The random weirdness of boys, little and not-so-very
Notes to self - Christmas edition

Doing my best

People online are kind. Oh, not strangers, I suppose. But when you make contact - even the barest brush of common reality - they are kind. So I write here, and someone I've never met recognizes something about their life in what I have to say, and then they are kind. I disappear, and they gently prod. I'm stalking you now, where did you go? Wait longer, and they ask. Are you okay?

I am okay, and thank you for your kindness. But I find myself quiet lately. For the longest time, actually. The other day I was outside, in the morning, walking up the driveway to collect the newspaper. The driveway winds up to the road and when I turned, paper in hand, to wander back down to the house, I stood for a moment and looked. I love this new home of ours, love the space, the light, the chickens in the back, our ungainly and lovely large family all gathered here on this property that rolled out below me. 

I am lonely, the thought whispered, unbidden in my head. I miss myself.

It's this year, I suppose. This long, strange journey of a year. It was just this time, last year when I was telling you all about the new changes in our lives. I can't stand to link to it, sorry. It was about us converting to the Catholic church, the new house we found, and our surprise baby. Life looked so very shiny and new.

When Eva died, I was stunned. I still don't have the right words for that, but let's step over the initial storm, to the primary thought that I grasped in the midst of it. I failed her. My task was her life, and I failed her.

As soon as I was cleared to return to the gym (which was really quickly, in my memory - like two weeks), I attacked it. My stated goal was to not look pregnant anymore, because people kept asking me how I was, and then I had to tell them, and then everyone felt awful. So I would fix it.

Except I couldn't do that either. When I worked out, instead of the calm energy I expected, I just felt more exhausted. Sometimes I would leave and sit in my car and cry at how hard it was and how incapable I was. So I decided obviously what I needed was to work harder. Uphill sprints. THAT would help.

Yes, in case you're wondering, I hear how crazy that is now.

The upshot of all that was that I injured both achilles tendons. If you're shopping around for an injury, and you're considering the achilles, may I suggest you NOT? It's a bitch of an injury. At the beginning it just hurts when you start exercising, and you can easily push through until the pain subsides. When this happens, you have not won anything. You now owe the achilles, and it will exact its due. 

Eventually I was hobbling around like a 90 year old. And I couldn't exercise. If I didn't lay off and let it heal, I was flirting with the chance of rupturing the tendons in both my heels, and that's...not good.

Since there is very little blood flow to tendons, injuries there take ages to heal. After an ocean of ice packs (can I tell you how much I hate being cold? CAN I?), an entire pharmacy worth of anti-inflammatories, so many stretches that Cirque du Soleil thinks I should give it a rest, and months of no gym, no really not at all, I'm starting to feel better. But this whole time between has not felt like healing. It's felt like being trapped in a body I don't recognize, a tired and old body that doesn't function the way I expect it. It felt like failing. I'm fat, I said, but what I meant was I'm failing. Everything. And I'm fat.

Saturday was the first time I went back to the gym since...probably March. It wasn't my old gym (we've moved, see?), but the rec center in our new town. It's a typical rec center weight room, not fancy, but well equipped. I walked in, and nearly walked right out again, not sure I could spend an hour with that many mirrors. I'd forgotten my water bottle. I was afraid.

I stepped on a elliptical machine, input my information, and...stepped. Instantly I fell into a rhythm, one my body knows. My heart accelerated, and I peeled off my jacket. I stepped and stepped and "listened" for any word of protest from my achilles. But it felt good. I was stiff and slow and my breath grew short really quickly. But it felt good.

Twenty minutes of cardio, and then fifteen minutes with the free weights. No lunges, no squats, until my ankles are 100%, so I stood in front of the mirror and worked on my arms. By the second set, I managed to meet my own eyes in the mirror. For the first time in a very very long time, I almost recognized myself. I saw more than the extra weight and the undeniable age. 

I'm doing the best I can. I suppose we all are.




I hope this is the beginning of your recovery and like I wish for Mir I hope that 2013 is a much better year for you

Holly Gault

Learning to care for yourself is hard, isn't it. I offer (((hugs))), too.


I'm sorry you feel lost. People do care. You aren't alone. I hope you find some peace and energy in the new year (or sooner would be nice)


I'm sorry too. I was the one who had a surprise pregnancy at around the same time, which also ended badly... my pregnancy didn't go nearly as far as yours, and I knew the odds of a miscarriage at my age, and yet still when I see a baby, it hurts. I can only imagine what it's like for you.

But be kind to yourself, we're all doing what we can in different circumstances ... and the fact that there are online people who care means there must be a lot more than what you're seeing in yourself. And definitely, no failure.


Oh and doing your best is ALL YOU CAN DO! Certainly no more than that :)
So glad you came up for air. If you can get back to the gym after all that SO CAN I.
Can you come help me find my gym shoes?
Missed you lots. Sorry we look forward to your voice in these electronic parts so often. You are treasured more than you know!


Yes, the faceless (but not always nameless) We are glad to see you back. I hope this is the beginning of great things for you.


Meeting one's own eyes in a mirror is no small feat. My own slide away more often than I care to admit here.
As much as it must hurt to think of what you do not have this Christmas, I know you are going to be okay.
Have a blessed Christmas and a very happy hopeful New Year.


Oh you break my heart when you say "My task was her life and I failed her." Partly because I feel the same exact way and partly because I hate that anyone else in this world feels that way too.

All you can do it your best. Thinking of you.

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