The Kindness of Strangers

Go ahead, please

Just do it 

Put me out of my misery

Commit me, already

I can’t stand it in here

This world is too bright

The constant chatter

The onslaught of doubt

Can’t you tell 

I am screaming inside

My head is on fire

I am running down streets

I want to be free

Like Blanche DuBois 

Take me to my own Belle Reve

Let me sleep there forever

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: commit

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

 

 

Hot Flash

Hello, Mr. Firemen.

I know you are doing serious work out there.

Thank you for all that, by the way.

Putting your lives at risk, saving lives.

All of it.

But mostly, I want to thank you for what happens to me when I see you guys in your uniform.

(I hope I don’t seem shallow.)

I just go weak at the knees – I literally swoon

And that is pretty phenomenal.

Doesn’t even have to be the full uniform…

I like best when you’re around the firehouse sort of half-dressed like this.

I don’t mean to make you feel like sex objects or anything.

I know you are more than your uniform or your job.

But, just, thank you.

I promise not to linger too long.

I know you’ve got a job to do.

I’m happily married, after all.

Just saying thank you from the bottom of my heart.

OK, yeah, I better move along.

See you tomorrow!
Inspired by The Daily Prompt Daily Word: uniform

Servitude Fantastic

Who are you really

My imaginary lover

Fantasized from romance novels

Cobbled together from Disney fairy tales, teen magazines

Then Sex and the Citified imaginings

Gorgeous, perfect, full of lust, eager to please

I see only you, seeing me

I want you so, to want me

If I’m brutally honest

There’s no point to you

Except to make my life complete

I’ve granted you no needs, no other life

Other than satisfying mine

If you really did exist

You’d essentially be my servant

I think I’ll stick with real life romance for today

 

 

Inspired by The Daily Promot: imaginary

Ghost of a Chance

Yes, you made an impression on me.

Didn’t you see the way I stopped and waited for you to pass by me once again?

What did you think I was doing? You silly thing.

Nobody is that interested in an ad for a car service in this app-driven age.

And besides, I was pretending to take down the number and it was all 7’s!

Not much to me if I couldn’t remember that, now would there be?

Is that why you didn’t turn around? Didn’t come back to “find” me again?

Surely you couldn’t be that shallow. Not you. Never you.

I was ready to say hello. Ready to start a conversation. Ready to…

But no, you just walked on and out of the station. Not even a quick glance back.

You left me with the ghost of the you and the us that might have been.

The arm that you brushed as you passed me by still tingles from your touch.

You silly thing. I’m very cross with you. I’ll never talk to you again. Until the next time.

I’ll be there tomorrow around the same time…by the car service ad? (Our spot?))

You can make it up to me then…I seldom hold a grudge. Life’s much too short.

But a first impression…lasts forever.
Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: impression

Sea Wish

I bob and weave/gasp for air

Choke on the waves of my own home-self.

Surfacing, I am adrift, again –

Singular, supine, searching.

The shore in sight but always foreign

No matter how many times I land.

Longing, leering, leaning –

Never touching what I reach for.

Though the waters are troubled

I know who I am in them.

To be a fish, no mind to muddy the picture,

Must be better than this compass-less life.

 

Prompted by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: adrift

 

 

 

 

Idol Dream

I was going to take over Hollywood

Like Marilyn or Rita or Kim

I’d be huge and notorious

And every person who ever hurt me

Would live to regret it

I would win hearts

Capture imaginations

My superstardom would fuck them all

Astonished, regretful

They’d come knocking at my door

Repentant, effusive, oozing adoration

And as I shut the door in their faces

I’d finger the wounds they’d made

In the solitude of my ivory tower

Alone but protected 

Empty but avenged

This was my dream at eleven

This, my prayer for living

Stalled

This time, I was gonna get it right.

I waited in the bathroom stall

until the other girls were gone

and I silently prayed as hard as I could.

Please, God, make me be better.

Please, please, make me like Katie.

She is so perfect!

Her long, brown hair so straight

she can sit on the ends if she wants to.

She’s so thin and pleasant and neat.

Not like me – plump, awkward, shaggy-haired.

If I pray hard enough, it will happen:

I will become her. On the count of three.

One — Fingers crossed tight….

Two — When you wish upon a star…

Three — please please please please please…

Ok. Here I go. The new me. I am Katie Koening now!

I open the stall and look in the mirror.

I seem taller. I smile her smile and think Katie thoughts.

Head out into the hall, head held high,

floating on my hope.

I get to the classroom

and enter, waiting for heads to turn.

My heart dives back into my stomach.

No one notices a thing as I go to my desk.

I am just same old me.

God has failed me again.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post word prompt: better

 

Danger Will Robinson!

If you are old enough to get the reference of the title of this blog, you may share my opinion on the word “someday” because you’ve lived enough days to have noticed a few things.

If not, here’s some context. Will Robinson was a character on the series “Lost in Space” that ran in the 1960’s. It was long in reruns by the time I watched it: my high school friends and I would watch it on Saturdays, hungover, laughing at the campy melodrama. It had a robot in it, and in one particular episode, the robot warned Will of impending danger. (I also remember one episode where I think the robot actually said “take a chill pill” too, but we might have been playing a drinking game then so who knows if that really happened.) But I digress.

I believe that there are some words and concepts that are dangerous. “Someday” is one of those words.

An adverb, it is defined as: at some time in the future. As in: I know someday my whole family will be together and happy.

It is a word to hang your hopes on.  Hopes for dreams coming true: “I’ll be a star someday.” Hopes of people’s poor behavior righting itself: “Someday, they will treat me better.” Hopes of exacting revenge: “Someday, they will be sorry.” (These are completely random examples, of course. Totally random samples.)

Seems pretty innocuous, right? What’s wrong with a little hope?

The problem happens when you start living so much for “someday” that you stop living this day.

I know firsthand that it’s possible to live from a deeply buried “someday” mentality and not even realize it. To live floating so much on that hope of the ever-elusive day in the future that life becomes the way you so desperately want it to, that life becomes a stream of yesterdays that weren’t really todays at all because the siren call of “someday” muted the music of the moment. I couldn’t even see what was because I was so fixated on and attached to visions of what I wanted life to be. I landed shipwrecked on the boulders of la-la-land, which before last year used to be a term that described “a fanciful state or dreamworld.” To put it another way, I awakened to the ugly and hard truth that I was way off course.

Once I realized that I was living from this hidden “someday” philosophy, after the shock wore off, and the anger, I had to forgive myself. After all, I was conditioned to live the world of “someday.” I grew up on fairy tales filled with songs like “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes.”

And “Someday my Prince Will Come.”

I literally took these songs to heart, and they shaped my view of the world.

I am not blaming Disney! (But there is something to be said about the powerful affect of replaying songs hundreds of times. Don’t they use that technique to break prisoners? Isn’t that a kind of brainwashing?) I love those songs.

But they promise. And “promise,” like “hope” and “potential, ” are words and concepts that can be used for the better or for the worse. They are potent. They are to be measured for use.

These days, I watch myself. I steer myself away from using words like “someday.” I practice gratitude for today, this present day. For what is, not what I wish will be. Yes, I have wishes and dreams. But I also have goals and action plans. I am not adverse to a little hope in my heart. I love me a Disney movie and sing those songs right along with the best of them.

But I live in today. My yesterdays are well-lived and appreciated. My tomorrows are what my todays become. They are the result of today, not the point of them.

My “someday” is now.

#livefortoday #carpediem

via Daily Prompt: Someday