A New Song! (Well…newish.)

I wrote this one back in November. It’s about my Dad. It has a melody and everything, but I simply don’t have the time to put it to music, so I’m recording it here. I just don’t want it getting lost. Someday soon I’ll make an a capella YouTube video of it, mark it as Private, and never speak of it again.

 

Losing You

 

Years ago

Was it so many years ago

Standing there, asking me to stop –

I was hurting myself and I was tearing you apart

 

Time has passed

I’m not the one I once was

Tumbling through my quicksand life

One mistake to another

 

I remember your eyes and the way

You’d shake your head and think we’re too much alike

I can remember how you sounded

Listening to your voice on replay inside my head

 

But I can’t remember your smell

The scent of comfort when I was a little girl

It’s fading fast

The first sign that I’m losing you

I’m really losing you

 

You’ll never know

How much I wanted to be better

How much I wanted to be all the things

You thought I was

What you wanted me to be

 

But I can’t remember your smell

I’m losing you

This time I’m really losing you

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8 (Possibly) Strange Coping Techniques for Anxiety

For as long as I can remember I have had (suffered from? experienced?) panic attacks and periods of severe generalized anxiety. I also have been diagnosed as having dysthemia with major depressive episodes (commonly referred to as “double depression.”)

Whoa. Even typing that was scary.

You see (until now) very few people knew I have these illnesses. I’ve casually mentioned the chronic pain I used to suffer from (more on that later), the migraines I get quite frequently, and the insomnia that I’ve had since childhood. Those are socially acceptable problems, issues sufferers can bond over with no repercussions. Those are the allowable diseases. No matter what anyone on any social media channel says: the stigma of mental illness – especially depression and anxiety – is real, pervasive, and for a business owner can be devastating.

But you’re not here because you wanted to know my story. You’re here because you sometimes have the same things happen, or maybe you love someone who has these episodes and you want to know how to help.

I’ve been living inside anxiety for long enough to know that, for me at least, there’s no quick fix. There’s no cure. There are only coping strategies and techniques that I have learned over years and years AND YEARS of trial and error. More things didn’t work than did. And these may only work for me because of my specific environmental and physical makeup.

But these things do help. Sometimes they help a lot, sometimes only a little. And I wanted to share them in case they could help you too.

8 (Possibly) Strange Coping Techniques for Anxiety

1. CrossFit: I thought I would get this one out of the way right off the bat. Feel free to skip on to the next one if you’ve already heard me drone on and on and on and on about my beautiful little cult.

I know you’ve heard of the benefits of exercise on anxiety, but before I was dragged kicking and screaming into a CrossFit gym, I couldn’t have disagreed more with all the experts in the world. To me 2 years ago, exercise was just one more thing that I sucked at, that I would fail to do well, that would hurt, and that wouldn’t give me any lasting effects but a sore body and a sad mind.

People who do CrossFit say it’s different than any other workout…and that’s because it is. If you’re dead set against it, I’m not going to change your mind. But if you suffer from panic and anxiety, I would love to hear that you tried it (and if you’re in my area, I’ll go with you so it’s not so scary.)

Workouts now give me a sense of control, of accomplishment, of release that I couldn’t find anywhere but at the bottom of a pill bottle. And it makes me feel good on my good days too. I also no longer fit the criteria for chronic pain disorder – and living my days pain-free (ok, except the pain in my butt from today’s squats) has made a world of difference for my ability to live with my anxiety.

2. Make your bed: This might seem strange, but it works for me. I need a sense of order in my hermit-hole of a room when I am really anxious, and making my bed gives me the sense of an island in the storm.

I am in no way a neat freak (you should see my kitchen after I bake…) but something about the routine of making my bed, the look of it when it’s completed, and knowing that it’s ready to slide into comfortably at night without all the wrinkles and balled up fitted sheets; I don’t know. It gives me again, a sense of control. And it’s way more peaceful and less strenuous than a workout.

3. Open your blinds, curtains, and windows: Often when I’m overwhelmed, it’s helpful to remember how small I am in the cosmic scheme of things. I can choose to hide all day in my little bubble and let everything get bigger and bigger inside my head until I feel like I’m so compressed I’m going to explode…or I can let a bit of light and air in, take in the sounds of the world around me, try to find some perspective, and remember that I’m not alone in the world, even if I can’t be around people right now.

4. Read some physics and/or other physical sciences: The above strategy keeps me from feeling alone. This one lets me see that there is still beauty and synergy in the world around me. Reading about physics, chemistry, biology, etc keep me focused on all the things that are right in the world. The human eyeball, for example, is the most incredible feat of engineering and function I can imagine. And the forces constantly at work on us – unbelievable! There are invisible things keeping me on the ground, letting me breathe, creating symbiosis with the environment around me, creating wind, ice, torque…the entire natural world is incredible, and I forget that a lot.

I’m not a huge nature lover in the traditional sense, but I am a huge fan of the universe.

5. Golf: Golf for me is kind of the counterpart to CrossFit. It’s less intense (mainly because I’m really terrible), less demanding physically and mentally, and sometimes it’s a heck of a lot more enjoyable. Any time I’ve ever golfed, my father was there which helped my anxiety too since he was the most gentle and laid back person I’ve ever known. But I think that someday when I’m ready to try it again without him, the magic will still be there.

There’s something powerful in being so far away from everything, with nothing to do but strategically whack at a little defenceless ball. Nothing can reach you on a golf course. No one can find you, no one will yell at you, and if you fail you can always take a mulligan. (With Dad, I took a lot of those.)

6. Manual labour: Painting walls, roofing, demolition, laying flooring, all of these have calmed me when I needed it the most. Manual labour seems to provide the relief of golf with the release of CrossFit, and you usually end up with something beautiful (or end up destroying something ugly.) Creation is incredibly satisfying to my anxious mind, and thoughtful productivity tends to be difficult. Manual labour gives me mindless productivity with the benefit of tiring me out.

7. Watch and listen to children at play: Remember when you could disappear into worlds of innocence and play? Thankfully, most children have never experienced the compound levels of stress that adults experience daily. Most children are still in their bubble, where the problems of the world (and often those of their loved ones) can’t touch them. Even those children who have been touched by life’s darker moments seem to maintain their innocence, as if the lightness of being a child is enough to dispel the shadow of stress. When I’m anxious or depressed, immersing myself in their world is akin to borrowing back a little bit of that innocence. Whoa. That was deep.

Children are also hilarious, random, and if they’re anything like my little angels, they might teach you a few new pretend swear words.

8. Learn about depression and anxiety: Caveat – it’s probably not a good idea to read too much about these topics while in the midst of an attack, this is more of a long-term strategy. Finding out that you aren’t alone, that good people, strong people, normal people have the same thought patterns, struggles, and fears as you do, and learning how they cope can be both freeing and healthy. The more I learned about my own biochemistry and how it affects my life and my thoughts, the easier it was (and still is) to identify irrational thoughts and fears that often trigger episodes.

Think of it like an allergy, a skin condition, any other kind of disease or illness in the world – information on what is happening is inherently good. The problem I’ve found in learning about mental illness is that since it directly affects my cognition, I have a hard time using the information properly in the moment. I’ve used it as an excuse, as a crutch, and (unintentionally) as an anxiety inducer.

Tried and true methods exist, too. Talk, write, share, walk, hide, do whatever it takes to get through it. Remember, anxiety and depression are things you have (kind of like the world’s worst birthday present), they aren’t things that have you.

Brudny korytarz w opuszczonym budynku

You. Are. Not. Alone.

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My Daughter Frowns

This has to stop. It has to. No matter how well I fake it, no matter how it feels when my daughter asks, “Do you think you’re pretty?” and I lie half a beat too slow but hopefully convincingly, “Of course!” I know that she has learned. So young, she has already learned.

My daughter has learned that I am not the perfect female. And part of her, a part she would never admit to, is ashamed.

My Daughter Frowns

My little girl likes it better when my hair is straight

and frowns when I wear a bikini

because I bear the scars of bearing her.

And she doesn’t know why or the battle that rages in my head

of “wear this” “the hottest trends” and “Mom jeans”

and “End Cellulite Today!”

“Stretch Marks Magically Disappear!”

or that I want to disappear when she frowns

and I turn back into a seven-year-old girl

and I want to shake her and hug her at the same time.

Because what she seeks in me is the

perfection that she sees everywhere.

The unattainable, airbrushed, flat ironed

salon and diet pills and plastic surgeon perfection.

And I have curly hair.

And I bear the marks of bearing her.

And she doesn’t know. She doesn’t see herself

through that filter. But it’s there. It’s in her mind already.

My perfect child will be ruined by a life seeking perfection.

Just like her mother.

And I know this already.

Because she likes me better when my hair is straight.

And she frowns when I wear a bikini.

How does one fight perfection?

How does one fight perfection?

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My Writing Process (Blog Tour)

journalThere are days when I don’t feel like a writer. There are days when I don’t write one word of fiction, think up one plot twist, or have one paltry conversation with someone I’ve made up. (Ok, that last one wasn’t true. There are no days like that.)

Then there are days where writers I admire ask me to write about my writerly experiences. To be totally honest, there has been exactly 1 day like that, but it made my entire day week month. When Roger asked me to participate in this blog tour, I actually felt like a really-truly-for-real-outside-my-wildest-dreams writer. And that is one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. </corny_intro>

So, this Writing Process Blog Tour. Yes. All the writers on our little, tightly- woven world of Twitter (and especially those who inhabit the smaller and even more incestuous world of #FP) have banded together and decided to air our fictional dirty laundry. There are steps I’ve been told to follow, but I’m not one for rules, so I will probably miss/bend/completely ignore at least one of them during this post. (In fact, I’m positive I will, since I failed to complete Step Three despite a half-assed attempt to get it done.)

For anyone who wants to learn how the mind of a horror writer works (no, actually you DO want to know. It’s endlessly fascinating), or if you are a reader, or if you are a person who is even remotely interested in interesting things, then pause reading RIGHT NOW and visit Roger Jackson’s Ark Hive (SEE? I TOLD YOU. BRILLIANT.) and see what genius has gone before me. His shoes are hard to fill, but I will make a (rather desperate) attempt.

On to my own glorification:

I present to you, Heather the Writer.

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

This is a terrible, terrible question because it shows my terrible, terrible writer’s ADD. I am less than 12000 words away from finishing my second novel, SERA, an urban paranormal set in Montreal. I started writing SERA after being psychologically blindsided by a Dr Who quote, “One can tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel.”

This book means everything to me. It is mostly set in my MC’s cafe/bookshop called Coy, which is the business I would open if I ever won a million dollars and could afford to open a destined-to-fail cafe/bookshop. It is an exploration of everything I am obsessed with – death, evil, angels, psychology, demons, God, religion, history…and love. So much love.

Sera, my MC, is a much better person than I am – she is probably my idealized self, although I didn’t plan her to be that way. Asher (named after the second son I never got to have) is everything I have ever wanted in a partner, romantic or otherwise. And although his entire character was written before we met, he reminds me so very, very much of my significant other. Kush, the smart-ass, hard-talking, uncaring angel…well, he’s based on someone too. Someone I lost along the way.

This book is my life. And I think that’s why I can’t finish it.

It’s like a child. I would keep my children small forever if I could. It pains me to see them growing up, walking away from me, needing different things from me…needing me less. If I never finish this book, I will never have to expose it to the uncaring, unknowing world. I will be able to keep it a part of me, protected and safe. I will never feel as though I should share it because it will never be a finished “product.” I don’t want it to be a product.

WHAT ELSE AM I WORKING ON?

I have read way too much Neil Gaiman lately. (As in ALL NEIL GAIMAN EVERYWHERE in a 2 month period.) Because of him I am going to start writing fantasy. My first attempt in this genre was actually outlined as a NA – tough, real story of a regular girl turned hardcore junkie – and how easily that can happen. Reading Gaiman, I realized that I can still tell that story, but I can make it something beautiful.

My next book (which, like the naughty writer I am, I have already begun) can possibly be described as Narnia, but with narcotics.

Knowing me, it will morph and grow into something that I cannot possibly predict, so that’s all I’m going to say about it at the moment.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN MY GENRE?

I have a lot of education in religion, and being raised Catholic, then devoting years to Universal Unitarianism, then becoming devoutly atheist, and finally settling on the big ole question mark that is agnosticism…I have thought a LOT about angels, demons, good, evil, and their cosmic implications. At the same time, though, I am not a religious scholar, historian, or academic by any stretch. I am just a girl mesmerized by beauty and the unknowable. I write from a place of questions rather than answers, and I write characters who are seeking some undiscoverable something, rather than people with all their ducks in a row.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write because I have no alternative but madness. I write because inspiration is not, in my experience, a gentle guide – rather it’s a ferocious honey badger in my mind banging around until I finally release it.

I write what I do because I don’t know anything. I don’t know the answers to life’s big questions, or how to be zen or maintain motorcycles, or what it feels like to have cancer, or exactly what fabrics were used in 14th century fashion. I don’t know enough about anything to write a whole book. So I just make stuff up and write it down.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK

Whooo, boy. This is a big question. Ummm…I’m not sure yet?

Generally speaking, I write best at night. I’m a self-employed mommy of 3 with a part-time gig on the side and a penchant for volunteer work…so I don’t really have a ton of writing time. I have tried writing during my work day, and I end up getting so wrapped up in what I’m imagining that it’s painful to tear myself away when it’s time to work again.

Most things about my writing process (and my entire being) are constantly evolving, so what I write today may be a lie tomorrow. Generally though, I break every rule going – I edit, I proof, and I fix typos while I write. I make up places and facts instead of researching them properly. I don’t write every day. I sometimes wear pants when I write. I have never revised work while hung over. (I warned you that I’m not a “real” writer. This should not come as a total shock.)

My first novel (a shelved, never-to-see-the-light-of-day awful tome of crap) was written with no outline, no direction…following page counts instead of word counts (forgive me, I was very young) and it ended as badly as one would expect.

The second time around, I discovered that I could put my deep and abiding love for sticky notes to good use, and I started plastering my bedroom wall with chapters, notes, character arcs, scenes to be written, etc. This has made the process better (and my bedroom walls MUCH more interesting) but I am still finding myself drifting from my original plot, lost in twisted subplots, and finding it hard to end the book properly. However, it is likely that my refusal to just finish the damned thing is 98% what I said earlier and only 2% poor planning.

I also discovered that I write well with wine, and even better with coffee. I write best with my fuzzy blanket over me, sitting cross-legged with music blasting(Muse, Imagine Dragons, Ani Difranco, James Blunt, and many MANY others are constant companions.) When I’m writing something and it just works, I can reach this pitch of inspiration, magic, and adrenaline that leaves me panting, sweaty, and drained. There are very, very few things in this world that can move me as much as an engulfing session of writing.

For book #3, I have decided to go all in with outlining. Characters, scenes, plot development, etc., etc., etc. have all been considered. I bought a NANOWRIMO workbook to help outline and shape my story, and it’s seemed to help. The problem I’m having with this one is that there seems to be little left to discover during the actual writing, so I’m getting bored. I had like 3 days of super awesome excitement while I crafted the whole story, and now there’s nothing left but to do the work. All the work. I don’t want to think about that.

AND HERE’S WHERE IT ALL GOES TO HELL

So…I was supposed to have found 3 other writers to connect to and get them to continue this tour in an ever-expanding micro/macrocosm of writerly goodness.

I didn’t. I tried, but I failed.

I could blame the fact that most of the writers on Twitter that I know know every other writer on Twitter that I know (again, this world is SMALL and MANY-LAYERED), and so they have already been tapped for this project previously (TRUE). I could say it’s because I don’t know enough writers (ALSO TRUE). I could say it’s because I’m too shy to reach out to writers that I only know peripherally, and so I let everyone down (PAINFULLY TRUE).

However, in order to make up for my failings, I have decided to include a round-up of tour posts, kind of an ICYMI one-stop shop of everyone I can find who has done this tour. Hopefully, you’ll follow a few of the links and learn how people who are real, fully-integrated and functioning adults write differently from me.

Happy Reading!

http://jabe842.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/blog-hop-my-writing-process/

http://www.weirdlittleworlds.com/dark-thoughts-writing-process-blog-hop/

http://cynthiajsellers.com/1549/my-writing-process-blog-tour/

http://www.thefirstmanscrapbook.com/my-writing-process-blog-tour/

http://writeofmind.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/my-writing-process-blog-tour/

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What I would do with $20M

This week I had a dream – actually I’ve had a lot of dreams this week. In one, though, I won the lottery. That may sound like an awesome fantasy, but I’m someone who NEVER EVER EVER wants to win a ton of money. The stress and the pressure would break me. In the dream, however, I was not given a choice. I had to accept the money, and so I had to decide what to do with it.

Once I was mostly awake, I started thinking about that – what would I actually want to do with that much money. It still scares me, but it was a fun little exercise to help me see where my priorities fall.

**THESE ARE JUST OFF-THE-TOP-OF-MY-HEAD THOUGHTS. YOU DON’T GET TO BE MEAN OR JUDGEY ABOUT THEM IF YOUR IDEAS ARE DIFFERENT.**

So, in no particular order that I will admit to publicly, here’s my partial, unedited, spontaneous list.

Pay debts (financial and otherwise)

Beyond just paying off my debts and mortgage, I would pay back every person who has loaned me money, given me time, strength, help, laughter, a shoulder, a ride home, kept a secret, told me the truth, carried a bag, or helped someone I love. Life isn’t good when you can see the suffering of those who’ve helped you.

Invest in a struggling winery 

Because wine and underdogs are my favourite.

Start a foundation for underprivileged writers and artists

With showcases and camps and trips and tshirts and candy and coffee (for the grownups)…to give everyone a chance to have their voice heard.

Get liposuction

Shut up. It’s my list, not yours.

Design and build a new house 

Then renovate and use my current house as a free temporary residence for (up to) 2 families with catastrophically sick kids in my area.

Hire an employee who would otherwise be working as an unpaid intern

HALA Writing won’t take on staff until I can afford to pay them properly. Once I can…WATCH OUT.

Travel to Uganda to meet my “foster kid”

We’ve been supporting one family (as much as we can)  since my oldest child was 2. It would be nice to visit him, his community, and his country to see what else needs to be done.

Build and run (with investors, probably) a free mental health clinic in my city

I have no idea how this would work under our current healthcare system, but I would do my damndest to hire 10-20 mental health professionals to take some of the burden off of our current (crappy) system.

 

 

That’s my list so far. What’s yours?

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The Addict – Fiction Prompt (1)

So I’ve decided to try writing short (like really short…but not microfiction short) pieces from prompts I find around the internet. Today’s is from duolit  who are an exceptionally interactive and easy to read bunch, focusing on the self pub world. I suggest checking them out if you’re looking to go the self pub route. The piece is taking a different turn than I’d expected, and only the first bit is really suitable for my blog. Suffice to say I am posting just that bit here, but will continue to see where it takes me.

Prompt: “Her coffee cup slipped right out of her hand and smashed into a thousand pieces on the kitchen floor…”

She put her bags down and sighed contentedly: this was exactly what she had been craving. Four days away in a cabin, alone, far away from the people who needed her, talked at her, called and texted and messaged every moment of her waking life. She would write. She would drink coffee and eat Twizzlers and write. She would watch the sunrise and the sunset and listen to her music. She would stay awake until 3am to see the colour of the sky as it changed slowly from black to the mysterious midnight blue of her best childhood memories. She had been waiting for this for far too long, and now that it was here she could feel the tension leave her neck and shoulders. She imagined she looked younger, more like the teenager she had been when she had last visited this place.

She would write. But first, coffee. She had planned every detail of this trip with the old couple that owned the cabins. Everything was prepared for her – including a stocked fridge and cupboard.

As quietly as possible, so as not to disturb the perfect silence of the cabin, she tiptoed over to the picnic basket she had brought and retrieved her favourite coffee cup, given to her long years past by her sister. She smiled as she read the quote “How shall I bear so much happiness?” and for the first time in a long time, she understood the sentiment. The mix of contentment and excitement created a heady energy. She felt like a hummingbird, flitting from place to place.

She was free.

He stood, framed in the open doorway, sunshine creating an aura around him: half fire, half angel. Her coffee cup slipped out of her hand and smashed into a thousand pieces on the kitchen floor. She took an involuntary step backward, barely noticing when a piece of ceramic stabbed the bottom of her foot. The puddle of blood spread as they stared, locked in silent combat, neither one willing to speak first.

Minutes passed. Finally, she found her voice.

“You look different.”

He sneered at her. “I can’t imagine why.”

“How…how did you find me?”

“You didn’t make it easy. But you always loved this place. I knew that eventually you would end up here.”

“You knew…eventually…” Her mind was working furiously, trying to catch up to her reality. She felt dizzy and sick, and her legs didn’t feel strong enough to hold her.

But she knew, suddenly she knew. “You’ve been following me.”

“Aren’t you full of yourself?”

“No, it’s true. You’ve been following me, waiting for me to come here.”

“You should pay more attention to your surroundings. You have such a bad habit of going through your life oblivious, living entirely in your own head. You smile, you’re polite, but you look right through baristas, cab drivers, neighbours, everyone around you. You haven’t noticed me all this time…but I’ve been in the periphery for years.”

He was right. He knew her better than anyone. Better than those she was supposed to love more than her own life. He knew her pain, and he knew the darkness that was always at the edge of her mind, threatening to swallow her whole.

They had met 17 years ago in a government detox centre. She was there as a willing participant, a teenager, ready to get clean and try rehab. He was there in accordance with a court order. Although they were warned repeatedly not to engage in relationships during detox, and warned even more sternly not to engage in relationships with other addicts, there was no fighting the attraction. Both damaged, both intelligent and well read, both searching for something to make them whole; they found in each other a soulmate, a mirror, and a death sentence.

……………………..

SPOILER ALERT: One of them dies eventually. Or both. They haven’t told me that part yet.

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Hmm…challenge accepted.

So I was challenged by a writer friend to try this…and it’s been a more difficult exercise than it originally appeared. So, if you are a writer and have a bazillion hours to waste (which, if you’re a writer, then HELLO PROCRASTINATION IN THE NAME OF ART hell yeah you do) then try it. You’ll like it. Maybe. Or maybe you’ll hate it and think less of me. You know, your choice.

Describe yourself, your main character and your book, each in 5 words or less.

  • Heather: searching, curious, passionate, whimsical, ardent
  • Sera (MC): charming, shy, competent, reserved, determined
  • SERA (WIP): impassioned, philosophical, heartrending, trivial, intimate

Yes, my MC and my WIP are the same word. No, that does not mean I lack originality. It’s just…that’s the book’s name. I can’t help it. I don’t decide these things (oh, wait…)

 

 

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Just something I made on my lunchbreak.

I started CrossFit

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Are you a liar, too?

Lie

“What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110 percent all the time.” – Don Zimmer

“You tried and you failed. The lesson here is: don’t try.” – Homer Simpson

Only one of those statements is true. The other has fancy window dressing, and sounds really motivational, but it has a built-in escape clause. No matter how nice it sounds, it’s just not possible to give 110%. And if I look at myself honestly, it’s not often that I really give more than 65% – and even that might be pushing it. The second statement might be demotivating on its surface, but at least it isn’t misleading.

pinocchio

How much do we lie to ourselves? How often do we say, “I tried my best” or “I gave everything I had” when really we just gave what we felt like, or as little as was needed at the moment, or less than we would expect from anyone else? How often do we let ourselves skate by on the bare minimum effort (because, really, who wants to push themselves more than that) but then expect to get the highest results? How often do we believe our own fairytale?

The consequences sneak up on you…and it’s never quite what you expect. Often, I give exactly as much effort at the gym as will have me finishing right in the middle of the pack – I don’t want to be the first person done the workout, and I darn well don’t want to be last – but then wonder why all my “hard work” isn’t paying off as quickly as I would like. I unconsciously spend my time and my effort and my energy on so many soul-sucking activities in the run of a day, and then expect to find peace at night.

Thinking about it, I realize that its not just an internal problem – it’s everywhere in my life. When I am honest out loud about my sub-par effort, I have people (with very few exceptions) telling me that “even showing up is great”, that “I’ll do better tomorrow”, or even worse that “I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.” If I am simply sharing my experience without exaggeration, then why is it negative to admit that I gave a half-assed effort? Are we all being polite to the point of dishonesty, or do we really have such low expectations for ourselves and for those around us? I need to be better, I need to do better. I need to face up to what I am doing, what I am thinking, what effort I am giving every moment of every day in every activity and what that says about me, and I need to make changes if my effort isn’t taking me where I want to go. But most of all, I need to stop lying to myself.

This ends now. 

Time for the most gruelling 30 Day Challenge ever.

30 Days of Accountability

No awards. No gold stars. No bullshit.

iPad selfies are the very, very worst.

iPad selfies are the very, very worst.

If I catch myself dialing it in at any point in the day, I will post an honest, first-try, makeup-free selfie on this blog and/or FB profile…or I’ll ask Kevin Wood to post some of my insanely unflattering CrossFit pics. (Seriously people, this is a fate worse than burpees for me.)

I’ll keep a stockpile of awful pictures in case of multiple daily infractions.

At the end of 30 days, I will have either learned to be honest with myself, or I will have levelled up my humility.

Win/win…right?

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When You Walk Away

When you walk away, walk slowly.

Walk so that the person you’re leaving has those extra few seconds. “Wait!” They might say, “Come back!” But you walked away too fast and now you can’t hear them.

You would have gone back. You would have been happy with just one more talk, one more last-ditch effort, one more last melt-into-each-other look. You would have been happy to know that, because you walked away slowly, you gave yourself the chance to think it through, to assess, to be absolutely – as sure as people can be sure about things – positive that walking away is the right thing, the only thing to do.

When you walk away, walk slowly. Go down every other path in your mind carefully, right to the end, before your feet have made their own decision and you’re already too far to find your way back.
old jetty walkway pier the the lake

When I walk away, I walk quickly. I’ve always walked away quickly. I’ve always run, sprinted, raced, careened from decision to decision, person to person, disaster to disaster. I’ve always run and so I was not there when he needed someone to tell him to put the goddamn shotgun down. I wasn’t there when he got his diagnosis. I wasn’t there when she realized there was a way to make it all better.

I lost out on all of the moments I should have had with them because I ran. Walking would have given me time to consider. Walking would have let my mind catch up to my body. I would still have walked away – maybe, possibly, probably – but I would have been thoughtful. You cannot be mindful or thoughtful or careful when you are running.

Time will slow enough for you to be thoughtful, for you to be mindful, for you to be careful. Recklessness feels so much more alive, I know, but there is value in deliberate, poised action. There is value in slow.

When you walk away, walk slowly.

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