5 years sober

Because I don’t have a sponsor and I don’t go to a support group, I usually forget my sobriety birthday: then Lumpy does something nice and reminds me. It turns out that August 22 is the day, and it’s a big one this time. 5 years. When you go regularly to support groups, you are usually asked how you did it on your anniversary, and I would like to just say that I did everything they told me to do for the first year to year and a half, then I relied on therapy, gratitude, and my own intuition about what I needed. Also, I’m stubborn as hell and competitive with myself, so seeing this as the longest race of my life helps keep my head in the game.

I’m lucky that I had an entire life before drinking of healthy non-alcoholic fun, so that part hasn’t been as bad for me as it can be for others. The hardest part for me has been processing death and not falling into old emotional patterns. I’m not always successful, but I DO it, anyway.

I’m eating pizza tonight to celebrate. 5 years.

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Things not to do

I went back to see a new orthopedic doctor today about my back pain, and before anything else, he  told me that, at this point, I should avoid doing things that make my back hurt. I kind of lost my shit, started crying and raised my voice at this point, because I don’t think anyone is listening anymore. I’m going for an MRI now, and I’m pretty fucking sure that they are missing something that I hope shows up in the MRI, because all their focus is ON THE WRONG SPOT. The spot that shows arthritis in my back has never caused me any problems. So, I thought I would write down all things I would have to avoid, if I want to not irritate my back.

  • Stand up from sitting, or sit from standing.
  • Get on or off the toilet.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Pick up dog poop when I’m walking the dogs.
  • Pet the dogs.
  • Get in and out of the car.
  • Put on and take off  pants or shorts.
  • Put on, take off, or tie my shoes.
  • Turn the shower on before getting in.
  • Get in or out of the shower.
  • Sit in the car more than 10 minutes.
  • Sit and teach for more than 10 minutes.
  • Bend forward at all.

So, I would like to know how this guy thinks I should live. He only recommended the MRI after I lost my shit in his office. If one more motherfucker tells me about my back pain that is not in the spot I told them it was, I will be forced to punch him in the face.

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racial justice

I became a racial justice facilitator about a year ago. I’ve only done maybe 4 events, but I  feel like just before and since I went through the training, I started truly considering my own racism and how I honestly feel about black people. What I’m learning is that I still have more to do to conquer my learned biases and assumptions. It’s a  long process. I wish I’d started it sooner.

I grew up more or less surrounded by uneducated white people who didn’t have a lot of experience with people of other races and religions. I can see now how I took on the cultural beliefs and attitudes of the adults around me, while still somehow managing to not think that it was really right. I feel really lucky to have had the nagging feeling in the back of my head that caused me to do more reading and exploring back then. I am ashamed of things I’ve said and things I thought were true, though I do know that I didn’t “know better” at that point.

I’ve  been dabbling in genealogy for a while now, and I know for sure that there were slaveholders in my family, so I’ve been obsessed lately with reading the runaway slave announcements that my ancestors put in the newspapers in Virginia, and thinking hard about how slavery benefited them and me. I’m currently reading The Half Has Never Been Told , which is about how slavery built American capitalism. It’s rough-I haven’t even gotten through the first chapter and I feel like my head is going to explode. It makes it more real to then read the runaway slave ads in the old papers.

I’m not sure what the point to this post is, other than I am so troubled over what’s finally showing up in the media here in the U.S. It makes sick to think how much of this has been happening that we didn’t know about due to lack of curiosity, lack of media coverage, and lack of belief. I wonder if the rate at which women are raped and the rate at which black people are hurt or killed by white people is similar, which means it’s atrociously high. I am trying to relate to or understand how it feels to wear the reason people hate you and treat you like an animal on your skin and to never be able to just blend in. I do know what it feels like to feel like an object in public just because of how my body looks, but I can still sometimes find ways to mask myself and make myself invisible.

The color of our skin is what it is ONLY because our ancestors evolved at certain distances from the equator. That is all. That thought alone blows my brain wide open. I think about American history and all the pain caused black people in this country because of skin color. On top of that, slaves were never willing immigrants to this country. Most black people are descendants of people who DID NOT CHOOSE to come here, unlike most of the rest of the white and  brown populations in the U.S. Another mind-blowing thought when you then consider what we have done to black people.

I have so much to think about. I still have so much self-examination to do.

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Running with dogs, version 5,061.0

I was finally able to run again today. Nothing spectacular, just a nice jaunt around one of the lakes with the pup. Running with Ripley is such a different beast than running with Guinness (who is actually now retired), but I’d like to share what I’ve learned from the two:

  • Puke, lick your chops, and keep going.
  • Fake like you see or smell something fascinating off the path as an excuse to stop running.
  • Sometimes the best part of the run happens when you pull off to the side and hit the grass.
  • When people, other dogs, and children approach in a way that makes you uncomfortable, a simple verbal warning should suffice. If not, turn it up a notch and let ‘er rip.
  • Sometimes you’re going to have to poop in less than desirable conditions.
  • Go in the water when you can.
  • The right kind of breathing/panting lessens stress and heat. So can a good, squeaky yawn.
  • When it’s too hot you shouldn’t run. Period.
  • Walking isn’t as fun, but it gets the job done.
  • Delight in being off leash.
  • Trail running? Yes.
  • Some things were meant to be sniffed, others rolled in.
  • Play a lot when running and play hard.
  • You don’t have to get in the car right away and drive home when you’re done. Sit in the grass and appreciate what you’ve just done. Breathe.
  • Occasionally turning your head and  making eye contact with your running partner makes you both feel better.
  • When you’re running trail, always turn and make sure the rest of the pack is still with you.
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Ever have one of those days?

The one where you wake up and think you will start running again after time off due to cough, diminished lung capacity, back pain, knee pain, and vacation? Then you see that there’s a wind advisory and you decide to run anyway, because what the fuck, you’re hardcore and  have run in worse conditions, right? So you run, and you find that your wheezing has turned into a really loud whistling sound that is concerning even to you, who is willing to put up with bullshit aches and pains and weird sounds because you are so fucking tired of your body falling apart and this aging shit is for the birds, isn’t it? Why didn’t anyone tell you about THE PAIN???? You’ve  been an athlete forever, right? So, with the whistling  wheezing craziness coming from your chest, you keep on running and realize that, as usual, you’re dressed perfectly only for one direction and  the direction you are going now makes you feel slightly cold, so  you keep running to stay warm, and the puppy decides to pull a  Guinness and is now near the back of the leash and you realize that you have the biggest asshole dogs on the planet, because they are HERDERS for fuck’s sake, and herders are supposed to run for days, but yours don’t because they are  defective and you think that maybe it’s time to trade them up for newer and better models that are not such assholes, and why the fuck don’t they have fucking jobs anyway the spoiled bastards. On your way home you realize that partly cloudy in the forecast means full cloud coverage because the weather people think that shit’s funny and they are also assholes, just like your non-running running dogs and fuck them because they don’t have depression, obviously, that is GREATLY affected by gray days and obviously they don’t give a shit about people who do, because WHY LIE otherwise? So, you obsessively take large amounts of vitamin D and research how much is too much because you really really really need to know so that you can attempt to stave off this bout of depression because depression lies and you are pretty sure you know that but the hopelessness comes anyway, and after 2 days of the SAME FUCKING HEADACHE, you still have the thoughts in the back of your head that say that death is not the worst thing in the world, after all, because you have lived one hell of a life so far, and not ever having that fucking headache that you can pinpoint with one finger because that’s how sharp and localized it is would be fucking awesome. No more headaches, ever. No, they’re not migraines, because nothing that you do is “normal” and you get cluster headaches “that are typically male” and why the fuck not? Then later that same day you find out that the one student you rearranged your goddamn fucking schedule for and inconvenienced other students for decided she “can’t take lessons this session, after all”, after you’ve already figured out the minimum cost and counted on her piece of shit money and  her stupid self-centered ass to come to your house and not actually listen to you when you are teaching then make your repeat everything 2-3 times, and now she’s not coming and you have to ask your other students for more money, and you  feel like the WORLD’S BIGGEST ASSHOLE, and hey, of course, because that only makes the depression worse, right? and you realize after about the 500th time that you’ve checked the weather forecast that it’s not going to be sunny tomorrow either, that you are actually depressed AGAIN, and you decide to put off the cleanse you are “supposed to” be doing right now and want pizza for dinner AGAIN, then feel fat and happy, yet unhealthy  at the same time, and think about the headache that is only kind of gone for now, because you KNOW it’ll be back soon (miss you!) and boy oh boy do I hate clouds and living here and asshole students. Then you think about how staying home and doing nothing should actually be an option for depressed people, and that you are really really good at it and should get paid for it because the thought of moving breathing getting out of bed exercising eating talking driving thinking doing  anything except drinking coffee and doing crossword puzzles is TOO DAMN MUCH.

Yep. I’ve had one of those days, too.

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Things I know about winter running:

1. You are always dressed perfectly in one direction and overdressed in the other.

2. Waterproof trail runners.

3. The wind will always change direction to be at my face.

4. It will only be icy when I forget to put on my grippers.

5. I will only be sunny if I forget to put on my sunglasses.

6. I sweat just as much in negative degrees as I do at 90°F.

7. No one shovels before 6:00 p.m.

8. My dogs’ excitement levels grow in proportion to the amount of snow and my irritation level.

9. I am getting old and tired.

10. Staying in and reading is a viable option.


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Holding on

I’m going back to Santiago in a year, so I’m holding on until then.

I’m taking a vacation around Easter. Holding on until March 19.

Still a little heart-sore about Lily. Holding on until I feel better.

I’m holding on to my hopes about running. I will be able to breathe once we get my asthma medication right, and I finish this round of knee shots.

I’m making The Fuzz hold on to their horses while I finish this post. It’s FUD time, y’all!

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