traveling used to feel so good.
It was always a chance to see different places and people.
A way to see life lived and viewed from different lenses.
I went to NC for the 4th of July, 2020.
The lenses I wore there started shiny and bright, and ended up feeling like 1000s of people had sneezed Covid 19 onto them. I wanted to have windshield wipers for my weary spectacles.
I came back to DC worried. I thought of my parents and inlaws, who seemingly are not protected by others.
All of these people down there not wearing masks. Just letting their noses and mouths hang out.
It felt as if the pandemic hadn't really happened in NC. At least not like it has in DC, VA, or MD.
And yet their case numbers are higher...
I love my family there, and I think they are smart people. So why the lackidazical vibe?
Is it that the south and it's sugary slow drawl, also affects the timeliness of change?
Is it that the numbers simply weren't as high there in March as they were in the Northeast, and therefore they are simply behind in both cases, and understanding of how to combat this virus?
The slowness for change.
I'm hoping the next time I go back, they are more prepared.
And that, in the meantime, my family keeps their distance while wearing their masks, and putting metaphoric eye drops in their eyeballs, in order to have the clearest vision of safety and health.
So, here we are. The week of protests, riots, Black Lives Matter going viral, and hopefully, a new sense of connection between races in America.
Cities are raging, the president is ranting and doing photo opps with a Bible, and I'm breaking down in tears at random moments when I analyze my own guilt for not speaking up more. Why exactly did Black Lives Matter feel so marginal in years past? What have I been afraid of? Why was I holding back on social media? These are tough questions to ask myself, let alone, even begin to answer.
I think what I've come up with personally, is that I want to be liked. As much as I truly want to stand up for everyone's right, volunteer to help those in need, and spread education about how we can treat each other better, I'm also afraid of being targeted. Being targeted as something that I'm not. I wanted to have it both ways, and that was selfish.
In order to combat this selfishness, I'm making a point to educate myself even more about how I can help affect positive change. Here are some resources that I've seen recently:
How to be an Ally from the YWCA
Barak Obama's Advice on Medium
Whatever you choose to do to help dismantle systemic oppression, make sure to stay safe. We need positive people and voices right now more than ever.
Photo by Emily from Pexels
We've been at this shut down/stay at home/what am I doing with my life for roughly 2.5 months now. In many ways it has gone by super fast, and yet, in others, it feels like several years have transpired.
Over the last week, I've been musing about comical book titles for books that I could have written during this time.
Today, I decided to write them down, and solidify some that have been bouncing around in my head.
Maybe you can relate?
Feel free to share your possible book titles that wrap up some of your consistent experiences (here or on my social media). I'll circle back to share here too!
Books I could written between March 13-May 31st, 2020:
The Exponential Power of Naps
How Can I Nap This Much?
Family Time...All the Time
I REALLY DO Care About Animals, but My Brother Made Me Try His Cooking
So Many Ideas, and So Much Time
Turns Out You Can Teach Dance Online
The Pain In My Neck Won't Go Away
I Miss Going to See Movies
The Gym Was My Best Friend
Alone Time, What Is That?
How Much Time and Money Does My House Actually Need?
I Love My Child So Much it Makes My Heart Ache
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Every now and then I surprise myself.
In a good way.
The kind of way that opens up channels, and brightens unknown lights inside my mind and spirit.
As if I'm walking into a dark cave where the fog clears and I can clearly see what is inside.
Perhaps the cave appears without light, without air, and like a deep vacuum at first.
But then, shapes on the wall become clear. The cave drawings that were always there start to take form.
All of a sudden there is electricity wired inside the craggy tavern, and the best decor is already staged.
I sit down in a comfortable designer chair and find a cappuccino already made for me (with soy milk, of course).
I'm happy, content, and ready for change.
This is how I felt recently when I started applying for jobs outside of higher education. The shift away from teaching arts and media in academia has been one that brewed for a long time. Actually, probably for longer than necessary, but lasting changes take time. Just like eating well, taking care of oneself, and developing positive habits, permanent change (delightful oxymoron) takes effort, action, and consistency.
The act of change can also mean discovery. This is another aftereffect that I've felt personally. I've discovered that all of the talents I was taking for granted, are the ones that will actually propel me into my future. For example, in my world of higher education, I was tasked to do my own marketing, public affairs, recruitment, event sales, manager duties, administration, and so on. These skills that I've picked up are now furthering my career more than my training as a professional dancer ever did. That training does carry forward, but in ways that I couldn't have predicted. I crave success (stage time), teamwork (being in a dance company), health (physical fitness), and creativity (art-making).
What talents are waiting to be revealed to you? What happens when you start digging deep into the hard and soft skills that you have been accruing throughout your career? Head into the cave and let the lights come on.
Photo by freestocks.org
This is my favorite smoothie to have in the morning when I really want to kickstart my day! The cacao is a great way to wake up without several cups of coffee, and the agave gives it a nice little sweet punch. The recipe is an adaptation from www.littlegreen.me developed by Christy Halvorson Ross.
1 Frozen Banana
1 Cup Kale (or Spinach)
3 Tablespoons Cacao (or Cocoa without added sugar)
2 Cups Almond, Oat, Hemp, Cashew, or Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seeds
1 Teaspoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Agave
Other add-ins could be:
1 Tablespoon Acai
1 Tablespoon Hemp Seeds
Photo by Monica Silvestre
I've always been a huge comedy fan. Ever since I can remember...
In elementary school I can recall a scenario very clearly. We had what was called "Career Day." They asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I honestly recall having great confusion with this question. I couldn't quite figure out how I was going to change, or what I would become. My sense of self up to this point was my name (which I still thought sounded and spelled oddly), that my first pet Jake had died and maybe went to a place called Doggy Heaven, and that I really liked Root Beer and Cheese Smokies. So to me, the question of what I wanted to be was hard to wrap my head around. I remember thinking that this word , career, seemed off-putting. What did it mean exactly? Our parents came to school and talked about what they did for their jobs. I was still confused.
When it came my turn to answer in our classroom, I panicked. Everyone had raised their hand and told what they wanted to be with an assurance that astounded me. I was called on. I spoke. The words came out slowly, but with a confidence that shocked myself.
I said, "a clown."
I'm not sure why. I liked to laugh. I liked to perform. I was a genuine ham, but also quite reserved and shy at times. We had just gone to the circus at the coliseum in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I had dressed as a clown for Halloween recently.
The other students laughed when I announced my future career of choice. I felt myself get embarrassed. The teacher frowned at me. I guess this was a great start to a comedic career.
I'm now thinking I chose the wrong college major of dance. I often made funny dances, comedic pieces, and searched for irony in my work. In grad school, I branched into Performance Art, Filmmaking, and Theater. All the while, I surpassed my inner desire to study comedy, and became a HUGE fan of watching it. I prioritized watching comedy when I lived in New York, traveled to cities, and had an extensive DVD Netflix cue. I remember having a friend come to visit me when I was teaching at Iowa State, only to have to remain silent while I watched Last Comic Standing. In short, I waited way too long to actually cross the line from spectator and closeted comedienne.
Finally, a few years ago, I stepped into an Improv class. I was so nervous. But it turns out, I'm pretty good. I love taking class to learn writing tactics, how my brain problem solves, and the use of my voice. After so many years of training in nonverbal communication, it is a shock to the system. And, I love it.
During this Covid lockdown, I've been writing my own material, and happy to find online streaming content that keeps me inspired. I'm hunkering down to make my dreams of becoming the best clown in the world finally possible.
If comedy inspires you too, check out all of the current best options for live-streaming here! (courtesy of Vulture)
Overview: Every May since I can recall, I get in a funk.
History: I blame the school year. When I was in school, I was tired in May. When I taught in higher education, I was tired in May.
Overworking: I have been doing too much for too little reward up until now.
Change of Routine: I just taught my last semester in higher education. I am changing my "May-laise" from here forward.
I will no longer be tired, unmotivated, stressed about the endings and new beginnings, fidgety or sleepy with extra time on hands.
Stressed about endings and transitions
Needing to go to the beach to "find my Zen"
Make this transition work for you.
Make this transition work for me.
Work to have better relationships with all transitions.
Take the high dive, bite off small bits at a time, and face the large challenges that lie ahead.
For most of us who are freelancers, we are now part-time teachers too. This can be super nutty if you are like me and already have 10 other part-time jobs. Some of which are real paying gigs, but others that include house keeper, laundry doer, snack maker, dog walker, playtime companion, house organizer, etc. I will admit that some weeks and days have been more successful than others over the past two months. These tips may not work every day, as every day is constantly changing. However, I've put together a list of some ways that have helped me (and those in our house) manage the stresses of homeschooling. If they help, let me know! Also, feel free to add your own tips as well.
1. Get plenty of rest. If you stay up late, make sure to get a siesta in, or go to bed early the next night.
2. Make sure the children get plenty of rest too. Watch for irritability.
3. Stay hydrated. 64 oz of water per adult per day. Encourage a smaller amount for kids.
4. Eat a good breakfast and be open to offering morning and afternoon snacks.
5. For little kids, get the work done in the morning; as much as possible before lunch.
6. Provide great outdoor and creative activities in the afternoon.
7. Do innovative ideas like fort building, cooking, crafting, movies, etc.
8. Read at night together.
9. Get and give plenty of hugs and say "I love you" more often than you think is normal.
10. Have fun and enjoy the time. Be grateful for health and happiness.
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini)
Over the past several years, my family has been working on finding the BEST taco night foods for healthy and delicious options. So far, we are up and down on the faux meat products. I do recommend the Morning Star and Gardein crumbles as options. However, I've really found the most delicious nights for vegan tacos to be all real food + tacos and tortillas.
Here is what we have found to work for ALL of the members of our family (man, woman, man-child):
Vegan cheese (Follow Your Heart)
*Not listed any particular order. Feel free to mix and match per serving!
I would also love to introduce you to SPOON TACOS! When you have leftovers on the table, avoid scooping them up with chips or making another taco/tostada. Instead, literally use your spoon to have the remaining foods all together. It may seem a little low brow at first, but I'm telling you, I've taught many friends and family this trick and I still get random text messages with pictures of the hilarious and fun to eat spoon tacos at the end of the meal. Trust me, you will love it, it will make you giggle, and then your belly will thank you too.
For this week's #mondaymusicvideomoves I bring to you...Tequila! I loved this part of Pee Wee's Big Adventure when I was in middle school, and I adore it just as much now. Such a funny mix of freedom, body control, wardrobe, spacing, and social dynamics.
I'm working on creating my first Tik Tok video with a Pee Wee's Tequila Dance Challenge. Please join in when it gets released!
Photo by Fuzzy Rescue
I'm so excited to launch a new feature of my blog...bah bah bah...Featured Articles by guest writers! Up first, I have Rebecca Burnett from Adelaide, Australia with a piece about why the vegan lifestyle matters so much. This lady is a viable super vegan! I met her in Southern Maryland at a film group via Meetup. We ended up working on many film projects together, became friends, and chatted a lot about plant-based diets. She was instrumental in me beginning my journey with this kind of eating and lifestyle. Although I have been known to eat full vegan (I recently did that for Lent 2020), I do also have meat on the side at times.
I think it is important to at least try to cut down on animal product and bi-products in everyone's choices. And I get it, sometimes beef jerky can seem like it will be the only thing that can make you feel whole. But really, it has been shown time and time again that a WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED diet is the best basis for health.
To read the full article go here.
To learn more Rebecca is currently working on, check out the Vegan Festival in Adelaide!
I searched my computer for the word "poem" to see what I could could find at random.
The first hit was the poem that Kevin and I made that we shared with each other during our wedding.
As we approach our 8 year wedding anniversary, it means so much to me to find this!
Here is hoping that it can light up your love too.
Photo by Winnie Bruce
Supposed to be my Spring Break from teaching at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Slightly annoyed by the change, but was gearing up to teach my kindergarten son, and wondering how it would all go. We managed to get everything done. I felt proud, and also thought "well, it is only kindergarten," and smiled wistfully. During Week 1 my brother arrived to come and stay with us. He helped out with the home schooling by cooking and doing funny PE exercises with the kiddo. We got a scare when my husband reached a fever state with a cold, so also during Week 1, I moved a mattress into the office room and began sleeping in our new home office/elementary school room. It was utter madness.
I don't remember.
By the third week, we found out that school would remain out for an additional month. At this point, I was also teaching online movement-based classes. My brother, husband, and I watched Tiger King somewhere in all of this, and I believe it was around this time. Teaching the classwork became easy and we developed a routine of either morning or afternoon work. We dropped off the first round of school work, and picked up our next packet. It all seemed like I was becoming a great stay at home teacher, freelance archival worker on a Reelz TV show, writer/producer at Phocus Video, and adjunct professor at SMCM.
I don't remember all of it, but this is when I got SUPER stressed out. I was trying to clean the house, work, and teach my son. At this point I had to download and print out how to print letters, because instead of doing work that was simply reviewing material, I had to start TEACHING the content. We did a really cool project this week that was a journal with baby photos and milestones. As hard as it was, it was quite lovely, and we will have it as a testament to my time spent as a home school teacher.
Luckily this was his Spring Break. It was all still stressful because I had a lot of work to get done, but overall fine. It felt like it just blended together. In hindsight, it was a welcomed break. Around this point, I moved back into my bedroom (finally), but still have a sore neck to prove I was on a floor mattress for weeks.
Was hard to adjust back to the work with him. Took a few days to get back in. Loved the weekend following Week 6, and really felt like I was getting used to having weekends off from teaching kindergarten now.
We just started and it is nuts! The work has nearly doubled. What we used to get done in a 1.5-3 hour time frame is now at 3-5 hours. Lucky this is my last week teaching at the college, and we move to finals next week. I'm not sure why there is so much work now, but I'm thinking that it may be in case Maryland schools close for the rest of the year. Perhaps they are trying to get ahead in case they close, and then move the actual school's out date up sooner?
Not sure what the future holds with this, but I am overwhelmed daily by it.
As my freelance work dwindles and changes it should get somewhat easier.
Except that I never wanted to be a stay at home teacher, and the notion of it is frustrating at times.
Also, I don't want to lose work, and I know that will become another layer of tension.
All in all, I do enjoy more time with my child. I do enjoy seeing him learn. I love watching him grow.
I appreciate that he learned to ride his bike without training wheels during my brother's PE classes. Just like that, we will keep at it, until we get it right. Or, at least until summer break.
Photo by Altea Alessandroni
I've been doing exercise and food journaling for about 3/4 of a year now. Although I also like doing different apps, I enjoy the process of writing with pen and pencil too. It makes me think more thoroughly, and take pause to reflect with planning. It also feels fun to have an analog experience in this current time of Zoom meetings, emails, text messages, and screen overload.
My favorite journal that I've tried (I'm 5 days from being done with it, so I'm currently taking recommendations for a new one:) is The Wellness Planner by Life & Apples. It is straightforward and brings together plans for eating, activities, and a to do list for the day. Another thing I love is that there are spaces daily to write something you are grateful for, and other positive thoughts.
I like this journal way more than Habit Nest's food/diet one BTW. Like I've said before, the Habit Nest Meditation book is amazing, but you can save money and avoid the food/diet one. It had tons of misprints, faulty calculations, and they reuse material from their other journals, such as quotes and stories of famous people.
Life & Apples also has a ton of free downloads to help you plan, make goals, and set intentions. I honestly didn't even know about all of that fancy stuff until today when I got to the end of the journal and read their "check out what else we have page" toward the end! I'm browsing through their assets now.
If you love journaling, and you want a solid recommendation for a Wellness/Food planner, then definitely check out this company.
Photo by Elle Hughes
Today I went for a bike ride.
I barely pedaled at all.
Just floated and glided, with ease.
I remembered all of the places I have lived where I had bikes.
Ames, Iowa and Boulder, Colorado in my solo adult life.
Greensboro, North Carolina as a kid, teenager, and prodigal daughter over summer and in between jobs.
Those are the places I thought of most.
The freedom to go out and have the speed of a bicycle, versus the contemplation of a walk.
The choice to bike to work, or to do a shopping trip with a backpack to bring items home.
Today I did a bike ride for fitness, but it turned out that I did it to feel freedom.
My mind was clearer afterward.
I felt cleansed and refreshed.
I barely sweated, but I didn't mind.
Today I went for a bike ride.
I'm looking for a few people to try my 5 Day Reset (currently in development) for FREE. You will be guided through 5 days of healthy brain and body choices, and then be asked for your feedback about the process. To sign up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This marketing test program will take place May 4-8, 2020.
Photo by Tookapic
Sticks by Diane Alber
This morning my son and I read this book through Kindle Unlimited. It is so good! I enjoyed the artwork and overall message of finding one's place in the world. Regardless of age, we will come to forks in the road when one part of our life is concluding, and another is beginning. Whether you are transitioning from diapers to undies, middle to high school, or one career to another, we all can relate.
The story tells of a popsicle stick who loses their popsicle. They then have to search for what the next chapter might be (and also believe in themself). The narration drives the story to a satisfying ending, and even includes an art project to drive the story home.
Check out the book on Amazon here:
Sticks by Diane Alber
If pressed for time or money, you can have the book read with this video book too!
Photo by Christina Morillo
I want to feature your writing and will pay for it.
Can you write short articles about lifestyle, arts, entertainment, healthy eating, or parenting? If so, I would love to consider featuring your writing on my blog. Within this approach, we can grow our audiences in tandem while creating an online source of trusted communication and innovative integrity. Articles (300-400) can be submitted to email@example.com with the headline "Featured Article Submission." If submitting more than one article, please send separate emails. Every author remains in complete ownership of their work, and will be paid $20 upon completed publication agreement.
This new section of the blog will go live in May, 2020.
I love dance. I love film. I love art that can both communicate and entertain. I'm picking back up with a series that I began in the summer of 2018 entitled Monday Music Video Moves. For this weekly curation, I choose music videos that utilize choreography, costumes, and performance to help push along their songs.
This week's video is Still Feel by Half-Alive (a Long Beach, CA band with moves and music indeed!). The choreography, spacing, and costume changes are simply amazing. #mondaymusicvideomoves
Feed the dog.
Think about 20 things that need to get done.
Put laundry in.
Spend 15 minutes simply moving things around the house back to their properly designated location.
Hug the kiddo.
Get the dad up who has slept in.
Let the dog out.
Start the robot vacuum in one room.
Take more laundry down from a different room.
Start to create a salad dish.
Sweep the floor in the dining room.
Dust the living room.
Use the hand held vacuum on the stairs.
Give permission for the kiddo to play video games.
Kiddo and daddy start to make paper airplanes in the same place you are cleaning, and then ask for NPR to be turned off, but you gently remind them that there are several other rooms where they could make paper airplanes, and they finally go to another room.
Start the dishwasher.
Wash the lunch dishes by hand so that they won't build up before the dishwasher is done.
Have a 3rd coffee.
Tell the dog that you will take her on a walk at some point, and not to worry.
Start to read emails.
Change out the laundry.
Start the blog post.
Investigate whether or not to keep a friend-based Facebook profile, or just go full business page (you've done this a million times before).
Remember your Monster energy drink is downstairs.
Give the kiddo a hug.
Take down the recycling.
Finish making the salad and put it in the fridge.
Realize that the kitchen indeed looks great.
Tell your brother that you really need to look for new jobs today. Consider opening a web page on a device with a job search so that you remember later to continue with that idea.
Tell the dog 3 or 4 more times you will indeed walk her.
Walk into the kitchen to see it has stuff all over it again. Sigh.
Consider what exercise class to take today.
Finally sit down to finish writing the blog.
Look at the image you chose to correspond to the blog.
Commit to the dog walk.
Stop tasking for the day.
Enjoy the afternoon and evening.
When my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I were first dating, we were separated by several months by his job deployment overseas. It was a crazy time, as all of our communications were done via Facebook Chat, Email, and Postal Mail. I came up with many tactics to get through it, and I can't wait to share all of them!
The one I'm talking about today is a durational project that I did. This type of work is something that you commit to do every day, or every week, over an extended period of time. For this project, I took a picture of myself blowing him a kiss for every day that we were apart. Then I ended the piece by taking a picture of us when we became reunited.
Please share the idea with someone who might need some help when they are distanced from their romantic, familial, or friend relations.
The final piece lives here: Candy Kisses
Running into the void...how jogging helped me quit smoking, and how I'm using it now for mental and physical strength.Read Now
When I quit smoking in the spring of 2011, it was sudden. Although I was building up to it gradually over a couple of years, the way that I did it was quickly and with a lot of focus and energy. I decided I was done and went forward into the storm of mental chaos, physical discomfort, addiction repatterining, and an overall sense that "I am greater than nicotine" and "I will win in this situation."
One of the great helps that got me through this massive life change 9 years ago (yowza, just realized I'm almost at my 9 year anniversary!) was running. I'm not a fan of running at all. When I was 12 I was good at it. Then at 15 I picked it back up for a few months. After that, I would usually go for a run when I finally feel bloated beyond control, or when our family decides to sign up for another annual Turkey Trot event. Typically my knees start to hurt and my mind wanders.
But when I quit smoking, my mind NEEDED a place to put all of its energy into. The challenge of getting farther than I had the previous day, or week, was met with gusto and take charge attitude. Interestingly enough, I feel the exact same in this current crisis. Last week I decided to run to get out of the house and give myself a huge physical challenge (and yes, I was also at the point of over-bloated madness from my brother's amazing homemade cooking). I went out and ran 2 miles. Just like that. Now, I will say that I was clearly jogging at a pace slower than a person walking at some points, but I DID IT. It took me roughly 25 minutes. I was a little judgmental about that time being long, until I thought, "you haven't run 2 miles in several years." So yeah, then I gave myself the pride I deserved.
I've done a cry run within the past week as well. The news that day suggested we might be home schooling well into fall 2020. That hit me so hard it was unbearable. I craved my old life back in that instant. It was very hard to imagine the next 6 months being happy and easy. The tension in the house was high as well, with a lot of personalities and time on our hands, sometimes it just felt like I couldn't have any time alone, or find solace peacefully by myself. I started running, and just ended up sobbing. Sobbing and talking out loud. And I ran 2.5 miles at 24 minutes. The joy and peace I felt afterward was astounding. I was able to communicate to my family members how much more help I needed, and the feelings I was going through.
Last night I ran 2 miles in 22.5 minutes.
The similarity of quitting smoking and being shut in by the Covo is striking.
Both times, I was searching for control.
Some things are definitely out of my control: world economy, what this virus is, how it will end...
Yet some things are in my control: how I react to the stress, how I communicate, how I choose to thrive.
For now, I'll aim to keep running into the void of the unknown, while training my mind and body to preserve and persevere with strength and focus.