Saturday, November 28, 2015

Light of the World, Shine on Me. Love is the Answer.

How pretty is all this mud on me?
 It's that holiday where everyone expresses gratitude. Of course, I express my gratitude everyday. When you have had so much bad crap happen to you when you were young, as I've had, even a quiet, ordinary life seems like the most amazing thing. I remember when I was younger and forced to live with my evil aunt and uncle, I kept wishing for some prince or some wealthy benefactor (I read "Great Expectations" one too many times) to come and save me, but I was luckier than that. I was born to a mother who, even though she died 10 years after I was born, taught me how to save myself...And I'm talking about even after the fact of living in the bad situation, where you don't know how to live in the normal world, because you've developed all these messed-up ways of coping with abuse and then you think that's all you deserve or understand so you keep creating those situations in your life...And when I say you, I think we all know who I'm talking about.

John took a header at one point and looked super bad-ass with his mud blood legs.
 My mother was by no means perfect, and she was always quick to point that out, so that her overly sensitive youngest daughter didn't take her exhausted impatience personally. She had grown up with an overly cautious father who wouldn't let her or her siblings ride bikes, because he worried that they would hurt themselves on them. My mother didn't want us to grow up afraid of everything like she did. She also didn't want her girl children to be quiet and pretty and long-suffering, so she gave us the gift of sometimes feral freedom, that I always loved and the gift of feminism at a young age. I was told that I could do anything that I should question everything and that I should create whatever was in my head without worrying whether it was "good enough" (whatever that means). I was also lucky enough to be given the gift of journaling in the manor of it being forced upon me by my teachers in 5th grade, which just so happened to be the year my mother died.

My wonderful boyfriend, braving my muddy legs and feet to take off my timing chip.
 It took me many wasted years of my adult life to figure out how to use all of the gifts to save myself, but in my 30's I finally was brave enough to look carefully at myself and my behavior and figure out what I didn't like about myself and not worry about what other people don't like about me (screw them. They don't have to live with me 24/7) and do the work I needed to do to create a life that makes me happy. I will be doing this work my entire life, but I am at a great place right now.

I am grateful for everything I did on Thanksgiving.

Stinky coming into the finish. She didn't think it was as much fun as I did, but she's more mature than I am.

We started out with a muddy local trail race and it was ridiculous. After getting injured last year, my goals for this race were not to fall (no matter how slow I had to go) and to have fun. It was raining before the race started. A bunch of snow had melted and we knew it was going to be muddy, but then there was lightning that delayed the race for 15 minutes. By the time we started, most of the rain had stopped. People went out hard and then hit the first grassy hill and I could hear people falling and screaming behind me. I went slowly and cautiously down that first hill. People were passing me right and left and I was fine with it. Even the people dressed like vegetables passed me and I said, "Go get it!" There were some downhills where we had lines of at least 30 people all in a row, trying hard not to fall.

I ran with people and we all laughed and joked about the mud and at one point I grabbed what I thought was a branch, but turned out to be a sticker vine instead and the guy running next to me said, "Yeah. you might have been better off just falling there..." Too true.

At one point, I saw one of my teammates running with his son. On every downhill mudslide, his son jumped and slid down it on his belly, like Superman and instead of taking the bridge, they both went down and up the creek walls to experience full, muddy goodness. I thought, what a great thing to teach your kid, that this is fun and it is a great thing to play outside and get dirty, whether you do well in your race or not.

When I got done with my race, I was in the bottom half of the participants, but I didn't fall and when a friend of mine asked me how I did, I said, " I had so much fun. What a blast." So, it looks like I met my goals

John and I went home and took long, hot showers and naps. Then we both worked on cleaning our house and cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The cats got a little riled-up and Archie messed with Heidi, until she put him in his place. She is half his size, but he is terrified of her. Who doesn't love a submissive male?

Archie took consolation in killing his fake mousy. Whatever helps, right?

Stinky and her boyfriend and our friend, Burne showed up for dinner and a couple of other couples showed up for pie and drinks and a Cards Against Humanity game.

Finally, it was time to put ourselves, and Archie to bed. Running, playing in the mud, eating good food and hanging out with family and friends? What ISN'T there to be thankful for? Best part? Our house is clean, we have tons of food and we have three more days until we have to go back to work. Ahhhhhh.


Dan said...

What fun! Oh to be outdoors doing.....ANYTHING again! It sounds like we had some similar backgrounds as kids with abuse. We didn't know it was abuse when we were kids though.

Great post!

Churlita said...

Sorry. I just saw this. Sorry you had to deal with that in your childhood.