Archive | June 2013

Star City of the South to the City of Brotherly Love

Friday, we left for our 10 year anniversary trip. The next few entries will be sharing our trip with you.

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Thursday- our kids were picked up and the pets were prepped and I had everything organized (darn cranes). So we visited the Village Grill and had some drinks.Image

Friday -we were up and out the door by 5:15 and we rode the bus from downtown Roanoke, Virginia to Lynchburg, Virginia then onto Amtrak heading to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We took time to talk, read and listen to music. Getting to Philadelphia was a breeze. Once there though, man we were confused by where the heck we were going, but it was really fabulous. Yes, lost and confused in Philadelphia and fabulous…. The 30th street station is absolutely amazing and beautiful. The problem was we didn’t understand that to catch the subway you had to walk outside and cross the street to the subway station. Super helpful people helped us along the way. Just random people willing to help – One helped get my bag unstuck from the door. We took the stair exit once and were attempting to carry our baggage up a huge flight of stairs, but do not distress… you are in the city of brotherly love and along comes a gentlemen who carried my luggage. I could keep going but I wont. I was afraid to say anything for fear of a “jinks” in my impression of Philadelphia, but really every single elevator that could be held was… every ticket person… every store owner… every waitress…  I mean truly every single person we encountered was inviting, helpful and kind.

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We stayed at a lovely small hotel right near the water and it was right next to the highway, but you couldn’t hear it. Not wheelchair friendly, I would say, but it was right there near everything we wanted to see and a block from the subway line that took us directly where we needed to go.

I love history… especially American history. We knew that getting married the day after the 4th of July would be fun and yet pose certain challenges when it came to celebrate our marriage. For me that normally means doing something that involves history. Yes! So having never been the Philadelphia and knowing we only had a short window of time to see things I made a very short list- Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The goal for Philadelphia was to see those two things, take a break from train riding and most importantly relax.

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We walked up to the Liberty Bell, but the line was the longest the attendent said he’d seen in ages. So we walked to Independence Hall which was sold out for the day which was fine I just liked looking at it and just simply being there.

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So we decided to stroll some more and took a walk to Washington Square and I’m pretty sure this is where Philadelphia stole my heart. The park is shaded with huge trees and lots of benches filled with people reading and relaxing. The centerpiece of Washington Square is the tomb of the unknown soldier. Image That is when it began to rain. But it’s not like us to let a little rain ruin our day so we decided to go have some beer before our dinner reservations. I should add that all of the places we visit on our trip we have vowed only to eat local and no national chains. So we had drinks at Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant on 2nd street. I sampled a local beer by Brew Works called Steelgaarden made in Bethlehem, PA. It was delicious and so was the restaurants hummus appetizer.

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We then set off to get ready for our dinner reservations at Panorama Ristorante. It was absolutely out of our element and wonderful. We’ve never paid that much for a meal even for all four us, but we were not at all disappointed! We even had dessert we never do that.

After dinner, we walked down 2nd street and visited a cute little wine shop called Pinot. We bought a bottle of very sweet white wine called Whitewash by Paradocx Vineyard located in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

This morning, we got up and had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel. They had tons of fresh fruit which was awesome. Then we made our way to the Liberty Bell and this time the line was very short. We went through and it was simply amazing. It doesn’t really look real. I guess it’s gone through so much restoration, but it’s pretty awesome regardless.

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We are currently back on the train and heading to Boston. I loved Philadelphia and I’m digging Amtrak as well.

I’m sure there are a ton of weird errors in this post and I will fix them later when the screen isn’t jiggling on a train~ until then forgive me.

Soaked in the elevator, but having a blast.

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Don’t Lose Yourself In Toddler Tunes.

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My coworkers may remember a bulletin board that was posted around Thanksgiving several years ago. We were all given paper plates on which to write what we were thankful for as a faculty member. It was posted where anyone could read it. Mine said- “I’m thankful for Johnny Cash” Anyone who has followed my ’30 days of thanks’ knows that I am quite thankful for a great deal of things, but at that moment Johnny Cash was instrumental in my life. Obviously, my plate had quite a few people tickled and curious as to what it really meant. Some thought it was a joke.

Since I started working from home, I lost those few moments to myself since I am home with a bunch of children. I became surrounded by toddler tunes, kids tv shows and lullaby music during nap time. I found it quite depressing and it took me a while to pinpoint what it was that was missing. Now that I’ve got that figured out. I get Pandora pumping on my iphone and my headphones are in while the kids play…. while I run… while they nap… while I cook…. It’s very soothing and therapeutic for me. Music is therapy and many times as parents we get wrapped up in shows for our kids or toddler tunes and lullabies on repeat. My husband and I made a rule that in our car we would only play our music- our safe zone from toddler tunes. So while struggling to balance my teacher life and mom life the only time I got to really just be me was in the car on the way to work. So Johnny Cash, during that Thanksgiving, was the CD of choice and when I needed to really regroup and pump myself up I would blast my favorite songs on the way to work. It was my therapy… my release … a moment to myself and to be myself.

I encourage parents to allow their children to hear music that isn’t all “London Bridge Is Falling Down” and ” Miss Mary Mack”- It doesn’t hurt them. It teaches them variety and style, but most importantly individualism. So turn the toddler tunes down for a while and embrace your own love in music.


Ohhhh Sh*t Handles

My friend Bridget and I were in my new mini-van. I had owned it for less than a year or two. The car was in perfect condition and yet one piece was broken and oddly enough it was the passenger side ceiling handle.

20130624-123415.jpgKnowing me all too well she said, “April, you might be the only person I have ever known to have the first thing in their car break be the Ohhhh sh*t handle.” See I quite literally had stripped the original screw off the handle and it just dangled from the ceiling.

I have an unexplained anxiety towards riding in cars. I refuse to be medicated for one specific anxiety…. that seems silly and again I hate medications anyways. I’ve tried to deep breathe my way down the road, Sometimes imagining myself somewhere completely different like in the bahamas, in a hammock and feeling the gentle shady breeze. I’ve tried herbal remedies to calm my nerves. I’ve even taken a shot of liquor before we leave the house (no, I’m not driving. yes, sometimes it works). I have prayed my way through large portions of car rides. There are a lot of things I haven’t tried, but now I am more willing to do.

My husband, John, picks on me and jokes about me behind my back like I have a serious backseat driver personality. He’s just venting and frustrated and I don’t blame him. I feel for my husband on this one and it has been a strain on us. He takes it personally when it’s not about him- it’s me. Yes, it does make me cry from time to time, because I don’t choose to feel this way…. it just is. I can drive and when I drive my mind is more in control and focused than when I am a passenger. I have become more aware of the things that set me off- last week I was wearing heels while driving and I had to stop and switch spots with John. That was good though- I knew what caused it.

It’s all in my head. My life in the passenger seat is hard. My mind races….I detest entrance ramps, roads near the edge of cliffs, narrow shoulders, and anything coming from the side particularly sets me off. Backing up- we could be moving at the slowest speed possible like parallell parking and I am wrapped up and just praying that it ends soon. What’s really going to happen during parallel parking???? Your mind is a powerful thing… This has been something worthy of my recognition and I am starting to identify what is absolutely silly to worry about and what could be a real potential hazard. For the most part though, my view of realistic and silly worries are hazy at best.

To give you an example of what causes a panic situation for me is when someone is changing lanes and there is an entrance and exit ramp right next to each other. I don’t have to be in the car that is exiting, but if I am it’s worse. My body responds with heavy breathing, palms sweating, even shaking hands and sometimes worse. In my mind- I’ve already played out multiple scenarios of how the car, I am in, will cross lanes- did the driver check the blind spot- is the signal on- how the timing of those merging onto the highway is going to change the rate of speed in which we are going to approach the exit ramp- all of the scenarios play out like accidents and incidents in my mind and never end well.

There isn’t a particular instance that would have caused this anxiety. Growing up I was fine. My parents were never in an accident while I was in the car. I didn’t start feeling this until late into high school and then the ball got rolling and increased over the years. I remember John bumping into a car on the way out of the high school parking lot. A lady hit John and I in a parking lot at a local mall when we were 17 or so… My friend in college was killed in a crash, but I wasn’t there and this started before that. I was in one accident where I scraped the side of another car, but I was about 27 when that happened. Nothing major- ever. I have no reason that I can give you for this anxiety and why it’s specifically in the car. I have no logical reason for this and yet it does effect my daily life and I know I am being irrational when it’s happening, but I have no control over my mind or the reactions physically to my body. I have several reasons to think that this is a hormonal issue- given the issues with fertility and even my hip problems during pregnancy all have to do with hormonal imbalances… I’m convinced it’s at the root of the issue. Sometimes I don’t even have a problem in the car and sometimes it is through the roof which could be explained with hormonal fluctuations. I would rather treat the source of the problems with the hormonal problems than to treat the symptoms and just keep covering it up, but I’m still in the process of finding the right doctors willing to listen.

I am pretty open about this problem. I’m willing to say to someone in a honest lie- I am a wee bit anxious in the car. Most of my friends drive with a little extra precaution, but none of them are crazy drivers anyways. They are all actually very responsible drivers. Most of them never see me ever go into a full on panic attack over it, but I’m also very good at covering it up to protect myself from utter embarrassment. So if you are thinking that you’ve had me in the car and you never noticed this- well congrats to you- I either was having a good day, you’re a fabulous driver, or I had you completely fooled- it was one of those for sure and probably the latter of the three.

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Our pastor’s sermon yesterday was about patience. Now I have a lot of patience, but not when it comes to the car. He had us extend our hands and imagine we were holding something precious in our hands… something delicate. In your mind your hand is holding it as though you can feel the coolness in your hands. Then he instructed us to squeeze a little tighter as though we needed to hold it a little tighter in fear of dropping it. No longer could you feel the item you had imagined in your hands. It was tightness, anxiety, and frustration. This is much like me in the car… pent up tightness, squeezing and holding onto the ohhh sh*t handle for dear life.

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That handle has been almost the only thing to fall apart in the entire van that we’ve owned for 7 years now. It is definitely the only thing that had to be repaired more than once… I struggle with this almost every day. It’s not something I can easily avoid. I lost focus during the sermon yesterday, because I began to think about the car riding tension and what was I squeezing the life out of in my anxiety. I was squeezing out conversations in the car, family time on road trips, and just enjoying time with my husband and friends. I am quite literally, in my mind, holding onto our lives in the family van and yet squeezing the peaceful time out of our moments together.

I am an ally- a Christian Ally

I’m not just a symbol on my status for a few days showing an equality sign. I’m not just sitting back saying yeah I’m cool with that, but you also wont find me on the picket line screaming and shouting either. I’m a different kind of activist… I’m a Christian- I have been baptized, I pray, and I believe in the father, the son, and the holy spirit.

I have found that many- too many of my friends struggle with this same problem. How can I be an ally and attend church as a believer and truly be honest with myself, my church and mostly God? I struggled with this for a long time and you know what -it kept me farther from Imagemy faith and establishing myself with a church. It honestly, kept me farther from God. I would pray in private and had complete faith and trust in God, but when it came to attending church and having a church family that I really desired I didn’t know where I would find it. See because I’m not one of those people that says to others, “Well, because of _____ ,____and _____ you are not a real Christian.” I wont do it to anyone else and I expect the same respect in that.

I have been pretty open about my struggles in this journey with my dear friends…. to them this is nothing new. One day one of my friends said you should try this church- Metropolitan Community Church. Yeah I know what most of you are thinking- What? What kind of church is that? I have never heard of that ever.” I hear often, “Oh is that the church that allows all types of people all worshiping different religions in the same room?” Ha! No, it has its own Christian denomination with currently about 240 churches around the world. But I was reluctant to attend. Why? Because, as far as I knew, I was going to be one of the only straight people to attend. I would be stepping into a situation as a minority. Much like the man who shows up to a baby shower as the only man there…. I knew I’d feel out of place and it would really relate to what sexual orientation that I arrived as and nothing of choice in my own existence much like the man at the baby shower. Really this is all in the man’s head and not really the reality of being ostracized… unless the women are annoying and are constantly bantering on about his presence.

So in April of 2010, I put on my ‘man at a baby shower’ armor and walked in the doors of Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge.  Much to my surprise the armor I had worn was really only needed in my head and no annoying person popped their head from the pews and said, “Ha! Look straight people showed up! Well isn’t that cute! Are you strong enough to handle all these queens?” Also, much to my surprise and ignorance I also wasn’t the only ally there either. Sure there were a few, but I wasn’t the only one there. Instead, we were showered with warmth and acceptance. I’m sure some people thought John and I were siblings at some point or friends. But as time progressed and we continued to attend the armor became less and less and instead of liking it… we fell in love with it.

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A year later, I was baptized in the beautiful sanctuary in my own way of course. Picking the quietest way to do it and yet in front of everyone and in a massive group of people revisiting their devotion or being baptized for the first time. I still remember the sensation of the water hitting my brow and the look in my pastor’s eyes. His gentle voice blessing me in words of prayer and commitment. I remember my friend, who I’ve known for years, standing at the front near me with tears streaming down her face as she recognized my walk in faith and the acknowledgment of our friendship in my journey here.

As time progressed, we became members and I again had some apprehension of the acceptance from the church. Upon my questioning, of being accepted by the congregation as an ally, our pastor bluntly responded, “I think just being here is enough for everyone to know you are here for the right reasons.” So we stood at the front of the sanctuary, in the Spring of 2011, with a very dear friend of ours becoming members at the same time. We all held hands with one another and our children and entered the congregation as our own family of choice. I am not fond of being in front of people, but that day I was cautiously standing at the front, much like my wedding day in my silly inability to even look up at those showering me with love and we did receive a shower of love from the church. The congregation scooped us up that day, because it meant that much to them for us to be there. 

ImageSometimes it is hard for others to accept that I attend a Christian church and love my LGBT friends and family in such a way. One such person said to me how can you sit in a church filled with sinners? My response was- “Oh wow- you go to a church where people are completely free of sin? Where is that sanctuary filled with just Jesus?” Save yourself the “Is it a sin speech”- cause I’ve read the scripture and heard both sides of it. Still I have the same conclusion- don’t care if it is or isn’t a sin. Don’t care. “But it is a sin and they continue to live out that sin.” Well so are a lot of other things that people in other churches choose to ignore and accept- lying, stealing, adultery…. “Well, if they allow gays they will just start allowing anything, where do you draw the line?” Honestly, I don’t- it’s a church for all people and all families…. there isn’t a line. Oh and I love the “I bet your pastor doesn’t even talk about sin.” Well no he doesn’t often- he talks a whole lot about love and grace… What a shame right? I digress…

Obviously, I’m opinionated about it, but again you wont find me on a picket line or carrying on a full conversation about it, or even humoring an argument. It’s not that I don’t support it that much… it’s that I’m not that person. It’s my faith and my journey not anyone else can choose it for me. I mean I am the person who literally could not look up during their wedding ceremony… if you were there you know what I’m talking about. It is a passion of mine, being an ally, I’m all about loving my neighbor and treating others with grace. So in November of 2011, I was nominated as the second straight person to serve our Board of Directors in the 26 years of its existence. I am second behind the lovely Miss Mamma, who was not welcomed by her home church because she supported the sexuality of her son and became an ally. I love supporting my church with my organizational skills and support in regards to the nursery and the BOD. I love my church family and they love us… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It does take a lot of bravery to do what I do and many people say- Oh I would love to go to that kind of church, but they don’t come. They want to meet others or have couple friends within the church- which is silly to me because most of them have LGBT friends already. They are too afraid of the annoying bantering from the congregation they have in their head or they are reluctant to fight the fight I’ve fought. Really, in the end, it’s not up to others to make you a viable Christian, it’s between you and God. You and your faith journey is supported by many and denied by only those you allow to deny you. I choose to love and accept myself as an ally and love and accept others regardless of their sexual orientation and I’m comfortable in the skin I wear. I’m comfortable enough that my “man at a baby shower” armor is freshly polished and left -in the closet- if you should need to borrow it on your own faith journey.

~April~

Are you taking the kids? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Young Love

The above photo is dated 1997 and taken by my husband John. It is a picture of the two of us as young budding 16 or 17 year olds. We have been together for 18 years now… save you the trouble of the math on that one we have been together since the spring of 8th grade. We met and have been crazy about each other ever since.

Noting that- it doesn’t mean we were never interested in others before we were married, but  we just never pursued other relationships very far at all. We aren’t perfect- some people have said to me— “Well you two must never fight.” Ha! Relationships take work and an effort from both people. We’ve had our ups and downs.. our struggles to find balance between us and the balance is hard to find. The balance is even harder as parents and then again those who fell in love so young.

It is hard enough growing up attempting to define yourself much less stay with another person and accept their change and growth. In that growth and change, you will have differences and things will be different than before… it is impossible for either of us to remain the person we met in 8th grade… or as high school kids… or as college kids… we became before we married. It’s about balance while accepting changes in the one you love. John called me one night during college. It was snowing and he was standing outside of the architectural college he hoped he could get into and an epiphany hit him. That is not what he wanted to do. He wanted to do theater and he wasn’t sure why he had pursued this to begin with… He called me to see if it was okay with me, because he knew that would change our goals a great deal. I’m still a little offended he called me, because it really wasn’t up to me. He chose theater and that’s what he did with success and passion.

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If you have ever been in our home you have undoubtably noticed this odd art work in our home.  This is where we folded 1001 cranes for our wedding. We had read that if a couple could fold 1001 cranes in Japanese tradition- they would be able to do anything together. I say often in jest that I concluded from the project that if we are to get anything accomplished that required great detail, concentration, determination, and organization- together that it would be me doing a good 90% of the work. I didn’t fold all of the cranes by myself, but I really did fold most of them. Honestly, that’s okay and that’s how most things work around here. As far as lists, cleaning inside the home, organizing, vacation planning, school/lessons for the kids… etc. John pays the bills- Thank God! and mows the grass, cooks a few nights week, and many other things. John is a great father and gives me a breather most evenings bathing the children and putting them to bed after I have spent the majority of the day with little people. By the time he gets home I desire to be the laissez-fiare parent. This is a balance we still struggle with weekly…. okay daily.

John and I have very different friendships. He has no one he “feels” particularly close with in the sense that if he were struggling he could just pick up the phone and talk candidly besides his father and myself. He has lots of play friends though where he has a good time with them… silly things like play tag football or go sing karaoke, but he is often there for other friends that need a shoulder to lean on… and he listens.. he’s a great listener. I have several female friends that at the drop of a hat would listen, chat, pick me up and give me a ride, shop with me, act entirely stupid with me… or even watch my kids in a pinch. They are all great organizers and would have to have several drinks before we hit the karaoke mic. My friends and John’s friends don’t mesh well all the time. So I have to bring my more outgoing self out while with his friends as to fit in and he has to tame it down for mine, but it works for us. Not all of our friends understand our relationship and that’s okay. They don’t have to… it’s not their relationship. Friendships are probably the most important part in being an individual, but time together as well as time alone must be balanced.

Hobbies must be balanced. If you are active in hobbies that take away from your family more than a couple of evenings… yea it’s probably too much on the other person and your family. This is something we struggle with often. My hobbies are mostly in the home, but that is changing. John’s hobbies are all outside of the home.

Where do you find the time for you – both of you- if you don’t set it aside – if you both have hobbies a couple of nights a week- kids swim lessons- birthday parties- professional obligations- church responsibilities- working on the weekend—- where do you find this time. You must make it- sadly often this is where we drop the ball. Time for just the two of us is often spent with my friends, his friends or a mesh of friends. It is hard to find time for just the two us that doesn’t involve other things. We fill our schedules so full of activities- for our family- our friends- and our hobbies that we rush through the grocery store detesting it because we filled our schedule so full we don’t have enough time to do everything we need to do.

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John and I were married on July 5th, 2003. Yes, we are about two weeks from our tenth wedding anniversary. Sadly, at a time where the average U.S. marriage has already ended by the 8th year…. we have made quite the accomplishment. Certainly, most of these people have not been together for 18 years either. We had very humble beginnings to our marriage… how we survived off of $1100 a month, in our first couple of years while paying student loans, rent, and other bills is beyond me. We took a very simple honeymoon to Washington, DC. We borrowed a car just to get there- the old “green bean” (our car) had died that week- and we even went camping one night because it was cheaper. We promised each other that if we made it to our tenth anniversary we would take an amazing trip. No we aren’t going to some exotic island. All we would do is burn!

So in keeping with our promise that we made to each other years ago…. we leave June 28th to embark on our anniversary trip. Yes, I might have talked it to death to some of our friends at this point! (Sorry Crystal) I’m so excited I would tell a perfect stranger about it if I got the chance. Yes, I planned most of the trip (darn those cranes). John is just as excited though, because you see, even though we are not perfect, we are balanced and we are still very much in love. We respect each other and who we have grown into and are willing to work with the persons that we will become.

ImageOur trip will begin on the 28th and end July 8th. We will travel via Amtrak to Philadelphia- then to Boston- then Cape Cod – then NYC and Long Island as well as Washington, DC.

Are we taking the kids? NO!!!!!!! They will be watched by some close friends and family and don’t worry I’ve got that all organized too.

This is a time for each other- making up for quality time we missed along the way. We have been truly blessed. I’m so thankful that even in moments of change and growth we only love each other more and not less.

~April~

If only freckles connected…

My husband and I sat at our kids swim lesson last week while a woman remarked that she needed a tan so badly. She said this while being very tanned already and yes her friend had a beautiful sensational brown tan. 

John and I immediately smirked at one another and chuckled at what she must have thought of us.  We must be simply appalling. Both my husband and I are natural redheads… gingers… carrot tops… highlanders…  in our pasty white skin that covers with beautiful freckles as we spend our time in the sun. My mother used to say if her freckles would ever connect she would have the most beautiful tan, but even as she is in her late 50’s she has yet to achieve this wonderful notion. 

So many people are opinionated. Much like the lady at the swim lesson- they make remarks such as these either to a level I can hear, but the most rude are the ones that say things directly to you. I’ve had people tell me what they think of my skin blatantly verbal in their negative assessment of my skin tone. I’ve been told the following thing directly to my face- I shouldn’t let my legs out in the sun in public without more sun on them.  I cause reflections on the beach. I shouldn’t wear black or white because it makes my skin look whiter in the summer. Too bad you freckle what a shame. You know I’m sure now that you’re on a teacher’s salary you could afford a tanning appointment. Wow… you are so white. Get a tan before you wear that again….

What they don’t realize is that our skin simply burns and then freckles while fading into the white that was already there. We- do- not- tan all we do is damage our skin without accomplishing a beautiful bronzed tone. Some redheads are blessed with skin that freckles and tans- I am not one of those people. 

We have collected all kinds of sunscreens with 30 to even 80 proof spf. I went to a college football game in 1999 with a visor on and layers of sunscreen I still managed to get blisters all over my face, chest and shoulders… all that remains now are freckles and even scars from that one day. Once a few months ago I stood on the sidewalk with my back to the setting sun and talked to a neighbor for 15 minutes and burned the back half of my body even through my t-shirt. This doesn’t include the multitude of other times I allowed myself to get pink while attempting to tan to amuse someone else and only fail in my childhood to early adulthood.

With all of the knowledge now of skin cancer, I am simply amazed at the ignorance that people display in encouraging people to tan in such a manner. Recently, my father-in-law found skin cancer on his right ear. It has been removed and he has a lovely chunk out of his ear, but his prognosis is good. ::hitting close to home::

There is something in society where we feel the need to fit the mold- or shade in this case. I gave up on that long ago, but now with my children growing older I worry they will attempt to fit the shade and damage their own skin to amuse their peers. Hopefully, my experience will be able to guide them to smarter decisions. I no longer damage my skin to amuse anyone else with opinions spoken or unspoken and I stand up to those that make such ignorant remarks to me. 

My skin is not a choice- it’s the way God made me so I walk in the sand with pride in myself and embrace every freckle that kisses my skin.

So if I were able to choose an item for a survival kit on a deserted island- it would definitely include at least a years worth of 50+ SPF. 

~April~

Running in Dreams to Running in Reality

When I left my teaching job in 2010, I was having trouble sleeping. I spent many nights just dreaming about odd places, with odd people, with odd conversations- but always running. Not running out of fear. Just simply running.

My friend said to me, “Maybe, you are just dreaming of running away from the stress of the job.” I thought that was not the case, because I even desired the ability to run during my waking hours. As the school year ended, my new life began running my own business and being home with my children and the dreams suddenly stopped. Maybe… my friend was right.

Why did I not run when I so desired it? Why did I not just run out the door with my sneakers on and hit the pavement?

Excuses were- Knee trouble. Flat footed support issues. Being self-conscious and heavy. Being too busy with the kids. Sprained my left ankle in 2008 and it was weak. Really those other ones are lame and this is the real reason- During both pregnancies I had this thing that makes most people instantly uncomfortable upon hearing it, mostly because of social awkwardness, but it’s called SPD- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Basically, my pelvis was completely out of whack. I wore a brace. I was not allowed to take stairs. While pregnant with our son, I worked a full day at school and was instructed to rest by my ob. I went to physical therapy a few times a week for months. I used a wheel chair to go through stores and I could barely walk much less run and in 2010 I was less than a year since having my daughter and still had trouble walking- running- was literally and metaphorically only a dream… so I did not run.

The hope of running dissipated and I sank into disappointment. I still lived in pain, but tried to push through. By the fall/winter of 2011, I had trouble walking a few blocks. My hips ached. My back ached. I sprained my left ankle again…. I would go slowly down steps like an arthritic tin man much in need of his oil can. If the kids climbed into the bed at night it was worse in the morning. If I sat on the bare floor it was worse. If I sat in the car too long it was worse. If I exercised it was worse. If I went to one of my husbands shows I had trouble standing and walking afterwards.

Doctors offered sleep aides over the years, muscle relaxers, pain medication- I hate medication. My husband encouraged me to visit his friend Garrett, a chiropractor. I drug my feet in frustration and fear. One week I had hit rock bottom… the pain was just too much to even function anymore. My husband took the initiative and called Garrett and I went to meet with him. Garrett scanned my spine and the results were unnerving. I knew, by the end of the meeting, that I had a long road ahead of me and too much weight on my small frame and Garrett had more guts to say that to my face than my obgyn or my family physician. It was difficult to accomplish- approach- admit. I needed to visit Garrett every week sometimes multiple times a week for a few months. I went with great effort- sometimes leaving more sore than I went in and iced and heated, but I went back again. I slowly became more independent and stopped going until I felt I needed to.

I tried running in the spring of 2012. It didn’t take long for me to bench myself from hip pain. I lost about 25 lbs and then put it back on in less than six months. I was discouraged and frustrated, but I knew running wasn’t going to happen. We had a gym membership we never used… the days were complicated. So in November of 2012, I convinced my husband to buy a treadmill and ditch the gym membership. I figured I had time to use it if it were at home. I started out really slow- embarrassingly slow, but regardless I was doing laps around the old me on the couch. It was slow at first with days and weeks in between building myself up to even walking a 25 minute mile. Then a 20 minute mile…. I was stuck there for a while and my joints would ache after even such simple activities.

After the first of the year of 2013, a new push and drive hit me. I lost 25 lbs and I started the couch 2 5k program. I had to do my own version of the program where I started a week earlier and easier than the programs designated week one. About 4 weeks in I went to see Garrett. I was having pain in my heel. He adjusted me, but really it was more than that. My progress with Garrett is more than that, because he is so encouraging. I had bruised my heel and he gave me some stretches to do, told me to put the treadmill on a higher incline, ice the heel, and some shoe insert suggestions. He cautiously said, “I don’t want to tell you to give it a rest.” I am so glad he said those words to me…. I didn’t want to be benched again or have an excuse not to try harder. He knew exactly what to say and it helped me so much. His advice was spot on and I messaged him the following day already feeling better.

I have been able to jog for the last 7 weeks. Making steady progress.

Here is today’s treadmill picture.

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For the average thirty something, I imagine that’s not so impressive- someone else’s long stride- but for me that is such a great accomplishment. That’s six and a half months of improvement doubling my distance in the same amount of time. I’m not aching anymore in my joints. I don’t hurt when the kids get in the bed anymore. I don’t hurt after sitting for long periods of time. Stairs are easier- especially going up… Still feel like a tin man going down in the morning, but in time maybe that will improve as well. I still go to stand sometimes and my hips take a second to go in a normal balance and sometimes my gait is off, but for the most part the chronic pain has disolved into a memory.

Recently, I started dreaming about running. It’s running with odd people, odd places, odd conversations, but it doesn’t plague my nights as before. One dream a few weeks ago was with Garrett. I was running in a 5k and he ran along to encourage me- it speaks volumes of how much he has helped me heal and grow. I desire so much to run… I awake thinking about the run of the day. Always running towards something to keep my focus. Never running away from anything except the old me that hurt in chronic pain.