becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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9 weeks out – finding the drive.

today was the first day of a new, 4-week training block. i really enjoyed the last one, and i feel like my back and shoulders gained some strength and size. since it was a four day split i also enjoyed a little more flexibility with my three off days – i rock-climbed a few times, did some metcons, and once or twice just grabbed a platform after work and did some hang cleans to work on power and speed (my elbows, and really everything, are the opposite of speedy).

this past week didn’t go quite according to program. the girl i’m very much in love with and i called it quits; i’ve been sad as hell about it. it was the strangest, most loving break-up i’ve ever experienced, but i’m still so sad that it’s hard to move sometimes. and on monday i had to have a little surprise oral surgery, which led to more melting down because (a) i hate the dentist ANYWAY, (b) i wanted my mom, and (c) i now have a big-ass hole where my molar used to be.

so with all of that on my mind, i had a hard time hitting it in the gym with my normal energy. plus, my training partner and i haven’t been able to coordinate schedules all week so we both flew solo monday and wednesday.

but nothing is ever perfect. training schedules can’t be followed 100%, all the time. meal plans can’t be followed 100%, all of the time. i got in there and put in work, even on the day when i was still bleeding from aforementioned big-ass hole in my mouth or the day where i laid in pigeon bawling while i was doing my post-lift mobility.

but today i hit my projected squat opener for two triples. so there’s that.

 

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3…2…1…

if i’m counting (which i totally am), i’m three days away from my 30th birthday! now i don’t even make resolutions or hopes or wishes on New Year’s because i think that the amount of things that can happen in 365 days is so mind-boggingly vast that trying to predict your progress is just counter-intuitive…but…

i’ve been thinking a lot about my 20s – what happened, what didn’t, what i thought would happen and if it did or didn’t – and relating it to my pending decade of good times and loud laughs.

i turned 20 on the last day of my sophomore year at cornell. seven months later my bulimia and cutting were out of control and i was admitted into renfrew and then, after about six weeks, transferred to a DBT-based program at columbia presbyterian in NYC.

i was 22 when i started my dream degree (voice) at one of a handful of dream schools (hartt).

when i was 25 i started dating somebody. i fell in love with her. i started to think about things like marriage and babies and happily ever after. i graduated from college, got into grad school – two, in fact! – and accepted a spot at the university of kentucky. 25 was a good year.

at 26 i moved 750 miles away from everything i had ever known, to start my master’s degree. i was 26 when i got engaged. i met people who grew to be cornerstones in my life.

and then 27 hit. my mom died. my family self-destructed. “i love you, don’t ever leave me” turned into “you’re not being fair, i can’t be with you any more.” i successfully defended my master’s thesis and graduated, but missed the ceremony because i had my leg sawed into by a wonderful surgeon whom i adore even though it sucked.

with 27 barely in the rearview, 28 brought the decision to stay in lexington another three years and become a PhD student. most of 28 was overshadowed by knee rehab; my physical therapist and my advisor kept me sane and alive that year.

on my 29th birthday i found out that what i had thought was just a bump in the road in my grandma’s health was actually terminal. i sat on the tennis court outside the gym and cried for an hour that day. i went home and booked a flight to florida to visit; it would be the last time i would see her.

the same week my grandma died, i started training with my powerlifting coach – i was actually driving home from our first session when my dad called to tell me grandma had passed away. i broke 5 state powerlifting records while i was 29. presented at my first professional conference, visited texas for the first time, and successfully completed my PhD coursework.

after the crap that was 27, i’ve found myself hopelessly smitten with somebody and it’s weird and surprising and a whole lot of fun.

i have no grandiose ideas for my 30s. i don’t necessarily want to: get married, have babies, buy a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence. maybe i will! and that would be cool. but if i don’t, that’s just as cool.

in 3 days, i’ll turn 30. i’ll teach a sunrise yoga class at 630am and i’ll run sprints a little before nine. after i crawl back to the gym i’ll foam roll and shower and i’ll spend the rest of the day at the library, studying for my qualifying exams. my uncle will call at some point, and my dad will too. when the library closes at five i’ll go home and have dinner and look at my training schedule for the next day.

at some point while i’m 30 i’ll pass my qualifying exams and maybe even get a dissertation proposal approved. i’ll start applying for sabbatical replacement positions and for fellowships.

i’ll lift a lot of things and i’ll laugh a lot. probably loudly, because that’s how i roll.

you never know how the chips are going to fall. am i happy that 27 went the way it did? of course not. but am i in love with the way my life is in the last three days of 29? you better freaking believe it. and i’m going to try my damnedest to make 30 just as great.


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reborn.

this blog has been around for a while. among other things, it’s been here through the beginning of my relationship, our subsequent engagement, and the mess that was our break-up. that was nearly two years ago.

and now, for the first time since i started dating k, i am having the strangest experience: i have a complete, 100% crush on somebody.

now k and i started dating in the very beginning of 2010. some basic math will tell you, then, that it’s been almost 4.5 years since. that, my friends, is a long time to go without butterflies, and i had forgotten how that goofy giddy feeling can completely transform you. as silly as it sounds, everything has been better these past few weeks. all in part due to this dopey, schoolgirl-like feeling i’ve been carrying around.

for a long time after k and i broke up i clung to the idea, the belief that we would eventually get back together. and i think part of that was self-protective – i didn’t want to allow myself to fall for somebody else, anybody else. because what if they broke my heart too? no, it was easier to hold out, keep my past relationship in my back pocket and say, “no i can’t consider anyone else…because what if?”

i’m uninterested in ‘what if,’ i’m uninterested in what could have been or what might someday be. i’ve made a lot of tentative decisions the past couple weeks regarding my somewhat-immediate future, and i’m really pleased that i’m going to be putting some semi-permanent roots in a place that i have come to love, with people who i call family.

and one of those people also happens to give me butterflies.

maybe nothing will come of it. probably not. but that’s not the point; the point is i’m one step closer to being whole again. after mom died and k and i broke up and i lost normal use of my leg for nearly a year, my self concept was completely shattered. i’ll never get my mom back, but i’m finding ways to honor and remember her well; my knee is great and i’ve found a new sport that i adore and that makes me feel amazing; and this is like a final piece of the puzzle.

i know goofy silly crushes don’t last forever, but i’ll be damned i’m gonna ride this one out for as long as i can!

(back to your regularly scheduled posts about lifting heavy things.)


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untouched.

I haven’t held your hand in eight months and the human skin replenishes every twenty-seven days. You’ve never touched this skin and I don’t think you ever will.
the day i decided to stop contacting you, i put a post-it on my wall and started keeping a tally.
for months i had known that the only time we talked was when i reached out first. and even though i told myself one, three, sixteen times to just stop, the centripetal pull back to you was too much.
my tally is at 25 days now. five neat sets of hash marks on a bright pink post-it.
it’s like an advent calendar. only instead of getting a piece of chocolate every day, i get a little piece of my self-worth back.
it doesn’t feel good, knowing you’re somebody’s option. knowing that when somebody can’t make it through dinner without texting their friends back yet takes two days to respond to you, what they’re really saying is “you are unimportant.” i let it eat away at me, let myself wonder if i could change it – maybe if i was extra thoughtful and extra funny and extra cute you would think i was worth it.
but there is none of that now, none of that any more. in just two days i will be a wholly new person on the outside from the day i started my tally. in two days you wouldn’t recognize me. i wear my new skin like i wear my new heart: softly and gently but with steel underneath.
in two days i will molt and i will take down this stupid pink post-it because if 27 days is enough time to grow a new skin it is surely enough time to dispatch of the last layer of my heart you will have ever touched.


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becoming That Girl.

after seeing countless “chick flicks” and reading scores of young adult, coming of age-type books as a pre-teen and adolescent, it seemed like it was some sort of twisted rite of passage: get heart broken, spend an entire weekend in your pajamas crying and eating haagen-dazs and swiss rolls, emerge from your cocoon on monday (much to the relief of your friends and family) with a new lease on life – one fueled by either a fuming desire for revenge or a never-say-die attitude that the best is yet to come so there.

* * *

it’s an otherwise ordinary tuesday night. when i finished my pint of phish food – did i really eat that quickly? are these smaller than they used to be? – i found myself torn between getting more ice cream or searching for the sharp things i thought i had fallen out of love with some eight and a half years ago. i absently rub behind my left ear and ruminate on the tattoo i have had for over two years but have never seen, an infinity symbol we got together when i was home on spring break during my first year of grad school. if we were IMing as we got ready for bed it was always a race to see who could manage to type “<3 x ∞” and then log off before the other could respond and have the last word, so to speak.

love times infinity.

the tattoo is forever, at least.

when i was younger, watching those movies with my friends at sleepovers filled with popcorn and teen and cosmogirl quizzes (“is your crush into you??” “what’s your lipstick personality?!”), i was always left slightly baffled. i could not for the life of me imagine myself becoming a 48-hour hermit with precariously high sugar levels over some guy. but then two things happened: (1) i got it through my thick skull that i did not, in fact, have the remotest interest in guys; and (2) i fell in love.

and then i got my heart broken.

…and then an entire goddamn year went by.

and now – what? now i’m sad? now i find myself fetal in my bed watching my train wreck of an adult life play behind shuttered eyelids as my fingertips count the train tracks written in my arms when i was 14, 18, 21? why now?

the movies don’t show this part, they don’t let you in on how, while you’re absentmindedly yet somehow also manically devouring that ice cream you’re also wondering if your landlord will just write off the rest of your lease in the event that you disappear, or if your father will somehow be saddled with that on top of the realization that the only remaining piece of his immediate family has also checked out. as your spoon hits the bottom of the carton you remember how, just a few weeks ago while you were shopping for boric acid you looked up one shelf at home depot and saw a display of utility knives and were pleased that you were no longer lulled to the display, that you could barely remember how it felt to slide the blade out – click click click – and hold it in the curve of your fingers, weighing all the power it held.

you silently curse yourself for owning nothing sharper than a butter knife. you curse again that you care.

no, those teeny-bopper novellas don’t also tell you that while you can pretend to bounce back all you want, the pain you swallowed initially will eat at you like a cancer, until finally, a year later, you look down and realize that it has come back around to devour you whole.

and none of those insipid story lines will tell you the most important and terrifying thing of all: that you will look around and realize that somewhere along the line, you stopped giving a shit.

and while this is not the stuff of blockbuster mega-hits, this is the stuff of real life: ice cream doesn’t cure jack shit, there are no second chances, and the only thing you can “get over” in a weekend is a fucking hangover.

i’m too exhausted to end this eloquently. and that, too, is the stuff of real life.


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just friends. (draft. and it needs a title.)

i wonder how we can be just friends.
how i can nonchalantly ask you
how your day was
(but only every other thursday
because anything more would be excessive)
and pretend i don’t remember us
curled like two commas,
my mouth on your shoulder,
your hips melting into my belly.

i don’t know how to delete the sound of our voices
hushed
as baby names passed through our lips.
ailey. ainsley. emma. jo.
we rolled each one around in our mouths like pearls,
small and round and smooth and deliciously foreign.

so forgive me, love,
that i cannot un-etch your name from my heart,
that i cannot forget the smell of your hair
or the taste of your teeth.
i cannot be a good friend – i cannot
be just friends –
until i am stricken with amnesia
and may no longer remember the way
you mumble in your sleep
or how we fell into Savasana
with our pinkies linked,
our hearts seeping through our fingertips.

i cannot be just your friend
because you will never be just mine.
you were my breath and my bones and the spaces between my words
and i cannot make you
into something you’re not.


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the other l-word.

i’ve been shamelessly watching season 1 of the l word for about the tenth time. and while i love the show – and always will, because it’s that awesome – i was getting these awful twinges of sadness while i was watching.

when dana and lara first start dating, there’s this sweet silliness to their relationship. it’s full of awkward moments and embarrassment and tripping over words. but it is so goddamn sweet you can’t help but smile.

when i first started dating k i was literally afraid to touch her. i was 5 years older than her, half a foot taller, and i was her first girlfriend. i was terrified i would scare her away if i was even slightly forward, so i tiptoed around her – almost literally. we never had any of those super awkward “asking out” or “first date” moments, because we never really had a formal first date. but i just remember having constant butterflies, wanting to bear hug her and never let go but at the same time being afraid that if i came too close or touched too hard she would disappear like a mirage.

when i made door decorations for my residents the year that k lived on my floor, in the spring i made zodiac sign tags. out of 20+ people in the wing, only two of them were “cuspers” (people born on the first or last day of a sign, who are said to be “on the cusp” and possess qualities of both signs) – myself, and k. when we started dating we would joke that we were doomed – two girls and all those girlie things, plus FOUR zodiac signs. definitely doomed.

it was funny because everybody, us included, assumed we would be together forever. that nothing, especially something as silly as astrology, could break us apart.

clearly not so funny any more.

k is the one who told me about the l word in the first place, and who watched it with me when i first saw it. she bought me the 6-season box set for christmas last year; i couldn’t fit it in my luggage when i went back to lexington after mom’s funeral, so i left them with her. when i drove through CT over the summer to pick up my winter clothes after we had broken up, it never occurred to me to get them.

it’s a good show. funny, well-written, great characters. and yes, the women are damn attractive. but watching it makes me strangely sad. sad for having been so in love. sad for what i lost. shit, sad for the fact that we don’t have a cool lesbian hangout like The Planet in lexington.

yet i suppose, as always, it is what it is. i never would have expected this to gnaw at me for nearly an entire year, to slowly chip away at my sense of self, my sense of self-worth, and sometimes my very sanity.

you love. you lose. but through it all – indeed, sometimes because of it all – you live.