Archive | January, 2013

Being sad in my heart

13 Jan

There are periods of time when, almost every day, I think about jumping into the river as I drive over it on my way to work. In the summertime, I am not so sure that the fall would kill me, but in the winter, I am fairly certain it would.

I don’t need to be hospitalized. I don’t need my medication changed. I am not in danger or looking for attention. I’m sad in my heart. Depressed. Suicidal I suppose. Sometimes I feel like this almost every day. I’ve learned to live with it.

When my last relationship ended and I got sick, I wanted to die so that I could punish my ex. I know that’s stupid, 1. because he’d never know and 2. because he’d never care. The only people who would be punished, or hurt, are the people who love me, and he never did.

After I decided to keep dating, I had a new problem to deal with: how to tell men I have a disease, how to handle their rejection. I don’t feel sorry for myself because I accept responsibility for my actions, but every time a man tells me he could never deal with my health concern, I cry so hard it hurts in my arms and legs. I want to do something to make that hurt go away.

I don’t really want to die. I don’t think I need to talk to anyone or take more pills or take a bath or eat chocolate or go for a run. When I think like this, I am fully aware that I can change it; I can choose how to feel. I can feel depleted, rejected, disgusting, dirty, defeated, abused, or I can choose another feeling. I keep telling myself, “You can feel something else, Wendi.” I keep saying it and saying it.

Yesterday I was running by the river. It was cold, but the sun was out. I was about halfway through a 14-mile training run. I wasn’t running like Kara Goucher or anything, but I was doing fine. As I passed a certain spot, I wondered how cold the water is. I wondered how long it would take for my heart to stop beating if I jumped in wearing all my running clothes. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” by Kelly Clarkson was playing in my head. Ironic, isn’t it?

I don’t need you to reach out to me or pray for me or pity me or damn me to hell for being a selfish sinner. I wanted to write about this because I have friends who feel this way, too. Many of them never tell anyone. I want them to know they aren’t alone.

I will feel better. Soon. Someday. Maybe for days and days and days at a time. It won’t be because I have a date or find a partner or because something changes in my life. It won’t be because the sun shone for several days in a row or because I finished a marathon or because I lost five pounds. I will just feel better and everything will be fine. This, too, shall pass.

Today I am sad in my heart. Maybe tomorrow my heart will be better.

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Being a runner

9 Jan

As a young girl, I was incredibly un-athletic. I was a member of the track team at my school and ran the mile, the distance no one else wanted to tackle. I was the very worst runner perhaps in our whole conference, and I remember at times holding up the next event because I was still finishing my four laps. Four. Stinking. Laps around the track.

Today I’m 41 and I run marathons. In the last three years, I have finished three marathons and several (four, five?) half marathons as well as many 10K and 5K races and a couple of odd distances. I’ve learned a lot about running, about my body, and about myself in those three years, including some lessons that were especially painful.

Perhaps the most important lesson, as cliché as it sounds, is to keep on going. It’s a lesson I find myself repeating over and over again in the last few months. Almost every day I want to quit – running, trying, waking up, working, loving, living – but I keep telling myself not to quit. Not yet. Keep on going.

I’m fairly certain that every runner, even those who win marathons, thinks about quitting – if not quitting entirely then perhaps pulling out of a race or just calling it quits on a particularly difficult workout. Most days, we love running and it feels good to accomplish a run of any distance, but some days, running is hard. And it hurts. And you want to lie down on the grass and get a tan that doesn’t end at your sock line.

But you keep going.

You keep going when you’re at mile 15 of a 20-mile training run because what’s five more miles? You keep going when your feet are burning and the sweat is trailing down into your eyes. You keep going when your ass is frozen and there’s sand in your shoes and your stomach is growling.

And you get up at the crack of dawn on race day and go to the bathroom four times and two more times at the start line porta-potty and you find your place in the chute and you know that after the gun goes off, you’re going to be running for about five more hours (that’s me anyway, some people are a lot faster than I am!). Then after you cross the finish line and get your medal and banana and yogurt and whatever the hell else they have (ice cream at Grandma’s Marathon!) you rest for a few days and go right back out there because that’s what runners do.

Last weekend I had a 13-mile training run on my schedule. I knew that running the three lakes (a common route in my city) would put me at about 10 miles, so I added on a little loop that I believed would get me closer to 13. Turns out I just didn’t plan very well, so when I got near the point where I thought I could finish, I still had four miles to go. And let me tell you, they were four of the hardest miles I have done in a long time.

The fact is, I could have quit. I’m working with a trainer, but she’s not actually with me when I run so I could have turned left instead of right and just told her I wasn’t feeling it. She wouldn’t have cared, and I could have avoided 40 minutes of torture. But I didn’t do that. I kept going. It sucked, but I finished. Then I locked my keys in my trunk. Saturday was not my best day.

When I was running those last four miles, I was thinking about how I’ve wanted to give up on dating. Last summer I met a man I loved more than I have ever loved anyone. I thought I would be with him forever. Then, at the same time I found out he lied to me about many things, I also discovered that I was infected with a virus which I will have for the rest of my life. When I tell men about this virus, they do not want to be in a relationship with me. It’s possible that one day I will meet a man who will understand and be willing to accept me, but so far that has not been my experience.

It hurts like hell to be rejected over and over and over again, but I keep telling myself not to give up because I want to be in love. I believe I can be. I believe there is someone for me. I believe there are good people in the world and that I am a good person who deserves to be loved.

So I keep going, even when it sucks. Even when nice men who said they were interested in seeing me again just stop responding to my messages. Even when creepy men make rude comments. Even when it seems like a better idea to get another kitten and take up knitting. Because somehow, it’s more admirable to be able say you kept trying in the face of adversity and you worked hard and crossed the finish line in one piece than to say you gave up because it was difficult.

Right?

Keep running. Keep going. Keep trying. Keep loving. Keep getting up day after day after day especially on the days when you just want to go back to sleep. I think it will be worth it in the end.

Being on a dating site

4 Jan

This afternoon I read a piece on the XX Factor blog written by Amanda Hess in response to an Atlantic article about how online dating is threatening marriage. It’s a somewhat sad but well written commentary that should make all of you happy if you are partnered. Or at least I hope it makes you grateful that you do not currently have a profile on a dating website.

I have a profile on a dating site for one reason: so I can get the hell off of said dating site. That would mean I met someone and we started dating each other and each other only and we both decided to delete our profiles because we were pretty sure we’d had our last first/blind date ever.

It’s important to remain optimistic in these situations.

I’ve had profiles on lots of sites at lots of different times. I’ve met lots of really wonderful people, and of course I’ve met some awful people, too. For a woman like me who lives with her two cats, works two jobs, exercises too much, doesn’t go to bars or clubs, and doesn’t attend a church or belong to a group of any kind, a dating site is a perfectly legitimate, mostly safe place to meet a potential partner.

But let me tell you, I want nothing more than to get off of that site!

In the two or three weeks that I’ve had a profile on this site, I’ve received several messages from shirtless men or men holding a fish or men who live hundreds of miles away from me. And I received one especially unkind message from a man with a remark about my hair – a message to which I did not respond.

Last week I met a very nice man who is recently divorced after a 20-year marriage and is scared to death of dating. I am fairly certain that he had no intention of seeing me a second time when he had coffee with me. I was just a practice date.

I also met a man and had a fun, flirty conversation over coffee. He said he’d like to see me again and we made plans to go to a movie. He walked me to my car and gave me a little kiss on the cheek. The next day we had a little bit of communication in the morning. In the afternoon, I sent him a text message saying that the movie he wanted to see was playing at the theater he wanted to go to on Saturday at 7:20. No response. I sent another one later in the day asking if he got my first message. No response.  Finally today I sent a message saying that since he hadn’t responded, I assumed he had changed his mind. I wished him luck in his search. No response.

It’s fun to meet people even if you know there won’t be a second date – and trust me, you know pretty quickly whether or not there’s going to be another. As a writer, I enjoy listening to people’s stories, and I try to take at least one good thing away from every experience I have. But sometimes it’s hard to continue to feel good about yourself and about humanity when you go on date after date and none of those dates turns into an “I can’t wait to see you again!”

Amanda Hess concludes: “No, online dating is not a joy. It is a horrific den of humanity that sometimes seems even less fun than actually being married. But it is kind of funny and interesting, mostly because it throws the offline dating economy into stark relief.”

It certainly can be a horrific den of humanity, but you can meet nice, normal people in that den. I’m in it this time because I want to be in love, and I believe that I can be a fantastic partner to the right person. But honestly, I just can’t wait to get out of that den for good!

Being resolute

1 Jan

Just now in the bathroom at Caribou I decided not to make any New Year’s resolutions, and here’s why: I don’t want to fail. Or rather, I don’t want you to know that I might fail.

Looking back on 2012 makes me really sad. Even though a lot of bad things happened, I don’t have ANY regrets, but I want to put that year behind me and start fresh. I want to live and love fully this year. I want to have new experiences. I want to make my life bigger. I want to be alone less. I want to be healthy and strong. But I’m not going to resolve to do anything except to not make any resolutions.

That said, I do have some goals for this year. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Start a marathon, finish it, and get a PR.

I’m registered to run the Big Sur Marathon in April, but I had always planned to run that with the support of my ex-boyfriend. Given all that happened in the last year with him, I decided not to do that race because I want to avoid one more memory of him. It just seems best to leave the dream of running Big Sur for another day. So I’m going to run the Fargo Marathon again in May, and this time I intend to finish it. I feel that accomplishing that after not finishing last year, especially if I can set a new personal record, will be much better for my soul.

2. Continue searching for a partner.

Maybe you all think I’m doing this wrong and I’ll find love when I stop looking for it (which I think is crap), but I really want to be in love so I’m going to keep searching for a partner. I may have lots of first dates and heartbreaks, but I might just find someone who will love me and let me love him.

3. XYZ

This is a goal I can’t really publish, but trust that if and when I accomplish it, I’ll let you know! It has to do with starting a new chapter in the story of my life.

4. Fill up my Gratitude Jar.

My friend Katie introduced me to a gratitude jar, and I started one in December. Every time I am grateful (not every day) I write what I am grateful for on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. In 12 months, I’ll open up that jar and read the papers, and maybe when I look back on 2013 I won’t feel so sad.

 

That’s it for now. Here’s hoping that 2013 is a wonderful, healthy, joyous year for all of us!