That’s Amore

The first time I really fell in love was with a very talented chef.

We met each other just as the whole celebrity chef phenomenon was starting to really cook. He was just beginning to rise as some of the mega-star chefs of today such as Bobby Flay were just starting to blaze.

The restaurant world was abuzz then, and I was a small part of it. I was a server at the newly opened second restaurant of a long-time successful NYC 3-star chef. Being a perfectionist and a Betty-by-the-Book type, I was an excellent waitress and often asked to serve food critics and VIP fellow chefs.

One morning I went into the kitchen before service started and something felt different. Like some animal sense, the hairs on my arms stood up. My body vibrated. My back was to it, but I literally felt compelled to look over at the line.

There I saw the most incredible pair of hands at work. I was mesmerized for a moment. The way they touched the produce was so…intimate. So sensual.

My cheeks blushed with heat and as I looked up to see who belonged to those hands, my eyes met the sweetest almond-shaped hazel eyes.

It felt like I literally poured into him through his eyes. Time just sort of expanded and the moment felt like forever.

I gathered myself together, and just before I turned to go back out on the floor, my eyes found his lips, which had a sexy little smile dancing across their fullness.

That was it for me. My life changed course in those moments.

I fell hard that day. He had been brought in to the restaurant as sous chef, and our paths were to cross daily. I was involved with someone else at the time, though it was a dying relationship.

I literally fell under a kind of spell. I made some choices that I am not proud of today.

Chef and I began what would end up being an extremely important, passionate, ultimately heartbreaking (twice) relationship.

We were young, emotionally wounded, and both out of control and lost. But boy, did I love him.

It still makes my head swim to think of it. The story of us is epic and blog-worthy. But not today. I’m not quite ready.

When I tell you that he was the most talented of them all, of all the star chefs then and the star chefs-to-be (the ones who were behind the star chefs who have since risen to fame,) and maybe even of the current culinary stars, I am not exaggerating or talking from my entranced heart.

He was truly gifted. His food was the most flavorful, exquisitely layered food I have ever tasted, and I have had the pleasure of some incredible meals then and now.

A meal under his talents was a total body sensual experience and left you with an amazing high.

People became diehard fans, literally traveling across countries to follow him wherever he went.

Our relationship ended dramatically, not once but twice. My heart was totally shattered.

But I was gifted a love of fine dining that remains to this day.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: flavorful

A Critical Juncture

I am a recovering perfectionist.

In “A Skin Horse Awakening”, I wrote about my perfectionism, and what I believe the genesis of this “ism” to have been in my life. (Or perhaps I should say “who.”) I don’t believe I was born with the affliction of perfectionism.

Let me walk this back. Perfectionism is bandied about a great deal these days. People jokingly refer to themselves as a perfectionist, and we all think things like “Oh, they work really hard to get things right,” or maybe that they are a bit anal (as in detail-oriented,) maybe a little bit OCD.

According to Wikipedia, Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.[1][2] It is best conceptualized as a multidimensional characteristic, as psychologists agree that there are many positive and negative aspects.[3] In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal while their adaptive perfectionism can sometimes motivate them to reach their goals. In the end, they derive pleasure from doing so. When perfectionists do not reach their goals, they often fall into depression.

When I say that I don’t believe that I was born a perfectionist or with a perfectionist gene, I am saying that I learned to be hyper-self-critical. I guess maybe perhaps you could argue that my being extremely sensitive is genetic, and therefore in a way that part of my perfectionism is genetic, as in I am extremely hard on myself and yet I am very sensitive to feeling like I am being criticized…maybe that being “so sensitive” is genetic?

If such a thing even exists. I can never know another’s internal experience, what life feels like for them through their nervous and other systems. I can only know my own.

So really, how can anyone, from my family (“You’re too sensitive!” “You are so sensitive.” “Don’t be so sensitive!”) to psychologists/people we label experts at such things be able to say that someone is “highly sensitive” or whatever? What do they mean? Are they really saying we are very emotional? More emotional? What does that even mean?

(I think perhaps it means that they are uncomfortable with our amount of feeling so they label us as “highly sensitive.” A label to explain away their discomfort.)

And if someone doesn’t “feel life”the way I or someone else labeled sensitive does, are they “insensitive” or unfeeling? Just because they do not seem to experience life the way I do, they are less sensitive? You see what I mean? (It is somewhat crazy-making for me, actually.)

Anyhoo. Perfectionism. Not genetic, in my humble opinion.

I learned to be hyper-critical of myself and to expect extremely high standards of performance from myself. I learned to care deeply and to depend greatly on what I thought others’ were thinking of me. To value other’s evaluation of me above all else, especially my own.

This relationship to myself and the world and myself in the world was learned. I learned it from a master, my father. I am not sure where he learned it. I am quite sure he suffered as much from it as I have. I am also sure that he had great regret later in life around the price of his untreated perfectionism on his relationships with himself, the world and the people he loved.

I am so grateful that I am in recovery around this. I do not have to suffer at my own hands anymore, or cause undue suffering in my loved ones out of my perfectionism.

One of the most tremendous sources of help around this for me has been the work of Brene Brown. You may have heard of her TED Talk on Vulnerability. If you have never watched it, I highly recommend it. Seriously, stop reading this and go watch it! Then come back ; )

She has been on my mind the past few days as she posted on Facebook from Houston, where she was volunteering her clinical services, making a plea for donations of clean, new underwear for those recovering from the hurricane. First things first, please take a view.

Here are three ways to give NEW (still in package) underwear. Please keep in mind that we need a variety of sizes for men, women, boys, and girls, including XXL.

1. https://www.amazon.com/…/2O89ZX93O…/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_1

2. Collect new, packaged underwear and mail it to the address below. It’s our local Hillel and they are collecting for us. This is a really great neighborhood or school project. If you’re purchasing, we recommend Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. UFE doesn’t process or give out anything but underwear!

Undies for Everyone
1700 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005

3. Give cash and Undies for Everyone will purchase wholesale: https://secure.lglforms.com/form_e…/s/uFpr61ITEItxPeN4Lo9zpA

Brene is an amazing woman. I could write blog after blog about her and how she inspires me. It has been through her work that I have had true shifts around my perfectionism.  I mean, I could understand before that I was one, but then what? What do I do to help myself out of it? Through it? She defines perfectionism a bit differently, and that difference has made all the difference in my being able to make shifts and heal. She defines it so:

Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

She writes further:

Perfectionism is defeating and self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.

Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough so rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.

Feeling shamed, judged, and blamed (and the fear of these feelings) are realities of the human experience. Perfectionism actually increases the odds that we’ll experience these painful emotions and often leads to self-blame: ‘It’s my fault. I’m feeling this way because I’m not good enough.’

To overcome perfectionism we need to be able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to the universal experiences of shame, judgment, and blame; develop shame resilience; and practice self-compassion.

When we become more loving and compassionate with ourselves and we begin to practice shame resilience, we can embrace our imperfections. It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts and strengthen our most meaningful connections.” B. Brown (2009).

Wow. I mean, just yes. And yeah, this is a daily practice. It is a struggle one day, a breeze for the next three days, and then the shit hits my internal proverbial fan and it feels like I am at day -4. And then I feel free of it again. But Wow and Yes. And I’ll take that over interminable suffering in the depths of the hell of my own mind being run by unchecked and uninformed perfectionism.

If you know of what I speak, I recommend her work and any of her books.

It is a lifelong process, but it is truly gratifying to find true relief.

Oh, what a journey it is, this coming to life. This learning to relax into all of the things I used to hate so about myself. To even begin to embrace and yes, even find love for all my parts. Especially the ones most imperfect.

To pull my own self down off the self-built marble column I had constructed so long ago into the real world where I can be with others, be a fully-fleshed human being among human beings. To smash the statue-like full body persona I had so carefully made and let the flawed imperfectly beautiful person I am start to live and breathe and love.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: critical

The Draw

What is it about you?

I cannot let you go.

I feel pulled towards you

no matter what you do

(or don’t do) to me.

This attraction I feel for you

is magnetic…hypnotic…

(it’s…pathetic!

That’s it, no more!

You are dead to me!

Just say no! Walk away!)

God, I love the way your cheeks flush

That little curve at the side of your mouth

Those shining eyes that sparkle wickedly

You’re so funny, and smart…

Hey – what are you doing later?

Me? Oh, nothing. Yeah, I can meet up late tonight.

Sure. I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll be there. Waiting.

(How did that just happen again?)

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word prompt: magnetic

 

 

 

 

 

Inhabitant

This body o’mine

Through her I’ve met the world

She’s been gentle with me

But her, I’ve pushed and hurled

She’s taken hard knocks

From without and within

I’ve treated her rough

Lived a life full of sin

She’s asked little of me

Given me all that I’ve asked

Less-than-loving I’ve been

At times, she’s been trashed

I’ve wasted so much time

Hating parts I deemed flawed

The time has come to make peace

And to treat her with awe

I see her now as she is

A miraculous home for my soul

I thank her daily and nurture her

She’s a beautiful part of my whole

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: inhabit

Lust Life

Much of my adult life has been about coming to terms with lust.

Having grown up in a fairly conservative family with mainly Protestant roots, I learned early on to deny and repress my lust: for life, for sex, for fame, for love, for food.

So much so that I lived a kind of double life from my teens into my twenties.

I hid many behaviors that all revolved around my various appetites. Somewhere in my somewhat stunted emotional development, I had learned that being seen as having a need (be it physical or otherwise) was weak, unattractive.

And so I learned to pretend I did not have them.

And yet, at the same time, I also had a very strong need to be seen as a sexual object. (See Sexual Healing, my previous post on this issue.) This presented quite a war within me. I desperately wanted to be seen and treated like a sexually desirable woman – that was sort of the ultimate need. At the same time, I had shame and embarrassment around this and had strong messaging that that was bad, and that I should be a good girl with no sexuality, appetites, strong opinions or feelings.

And so I pretended to be one one way while in secret I acted in other ways.

I invested a great deal of time into creating the illusion that I was chaste, a normal eater, and had  a very neutral opinion on just about everything. I monitored my emotions and watched myself around people, carefully choosing mannerisms and tones to project a good girl.

Meanwhile, I was living quite another kind of life, a life I hid from my family, my friends. A life of appetite and lust and danger.

There were certainly angels watching over me. I was often in the wrong places at the wrong time. Somehow, I survived.

At a certain point in my twenties, the jig was up, as they say.

My psyche demanded that I heal the split, and I began the process of recovering wholeness again.

Of uncovering my own genuine appetites from a place of love, curiosity and acceptance. Of letting go of the urge to keep my appetites hidden.

I began a process of embracing of my true nature and wants and needs as beautiful reflections of my own humanity. I began the shedding of the shaming nature that I inherited.

An unlearning of the social pressure that happens in middle school to put a damper on enthusiasm, to keep a lid on want to look cool.

I learned to let myself eat as I really wanted to in front of others.

I learned to let myself be seen trying, excited, wanting, sexy, hungry, angry, hopeful, happy, disappointed, frightened, messy, unhappy, empty, full, vulnerable, awkward, lonely, blissful.

I learned to let myself be seen. As I really am.

Today I value the self-honesty that I live from. Truth is of huge importance to me.

Though I am still in awe of the capacity I had within my own psyche to maintain such a dichotomy the way I did – that I could compartmentalize two such distinct worlds at once – I am so grateful that that is just a chapter in my story.

Today, I have one world with many parts: parts that co-mingle and bring me great joy in their diversity.

I celebrate my appetites, I revel in my enthusiasms and passions.

I love my lust. It is what lets me know I am human. And alive.

So today, I try to wear my lust like a smile.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: lust

 

Petty Crimes of the Heart

When I was around seven, I became a criminal.

I started shoplifting from the neighborhood Safeway store. (It was more than just groceries then. It sort of had a bit of everything.)

My friend Vana and I did the stealing, together, at first. I don’t recall whose idea it was.

I think the first item we took was something really small and inexpensive, such as a candy. There was such  rush of danger to it. An adrenaline high.

I know I enjoyed the risky feeling of it. Of getting away with something. Of doing something wrong and not being caught.

There were a few more items, leading up to the very difficult-to-steal stationary set. It was a large box set, and the fact that I somehow managed to get away with it was more the real prize, I think, than the stationary itself. (It was grown up stationary, not even something I wanted.)

But the pièce de résistance was a gold ring. The ring probably cost $50, but it was harder to get to and it carried higher stakes if caught. I don’t even think Vana was in on this one. I was egging my own self on by this point. Pushing my own limits and capabilities.

I am still not sure why I felt compelled to turn to such lowly capers. We were not rich, but we were not in need. I had a room full of things. My needs were mostly met, at least materially.

I did not even enjoy any of the items I stole. I felt so guilty. I tried to thrown them down the storm drain, but could only throw away the first thing I took, the candy. The rest I stashed on the top shelf in the corner of my closet.

From that corner, those items taunted me daily. They called me “Robber.” “Stealer.” I was nauseous with fear most of the time. Fear of being found out. Fear of what my parents would think of me if they knew. That stash kept me up at night. It felt as if it was alive on that shelf. As if I was harboring a defenseless animal or something.

Finally one night, when I could not stand it anymore, I went into my parents bedroom and announced that “their daughter was a shoplifter.”

In a rush of shame and tears, I told the whole dirty story. As I had been up until that point an incredibly reserved and careful girl who made perfect grades and never rocked the boat, I have the feeling they felt that I had probably been under the influence of Vana, who they judged as wilder than I.

I led them to my stash and showed them the evidence of my sickness. Instead of being concerned for my sanity, looking back, I think they were somewhat impressed by what I had gotten away with stealing.

As punishment, my parents had me take the items back to the store and confess my sins. Luckily and unluckily, there were no repercussions from the store.

My parents seemed to feel that my real punishment was knowing their disappointment in me. And they were right in that. It just leveled me.

I still feel shame around it, even though I work at forgiving my child of seven for needing to take those things. She needed something. It wasn’t those things.

I say it was unlucky that there were no repercussions.

I think that my seven year-old was really lost. I think I was terribly lost. I think I needed help and attention but had no idea how to ask for it.

I didn’t get the help I didn’t know I needed then.

But I never stole again.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: caper

Constant Craving

When I was a girl, I lived for food.

The promise of the after-school snack kept me going through the grueling days of my youth. I’d race home to find sweet and savory relief from the confusion of adolescence.

I’d eat from a box of graham crackers, spreading layers of vanillla chocolate chip canned frosting. Or I’d slice up a Snickers bar the way they did in a commercial on at the time, pretending I was in it. Then maybe some Lay’s potato chips. Maybe a Wonder Bread/Gulden’s Mustard/Kraft cheese and baloney sandwich.

I was on my own, so I could eat like I wanted to. No father home yet to bring tension and self-consciousness to the air.

I’d fill myself, quelling the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that haunted me at any other time of my day. This was all mine. My time free from criticism, pressure or fear.

Over the years, I became desperate around this intimate connection with food. Protective of the rituals. The private pleasure I found in food and the act of eating it.

I knew something was off about how I related to food. I felt ashamed and like there was something wrong with me, while at the same time feeling like it was crucial to my very existence. That trichotomy created a painful struggle inside me of shame and appetite and need.

I became secretive around it, knowing on some level that I was not like other people.

I now understand that somewhere along the way, I learned to equate food with so many things I needed: love, attention, security, connectedness, relief, quiet, peace, pleasure, a sense of having something for myself, a way to feel like I had control of one thing in the world.

I believe that some of this relationship to food was learned, familial. My mother, too, sought refuge in her treats. She loved candy, and when I came home from school, she was usually lying in her bed, reading mystery novels, eating candy from a stash she kept in her bedside table. She, too, at some point in her life, reached for food to solve and resolve being on this planet.

I understood her for this. I feel such compassion for her. For her huge needs and the dysfunctional way she had developed to cope with getting them met.

It has taken many years of unraveling this connection for me to find a new relationship to food. There’s been tremendous loss in it. A loss of my friend, my savior, my companion, my sidekick.

But it has been so freeing, too. I have  been learning how to give myself what I had asked for from food all those years: love.

Sounds easy, and obvious, right? But what does that actually look like?

It looks like this: giving myself The Five A’s of Love: Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection, and Allowing.

(The Five A’s concept is from the wonderful book How To Be An Adult in Relationships – Five Keys to Mindful Loving by psychotherapist, David Richo, PhD.)

Those Five A’s satisfy the snack craving every time. I’m not saying I don’t still crave and even miss that snack eating ritual. I do. That’s a deeply embedded habit. I got pretty hard-wired around it.

But today, I take the snack-seeking girl inside by the hand, and I ask her what she really needs. 

Sometimes it is some appreciation for all I have been doing all day.

Sometimes it is affection. Maybe a bath. Some demonstration of loving care.

Maybe it is the need to be allowed to really acknowledge feeling afraid, or spent, or angry.

It took awhile for that part of myself to trust that my needs could be met in new ways. To trust in something other than food.

To trust life. To trust love. To trust loving myself, in life.

It is an every day practice, this mindfulness of love. I pour the energy I used to hold for food into other things. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gotten my wires crossed, that food wasn’t so complicated for me.
But it is.

And so I accept this truth as if I were diabetic, and I do what I need to do to care for myself.

Mostly, as I said, I feel free.

I no longer carry that shame I felt around it. I am literally lighter in spirit. That feeling is the prize I keep my sights on. It is what makes it all worth it.

I may no longer “have” snacks. But I have me.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: snack

No Place Like Home

Sometimes when I am out in the world, I feel a compulsion to go home immediately.

I literally feel drawn, as if by a magnet, back to the safety of home.

I have lived with this sensation for many years now, since 2001. I blogged about it last year when I wrote about depression.

I am still unraveling what is contained in this dynamic within.

On the one hand, I love life, being alive. I crave connection. I love people. I love humanity.

I am an actress. Human behavior endlessly fascinates me. What makes people take actions. What drives us all to stay alive on this spinning blue ball. That we choose every day to love and aspire to things.

And yet. There are times when I am filled with a mix of emotions and sensations that compel me to get home as soon as I can. Fear, anxiety, panic.

I never thought if it before, but is this a version of a panic attack? I have no idea, no way to guage that. I hear people talk about panic attacks. I know  people who suffer from them.

How do you label an internal experience like what I experience? I guess if there are enough people experiencing  similar symptoms, someone names it and it becomes a way to discuss, diagnose.

I have brought it to conventional therapy. Past life regression work. Rebirthing. Shamanic healing work.

I’ve learned cognitive behaviors to manage it. All have been helpful in one way or another.

But I still don’t have a concrete understanding of why it happens to me. Is it genetically encoded in my DNA? Did my people learn to survive by keeping close to home?

In a past life, was I some tribal member who died traumatically when being away from the others and my soul just cannot let it go?

I know for some years, I withdrew from being in the flow of life because I did not know how to cope. I had to learn how to be in the world again. I had to mature emotionally, with help. That has been an amazing process.

But that period of time is many years past. I have never felt more healed, more whole, more integrated than I do now. I am in awe of the healing I have done, of where I am today. I have a truly gifted life, filled with love, connection, abundance, and creativity.

And yet. The magnet pull comes upon me still.

I believe my body has more to show me. There are answers coming from within, but on my body’s own time. Not my ego’s.

And so I bear patient, loving witness as it happens, listening for clues even as I experience the pull when it hits me. I have finally stopped adding to the pain of it all by beating myself up for its mere existence. Or trying to bully myself into being able to “just bypass it already.”

When I have that pull to go home, I choose to see it with the eyes of a loving parent. I take my own hand and ask myself if it can wait until I finish my day. I promise to give that part of me full attention when safe at home, later.

And I follow thru on that promise. That is crucial. I need that part to begin to trust me, to trust that I can handle whatever may go down out in the world.

I feel that trust growing inside. It is a deeply important feeling.

And I welcome this.

I am building a new home within. And when completed, I will be there, wherever I go, wherever I am in the world.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: magnet

Bottleneck Love

When hate clogs the flow

Love is hard to find

It’s elusive for good reason

Don’t forget that it’s blind

Reach for bottles and bags

Try to wipe it all out

But that’s the big cosmic joke

You can’t get the love out.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: bottle

For my father: Keys Alexander Curry. May you rest in peace and know that love does indeed conquer all.


 

 

 

 

Athlete, Interrupted

Growing up, I was that kid who hated gym.

I’d try to hide when it was side-picking time. I’d try to avoid someone passing the ball during basketball. I’d get in the far outfield in softball. Volleyball? It was simply terrifying. There was nowhere to hide.

I could barely run a lap. I couldn’t do one pull up or push up.

I had zero confidence in my self. I was awkward physically, and had no sense of athleticism.

I decided early on that I did not have the right body for sports like running. I was too shapely and too heavy.

I tried. Boy did I try. Despite my social shyness, my physical awkwardness, my lack of self-assurance, I scraped together what pluck I could and tried to be on teams anyway.

They were a series of humbling failures.

As a very young girl, I had loved to move. I took ballet, tap and jazz from ages 3 -6, and I loved it. I danced all around my room at home, choreographing dances to well-worn albums of my parents’.

But after a move and a series of significant events in my sixth year, I became disconnected to my body. I began to live in my head, in a fantasy world created to blot out a reality that I was not equipped to handle.

And I turned to food as my, well, my everything. It numbed me out, it made me feel good, it comforted me, filled me, calmed me, excited me, made me feel safe, made me feel a part of something. It was my weapon, my barrier, my mode of expression. It was a mood stabilizer and alterer. My best friend, my lover, my family. My church.

So no wonder I became uncomfortable in my own skin and body and had trouble being in the world within it.

Mix in the social world of sports, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Later, after I lost weight rapidly on an extreme diet one summer when I was 12, I started exercising compulsively. I didn’t realize it at the time. I justified it. It was healthy, after all, to work out, right?

I lost and maintained a new, better looking weight, but I was just as disconnected from my body. As a matter of fact, though I knew I looked better to the world at this lower weight (suddenly I got positive attention – people wanted to know me,) I did not love myself any more than before. I actually became even more critical of my body. You could even say I hated it on some level.

It was never good enough. I wanted my body to look like the models in the glossy magazines I grew up reading. To be like the women in the movies and on TV. Like the girls at school that were popular and voted Most Beautiful. I compared the way I looked to world I was surrounded by in the media, and I always fell way short.

I concluded that in order to be lovable, I needed to look like them. Since I didn’t, I was doomed to a lonely, loveless, “loser” life. In my emotionally immature logic, I decided I had two choices: kill myself or reinvent myself.

So I turned to exercise as I had to food. It was a great way to numb out. A great thing to become obsessively-compulsive about. It’s much easier to disguise a disordered relationship with your body by working out too much. Most people think you are “just fine.” Our culture supports the idea of killing it at the gym: “No pain, no gain.” “Transform your body, transform your life.”

At my worst, I was working out 3 hours daily. My body ached, but I seldom noticed. My periods stopped and I felt exhausted all the time. My hair and skin looked awful.

There came a time when I realized that I wasn’t comfortable being around other people unless I had worked out for three hours. I started to understand that something was still way out of whack between me and my body.

Eventually, my world came to a crashing halt. My body simply could not withstand the way I was treating it.

I now understand how amazing the human body is. That it innately seeks healing and balance and has an intelligence far superior than that of my mind. My body called a halt to the imbalanced, disordered behavior, and demanded that I examine and re-approach my relationship to it.

Fast forward many years of therapy and recovery. I eventually have come to a place of understanding and connection again with my own body. A place of loving it as it is, even. (That journey is many blogs’ worth. Today I wanted to share about some of the fruits of that journey so far.)

After much healing, I started to work out again, but with the sole intention of doing it for my health, and for the pure pleasure of moving my body. I learned to listen to my body, giving it rest and recovery when needed. I found that early girl’s love of moving and I gave her plenty of space to play.

And at a certain point, after all those years of telling myself that it just wasn’t in the cards for me, I started to run.

In 2012, just after I had set a New Years’ intention of finding my inner athlete, I heard of an app that helped you go from “couch potato” to 5k runner. I was very inspired hearing about how well it had worked for a friend of mine. In June of that year, I started using it, and within a month, I was running 5k distances with ease.

And I found that I loved running! I started running 5 days a week, and it quickly became a major area of focus in my life. I ran a 5k race towards the end of 2012 on a lark, and discovered how much I loved running with a herd of other runners.

From that 5k, I ran a 10 miler, followed by a half marathon in Jan. 2013. I ran more half marathons in 2013, loving the training process. Training and racing became an important part of my life. I trained no matter what, and really began to feel like I had finally found my inner athlete.

And then, in 2014,  I ran my first marathon: the NYC Marathon. Crossing that finish line was a personal triumph for me for so many reasons. Not only was it an amazing accomplishment to have trained for such an iconic race and to finish it.

But to have brought myself through full circle from a child at home in her body, loving using it, to being completely shut down to my own physical life, to brutalizing it with disregard in order to become someone more lovable, to acceptance for and love of, to testing, training and ultimately celebrating the abilities of my own body.

I wept, as so many do, as I crossed that finish line. For the girl I had been before being interrupted. For the girl who got so lost and misdirected. I cried out of grief for all that they had lost. And I wept with joy for all I had come through, and for where I had brought myself to.

Today, I still love running. But I have continued to listen to my body, and today, she wants some different kinds of movement. I still run, but am not training and racing. I love those years where it held such prominence in my life. It was a five year span of joy, and I  learned so many things about how strong I am, and what amazing discipline I am capable of. But I’m seeking other experiences now.

I’ve been taking tap, which has been amazing to rediscover. (My inner 4 year-old is very happy!) I’d like to start taking ballroom dancing too. I am listening to see what is next. I trust my body will lead me where I most need to go. I know I will be moving, somehow.

My inner athlete is ever alive. Now that I found her, I will never let her go.

#itsnevertoolate #runforlife #running #runner #innerathlete

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: triumph