Day 4 of National Infertility Awareness Week!

Thursday, Day 4 of National Infertility Awareness Week! #NIAW #infertilityis

Well this one is a doozy. There have been a few challenges that I’ve seen in the infertility community that said to look back on all the photos and videos you took to see where you started and where you are now. Lots of crying. And lots of negative tests. And a lot of alcohol.

Having a miscarriage definitely sent me down a spiral. And I’m reminded of that by the “memories” feature that pops up on Facebook, Instagram, and even snapchat. 😐👀 I couldn’t even put a number on the amount of times that I had a drink in my hand. And when I had a drink in my hand, justifying why I was drinking it. Or my “favorite,” “It’s 4:30pm on a Friday. By the time I’m done with work at 5pm, the alcohol will just have hit me.” I’m sorry what? //facepalm//

Mental health is sometimes overlooked. And that goes for any aspect of life. And it really needs to stop being shameful to talk about. I missed a few baby showers while dealing with infertility and a miscarriage. Sure, I used COVID or “I’m busy” as an excuse. But baby showers can be SO tough to go to when you’re going through a rough time. It’s ok to not go. It will be hard to not feel guilty, but your mental health is more important. Please remember “I cannot make it” is a perfectly valid and okay thing to say to something you cannot or don’t want to go to. No explanation needed.

And if you are on the receiving end of hearing “I cannot make it” to whatever shebang you’re hosting, don’t make them tell you why. Obviously we can’t just tell work “Sorry I can’t make it” haha, but when it comes to extracurricular activities/hobbies or parties, “I can’t” should just be the end of it. There are so many people who are struggling with mental health for one reason or another. And the anxiety of having to tell someone you can’t go to something is a lot sometimes. You don’t want to feel like a disappointment, yet you don’t want to deal with confrontation. It’s rough.

So let’s remember to be kind to each other, and kind to ourselves. Personally, it has been really hard not only learning my boundaries, but sticking to them and putting a foot down when needed.

I encourage everyone to take some time today, even if it’s only 5-10 minutes, to step away from what you’re doing, get some fresh air, treat yourself to that special latte you’ve been wanting, go for a walk, but just take a breath.

You got this.

(And if you wanna share what you did for yourself today, let me know. 🙂 I wanna hear about it. ❤)

#WeCanAll #NIAW2022 #NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek #FertilityJourney #1in8 #1in4 #InfertilityAwareness #IUI

36 Minutes

Getting older always has a certain nostalgia that comes with it. Birthdays come and birthdays go. They seem to sneak up quicker and quicker year after year. I think to myself, “It’s April already?” Every. Single. Year. It’s as though after a couple of decades on this Earth I still don’t have a concept of time. Time seems so relative. The days drag on, but the weeks fly by, and all of a sudden, I’m another year older, hopefully a little more wiser, but definitely a lot more sarcastic. I always try to think back on the year that I’ve had and reflect on that.

But this year was hard to that.

Last year, I ran 35 miles for my 35th birthday. When we had found out I was pregnant Dec 2020, I wanted to announce it after a long run because, how typical of me right? I had it all planned out in my head. I had a route with a shape as a clue. I had plans of what to wear, which was “something with baby feet on my shirt, or a ‘running for two’ saying.” I wanted to try and be cool like Taylor Swift and drop some secret Easter egg hints for the few days leading up to my race. I knew I would have been visibly showing at that point, but with COVID, I wasn’t really seeing much of anyone anyway, so keeping the pregnancy as a surprise would have been easy.

And then I miscarried.

That birthday run was the most mentally challenging run I have ever done. Yes, it would have been mentally challenging either way, as 35 miles is no small feat, but I was also carrying that heaviness with me that I was no longer pregnant. That heaviness almost caused me to give up multiple times. It’s hard to describe, you know? That pain that you feel in your body because you know something is missing. Someone is missing. It’s just lost. Forever. Knowing you can never get that back is a grief that is unfair. And it never goes away. It just becomes a new normal. The grief will always come in waves. Healing isn’t linear. I thought I was doing okay the first half of my run. But the closer and closer I had got to the end of that 35 miles, the harder it was to hold it together.

The first thing I said after finishing that run was, “I’m not running 36 miles next year. 3.6 miles sounds like a better plan.”

Well, on April 4th, 2022, my 36th birthday, I did not run that 3.6 miles. I did however have time to sit with my feelings and emotions. I’ve looked back at just how much has changed since April 4th, 2021. I quit drinking (323 days ago), I changed my last name, Ian sold his house, we adopted Lampo, we went through fertility testing, we found out Ian’s next job is in Virginia, we had an IUI done, and we found out it was successful… and that only brings us to New Years.

The amount of roller-coaster loops and highs and lows that we’ve been through just really feels like a bit of whiplash. I’ve had people ask me, “How’s it going?” or “how is pregnancy?” Or just wanting some updates. They’ve been hard to answer. How do you say, “Well this birthday I should have a baby in my arms” without sounding like you’re not grateful to be pregnant? How do you say, “I hate being pregnant” when you’ve wanted nothing more than to grow your family, and you’re so excited to have a baby, but the being pregnant part is awful? How do you respond to people who say, “Enjoy this birthday before baby comes” or “This is your last birthday before you become a mother” without responding with something rude or sarcastic about how you are a mother, even though your child isn’t earth side.

It’s hard. It’s so hard. Because the last thing I want is for people to ever tiptoe around me. I never want that. I hear a lot, “I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” But the truth is, neither do I. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I don’t want every response to “how are you” to be something negative. “i’m sick of being pregnant,” “I’m nauseous again. I thought the second trimester was supposed to be better?” “I’m pretty tired of all these headaches.” “I hate that I can’t run. In fact, I feel a little depressed about it.” “I’m just trying to make it to the next appointment when I can see baby again to know they are okay.”

It’s a constant struggle for me, too. Where is that line of just being fully raw and transparent and honest that if stepped over becomes someone who is a whiner and complainer and a pessimist? When does someone’s bravery turn into “she just wants attention?”

Sorting out these feelings and emotions can be consuming. I’m in a pregnancy after loss group. And what I’ve learned is that I’m not alone. The anxiety of a pregnancy after loss is just… it’s just out of this world. It’s hard to fully encapsulate everything that you’re feeling. It’s even hard to sort out on paper. One minute I’m terrified to go to the bathroom because I have slight pressure, and the next I’m ready to look up bassinets. One minute I can’t stop crying because I’m not at viability week yet and I’m just waiting for something to go wrong, and the next I’m thinking if our child will have my eyes or Ian’s.

The one thing I’ve learned in my group is that most of us have not enjoyed our pregnancies very much. “You’ll feel better in the second trimester” just feels like a joke. I’m 18 weeks and feeling worse than my first trimester. But I’m learning that it’s okay to not enjoy being pregnant. Our bodies are literally growing another human. It’s not supposed to be easy. Our organs are rearranging themselves to make more room for the baby. The round ligament and back pain is horrendous. (Thank you child for your head being at my back.) while I know growing a baby means putting on some weight, that doesn’t make it easier. Gaining weight is hard, even when it’s supposed to happen. I have a visible bump now, so I no longer fit comfortably in my jeans or leggings that aren’t high-waisted. My skin is dry and itchy. I’m getting headaches what feels like every other day. i feel guilty because I don’t have the energy to give Lampo the attention and time that he deserves. I’m more tired than I ever have been. My emotions are ALL over the place. And I’m just absolutely sick of being nauseous. Every. Single. Day. I’ve already joked with Ian and said, “if we had a buttload of money, our second child would be through a surrogate. I’m not incubating the second one.”

Pregnancy is hard. I’ve felt so guilty for hating being pregnant. But the group I’m in is really good at reminding each other that you don’t have to enjoy being pregnant to be an amazing parents. I have to remind myself of this often.

So for my birthday this year, I decided that I’d be open and honest about how I was feeling, even if it’s just another negative update, because really, my goal with sharing isn’t for pity. I don’t want it. I just want one more person to feel less alone if they are in the worst girl gang ever with infertility and/or pregnancy after loss. And also, to finally start back with my at home workouts. I KNOW the benefits squats and lunges and such have. I’ve had my doctor’s okay since week 9.

April 4th, 2022 I spent doing 36 minutes of a workout and stretching for my 36th birthday.

And I was happy with that.

Workout: It’s pregnancy friendly, but anyone can do this, especially if you are looking for a low-impact, no jumping leg workout.

LEG DAY | 30-Minute Lower Body Workout For Women (Pregnancy Workout)

(and this should go without saying, but because there are trolls on the internet, please make sure to get your doctor’s okay if you’re pregnant. Everyone is different. And also, if you feel like telling a pregnant person they shouldn’t be working out, and you’re not their friend or doctor, just kindly keep it to yourself, thankyouverymuch. )

Rainbow After The Storm

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

1 in 8 couples are dealing with infertility.

1 in 3 people experience PTSD after miscarriage/loss.

40-50% suffer from depression and anxiety.

Getting pregnant after loss doesn’t heal you.

Getting pregnant doesn’t replace the baby you lost.

I’ve had so many people reach out to me over the last year and a half. Some some experienced miscarriage 30 years ago, some had a pregnancy after loss and traumatic birth experience also 30 years ago. It’s not something you ever forget. It’s not something you ever get over. I’ve also spoken to numerous people who are currently TTC and dealing with infertility. It’s not talked about enough how much of an emotional roller coaster it is. Going through infertility and fertility treatments is hard. Feeling like you’re in limbo is hard. I will always be here if anyone needs to talk. Getting pregnant doesn’t make any of those feelings go away.

Pregnancy announcements are difficult for those in the TTC community. Please give yourself some grace if you need to take time to process or give yourself space. I love you, and will understand.

But here’s a summary of our fertility journey since October. It’s hard to summarize what we’ve been through since the miscarriage, and then 15 months of an emotion of roller coaster of constant disappointment every month, and then two months of poking and prodding at the fertility center before we had a medicated cycle .

It’s 4 minutes. You’re warned. I always said I would try and post the good, the bad and the ugly.

Thank you so much to our family and friends who have been the most amazing support system I could ever ask for.

#RainbowBaby

We went through the Fertility Center of Illinois, and had Dr Allison Rodgers.

Searching For The Rainbow

I miss her. The girl I used to be last October. The person I was before the sadness would consume most of my days, leaving me to over analyze everything. 

We're still the same person. 
Just.
Different.

She's me. I am her. But along the way, our lives disconnected and plucked out the simpleness and innocence with complexity and experience.  We're layered together, but the bright colors that once sparkled around us slowly faded into black and white. 

She had a lightness about her, and she didn't even realize it. She could dance around in the golden moonlight in her bare feet, blackened from walking down the street without shoes, with a strong drink in one hand and her cell phone in the other. Capturing every smile and every wink she'd send to her future husband. She'd listen to the waves collide against the rocks. 

She could run through the summer rain and feel its warmness bounce off her skin, flushed from the two glasses of her favorite red wine. Gravity wasn't pulling her down quite as hard then. She would twirl around in the kitchen in her red dress listening to the crackle of dinner cooking on the stove and her favorite songs playing in the background, and she didn't think twice about tomorrow.

She could look to the future a lot more hopeful than she does now.  I don't want to tell her that it's hard to imagine anymore. I don't want to tell her that she ended up slipping on the rocks and fell straight into heartache and can't find her way out. That it's sometimes hard to breathe. Her friends and family have never left her, and have been her support system, yet she feels isolated. She feels trapped.  

I don't want her to know just how jaded she's going to feel. Putting her whole heart and soul on the line for just a maybe. How tired she's going to feel. How exhausted she is from faking the smiles. But I need her to know: we're finding a strength we didn't know we had. And I really think we're going to get there. 

One day. 
Somehow. 
We'll get there. 
 
On December 21st, I miscarried at 7 weeks. I feel like a little piece of me left that day. I still logged into work. It was our anniversary. It was the week of Christmas. I didn't know what else to do.  What I do know is that grief isn't linear. It hits you when you least expect it. One day you're fine, and the next you're in bed crying knowing the exact age your baby should be. For as long as I can remember, I have always advocated for awareness around not asking women "when is it your turn?" or "When are you guys going to have a baby." I was always the first to tell people how inappropriate and invasive that question is. I just never would have thought I'd be advocating for myself.  

Michelle Obama said it best: "When we share our stories, we are reminded of the humanity within each other. And when we take the time to understand each other's stories, we become more forgiving, more empathetic, and more inclusive."  I can't pretend like I have it all together. I don't. Most days it's hard to get out of bed. The hard truth is that I stopped drinking because I fell into a very dark place of trying to hide behind the drunkenness to not feel anything. I didn't want to. The pain was too much. I didn't want to face the reality that something I had zero control over happened to me. And there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. It changed my life.  Just as two pink lines change your life, having the two pink lines fade into one will forever change your life, too. And then month after month after month you hope to see two, yet you only get one. The rug gets ripped out from under you time and time again, but you keep getting back onto the emotional roller coaster. Holding onto that "what if this month is our month" feeling. 

I've built more relationships with people by being open about my struggles than I ever could have pretending like I had it all together. I don't share our story for sympathy. I share because someone is out there struggling. They might feel alone. I need them to know they are not not. I had a very hard time opening up about this, but it's just too much to handle sometimes. 

There's so much more I want to say on this topic, but for now I will just leave you with this: Be kind. Stop asking people what their "next step" is in their lives and start just asking people, "hey how are YOU." Right now. In this current phase of your life. And take the time to listen. Without judgement. Without unsolicited advice. Without trying to one-up them with a statement starting with "well, at least..." 

Just listen. 

-Megan

The Week After COVID


22 Feb – Monday

Today is my first day released back into the wild. And by “into the wild” I mean, I can get my own groceries and go into a restaurant to get my own pick up instead of requesting “no contact delivery.” That is my extent of going anywhere for now. And can I say, coincidence that today is National Margarita Day??

I celebrated by kicking my own ass before work with a workout that my friend Angie sent me over the past weekend. I’m glad I didn’t attempt it earlier than today, though. Because of my drained energy levels, I wouldn’t have gotten near the workout I did today which would have led to frustration that I couldn’t keep up with anything. I already cried during yoga last week when I couldn’t do down dog because of my sinus congestion which lead to a throbbing headache if my head was lower than my heart. I didn’t need to add to any frustrations by trying some workout I wasn’t ready for. So thank goodness for waiting. And lemme tell ya what… that was NOT easy! Squats, lunges, and burpees galore. The set up of the video was refreshing because you’re not getting talked at. At all. There’s music and a video inset in the corner of what’s coming next. If you’d like a new cardio workout to try, I highly recommend trying Growingannanas “30 MIN CALORIE KILLER HIIT Workout – Full body Cardio, No Equipment, No Repeat.” While doing 30 mins of squats and lunges was difficult, the cardio part of it was a little harder than usual.

I felt winded while doing this workout, but this was a tough workout. I should make note that my HR spiked to 152 multiple times during the workout. This is well within the normal range for me so I wasn’t all that worried, but still something I plan to keep track of. I need to go back and look at the other HIIT workouts to see where I was getting during those so I have some sort of reference.

I am curious to see how sore my legs will be tomorrow! But the real question now is how tired I will be later. I have noticed that I didn’t really feel all that affected during my workouts, but it’s later that I’m just completely wiped. I’m having trouble concentrating for longer periods on time at work, and I’m getting way more tired than I usually am. And for reference, I am notorious for standing at my desk for 6 hours before I realize what time it is, and I had zero trouble concentrating. I never really felt like I needed a break. But now, it’s like 2 hours, and I need to walk away. It’s frustrating not being able to just snap back to where I was and doing all the thing I’m used to doing.

23 Feb – tuesday

Ian and I stayed up late playing Risk last night, so now I feel like today won’t be a good judge of my tiredness. Especially because yesterday was National Margarita Day, so we definitely partook in that… more than once. And alcohol always disrupts my sleep. But today is the last day on the booze train, and I am back to my no drinking streak. I went almost 3 months without drinking and ended it around Christmas, so it’s time to stop drinking again.

My legs didn’t really feel too sore. I mean, I could tell that I worked out, but it wasn’t a “I need to use the sink to stand up from the toilet” kind of sore. I am not going to lie, it is always disappointing not getting sore after a workout, but then I know it is a good indication to switch up what I’m doing and/or add some weight to it.

Today was also my first run back post-COVID! I couldn’t resist waiting to run until over lunch, though instead of the morning. 40 degrees! In Wisconsin! In February? Say what what?! It was sunny and I was feelin great. My plan was to do somewhere between 2-3 miles without a pace in mind and no real goal in mind other than to just see how I felt and go for it. And that I did! I didn’t even really notice my pace until I was at 2.8 miles when I felt a little heavy in the lungs and my HR was elevated to 189. Oops. I went back to check previous runs at that pace. I was keeping somewhere between 140-150 average for the run with a spike or two up to 160. So to see 189 I knew it was a bit high. Now that could be because of COVID. It could be because I took some time off running. It could be because of who knows what else. While I’m not going to worry about it yet, it’s just all things I need to actually document out otherwise I will forget. Thank god for Strava/Garmin right? So easy to just go back and look. Speaking of looking back at data, I did also go back and find some HIIT workouts that I was doing and my HR was right on par. Yesterday it was 152, and previously it’s been between 150-156, so that made me feel better, but, again, not to sound redundant, still something I’m keeping track of… hence the entire reason for this blog this week. 🙂

As the day went on, I could feel my glutes and hips feel a little sore. Finally! Yay! My quads though didn’t really feel much, but I have been so used to using weights, so I’m not surprised that they weren’t sore by only using body weight. I need to look into heavier weights, but, thanks quarantine, everything is out or WAY too expensive. So I can use my measly two 5 lb and two 10 lb weights, and then I can get creative with whatever heavy items we have in the house. Maybe I’ll just go borrow a toddler.

24 FEB – WedneSDAY

I woke up wanting more sleep. As per usual lately. We even went to bed early, and I kept to my word of no booze. I wanted to get up and do my usual Wed workout. Well as usual as I can with a modified running schedule, so I shouldn’t say *usual.* But I planned to do abs/arms this morning, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get up and do it. I laid in bed not wanting to get up, but I knew I needed to get going and log into work. I decided to do a 15-min yoga session. It was the perfect length to get my body moving and wake my muscles up without much effort put into it.

The brain fog seems a bit significant. It’s frustrating to feel out of focus. It’s not something I’m used to feeling. I can typically sit down and do a task because I’m supposed to and it doesn’t feel like a chore. But lately I’ve felt like I had to force myself to get things done. I don’t normally have to read things multiple times to grasp a simple concept.

Because of this brain fog, I planned to try and take strategic breaks at work. I know I know, we are allowed breaks during the day. This isn’t me trying to justify why I’m taking a break, it’s just more so noting this because I never took them. I never needed them. But today, I knew I had a conference call (for 2 hours eep) so I took the walk just before that. I walked to the grocery store since we needed a few things, and then walked home. Ended up with 1.75 miles. It felt good to get up and stretch my legs, which are no longer sore. Ha. Short-lived soreness, but I do like how quickly I can recover.

The one thing I think that has really helped me while not able to run is continuing to do yoga and low-intensity weight workouts at home. I’m definitely grateful that I didn’t have to be hospitalized. I wasn’t completely knocked out with a fever and flu-like symptoms. I didn’t have Tom Hanks level of tiredness. I had COVID days through work that I could have taken, but I didn’t. I work from home. I was up and about and would have been antsy throughout the day if I took those days. So I choose to work. I didn’t put in any OT like I usually do, but that’s not a requirement of my job. I do it because I enjoy my job and have a workaholic personality, which is an entirely different blog post topic I could talk about. But I digress.

I did a half hour of yoga after work. I was looking for a balancing series to start practicing working on my balance more for a bit of a challenge. The session I found with “Yoga With Adriene” was a great flow, but not quite what I was looking for. There was really only one balancing pose. It is a good reminder though that I still have the energy to even think about doing a yoga session and have the strength to get through all the vinyasas. Slow and steady back into a routine. Something is better than nothing, right?

25 FEB – thurSDAY

Oh hello Thursday. Friday Jr you. Well today was tough. I planned to meet up with my friend Sherri to run before work. 0630 start time. Should be great right? WRONG. I woke up with a near migraine and felt like I wanted to throw up. Unfortunately, headaches are a pretty common thing for me, but not as many as I had this week. I felt so guilty needing to cancel. I should have known better that my energy levels in the morning are just lacking. It’s such a struggle to get going. After Ian went to work, I ended up going back to sleep for an hour and not logging into work until 0830 again. It’s a weird feeling being as tired as I am all day. I don’t want to make plans to run with people in the morning now. At least not for a little bit. I hate cancelling. But I also know I don’t need to try and push it.

I chatted with three of my friends who had COVID and are also runners. They said it took upwards of 4-6 weeks to really feel back to normal. I won’t name drop since I respect privacy and I didn’t ask them if I could mention names. I am not happy that they have had to deal with COVID, but I am happy that I have people to discuss these things with. I’m well aware that anecdotal stories are not evidence of anything, but just hearing stories from my trusted friends make me feel less stressed about the tiredness. It makes me less worried about what is happening with my body, and it gives me hope that this will fade eventually. It may be a long month or so, but it should get better before I know it.

Advise I got:

Friend 1: “For two months, I was upset all the time. Luckily I could bike. But I love running and everyone was progressing around me. And I just felt bad physically and mentally. It gets better! Be patient. Don’t push yourself too hard. And don’t be mad at yourself.”

Friend 2: “I completely understand. It did eventually come around for me. The tiredness lasted about a month and then I had to build my endurance back up. It took 1.5-2 months to feel like myself again. Get the rest you need so that you get back to the usual!”

Friend 3: “The tiredness was just ridiculous. We did not have the energy to do squat… The problem now is building back up. My lungs took a beating. I still have to use an inhaler because of COVID.”

I mustered up some energy to go for a run over lunch. It wasn’t as sunny as Tuesday, but the fresh air felt nice. My legs felt a little heavy, but my lungs felt great. The one thing I feel is a little different than my friends is that I’m able to run the same pace for my 5Ks that I did before. I know at least two of them came back at slower paces before they were able to work back up. And who knows, maybe my longer runs will be that way, but I’ve only done two runs since and both were 5Ks. My 5K today, I dialed the pace back a tad from Tues to watch my HR, and surprisingly enough, my HR was just fine. It stayed at an average of 155 for a 9:47 pace. I was honestly surprised. I really expected to see a spike like I did on Tuesday, but I didn’t. I don’t have energy in the morning, but by afternoon I do. I suppose time will tell. But for now, I am going to continue to run unless my lungs feel off. Then it will be an immediate pause.

I was feeling great tiredness wise until after work. I had an ASL class to go to at 1830, but I ended up falling asleep on the couch after work for an hour and a half, so I missed class. Oops.

26 FEB – friDAY

Happy Friday! Even though I took an 1.5 hour nap yesterday, I still ended up going to bed at 2100. I get up at 0530 with Ian when he goes to work, but I ended up laying in bed trying to fall back asleep for an hour. I’ve never slept so much in my life, but I am not fighting it. It know I need it. I probably sound like a broken record this week with all the “i’m tired” and “i’m tired of being tired” thoughts. And if you’ve read this far into the long all blog post, I’m sure you are tired of hearing it too. Ha.

The work day felt normal at least. Brain fog still a little there, but it’s also Friday. I feel like that’s normal. I decided that I wasn’t going to make a set time for running tomorrow. Whenever I got up and felt like going, I would. Less expectation of myself and that way I wouldn’t be disappointed. So I had no real bed time to make since I didn’t need to set an alarm to get up.

I have been working more on getting a strong core. It has helped so much with back pain and just feeling stronger. So I put on a 30 min yoga for core and booty that I found through Yoga With Adriene. And then I wanted to try another “balancing” series, so I did another 58 minutes after that. I do really need to start scrolling through videos before I do them. I have been disappointed with the ones that are labeled as “balancing” yoga lately. The one I did was great if you wanted to do a lot of vinyasa, but not so great if you were looking for balancing poses. There were a few, but not many. But in any case, I got in just about an hour and a half of yoga and didn’t really feel winded or anything afterwards. So that was a plus!

27 FEB – saturDAY

It felt really great to just sleep in and not wake up to an alarm clock. It’s been a rough week mentally and being able to just chill was the mental break I think I needed. Ian and I had a slow morning, made breakfast, then he read while I did some writing (catching up on this blog post actually). And then we decided around noon to go out for a run.

It was the run I needed. It was such a beautiful day out. 42 degrees. Barely windy. Ian was smart and had on a long sleeve and shorts. I had on leggings and a long sleeve shirt, which ended up coming off at mile 2. The sun on my skin gave me such energy. Ian was such a good sport and followed the crazy CityStrides path that I had created. We were talking during our run about how neither one of us have ever had a partner that we could run with and it was really nice to be able to do that together. I enjoyed having him on my run.

I do miss my running buddies though. I didn’t want to make any set plans with anyone because cancelling is something that just eats away at me and makes me feel super guilty. They knew I wasn’t making plans with them for this reason, and while I’m sure they would have understood, I just didn’t want to bare that guilt. But we will see what next week brings.

28 FEB – sunDAY

Sunday was a great recovery day. We spent the day in Oak Creek for Baylee’s birthday (which was yesterday, as she reminded us. Ha!) We made strawberry cupcakes from scratch, with a dairy-free buttercream strawberry frosting. Making dairy-free frosting was hard! But my sister cannot have dairy so I always try and find good recipes. We made a bit of a mess in the kitchen, but the girls had fun. (Here is the recipe we followed. We did not make it gluten free, so we used regular flour, but we did make it dairy free.) We picked up lunch from Kopps and brought it back to their house to hang out some more. It was good to see the kiddos since we weren’t able to because of COVID quarantines. But we were there nearly all day.

We got home close to 5, and I wanted to get some yoga in, so I found a core strengthening one I hadn’t tried yet. 40 mins and I swear it was ALL ABS. Highly recommend. (If curious, it’s another Yoga With Adriene session. Here.)

I have to say, that I’m really seeing the benefits of yoga. It’s helping flexibility. It’s aiding in my recovery. It’s helping grow some baby abs. There in there! And it’s something that I’ve really started to look forward to doing. I started doing yoga twice a week, then moved to doing two longer yoga sessions (at least 30 mins) twice a week plus doing short sessions (10-15 mins) after each run. And now I’m doing yoga just about every day. There are so many different kinds of yoga that are all free on YouTube, so there’s no real reason not to. I can get a slow relaxing restorative yoga, a workout vinyasa type yoga, a short “wake up” 10 min yoga before work, a meditative yoga… literally anything. There are some videos I keep coming back to, but I try and find new ones each week. I’m slowly seeing progress in flexibility, and definitely seeing progress in stamina during vinyasa.

There are a few things that I am working towards this year for yoga: I want to get in crow and be able to do a headstand. I’m a little afraid of being upside down, but it’s something I’m working on.


XOXO, Megs

If you’ve read through this whole thing, well high-five to you! I wanted to document everything I was feeling for the first week back and didn’t realize how much I would have to say or want to even document, but I’m glad I did. Something to look back on.

And here’s to hoping that next week doesn’t bring on as much tiredness!

10 COVID Days

I made it nearly a year without getting COVID, but here I am sitting on my couch during my last day of quarantine since testing positive. The last ten days somehow whizzed by even though we have been unable to go anywhere. It wasn’t that I *didn’t* want to tell anyone that we got COVID. I just didn’t really put in on blast right away. No special reason other than the fact I had no idea what to expect. I’ve had friends with COVID who all reacted differently. I wasn’t really prepared for how tired I was going to be. I’m a person who can fully function and be just fine on 5-6 hours of sleep without any naps, but I have been getting 9-10 hours of sleep the entire last week, with even a few days that I took a nap! It was very out of the ordinary for me.

How did I know to go get tested?

This started last Wed night. Ian and I were sitting on the couch eating i cream straight out of the pint container. We had two kinds out. I made a face saying how the one was super sweet. Ian looked at me all wide-eyed and said he couldn’t tell. I told him joking about not being able to taste right now wasn’t funny…. he wasn’t joking. Thursday morning, he was eating breakfast and said he was unable to taste his toast. So he went right away to get tested. Sure enough. He was positive. At this point, I didn’t have any symptoms. But since he was positive, my chances were pretty high. Thurs night, I developed a little bit of a cough and felt more tired than usual. So Friday afternoon, I went to get tested and it was positive. Now, I’ve heard varying responses on the rapid test and it’s accuracy. If I didn’t get any more symptoms, I was going to get tested again. But as the weekend approached, the cough was more prevalent, I was excessively tired, and kept waking up with headaches, I just assumed the test was correct, especially because Ian lost his sense of taste and smell. And that symptom is pretty telling. So I never went back to get tested. I didn’t think I needed to. It seemed pretty obvious at this point. Both Saturday and Sunday I tried to do some yoga, but I felt like I had a head cold, so down dog and child’s pose was not fun. It made my head feel like it was going to pound out of skull. So I opted to do yoga that kept my head above my heart.

Monday I did yoga for abs and helped Ian shovel. My head was slowly feeling better, but I didn’t attempt any poses that would make any blood rush to my head. Tuesday I did more yoga along with an arm workout. These are work outs that I have done before and I could tell I was struggling a little bit with energy getting through them. I also made sure to keep an eye on my heart rate. I had gone down the internet black hole and read way too much about how even elite competitive athletes were taking time off because even with mild symptoms or being asymptomatic, they were showing lung damage.

To be very clear here, it was very explicitly stated that there have not been enough studies done on this to know if exercising during COVID is making lung damage worse, or if they already had lung damage because of COVID. Because there isn’t enough data on it, it’s been suggested to not elevate your heart rate during the next few weeks after testing positive. I’d much rather err on the side of caution. What’s it going to harm if it’s wrong and I didn’t need to chill? Nothing. It doesn’t nothing by me being cautious. But if it’s right… well, I think you know where I’m going with that one. So I have opted to not run or do any cardio heavy HIIT workouts. I’ve watched my HR the entire time to make sure it says low.

Wednesday I did my regular leg workout. I lifted heavier weights this time around since I wasn’t running. Thursday and Friday brought on more yoga. I was actually a little disappointed that my legs weren’t sore. Ha. My head was feeling much better and that head cold feeling was near gone, but I still had a cough. I wasn’t coughing through the night, though so I chalked that up to a huge win. Saturday we went for a mile walk. And then today I did an hour of core vinyasa and then deep cleaned the house – which took me near 3 hours (cleaning, organizing, and laundry). I noticed that I coughed more after a bit of exercise, so that is something that I will be keeping an eye on.

So what’s next?

Taking it slow is my plan. I already pushed my birthday run back. The best part about training for yourself and not for a race is that I can change the date if needed. I don’t HAVE to be done with my training at a certain point. It is nice to not have that pressure. I left off with this schedule:

  • Mon – Off
  • Tues – 7 miles
  • Wed – 5 miles
  • Thurs – 7 miles
  • Fri – Off
  • Sat – 26.2 miles
  • Sun – 10 miles

I tested positive on the Friday of this week, so while I did my Tues -Thurs runs, I did not get to the weekend. It has been suggested to not come back to 100% right out of the gate. So I’m going to come back at 25%, check in with myself over the weekend, and if I feel good, I’ll bump it up to 50%, do another check in, and then 75%, then finally back up to 100%. But it’s going to be a few weeks of a fluid training schedule. There’s no need to push it. So my plan this coming week:

  • Mon – Off
  • Tues – 3 miles
  • Wed – Off
  • Thurs – 3 miles
  • Fri – Off
  • Sat – 6 miles
  • Sun – Off

And if my lungs feel like I can handle an increase, then the following week it will be:

  • Mon – Off
  • Tues – 3 miles
  • Wed – 3 miles
  • Thurs – 3 miles
  • Fri – Off
  • Sat – 13.1 miles
  • Sun – Off

While it’s frustrating that only 10 days ago, I was supposed to be running a marathon, I know that it will come back quickly. I just need to ease back into it and be honest with myself about how I am feeling. The positive of needing to move my run from April 3rd to mid-May is that the chances of it being nicer weather is going to be higher, so that will make me happy for my bike support and anyone running with me will not have to run in the snow. 🙂

Today is the first day that I feel a little more like myself. I’m glad that I’ve kept moving and didn’t just bed rest myself. I had mild symptoms. I could breathe. I wasn’t pushing anything. I focused on what I *could* do. And yoga was one thing that was keeping me going.

I made a goal for myself to be able to do crow pose this year along with more balancing poses that I can hold for longer than a nanosecond. 😀

Two weeks ago, I wasn’t able to do this pose, and now I can hold it long enough to get a photo of it. It’s a lot harder than it looks! Yoga win for the week! Now I just really need to focus on crow pose…. and not being afraid of a handstand.

I’m looking forward to getting back to normal, and I’ll definitely keep an update on my progress and any symptoms that still may be lingering about.

Cheers friends.

Stay safe.

New Year, Same Me

Oh hello 2021!

It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on the year and talks about how they are going to improve themselves the upcoming year: going to the gym more, working out, being a better person… whatever that may be.

I’ve never really been one to make resolutions in January. If I have a goal I’m thinking about, I don’t wait. Whatever month I am in, I just think about a plan of execution and go for it. Rarely is it in January. That is not to say that everyone who makes resolutions in January is doing it wrong. There is no wrong way to make goals. 🙂 I do however end up reflecting a lot in January. Part of that is because everyone else is. I see people doing recaps of the the year and seeing their own reflections of their lives so I end up getting reflective myself.

2020 threw us all for a loop. There isn’t one person who posted on January 1, 2020 that could have predicted what 2020 was going to bring. We posted about goals. We posted about our travel plans. We posted about all the things that we wanted to do in 2020… But surprise to us all, that didn’t happen. The inner battles we all fought and kept quiet will stick with us until we mentally deal with what we went through. Our human emotions are complicated and complex. While we know deep down that 2020 brought on external factors that kept us from doing what we wanted it, it’s still really hard mentally to accept the fact that we set out to do something and couldn’t. Even though we know there was nothing that we could do about it. We still blame ourselves. (At least I know I do.)

And it doesn’t matter to what extend that goes. A small goal and a large goal are relative. Whether it’s eating healthy, working out more, traveling to X amount of countries, trying to be a more patient person, stopping/cutting down on drinking alcohol, reading X amount of books, saving money, making your bed every day… what is a small goal to one may be a large goal to another. Regardless, not hitting a goal of whatever size, quite frankly, sucks. No one likes making a goal and not hitting it. We all needed to adapt in some way, shape, or form this year.

As we were living through 2020, it may have seemed like the worst year we could have ever lived through, but I’m going to try to choose to remember the good. Key word: try.

  • I started of New Years at my sister and BIL’s house with news that she was pregnant with their third. Wednesday morning breakfast club runs were in full swing, and I even started 5am weight training workouts at Westosha on Thursdays. Monday nights I was signed up for a run/yoga class at the Y which helped with my interval training.
  • February we had our KRC winter party and drank a bit much and danced the night away like there wasn’t a care in the world. I was consistently going to my nieces swimming classes Wed nights. I loved seeing their progress. I also started going to vinyasa hot yoga regularly and fell in love with the practice.
  • In march, I went with a friend to get her first tattoo. I went to my first ever swing dancing lesson in Milwaukee. And then in the middle of the month, we went on lockdown. It was then that I started a snapchat streak with my coworker Lisa. We joked that we should do it until we were back into the office again… (As of 1/15/21, we are on day 295). Joke’s on us right?
  • April brought on my 34th birthday. And while celebrated physically alone, it was my first zoom party. We had about 30 people in and out of zoom meetings… a bunch of us got waaaaasted. And thankfully no one had to drive home. It was an experience I never thought that I would have. Lizzie ran her first marathon, which we socially-distanced and supported her by driving on her route and waving. I also started my house buying journey.
  • May brought warmer weather and the first time I could see Ian in 2 months (since he was locked on base since March). We spend every day together for 2 weeks before he had to go back to base for lockdown for another month. While I was sad to see him go, I was just grateful for the time that we had. Along with the availability of online communication. I had also video chatted more people than I ever thought I would. I was able to reconnect with friends.
  • June was when I finally found a house that got an accepted offer. It was quite the journey, (I had put in offers 2 times and lost before getting this one accepted), so it was a huge weight off my shoulders to finally find something that I was excited to call home. June was also when I found out that my sister DeAnna was pregnant. Volleyball league was still going on despite COVID, but it was outside and I welcomed it. My nephew Jonah was born on June 21st.
  • July was Melissa’s first marathon, and I was so happy to be a part of running that distance with her and planning a surprise finish line. I was also grateful during this time for everyone who donated boxes so I could pack up my apartment life and get ready for homeowner life.
  • August brought on some interesting challenges. I needed to move out of my apartment at the end of July, but my house wouldn’t be done getting repainted for a few weeks. Ian was ever so grateful to let me stay with him and it was during that time that we realized we wanted to live together. My nephew Grayson was born on Aug 3rd. I also ran my first ultra on Aug 7th. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for the support I received during my run and my training. I had people hop in and out to run with me, or just to drive by and honk, but Lizzie biked the entire 50K with me and Melissa biked the last 20 mi. I value these friendships so much. A week later, Richard ran 50 miles and I was his bike support for 30 miles of it. I realized how much I enjoyed doing bike support!
  • Ah September. My least favorite month (even pre-COVID), but this time around, it was also one of favorite months. Least favorite just because it is a crazy work month, but my favorite for so many reasons. Ian and I officially officially moved in together, and I was able to surprise him for his 30th birthday with his family and best friend who came out from Cali here to Wisco. It’s the best surprise I’ve pulled off yet. And to top it off, I was able to celebrate one of my best friends Melissa finish her first ultra. Lizzie was a champ again and rode her bike for the full 35 miles. And I was able to help make her laugh the last few miles of her race. It made me sooo happy to see her accomplish that.
  • October was another long month with long work hours, but I still got in a few socially distance nights with some wine and friends. October was also when I decided to run 35 miles for my 35th birthday in April. I needed something to keep me going during the winter. I didn’t want to rely on a race to keep e motivated when 2021 may still have cancelled races due to COVID. So doing it on my own terms felt like my best (and more fun) option.
  • November I finally got to see Sokhon after lord knows how long… over a year? I’m not even sure. Too long that’s for certain. But I was happy she got to see the house!
  • December was a bit more of an emotional roller coaster that I would have liked, but the holidays made it better. Ian and I celebrated our one year together. We got a real tree. I may have nearly had a heart-attack while watching him climb on our roof to put up Christmas lights, but they looked so pretty.

Funny enough, after I wrote this entire blog above the separator line the first week of January, I told myself that I would finish it up and get it posted and make sure to start posting regularly. Somehow it’s January 15th, and I hadn’t finished it so here we go.


New year, same me. I still can’t keep to my blog schedule, but I’m keeping to my running schedule. Progress, right?

I need to look back at 2020 and not think how much it sucked that so many things I wanted to do were cancelled. Three trips: Montana for a half marathon with Kristy in June, a Trail Sisters retreat in Colorado in August, and Georgia for my ultra in September. And so many other things cancelled: girls night, wine and pasta nights, just hanging out at Captain Mike’s for a beer after a long day in the office, time spent with family, birthdays and weddings missed, not being able to go to my mom’s doctors appointments that she had to go alone for, not getting up to Door County, no mini-weekend adventures… and the list goes on.

I was still able to get outside. I got to run safely with my friends (even if we were on the opposite sides of the street). I video chatted more often than I ever thought I would, which actually helped my fear of being on camera. I was really able to connect with more friends on a deeper level because we were all going through nearly the same thing. I learned more about myself. I may not have read any books like I planned to, but I did learn what not to do with weight training.

Circling back to what I said earlier in my post, “While we know deep down that 2020 brought on external factors that kept us from doing what we wanted it, it’s still really hard mentally to accept the fact that we set out to do something and couldn’t. Even though we know there was nothing that we could do about it. We still blame ourselves. (At least I know I do.)” (yes I quoted myself.) I feel like I’m still working through a lot of 2020. I’d like to not carry that over into 2021, but it’s hard not to. We are what we experience. And we take those experiences with us. I just need to be able to get to the point of “Okay. I’m good. I am mentally ready to just tuck 2020 into bed and leave it alone.” I know I’ll get there, and I have enough friends who will run with me to keep me focused. Running has been such a great outlet for me since 2015, but most specifically, through 2020.

So with that… cheers to 2021 and the hopes that I will maybe, for once, keep an actual good log of my ultra training progress. I’m already at 22 miles tomorrow so we’ll probably have one more longer update to “catch up.” And then we can just hope for smooth sailing from there.

Happy 2021.

Cheers.

-Megs

Bump In The Road

I’ve always been a planner. Your typical “Type A.” I could never pretend that i don’t have all these little lists of things that I need to get done – ranging from simple grocery store lists, to future home project, and more serious lists like life goals. I’ve learned how to navigate the twists and turns of my plans going awry and needing to adapt and remake my list.

The thing about me is that while I have things planned out, I’m also ready to adapt and be a little spontaneous.
Plans are just outlines.
A rough draft.
Something that can always be manipulated to get back on track.

But none of us were ready for 2020.

How could we learn to deal with a pandemic? None of us have lived through anything like this. How is it possible to adapt when there are so many unknowns? Spontaneity got dumped right out the window when our safer-at-home orders came through.

It will come as no surprise, but our first few months of this hit hardest for me. For most of us, really. We couldn’t see family or friends. Restaurants closed. Wisconsin bars closed! (Yes this is serious!) We couldn’t travel. All our plans got cancelled. All of them. It felt like there was no end in sight.

But one thing remained a constant in my life.

Running.

I started my ultra-marathon training in January. For a race in September. Official training started in April, but I needed to “pre-train” to get to the level I needed to be to just start training. Training for an ultra-marathon was something I never thought I would do. Even though I did a lot of running by myself in those first few months, it was that ONE thing in my life that didn’t change. Running was one thing I wasn’t afraid to do. For the first time in my life, I was afraid to see family and friends. I didn’t want to get gas in my car. I didn’t want to go grocery shopping. I even had a quarantine birthday. But running kept me sane. As best it could anyway.

That’s the thing about plans though. They always change. No matter what you think that constant is. Something is going to sweep you off your feet and force you to change. Even if you think you are standing on solid ground. You’re not.

May 9th. This was the last time I really ran through trails. I pulled my groin muscle. I can only assume it was from the constant dodging back and forth over rocks and leaping over tree branches. At first, it was what felt like a little pull. It didn’t hurt during my run. I described it as, “It feels like my quads after I run. They are sore after a run like the usual expected fatigue. No shooting pain during or after a run.” I decided to stop trail running, but continue my training on pavement for now. I could handle that. A small change which kept me away from some of my running partners, but a necessary change as to not aggravate muscles any more than I needed to.

May 23rd. My 18 mile run went so smoothly. I had continued my training on pavement. I needed to keep some sort of normalcy in my day to day life. I made sure to ice and stretch and really stay in tune to how my body was feeling. There wasn’t anything more than a little soreness which would last for not even a day, and then I felt as good as new.

May 26th. Plans. Out. The. Window. My 6 mile run ended abruptly 3 miles in. I tripped over an uneven sidewalk, and as I stumbled forward, catching myself from falling on the pavement, I jammed my leg into the ground, sending a shooting pain down my leg and my groin that had me stop running and walk the 3 miles home. This wasn’t the rough draft of an outline that I thought I’d ever have to rework. I didn’t want to not be able to run. I walked a mile, and tried to jog a little bit. Nope. It hurt. I wished in that moment that I would have just let myself fall. A bunch of scrapes on my arm would have been better than a jammed leg, right? This bump in the road wasn’t a contingency I planned for.

I stopped running for a few days. I felt a little lost without that one thing in my life that I could always count on being there. It forced me to learn even more about adapting to change, even if I didn’t want to. I attempted to run June 3rd, but that was a mistake. After talking with a few friends who had groin injuries before, I decided that I needed to just take the time off. Pounding the pavement wasn’t what I needed. I tried a test run with my bike to see how I would feel. I figured that there wasn’t as much impact on my legs with bike riding than there was with running.

IMG_20200617_054938-01

To my surprise, I felt great. I went into the bike ride thinking that I would need to walk it home. I wanted to have low expectations in order to not be disappointed. I think the hardest thing about training for anything is when it gets derailed. To know the limits between pushing yourself hard and pushing yourself to prolong an injury is a hard line to find. But I took a step back from running and hopped on my bike.

It was such a pleasant surprise how much I enjoyed biking. I used it as a second form of transportation, but really, it was my source of cardio. Between June 1st and June 17th, I put in 150 miles on my bike.

I never once experienced any pain. Soreness, yes, but that’s expected. And it was mostly in my quads and calves. Not anywhere else. I was learning more limits for myself and taking steps out of my own comfort zone:

– My first 30 mile bike ride
– Riding down busy roads isn’t as scary as I thought it would be
– Riding at night is way more fun than nerve-wracking
– Being more comfortable alone
– Finding out that a 13-20 mile bike ride day didn’t knock me out
– Not caring about random ass sweat marks in public 🙂
– Embracing some serious tan lines

IMG_20200621_135759

I found a love for biking that I never thought I’d have. To be fair, the bikes I have been on before were not my own and not as nice, so the seat hurt. A lot. It turned me off to biking. No one wants to go on a bike ride and not be able to sit later. But that didn’t happen.

Between Jun 17th and the 25th, I did some yoga and a handful of runs: a few 2 milers to start, then two 6 milers, a couple 5Ks and a 4 mile. I never once felt any pain. It was such a relief. I was starting to second guess how long I would be out.

My running buddy and I have both been out on injuries, but doing so well. We have a planned marathon on July 4th. Both of us really wanted to get on track with training for our ultra again and decided to take a shot and see how a 20 miler would do. We got up early Friday morning (Jun 26) and ran 20 miles, and both felt great during the entire run! It’s such an accomplishment to run 20 miles in the first place, but we’ve dealt with some serious wrenches in the training plan. I’m really proud of both of us.

I’m pretty sure I stretched for the entirety of Friday and Saturday. And iced more times than I could count. Was I a little afraid I took it too far? Yeah. Kind of. At this point I started planning for the worst case scenario. How could we not after the year we’ve been having? After all, my last long run was a month prior. I kept telling Melissa that we would be alright. That muscle memory would just kick in. And we would just stop if either one of us felt like we were pushing too much. We dialed down the pace and talked the entire time.

And just like that, the bump in the road that I thought would end up derailing my entire training, ended up not being so bad after all. To be able to pick yourself up from whatever situation you are in and rework that life list and get back on track… it’s such a proud and happy moment. Especially when there are so many unknowns.

I should have ran 150 miles in June. RAN. 150 miles.  I ended June with 50 running miles, and 160 biking miles (which is about the cardio equivalent of roughly 54 running miles) To me, that’s a big deal. It feels so far off my training plan. I’m sure by now, there have been a few thoughts from readers (if they even got this far) of, “Really? But it was an injury that barely took you out from training. It could have been so much worse!”

Of course it could have been worse. No matter what situation you’re in, something is always worse. But what does comparing do? Honestly. Think about that. What purpose does comparing have? Our ups and downs in life shouldn’t be measured against someone else’s ups and downs. Who is to say what is worse and what isn’t worse? Feelings are feelings and those are valid. That constant need to one up each other is the reason I haven’t really talked about this… until now.

Since March and the start of coronavirus, I started to surround myself with a true tribe of badass women, and yes, men too. While my change in plans may have seemed small, it had a huge impact on me.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to have to rework your plans as many times as you need to.
It’s okay to not even know what your plan is going to be.
It’s okay to change your mind about how you feel about a certain topic after learning new developments.
I learned a little bit of confidence in some of my decisions.
I’ve spoken out a little more about what I want, which has probably turned some people off to me, but I’ve gotten closer to some of my friends because of it.
It’s okay to want to be alone. And there’s no reason to make up an excuse to not hang out or go to an event. “I don’t want to” is an acceptable reason.
It’s ok to talk about failures. It isn’t always meant to be taken as “please pity me,” but instead, “hey, you’re not alone.” You never know who is going through things.

2020 is not over.
And from what we’ve seen so far, I’m not sure what Jumanji level we will end up at in December.

I know I’ll be challenged again and again when it comes to life, and training, and work, an anything else that life decides to throw at me (but like, please murder hornets, stay away).

One thing I know is for sure: The only actual constant in my life… is change.

 

Find the Lessons

What shall we do with all this extra time?
But sit here and think.
We think about our past and our future.
If it’s where we thought we would be at this moment in time.
And maybe some of the possibilities that we missed along the way.
Those little moments we should have acted on.
The opportunities we passed up because we were too afraid of disappointing ourselves.
Yet.
We never gave ourselves a chance.
We allowed ourselves to believe that we would fail before letting a little fragment of glitter crawl into our minds and letting us think that maybe,
just maybe,
we could do it.
We let those moments muddle our judgment.
The murky confinement inside our thoughts creates doubt.
We forget our accomplishments when we distort our thoughts with “what ifs”
and all the “could have beens” or who we let slip through our fingers.
Dangerous musings pierce our delicate minds during our most vulnerable moments.
Moments that we don’t show to anyone.
We hide behind forced smiles and quirky laughs
and motivational memes and carefully edited photos.

So we just sit with our feelings,
intense emotions we cannot dissect
like some science experiment in high-school when there was a first step,
and a next step to follow.
In sequence.
A direction of which way to go.
We couldn’t get lost.
But that time has passed.
And the directions have faded in the rain that pours from the clouds that you knew where coming,
but chose not to move.

And we remain stationary
in the rain,
which always smells like the first day of spring.
So fresh and so new.
And takes you back to that time where you were carefree and let the water fall down your face…
the days you used to carelessly dance in the rain in your polka dot rain boots,
because a five year-old doesn’t care if her dress is soaked and full of mud.
The mud which clings to her dress like unhealthy criticism attaches to our personalities as adults.

So we’ll continue to sit there.
A long while.
Or even a few days.
and overthink.
Investigate every decision.
Rip apart every emotion that we ever had…
until our guilt makes us numb.

These wasted thoughts take up space in our minds.
We know it will pass, but we stumble around in them anyway.
Because honestly,
the only way we can walk through the dark forest of regret
is after a double shot of that top shelf whiskey we can’t afford,
but pretend we can
Because we need to keep the fantasy that our lives are untroubled
and can support our cravings for likes and comments off carefully calculated photos of fabricated realities
even though we are crying out for the comfort and care for someone
who can help carry us through life.
But we can’t admit that.
Not yet anyway.
Not until the timing is right.

But the timing is never there.
We make excuses.
We fall over every decision as though someone put rocks in our shoes to remind us where we came from.
We’re unstable.
Insecure.
Tipsy.
It’s too cumbersome to take a moment to empty our shoes,
but instead move forward with the understanding that the rocks will create calluses to prevent us from feeling the realities of our falsified existence
because we buried our dreams in the soil of dead flowers we let rot in the garden where we got lost.
We thought those dreams were lost forever.
But nothing lasts forever.

Except the truth.

It’s in those revelations that we thought we knew what we wanted
Or who we wanted to be.
But sometimes,
well, most times,
the truth can get in the way of this.
We don’t actually know what we wanted or who we wanted to be.
If we can find the courage to look truth in the eye,
then the person we are is finally exposed.
The naked bits and pieces we buried deep within our graveyard of secret love letters we wrote ourselves that we swore we’d never read again.
These truths come with consequences though.
It comes with resentment.
and it comes with pain.
But it could come with comfort.
Living our own truths aren’t supposed to be comfortable.
It won’t wrap us up in our favorite blanket on a cool autumn night
as we sink our marshmallows into the fire, hoping it doesn’t burn,
but it always does because we are too mesmerized with the heat and the flame
And letting the smoke settle into our hair for us to remember in the morning.

The truth just takes us to where we want to go.
To where we need to go.
So in those moments we realize
we outgrew what we thought we once couldn’t live without.
We try to fall in love with the things we didn’t even know we wanted.
Things that may have surprised us.
Shocked our hearts.
Flipped our entire lives upside down.
Life is leading us on a journey we would never have chosen for ourselves.

We could keep ourselves stranded in our anxious illusions,
which are only waiting for us to fail,
Or we cannot be afraid of time.
The numbness we once felt melts away as we become aware we have more choices.
Choices to let go of the missed opportunities,
wipe the mud off our dress,
take the rocks out of our shoes,
reread our old love letters,
And breathe in the smell of the rain.

And find the lessons.

Queen Of Control

The truth is that we all want to be in control of our lives. To be able to determine how things are supposed to turn out: that vision we had when we were younger.  It’s normal to want to feel like you can have control over everything. It gives us a focus. A sort of balance in our lives that we strive for. That control that we want will eventually consume us. It becomes a race to perfection. To accomplish something first. To present the appearance that everything is perfect.

Even when it’s not.

Life is daunting. And social media feeds into our insecurities, which only further pushes us into the deeper fears of failure. Until reality slaps you in the face, it’s hard to recognize that we are tying to just conform to what we think people want to see.  The slippery slope of trying to balance real life, but, you know, don’t share too much because no one wants to hear your whining, but yet, keep it real; however, don’t share too much… it’s wild. There’s no middle ground.  So we hide behind perfect photos. We can control that. We control what people see. We control how we want people to perceive us. Until we get lost in trying to keep up with a fake image, we don’t realize how NOT in control we are.

Last year my near seven year relationship ended. And the majority of people that I knew were shocked. Why? That perfect image that was constantly displayed. Of course I blame myself for that. I’m the Queen of Control.  I liked hearing that I was lucky.  I wanted to have something that mattered. Something that people could point at me and say “you know what, I want what you have.”  It’s a good feeling when someone is striving for something you have. It makes you feel accomplished. Capable. Adequate. As though you checked off a life goal.

On New Years, I wrote this:

With the end of the year quickly approaching, everyone starts reflecting: the lessons we’ve learned and reminiscing about how far we’ve come. But this year is different. It’s not just the end of the year, but the end of a decade…

My journey is no different than anyone else’s. We’ve all loved and lost and traveled and learned lessons. We’ve made new friends and lost others. We’ve reached goals, but fell short with others. A decade holds so much history. We are not the same people that we started out as on this decade.

What I do know is this: you are not responsible for other people’s life choices. I’ll say it again. You are not responsible for other people’s life choices. Family, friends, significant others, acquaintances or coworkers … Their choices are theirs. And your choices are yours. Sometimes those two don’t align and you’ll find yourself at what you think is an impasse. Choose you. It’s not your responsibility to fix anyone. Don’t put that on yourself. You can be empathetic and show compassion and be a guiding light, but don’t run yourself to the ground trying to fix someone.

Our jobs are to love people, not change them.

Over the last few years, I lost myself. While I was *IN* those years living, I didn’t feel that way. “Hindsight is 20/20” rings true once again. The control that I thought I had in those years slipped through my fingers, and I was forced to find myself again recently.

Writing has always been something that I enjoyed doing. It was my passion that I lost. “Are you really going to write that” stuck with me. I became shy of what people would say of my thoughts and ideas. I second-guessed my short-stories and poetry.  I have 37 drafts sitting in my blog, never posted. Not finished. I haven’t posted since June 2019. I changed who I was in order to appease someone else and look like I had control of my life.

While the split was not initiated by me, it has slowly turned into the best thing that could have happened. I will not sit here and tell you that my time was wasted, even though in anger I may have said that to my inner circle months ago. I take that back.

I cannot control the past. I cannot control the way that I thought my life was going to be right now at the age of 33.  I cannot control other’s feelings towards me. What I can control is the understanding that this is where life has taken me and to do with it what I can. To move on. To be happy and live in the moment. I have created a safe place for myself in an apartment that I live alone and finally feel good enough about it to call it home.

I chose me.

I made some bigger goals this year so I can focus on myself. One of them is to write more. And an other is a 35 mile trail run in September, which is an entirely different post of how I got to that point.

But I’ll leave you with this: Be you and don’t lose sight of that. You’re in control of more than you realize.


Megs

 

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