Category Archives: Emotions

Of the Creative-Type.

Is it strange that I seem to write the most around midnight? I probably can’t be the only creative-type who has insomnia issues, mostly related to an influx of thoughts once it gets dark, right?

Lots of things are flowing through my brain right now, mostly in large part to the big project Tom and I have been working on for the last six months or so. This website is something that we’ve spent countless hours on, between the actually crafting of the content to managing the behind the scenes technical stuff, legal stuff, and marketing. It’s an idea that we’ve toyed around with since July, and we are so excited with the direction it’s taken and the reception it’s received.

Over the long winter break, we had two thirteen-hour car rides, in which many hours were spent discussing the site, working on outlines for new posts, new segments, marketing plans, and more. When we came home, totally invigorated and excited for all the new things we had planned, a funny thing happened. The website got a huge, huge promotion, landing on the front page of Reddit’s fitness forum {the largest and most frequently visited of its kind}. Not only were the number of visitors mind-boggling, but so were all the comments and feedback: the majority were overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I’d venture to say that 98% of it was positive. I still can’t quite wrap my brain around that.

It’s gratifying to see something you love so much be so well accepted. That’s obvious, right? But it was also so exciting to see this tiny baby project that we’ve fed and nurtured every night for hours go out into the big, scary world and succeed. When we started this, neither one of us had any direct experience in running a blog of this magnitude. Sure, I write here, and I write at my day job, but I don’t write about nutrition or cooking. I’ve never had to back up a database or try to troubleshoot a PHP log. But we’ve learned as we’ve gone, and dang it, I’m proud of me.

As I {sadly} get older, the urge to put roots down and start to settle into a typical lifestyle is becoming greater. It’s especially more profound when I visit back home and find all my friends buying houses, having babies, and getting promotions. It makes me start to question what I’m doing, and if it’s sustainable, and maybe I should just change gears altogether. And then I came back to Carolina, channeled all my creative energy into this project, and returned to the little bubble that is our unconventional life. And then yesterday happened, and it reaffirmed what I’ve known in my soul all along: my roots are in my projects, not in where I live. I am happiest when I am writing or creating, or learning new things. It soothes my soul in ways I could never form words to explain.

I am humbled and grateful to be of the creative-type, even if it means a few nights spent wide away, the only light in the house coming from my computer.

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Pollyanna.

If I try hard enough, I can find a silver lining in a lot of situations. For instance, right now, I’m telling myself that the silver lining to my insomnia (it’s currently 3 am) is that I do my best writing when I’m overtired. {Except for tonight. Because my grammar is terrible. Bear with me — I’ll edit when I have more than 6 hours of sleep in 3 days.}

When Tom ruined his ankle, looking back we can see how it landed us here in the Carolinas. Living 6 months apart when he was in California ended up being our saving grace, since we weren’t stuck in a lease and could move here for a better opportunity.

Tonight, or I guess last night, Tom didn’t make a legal snatch at the American Open, rendering him essentially out of the competition, out of medal contention, and unable to help his team get points for the title. It was, and is, an absolutely heartbreaking situation. The worst case scenario is always an injury. This seems like the second-worst.

It is so hard to put all this in perspective. Watching him come home every day from practice, bruised and bloody, aching and sore, you tell yourself that it’s all worth it. And for his teammates that walked away tonight with gold, unequivocally, it was. For the teammates that placed and put up respectable numbers, they’ll probably agree. But when he walked off that stage after the 3rd snatch, I wasn’t so sure. {Obviously it’s not my decision, I’m just keeping it real.}

And I wondered if he was going to come back out for the clean + jerk. I know Tom, and I know he’s not a quitter, but after a defeat like that, for someone as emotional as he is, you wonder if it’s worth the pressure. And then it was his turn, and he stormed up on that stage with a ferocity I had never seen before. And I knew at that moment he’d make his lift. And he did. And then his second turn. And the number was high. And I knew if he made this lift, his 3rd attempt would be a PR. And he made the second. And that was it. I knew he was going for it. He didn’t just walk onto that stage. He MARCHED onto that stage, staring this bar down, looking for vengeance. He was going to prove it to himself, to the audience, to his coach, to his teammates, and to that bar, that he was good. And he did. The lift was beautiful. The look on his face was frightening. And then his victory celebration…it was so exciting.

And there you have your silver lining. The feeling I had in my stomach after the snatch session was awful, and I wouldn’t want to experience that again or wish it upon another lifter. But without that, I wonder if he would have made the 192 later. Would he have the determination, the fuel, the focus that it would take to get three white lights?

Medal or no medal, it is obvious to see that this kid has something special. He’s strong, but he’s new and raw in this sport. And tonight is the sandpaper that will smooth him down and make him a great weightlifter.

“In this life, we’re not looking for easy. We’re looking for worth it.”

Citius, Altius, Fortius

As a person with feelings, it’s hard to watch the Olympics and not get caught up in the emotions of the competitions. It’s hard to NOT cheer for the underdog, hard NOT to tear up when an Olympian tears up on the podium as her national anthem plays, hard to NOT root for and get disappointed when the US doesn’t take the gold. Even before my husband began taking steps towards his Olympic dream, I loved the drama and exhilaration of watching The Games. But now that we’re here and watching other athletes with paths similar to ours, it’s an entirely different thing.

It’s hard for me to watch these athletes’ loved ones in the stands without wondering if it will be me the cameras are panning to in eight years…(well, assuming cameras are there. His sport is the one they air at 2 am because it’s not super popular.) It’s hard to not wonder if I’ll be biting my nails as he approaches the platform, if our families will be with us or watching from home, if his teammates will be representing the US, or if they’ll have been edged out by the competition.

Four years would be pure luck (and, as Tom was told by one of his Olympic heroes Brian Oldfield, “Good luck, and by that I mean work hard, because there’s no such thing as luck in this sport.”) Eight years is the goal…a dream so far out of reach right now that the host city hasn’t even been chosen yet. Tokyo, Madrid or Istanbul hold our hopes, without even knowing it.

I read somewhere today that the Olympics are 95% narcissism and 5% national pride. There’s a grain of truth in that, I guess. I think the percentages are pretty far off, though. But I think that’s a necessary combination. To do what Tom does to his body day in and day out, you have to want this so much for reasons beyond American pride. To spend 4+ hours a day training, 2 hours actively recovering (that means tubs full of ice and painful muscle stripping), and another 3-4 hours watching the Greats, your competitors, your teammates and yourself on Youtube, you have to want this for yourself. You have to be crazy enough to analyze videos from the ’70’s while rolling your muscles out on PVC pipe to reduce the inflammation from today’s workout. You have to be crazy enough to give up not one, not two, but three jobs you love to move across the country to train with the best coach and athletes. You have to be crazy to give up a steady paycheck and a comfortable life for one of little monetary reward and lots of physical risk.

You have to be crazy enough to want the Gold. Or the Silver. Or the Bronze. Or just the chance to march in the Opening Ceremonies, donned in the colors of your country, as millions around the world recognize you for the talent you have and the sacrifices you make.

Or, you must be crazy enough to stay married to someone who wants all that.

To my love: Citius, Altius, Fortius 2020.

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Jiggity-Jig.

I travelled back to Chicago this weekend. It was a quick trip – equal parts business and pleasure, colleagues and family, alcohol and water, comfortable and strange.

Yesterday provided me plenty of time (2+ hours in the airport, 4+ hours on planes) to mull over recent events. For as happy as I was to be “home,” I could not wait to be back in Carolina. As I waited to get off my final plane and into the arms of my cute husband/chauffeur, my seatmate asked where I was headed. “Nowhere. I’m home now,” I hastily replied, anxious to grab my bag and go.

And then it hit me. It was so natural to say I was home, even though there are plenty of times when it doesn’t feel that way.

As the clock ticked past midnight, I couldn’t wait to get into my apartment, where my dogs, my bed, my carefully-hunted antiques and hot-pink pillows awaited me…where my suitcases full of clothes are still awaiting to be unpacked from the move…where I was sure to find a sink full of dirty dishes and an empty fridge…my hallmarks of home.

I answered the questions “How do you like South Carolina?” and “How is your husband doing?” a lot the past few days. And the answers were always the same…”Better than I thought I would,” and “Beat up, but still making progress.” And I guess therein lies the truth in the whole situation. We’re beat up — him physically, and me emotionally, but we’re better than we thought we would be. It’s an adventure, and we’re really digging writing this new chapter.

My mom made a comment to me yesterday…something along the lines of, “You seem to really be making the most out of this whole thing.” And I am. Or at least I’m trying really hard. Sometimes, I think that’s all that’s needed to convince yourself that things are good.

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On the Road

Technology is amazing, isn’t it? I sit here writing to you all from somewhere in Indiana, en route to my new home. By the time I’m done writing, we’ll be closer to Kentucky.

This just does not feel real. Have 6 months really passed?

Every bump and jolt of the vehicle reminds me that I am indeed on my way to a new life. It sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s true…very few things are the same now. New apartment, new surroundings, new way of living (just found out I’m allergic to gluten), new job (same company, thankfully!). So what’s the same?

You.

My family, my friends, my work wife, my coworkers…you’re still all here for me, encouraging and supporting this dream, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I cried yesterday…a lot. It’s not easy to make me cry, but I just couldn’t stop the past few days…waving goodbye to my friends and colleagues, getting those tight squeezes from my nieces, the card from my goddaughter that tells me how sad she is that I’m leaving, breaking down when my mother in law asks me how I’m doing, kissing my grandmother goodbye for the very last time…

(And now I’m crying again.)

No amount of excitement can temper the sadness that I’m feeling. Even the fact that I’m returning in the next few weeks doesn’t help.

Please keep my parents and I in your thoughts for a safe and uneventful journey. I will report back in better spirits in Carolina!

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Battle Wounds.

Everyone’s been asked some form of this question: “Where were you when…

…President Kennedy was assassinated?
…the planes hit the World Trade Center?
…your spouse asked you to marry them?”

All of us can recall these heart-stopping moments; the personal, the emotional, the patriotic. I can remember very clearly both times I found out my husband was going into emergency surgery. {Never a good idea to try to continue your yoga class after that phone call, folks. All the meditation in the world can’t help you.} I remember where I was, down to every single detail, when I found out my niece had passed away. {Bleachers of my high school pool; I knew something wasn’t right when my mom missed my first home swim meet that season.} I remember with crystal clarity the moment Tom received the phone call officially inviting him to California {2 am, CST, the night before Christmas Eve.}

I think in the moments of uncertainty, when your world is rocked and your bones are jarred, there are two types of people: those who look forward and do their best to right themselves, and those that sink into the spinning with self-pity.

Out of many of these moments, even the ones that bring despair and heart-wrenching grief, there is always something positive to recognize. Disorder and chaos can birth some of the greatest joys, failure and rejection can raise the fiercest of passions, pain can breed appreciation and gratitude.

This blog is me, whole and unabridged, unfiltered and raw. My emotions live here, snaking across the page in black and white, a constant reminder of what I feel and how deep I feel it. In “real life,” however, I have a bit of a reputation as an ice queen, someone who is quick to numb themselves from the situation, coolly and brusquely plowing through a problem. The reality is that despite my appearance, I observe, feel, embed, and over think every detail of a situation, from the words that were uttered to the tone that shrouded it, and everything in-between. I replay scenes in my head, a Nancy Drew hunting for meaning behind words and actions. I watch conversations unfold in my mind over and over, analyzing and over-analyzing, until I’m so wired that I’m exhausted and can sleep for eight hours uninterrupted. Tonight, I am fired up. Tonight, the ice queen is not here. Tonight, I am feeling the hot burn of painful memories, ripped open with new weapons.

Tonight, I will vividly remember for years to come, just like I remember that night in December of 2008, and the sunny afternoon in April 2007. To you, they might mean nothing. To me, they were everything, and I have the scars to prove it.

Please choose to be the person that looks for the silver lining. Please choose your words carefully. They could mean the world to someone, and you might not even know it.

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