Tag Archives: inspiration

The Pieces of Me

In all this talking with Mr. B lately, I’ve been thinking about those pieces that, taken as a whole, make up the person I am. These are the words that float around in my head and, when someone asks what makes me Me, they are the words I use (in no particular order, of course):

  • Mom
  • Wife
  • Reader
  • Writer
  • Nature Lover
  • Woman
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Driven
  • Friend
  • Optimist (though I’ll always be working at this one)
  • Music Fan
  • Lifelong Learner
  • Dreamer
  • Creative
  • Doer
  • Happy

But, as Mr. B and I continue to chat about such things, I realize I’m not really honoring my whole self. I’ve been falling down on the job when it comes to being an authentic version of Kimi Joy because I’ve been neglecting some of the things I know make me the best version of myself.

For the last several years, it’s been easiest to focus on being Mom (“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.”). And, if I’m being honest, I’ve let the other things fall away and, to a certain extent, fall apart.

Let’s break this down a bit:

I define myself as a “writer” but — until recently — I don’t write. I hadn’t even tried, bemoaning the disappearance of my muse. And I’m just recently finding myself nose-deep in good books, realizing how much I’ve been missing making friends with characters the world ’round for the last few years.

And Nature Lover Kimi Joy? She spends far too much time inside the four walls of her house — when all she really longs to do is be outside, barefoot and free.

The other night Mr. B commented that I don’t seem as driven, as dedicated, as I did when we met. Granted, when I met him I was training for a marathon and had a very specific timeline and goal. But — he’s right. I thrive on goals and improvement and measurement, and I’ve not taken the time to truly sit down and think about where I want to be and how I’m going to get there.

Let’s not even get started on where I’ve been lacking as a wife/partner, friend, sister, daughter … because that’s when it starts to hurt the most.

All this to say: I think we all have ideas in our minds of who we are — words, phrases, concepts that help us form our definition of ourselves. These are the parts of ourselves we should be nurturing because they are our Core. And I’ve been doing a piss-poor job lately.

Kimi Joy Picture

Can we talk about wearing maxi skirts all day every day, please? #authenticself

The words above? They help to make up the person I aspire to be — the person I want to be on my best days. They give my ship an anchor.

To be sure, I don’t believe I’m a fully formed, complete individual yet. And I don’t believe this list makes up the Whole of who I am or will be. There will always be a part of me that’s changing, that’s growing, that’s reaching toward the sun.

I will always be imperfect. And I am not yet Done.

But I do know who I am — I just need to get her back.

 

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Being Grateful for the Ordinary

As you know, religion isn’t really my thing — at least not in the societal definition of it. But we’ve found a church — a community, really — where we feel as at home with our doubts and questions just as we do with our hope and our love. Still, though, Mr. B and I aren’t overtly religious people. And, we are most definitely new to this whole “practicing our faith” thing.

Since moving into our home, we’ve been making an effort to sit down to real dinners every night. Putting aside our phones, turning off the TV and just enjoying each other’s company (and the company of our wandering cats and our hopeful, under-the-table pup). Something wasn’t feeling quite right, though. Something was missing.

One day, I randomly asked Mr. B if we could pray before dinner. He wasn’t judgy or skeptical or turned off at all. In fact, he willingly said the prayer. For that, I was thankful. You see, I grew up in a Christian home — with a mother who was the epitome of a Christian woman, always opening her home and her arms, to those who needed something … anything. But we didn’t say prayers before dinner except at special occasions or holidays. And I didn’t say a bedtime prayer — at least not that I can remember. So I was — and still am, to some extent — uncomfortable with prayer. I mean, when you can’t see who you’re talking to, it’s weird — and, yes, I’m still confused/amazed/awed by “the telephone.”

Mr. B’s first prayer in our home was an awkward and simple prayer — as are ALL of our before-dinner prayers. But, it was beautiful. And it was exactly what our dinner table was missing. Every night, before we eat, we hold hands and say a prayer of thanksgiving. When we see special needs — in our friends and family facing a difficult time — we add those in, too. But, mostly, we say thanks.

We thank God for each other. And for our (most-of-the-time) delicious food, our new home and our silly pets. We thank God for family and friends, sunshine and stars, talents and dreams. Mostly, we thank God for loving us through another day and for being there for us through all the bad things life has thrown at us. And for giving us such beauty and love and hope. Sometimes, we even tell God to “have a nice day” — because, like I said, prayers are awkward and we never quite know how to end them. (Besides, as Mr. B says “God probably has people asking him for things all day long and no one takes the time to tell him to have a nice day.”)

It’s been an amazing experience in practicing gratitude. And it’s carried through in so many other areas of my life. Some of the things we thank God for are silly, simple things. Things that, on most days prior to our new dinnertime tradition, we would have overlooked and ignored. Because they weren’t special enough to notice. But they still are blessings that deserve recognition.

Blessings like:

  • wrinkles around our eyes — because it means we had something to smile about
  • our leaky basement — because it means we have a home
  • weeds in our garden — because it means we can have flowers
  • sadness — because if we can feel that, we can also feel happiness
  • our morning commutes — because it means we have jobs
  • grocery shopping — because it means we’ll have food on our table
  • muddy floors and dirty dishes — because they mean we have life in our home
  • missing Penelope Joy — because it means we had an amazing daughter who we had the pleasure to parent

You see, being grateful for your blessings shouldn’t be about only saying thanks when something takes your breath away. It should be about being thankful for every breath you take.

Even if you’re not religious, I believe that taking a few minutes each day to take note of the gifts you’ve been given — and the ones you’ve worked damn hard to earn — is important. My challenge to you: sit down tonight and write down five simple things that bless your life. Things you maybe haven’t taken time to appreciate before. Things that, on an ordinary day, are … well … ordinary. Because when you take time to give thanks for the small things, you realize you have a lot to be thankful for.

Sunset in Paradise

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I Write What I Want

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve probably realized that my life is full of things that inspire me to write — everything from family and pets to Alzheimer’s disease and Penelope Joy and running to marriage. And, if you haven’t been following along for long, welcome to the light. This is a blog of randamity. And it sometimes makes it hard to … well … “Blog” (with a capital “B”).

"I'm gonna grab the computer and take my pants off, it's time to write."

You see, I love to write. It is my outlet. It is my therapy. It is my happy place. And that’s probably why I’ll never make any money from this blog. Because:

  • I write what I want to write. You can’t really place me in a “blogging category.” This isn’t humor or fitness. It isn’t poetry or creative writing. It certainly isn’t a craft or recipe blog. And I am most definitely not a “mommy blogger.”
  • I write when I want to write. I only write when I have something to say and when I’m feeling creatively inspired. That means I may post at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, 6 p.m. on a Sunday or 10:30 p.m. on a Friday. Sure, I could schedule my posts — and sometimes I do. But, for the most part, I’m all about instant gratification. Basically, this is how it works: The mood strikes; I write; I post it; I move on. I tend not to pay attention to the research — at least for this personal blog — that tells me when most people are reading (3 p.m. on Wednesdays, for example). And I tend not to write just so I have something to post for fear of people forgetting about me and my blog.
  • I write for me. And only me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so very happy to have people who want to read what I write. But, I won’t let advertising “categories” define what this blog is, who this writer is or who my readers are.

So, to sum up: if you’re looking for a humor, mommy, recipe, craft, fitness, poetry, DIY or other niche blog, you won’t find it here. What you will find? Pure, unedited honesty. Respect for life and the (sometimes heart-breaking) lessons we learn along the way. Mostly, though, you’ll find life. Yeah, that’s what this is. It is a life blog. With real-life stories — about the good, the bad and the ugly.

And, love, you will find love.

Pets helping me write

Every writer needs her support staff.

Edit: After Mr. B read this blog post, we had the sweetest conversation. And I just have to share it — because it’s just further evidence how waiting to find the “right piece” makes for a beautiful, frame-worthy puzzle.

Mr. B: I like your life blog.
Me: Yeah?
Mr. B: I like being a part of it.
Me: My life or my blog?
Mr. B: A little of both.

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Trying to Process What Happened in Boston

As we all know, I ran a half marathon on Saturday.

Ready to race

Getting ready to race.

A half marathon that I was having a lot of mixed feelings about, truth be told. I sat down a couple of times Sunday to write my recap of the race. But, I was having trouble finding the right words to describe it. “I’ll write it Monday, once my hips stop hurting,” I told myself. (Because, heaven knows, you can’t write when your hips hurt.)

And then …

Monday happened.

And, as a runner, a marathoner, I felt like someone attacked my family. Runners have come to be a huge part of my community, of who I’ve become. Some of my dearest friends and supporters are runners. As a group, they’ve changed my life. And those spectators? Cheering at the finish line? They’re the ones who pull us through. They’re the ones there at every single race, cheering our names, clapping their hands and bringing us home — whether they’re our family and friends or total strangers.

The unthinkable had happened.

I was in shock. I think, maybe, I’m still in shock.

To sit down and write a race recap for my own half marathon seems … I don’t know … silly. If I couldn’t find the right words before, I am now completely speechless. All I can think about when I try to write about my half marathon is when I ran across that finish line.

As a distance runner, when I see that finish line, something inside of me lets go. All the pain from the miles before, all the exhaustion of the months of training, all the worry about the race … they all just disappear. And a sense of happiness and pride and relief spreads through my body. I melt. And then, at the finish line, I see Mr. B’s smiling face chanting “Go, Kimi, go!” And my friends and family cheering me on — right under that clock that says “You did it; you’re here.” And it’s a feeling of pure and utter elation that takes over. Oh, yeah, and there’s love — knowing that my friends and family are there to celebrate that moment with me.

Mr. B and me on race day

My support crew — and my biggest cheerleader.

That finish-line memory was still fresh for me, is still so fresh for me. And that makes Monday’s tragedy even harder to comprehend and process.

All I can see in my head is those runners running toward their families and friends at the finish line in Boston — a smile on their faces because they’re there, they did it. For some, a lifelong dream just to be on that course. For others, a chance to do better than the year before. Weeks, months, years of sacrifice — for the runners and their families. And I see their friends and families — smiles on their faces, so proud and full of love for their runner. All that love, pride, joy and excitement.

Stolen.

To have all of that taken away in an instant. It’s heart breaking. And confusing. And … so many other things.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, crying about it. Thankfully Mr. B was home. We watched some news. I cried. And then, we turned off the TV and left the apartment. I needed space; I needed air.

So, we went to pick up my race charm from Saturday’s race.

Saturday I ran for Pickle. Always for Pickle.

Saturday I ran for Pickle. Always for Pickle.

I expressed to Mr. B that I’m so sad that these types of things happen in the world. Added to a difficult hate-filled experience earlier in my day, it was a lot of hate and sadness for me to take in for one day. And I told him I’m scared about the world we’re bringing a precious, precious child into. As usual, Mr. B’s wisdom was just what I needed to hear:

“This is exactly why we do need to bring a child into this world; this world needs another kind person.”

And, so it is on this that I try to focus. Even amidst the horror and tragedy and hate, there is beauty and kindness. And givers. And sharers. And helpers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” ~Mr. Rogers

What’s more, there is always running. There will always be running.

There is always running.

There is always running.

Tonight I laced up my still-muddy-from-the-race shoes and ran. Well, as much as Pickle would let me. Not because it was on a training program. Not because I needed to burn some calories. Tonight I ran because I can. I ran because it is a gift. I ran because I had to.

I ran because that’s all I know to do right now.

Sans watch. Sans GPS. Just me and my thoughts. I have no idea how far I went, though I could hazard a guess, nor how long it took me. All I know is I ran.

(And walked a little, too. Pickle likes that better. We’re compromising.)

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Better Than I Used to Be

As I was running (a very tough, dragging-on-too-long-for-as-short-as-it-was run) along the path that runs along the freeway the other day, I looked up to see the following on a billboard:

“You’re in front of the person behind you. Stay there.”

It’s for a nearby university. But it’s fitting for fitness, too. Particularly for those who may be just starting out on the path to reaching their fitness goals. (Whispery aside: Or those who need a reminder of how far they’ve come — no matter what their disordered thinking has them believing. I’m looking at you, Mrs. B.)

You see, contrary to what the sign is saying, it’s not always about where you are in relation to the other people around you. It’s about where you are in relation to yourself.

Then and now

Who I am is who I was, but that’s only part of the story. Cuz I’m more than that, too. And my story is far from over.

Every step you take is one in the right direction. Whether it’s a fast step or a slow step, you’re still in front of the version of yourself who would otherwise still be sitting on the couch.

“I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” ~Tim McGraw, “Better Than I Used to Be”

I think people — myself sometimes included — believe they have to be perfect to be fit. They have to be a fast runner to be a runner. Or a long-distance cyclist to be a cyclist. Or a race winner to be a race runner. Or a … well, you get the picture.

It doesn’t help that there are judgy people out there that look at you and say (all rude-like with a case of the side-eye), “Um, there’s no way you’re a runner.” (Yes, this happened.)

You’re not going to get it perfect right out the door. You’re probably going to be slower than some people (you’ll be faster than some, too). You’re probably going to have more soreness in the beginning than you anticipated. But look at what you’re doing! You’re walking a mile when normally you would have driven; you’re running for 5 minutes straight when that used to be a thing of dreams; you’re swimming two laps when you used to just dangle your feet; you lost “only” 1 pound when before you just maintained.

And don’t get me wrong, there will be setbacks. Everything in life has setbacks. Even the biggest steps forward. And there will be days you’re slower than you “should” be or can’t run as far as you “should.”

Case in point: When I stepped back into intensive training in December, I was regularly hitting sub 8:30 miles for runs up to five miles. Today? I’m lucky if I can squeak out an 11-minute mile for a two-mile run. Thank the bronchitis and a lot of travel in the month of January and a couple of other health issues that popped up. A month of off-and-on running due to situations out of my control has taken its toll. And, quite frankly, it’s pissing me off. I want to be back where I was in December. But, I have to listen to my body and take care of it when it needs rest — because I need it to go the distance (figuratively and literally). I’m fighting my way back slowly. It’s frustrating that it can’t happen overnight. It can’t, right?

So, I’m having to take another look at my training schedule and my plan. I probably won’t be hitting that half-marathon PR I was hoping for in April. And the half marathon immediately followed by the 25k in May? We’ll have to see how training goes.

But the setbacks won’t make me quit. In fact, they’ll make me push myself harder — within reason. Because I am a stronger version of myself than I was before. In that time when a setback would send me back to the sidelines.

Because I want to stay in front of that person behind me,
that version of me in my past.

So, if you’re like me and you need to hear it (over and over and over again), I’ll share the pep talk I’ve been having to give myself lately:

Breathe. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can in the situation you’re in now. And remember — you are far ahead of that version of yourself sitting on the sidelines. Lace up your shoes, and get out there. One step is better than no step. And if you can get two in, do it.

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Practicing Self Love

As Jan. 1 (FAST!) approaches, talk of New Year’s resolutions are everywhere: news reports, magazine covers, Facebook feeds, blog posts … you name it. But you won’t really see me talk about them here.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Haven’t really ever, and I don’t plan on doing any this year. They don’t work for me. I’m of the opinion that every day is the start to a “new year” — every minute, really. FOR ME, goals that are worth setting are worth starting right now.*

That being said, Mr. B and I have set a list of things we want to do in 2013. They range from adventures we want to have to foods we want to taste. (I have a feeling, based on this list, that 2013 is going to be life changing.)

There’s also something I have started to be more cognizant of in the recent past — and something I plan to continue to work on in the coming year.

Confession time:

Sometimes, I’m not kind to myself. I say things that aren’t nice, productive or helpful. And I put A LOT of pressure on myself for perfection — perfection I know doesn’t even exist. (Set yourself up for failure, much, Kimi B?)

So, lately, I’ve been trying to be nicer to myself by:

  • Not saying mean things about myself when I’m alone or when I’m with other people — even if it’s meant completely jokingly (It’s hard some days.)
  • Letting Mr. B touch my bare belly (Admittedly, it’s sweet, and I kinda like it.)
  • Going a little easy on myself and not fretting about an unexpected rest day
  • Actually taking rest days
  • Making “me” time that isn’t filled with “STUFF” or lists — even if it means the dishes sit in the sink for a little longer than I’d like, or the laundry remains unwashed for one more day (Reading for fun, warm bubble baths and giant sweatpants have found their way back into my life.)
  • Accepting compliments (Always a weak spot, I’m working on it.)
  • Recognizing that it’s OK to want to be complimented on things other than my brains or my sense of humor
  • Taking time to appreciate how far I’ve come and the gifts I’ve given myself over the years: education, health, wellness, adventure …

So, while I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I do recognize that I can resolve to be nicer to myself every day of every year — including on Jan. 1.

“If someone in your life talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you would have left them long ago.” ~Carla Gordon

*Please realize that I know setting New Year’s resolutions does work for some people. And if that’s what gets someone to work toward their goals, I say “bravo!” But, it just doesn’t work for me. I know; I’ve tried.

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A Letter

As we sit down to celebrate Christmas with our family and friends, I’d like to share a quick note to those who are already looking ahead to 2013 with hopes of taking control of their health and fitness — once and for all.

Dear New Year Newbie,

Welcome! I know this was a big, scary step for you to take after all these years of saying “tomorrow’s the day.” I know because I’ve been there. It wasn’t the new year when I took that first step in to the gym. But, for me — like for you, it was a brand-new start.

I’ve walked in your shoes, and I know that it can be hard to take that step, wondering what those other people must think of you when you walk through that door. But, don’t be too scared. Most people in the gym are there for the same reason: To take control of their health and to reap the benefits of exercise.

Now, you may hear people bemoaning the presence of the “Resolutionists.” I won’t lie to you: it’s true that some people will roll their eyes or make snide comments about your presence in the gym, knowing that many who “start fresh” on Jan. 1 don’t last through February.

But, I also promise you: it’s not everyone. Some people will welcome you to the gym and provide encouragement and advice (sometimes unsolicited). A majority, though, will go about their business, lifting weights, running on the treadmill or punching the heavy bag. They probably won’t even know you’re there. Because when they’re in the gym, they are there to do work — and, truthfully, they don’t care what anyone else is doing.

That last type? That’s me.

I go to the gym to get stuff done. Don’t be offended it I don’t make chit chat or approach you and say hello. Granted, if we make eye contact, I’ll absolutely smile and say “hi.” And, if you come up to me with a question, I’ll take out my headphones and answer. (OK, if I see someone looking really lost, I’ll ask them if they need help.)

I do know it’s scary to go to the gym alone because you’re afraid everyone’s looking at you, judging you. Rest assured, they’re not. Most people are like me: They want to get a good workout in, so they’re really not judging (or even noticing) the other people who walk through the door.

But, I do offer a few words of advice to make your first days in the gym a little smoother:

  • Learn the gym’s rules. If there’s a 30-minute limit to the cardio equipment, observe it. If you have to pre-register for a spin bike, do so. If there are certain lockers reserved for specific members, don’t use them.
  • Learn the “culture” of your gym. There’s a certain cycle/personality of every gym at different times of the day. For instance, I’ve learned that I’d rather lift in the morning because that’s when people are less chatty and more business when it comes to the gym. And I seldom have to push through a crowd of gossiping guys (and, yes, at my gym, it’s always the guys) to get to the weight bench. It may take time to really figure out the pulse of your gym, but you’ll be glad you did.
  • Use common courtesy. Don’t stand around blocking equipment while you’re chatting or resting or (for whatever reason) texting/gabbing on the phone. Be aware that there are other people in the gym, too. And be respectful. Oh, yeah, please (dear, God, please) wipe down the equipment after you use it.
  • Take advantage of the gym’s resources. Many gyms offer information, get-to-know-the-gym sessions, classes and nutrition resources that will help you reach your goals. What’s even better? Most of it is free.
  • Learn how to use the machines or weights or whatnot. If you don’t know how, ask. You’ll save yourself a lot of time — and injury. There is gym staff for a reason. And, if they’re not helpful, find another gym (if you can) where they are. Other gym-goers will most usually help when you ask them — as long as you do so courteously and appropriately.
  • Have confidence. Know that you’re there for one reason alone: you. And have faith in your own strengths and abilities. One thing about this new life you’re stepping into: You’ll quickly learn that you’re stronger than you ever imagined.
  • Forget them. Stop worrying about what other people in the gym are thinking about you and do what you know needs to be done. Once you get past that “ohmigoshwhataretheythinkingaboutme” hurdle, you’ll have a much more pleasant gym experience. Trust me. As soon as I realized no one really cared what I was doing in the gym (unless I was in their way), I stopped dreading the trip and started looking forward to it.
  • Don’t quit. You’re not going to be perfect at everything you attempt in the gym. I’ve failed at a lot — T2.5 often has to teach and reteach (and reteach) me how to do a lot of things. As someone who strives (STRIVES!) to be perfect in everything, this is hard for me. But, I grow so very much in the learning that it’s worth every failure when I finally succeed. So, please, please don’t give up. Love yourself to know — truly, deeply — that this is the best gift you could give yourself. And you are worth the work and the time and the money.

So, please, try not to be too nervous about the gym. I know that it can seem to be an intimidating place. But, once you get to know your gym, you’ll grow to love it and the feelings of empowerment and strength it can help you realize. And, if you ever doubt your strength — or your place in the gym — tell yourself, “I am worth this. I deserve this. I belong here.” Because you are, and you do.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I do know about my experiences (and my successes and my failures). And if you’d like to reach out and ask questions at any point along your journey, I’d love to answer them.

Love,

Kimi

P.S. I’m really proud of you for setting these goals and making this commitment to yourself. You deserve only the best, and I’m excited to see how far you can go!

NApolean New YEar

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