Not sure if it was g*d, lady luck, the stars something was smiling down on me today. It was my usual midweek run. Out the driveway, turn right and run exactly one mile before going any number of different routes. I was just getting warmed up and settling into my stride. I was thinking about my damn achilles and if I wanted to just cut the run short or if I should run the 5 or 6 miles I planned. In the background my play list was shuffling at a low volume. Our road is broad and traffic tends to really move. It is a straight stretch of road for 4 miles till the next town. I was looking out into the sunny sky and thinking about life. I wasn’t 100% paying attention. In a split second my brain registered the threat. Before I could even blink I shrieked like a girl and jumped straight up into the air. I don’t mean a little. I was probably 2ft off the ground as the truck’s driver side mirror flew by inches away. Because I was running toward traffic I was not expecting a vehicle to come up behind me and that close. The truck had pulled out to try to pass two cars on a short stretch. Clearly when he floored it the truck pulled left and I’m guessing he didn’t care or possible didn’t even notice I was there. By the time my feet hit the ground he was well passed me. I am not even sure what you might call my next couple strides. Pronking? cantering? leg in every direction gait. Along with a number of curse words. Probably looked quite comical to anyone driving by. I paused shaking like a leaf thinking about just how close that came to disaster. God it was awful. I continued my run trying to settle my nerves and the adrenaline. It took more than two miles, just shy of 19 minutes for me to start feeling remotely calm. Honestly I don’t even think I am calm now. I often joke that I have no idea how long life will last and I might get hit by a bus tomorrow. Today it was a hair’s breadth away. I doubt being hit by a truck going 70 mph would have been survivable. So fucking scary. I was just running and looking at the blue sky thinking about life. It could have been the last thing I saw. I cannot even comprehend that. I am so fucking lucky.
My week was a mix of emotion. I was so excited to see my old roommate. almost irrationally so, since I don’t often get really excited. I cleaned the house and had myself in a state of near hysteria by the time Tuesday rolled around. Of course it had to snow. She was delayed, but eventually made it. We spent a few days catching up, relaxing and just visiting. I remembered all the things I loved about her. We laughed and talked. We settled into a comfortable silence. Just as we had 20 years ago. I don’t often tolerate people being here. I’m weird about company, especially over a period of days.I guess I am so set in my ways and in our schedules. I was perfectly content. I dropped her off at the train and said goodbye. She is off for the far reaches of the globe. I am returning to my life behind the gate with 30 horses.
In the days since she left my mind has been lost in the what ifs, and the what might have beens. Not the best territory to cover. Today was a polo day. My head wasn’t there. It was back 20 years in the past. In the polo and the parties. To the drinking binges and waking up in puke to the graceful brick buildings sitting on the quad donning their ivy. It was a different world. It was everything and then it was nothing. It was a life that crashed and burned when it had barely begun. I was lost in my thoughts. Polo passed by in a haze of missed plays and miss-hit balls. As the last chukkar came to a close I walked my horse off to the far end of the arena alone as the emotions crashed over me. It was a sadness laced with grief and loss. It was all that never was. Polo is one of the last vestiges of that life. It was the only tie left till she came back into my life. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy we have reconnected and even happier she got to see the farm and spend some time here. My reaction to it all is to be expected. Did I ever fully grasp the loss? did I mourn what I left behind? In many ways no because life became about survival, not about keg parties and hockey bars. It was as if someone had ejected me from the life I was living there and I landed somewhere far away. It was immediate and it was terminal. There was no going back. I never had time to consider it. I had to find a way to survive in a new world with a new set of rules, and little if any hope on the horizon. Do you know what it feels like to have the whole world in front of you and all the promise and opportunity it affords only to be nothing but a sick headcase with little hope of a normal life within a 14 day period? I don’t know if the descent could have been more steep or severe if I had tried. or maybe that is the problem. I tried. I tried to walk away from my life. I tried to kill myself. I destroyed any hope of living that amazing life of opportunity. I threw it away. I guess I never knew how much it was worth. I didn’t know what a waste. I had it all. Everything I had ever dreamed of. I had polo. friends. a beautiful woman. Everything. but it meant nothing to me in a head torn by emotion. I didn’t have a chance to hold on. to make it. I didn’t have it. and so I lost it. all of it. What might have been does nothing but tear my heart apart. I guess it is useless to even bother thinking about. To pause and reconsider the life I had. why I had to come undone when there was so much promise and so much to live for. It is just heart wrenching to think of the cruelty of fate and circumstance. Here 20 years later I cannot shake the sorrow when I think of all I left behind. Why did it all work out the way it did? why did I have to get so sick? I just can’t even think about it. I am so fucking sad and shaken by my short voyage back in time. I can picture myself clear as day sitting on a sleek black motorcycle laughing at someone’s bad joke outside the polo arena. I can smell the first hint of spring in the bitter Ithaca air. I can taste the Rolling Rock on tap in the basement lounging after practice. I can feel the rush of thinking I might just get good enough to play varsity. I see a confident cocky complex young woman. I see the lines of my lover laying beside me. I cannot see the suffering. I just don’t understand how it all went so wrong when so much was going right. But there is the rub. What defines the right or wrong? Is my life here somehow less because I never played varsity polo for Cornell and don’t have a degree hanging on my wall? Is that it? or is it all the people who I left in my wake? I don’t know what is worse. What am I mourning? what am I missing? I am not sure I can answer that. All I know is I am hurting and not even sure why.
On an entirely different note I came off my long run friday with a couple sore body parts. I have a nice deep bone ache in my shins thanks to all that pavement. I made the error in shoe choice when I headed out the door. I usually rotate between a couple different pairs since I am not real thrilled with any of them. Needless to say I had on a pair of minimalist type sneakers and yes, I paid for it. I didn’t plan to run that far. I was actually leaving the long run to the weekend but started off so well I just settled in and kept going. I hit my usual turnaround and continued. Ended up running an out and back route I had not done before. If I had run the usual loop it would have come in 3 miles less. Instead it ended up at 14. I actually came off the run feeling great aside from some foot soreness. that is pretty normal after a long road run since they do sting. What I was not counting on was the nipple issue. Yep, I know. pretty damn funny. I have long known about “runner’s nipple” but was somehow spared. Not anymore. Like socks and shoes I rotate through different sports bras. Clearly I picked the wrong one. Ouch. I caught my partner’s sideways glance as I walked around the house holding my breasts. She is well accustom to my post run issues. A sore foot here, a tight calf there. Little odds and ends. The ice packs, ice baths and compression socks. This however was a new one. I stood staring at the open refrigerator muttering about my poor nipples and she is busy laughing. Well it is pretty funny. I guess I will be investing in some body glide and putting on band aids before my next long run. If only I could remember what bra was at fault. Lesson learned. now on to a new week in training and hopefully a less eventful one! Hopefully the nipples and shins will feel better tomorrow.
This past monday Meg Menzies was hit and killed by a drunk driver. She was a mom, a runner and a Boston qualifier. She was doing what she did. She ran. Monday was her last run. I guess you could say she died doing what she loved, as so many have expressed online. How fucking tragic. There is no making that any better even if you do try. Doesn’t matter if she was in the midst of a blissful run or a gut churning tough one, her life still ended way too soon. When she left her house that morning I can guess she was not thinking about getting run over. It was probably more likely she was focused on the workout and the upcoming marathon. I set out today to do my weekly long run with Meg very much on my mind. At each point when my run was less than terrific, somewhere in the 12 mile range I brought her to mind. I could run. I was still here on this glorious January day. I thought about life and choices. I pondered how I took for granted every breath I got to take and how so many didn’t have that luxury. I guess you could say I had a crystal clear moment of clarity amidst all the hellish emotions I have experienced over the past few days. I don’t have an answer for why my point of view shifted so drastically. Maybe it was Meg. Her story and her tragic end. Maybe it was just a shift that would have come anyway. Whatever it was I’ll take it. It was a gift to travel those 14 miles today on my two feet. It gave me time and distance to reflect and to settle back into a more mindful state. I shrugged off the smothering near hysteria and panic that held me in its grip. I may not have any answers but at least I am contemplating a way out like I was. I guess a long run can truly be good for the soul.
Since I’m in such a miserable state I figured I might as well try something different, so here’s a rant about Ohio.
24 minutes. It took exactly twenty four minutes to execute Dennis McGuire. For more than half of that time he gasped for air and convulsed. Okay so seriously, there is something very wrong with this. Ohio agreed when they sentenced this man to execute him properly. They failed. Completely. Where does that leave Ohio? us? As the supplies of pentobarbital dwindle and states seek to find new drugs to execute with we may well see more of this. How were they to know what would happen until they strapped this human guinea pig down? Did they just make an educated guess as to how these drugs, in combination, might kill him? Well clearly midazolam and hydromorphone just didn’t do the trick. or did it? To watch the backlash unfurl in social media we see the black and white rabid response of the public. From the outlaw the death penalty factions that will harp on the cruelty and barbaric nature of this execution to the kill all the convicts they deserve to die factions. Surprisingly the hate mongering brutal view point seems to be gaining. Have we devolved as a society to such a degree that we can celebrate and rejoice in another’s suffering just because he was a convicted murderer? Is that blood lust the new normal? or is it just the way we have always been. It is just easier to see since the advent of Facebook and Twitter. I don’t understand how you can celebrate cruelty and torture. and yes, when it takes 24 minutes to die it is torture. If the goal is to execute that seems a piss poor example to set. jesus, least follow Texas’ lead, They sure seem to get it done. Regardless, we have a problem.
I have wavered on my stance about the death penalty. It was an easy target for some teenage angst about rights. As I have gotten older I think many of my views have shifted in a more moderate, gasp, conservative direction. I think that is just a product of living life and seeing more of the real world. Seeing how the world works and what is wrong with it. Pre 9/11 I had strong feelings about incarceration and torture. Since I have no qualms about the use of torture in the interrogation of individuals. Interesting shift, especially from me. Is there an acceptable amount of damage in the pursuit of safety? justice? or is torture just torture regardless of whether it is a terrorist or a convicted murderer that raped and killed a 7 month pregnant woman? Is there a line to be drawn in the proverbial sand of our consciences? why is one worth more or less than the other? I cannot answer. Why am I okay with the disregard for the rights of an arab but concerned for those of a murderer? Is it the insidious assault by the media that ingrains in us a fear and distrust? Hollywood that gives us movies like Zero Dark Thirty. but I digress. Back to Ohio. What I cannot stomach is that people seem to find it acceptable that he suffer because of what he did. There is such anger and hate simmering just beneath the surface of the glossy blue veneer of Facebook. This is the reality. We are fed 24-7 images of violence, blood, and gore. Dennis McGuire is just another blip on the radar. A reason to spew hate and condone violence. Even if it is just suffocating for 13 minutes. just think about that. Thirteen minutes…—-
I had a brief reprieve from my ruminating yesterday. Today it has returned with a vengeance bringing along with it anxiety, frustration and anger. Not just a little anger. enough to sear the edges of my thoughts turning them nasty and dark. The irritability lacing every word that leaves my mouth. In an effort not to fight I have distanced myself from my partner and buried myself in paperwork. Sadly that is the last thing I need to do right now. The numbers swim amongst the anger. Instead of staying angry I shift toward resignation and sadness. With each bill I open and each paper I file, I am smothered by this overwhelming feeling of defeat. I am tired of the back and forth. In the moments of okay I am willing to be swept along and just ride it out. All too agreeable to looking the other way. To turn a blind eye to what is staring me in the face. I am willing to walk past the office door. All too happy to look at the papers and the bills. Donations come in and we somehow make it by. Then the mood shifts, or some crisis rises and I am thrown into the maelstrom. Though it doesn’t need to be a crisis. It can be just another office day. It is forcing myself to do what needs to get done. I sit and work. My hands shake and my mind works. I see the numbers. I see the reality. There is no denying it. I look for ways to work out the latest disaster. I have to make the choices between who gets paid and who doesn’t. I have to accept that some party will be displeased and the phone will start ringing. Back to the not opening mail and not answering the phone. Back and forth. I should probably just get the fuck over it. Stop fucking bitching and whining and acting like a pussy. I should be able to work this out. If I was just smart enough or strong enough this wouldn’t be an issue. I add the additional stress. I’m the one that cannot cope with this. I have to get my head out of my ass and solve this latest problem. So why can’t I? Why do I want to run? Every cell in my being primed and ready to hit the eject button. So strong is my desire to flee I can picture it perfectly in my mind’s eye. All the reasons to stay don’t make that final edit. It is without boundaries and without reality. there is no responsibility. No logic. Just flight. I can let my mind wander when the fear and anxiety shake me. When I have sorted one bill too many. It is pure fear. All the anxiety and the anger. All the irritability and sadness are driven by the fear. Instead of standing and meeting it with tact and bravery I run. I run in my emotional response and take it out on my partner. I run to avoid it. I am willing to sign out and take flight rather than face it. See, in the final analysis the problem isn’t this farm and the bills it is ME. I am the problem. I am the issue. I am the weakest link and ultimately will probably be the downfall of this place.
It must have been all the talk of my nasty inner brain voice or maybe it was just a combination of the stress of the week wearing me down. I am really not sure. But as the clock wound down and session was nearly up I surprised myself. The words left my lips as they finally found a way to describe what is going on in my head. The battle of questions, words, and will. or lack there of. It is endless. Around and around it goes. All day. Everyday. In times of stress like this past week it is dizzying. I don’t know what to do. and it is made clear by these clashing inner voices.
On one side there is pure flight. Pure fear. The need to run and find a way to be free. It tells me I have to go. I can’t stay here. This farm and all it means will kill me. I will die here. It is horrifying in its power and scope. It is the dominant voice in my head whenever I am awake. I know this farm is stressful and it does indeed push me to my outer limits on many occasions. This voice is not without merit. It is not coming out of left field.
On the other is the voice that tells me I will never have another opportunity like this. It speaks of the scope and beauty of this farm. It reminds me it is home and of all the work and effort we have put in here. It is the voice that tells me I will regret a decision to leave. It tells me to leave is to give up and give in to all that ails my mind and soul. It tells me I am weak and stupid to consider moving on.
I exist in an endless struggle between these two poles. No grey. Back and forth. Around and around. hour after hour and day after day. It wears at me.
I want someone to make a decision. I don’t trust myself to make the right one. I wish my father were here to decide. I know it would be swift and unyielding. It would hurt. It always did. God I wish I didn’t have this responsibility. I just don’t know what to do. I cannot talk to my partner. It never goes anywhere. My reaching out is met with “fuck it, fine just sell the fucking thing”. That doesn’t help me. It only makes me feel worse for even considering selling. It makes me feel weak and stupid. I’m reminded that I am the one that is not right in the head. I am pessimistic and quick to give up. That maybe this would be just another example of my not being able to finish what I started. I would be making an error of epic proportion.
I just don’t know. The tears that flowed today were just a hint at the pain and confusion that lies in me. It scares me how torn I am and how divided.
3:45…well the minutes click by and I’m still staring at the ceiling. I gave up and got out of bed. My FB group has an ongoing plank challenge so I figured what the fuck. So I stretched out on my floor and beat myself up with some planks. Remarkable that when I started last month 30 seconds was a stretch. I’ve now made it to just over 4 minutes!!! Yay 🙂 and yes I am a quivering mess at the end but that means my body is working and adapting. I added a straight arm side plank. Bitch! Good effort there. But alas still no sleep. I’ve entered into that no mans land when I really can’t take more meds or I won’t function at all tomorrow. Even the second doses I took at 2 will really fuck up my morning , ugh. Hopefully this won’t shift my mood in an adverse direction. Seems to take so little these days.
Well I would count sleep but I think that would just make me more anxious. Yet another herd of animals to worry abt….