Thursday, September 19, 2013

In With The New, Out With The Familiar...

Hello, hola, bonjour, Guten Tag, buonguiorno!

There are so many ways to say hello to you all and only one way to say I’m baaaaackkkk (I am sure you could translate that but I am sticking to English for now). 

I tweeted 2 agenda items for myself last week: 1) I was hoping to get a post up and 2) I am hoping to get back to #runchat (although now that it’s at 10pm I don’t know if I can make it…#sleeptweeting)

……so as promised here I am…..back in the blogosphere…...emerging out of my chaotic crazy cocoon like a chaotic crazy beautiful butterfly (cue the sound of a butterfly flapping her wings). 

So as you may have guessed it: the blogosphere, facebookverse and twitterverse were put on the back burner …..why? You may be asking……………….…LET’S CATCH UP!!!!!!

1.   I got a new job (in a new state)
2.   I packed up my life in NY
3.  I raced the NYC Tri
4. I moved to Boston
5.  I started said new job
6.  All whilst training for my first half Ironman and living on half of my belongings the other of which are in storage….

“Whoa Nelly”- - is my thought as I am writing

So now I find myself in Boston…at a new school and almost in a new apartment (10/1).  It has been a really REALLY long transition.  It started with a possibility and then it became a very real and concrete embarking of a journey….a journey that would uproot everything…

This blog started because of the journey that I was on at the time…losing the weight…and that journey has ignited so many other paths … it is remarkable looking back now and seeing how one choice could fuel so many other possibilities.

So now I am here and …… I am trying to find my bearings.  What I didn’t consciously comprehend at the time was that I was scattering ALL normalcy, routine, familiarity into the wind…literally all of those pieces of my life strewn about on a blustery day as I drove away from 4202 Oneida in my rented Uhaul. 

Now I knew getting into this that I had K and C in my corner and I have all of their friends that are MY friends as well….and in this aspect I am extremely lucky because I would be lost without the lot of them.

But in retrospect (once work started retrospect hit REAL hard) I gave up the comfy safe surroundings of a world that I knew like the back of my hand for surroundings that were entirely new and alien.  I left my safe planet for an entirely new universe.  The adventure of it all has been fun, but I do miss my friends, and the familiarity of it all.  Last week I sat on the phone with my mom in hysterics because I just miss knowing something without having to ask 109,898,654 questions…..literally I write things down and then go back to the notes and have no idea what any of it means….but I am not proud enough to not ask the questions because at the end of the day I WANT to know and I WANT, one day, to not have to ask or to be the one with the answers….but for now I have settled into the asking stupid questions phase. 

I am also very lucky because everyone at my new school has been super welcoming (they don’t seem to mind the 789,987,234 questions…but who knows) and I really am starting to find a rhythm.   It’s different than 49 (whole different universe different) but I am enjoying the climate and populace which has made me realize that not once have I regretted the decision...great news!

BUT…I miss MY people, my climate, my populace.  I am adjusting and over time it gets easier but it makes me sad to think about 49 and my teacher friends…and it makes me sad to each lunch without my normal “lunch group”…the sadness did/doesn’t surprise me because I have always been one to be bad at goodbyes and change.  But this is where I have run into that lump in the throat/pit in the stomach feeling….thinking about the way things were and how very very different they are now.  I miss my Shake Shack dates and Broadway plays and all the little fun things.  I miss Teaghan and every time I see a picture I think “I am missing everything”…but I keep reminding myself that it will get better and better here and it will hurt less and less as I acclimate more.

Ok so I did not write this to be a drag and moan about all the things that make me sad….NO I actually wanted to write because of the OPPOSITE!

So Saturday I volunteered to help out L with Autism Speaks bib pick up for the Allstate 13.1 series.  I sat in a booth and handed out shirts and hats and bibs and bags…and as I did that I got to talking with most of the racers- - some were new to the AS team, others were repeat offenders.  People kept saying to me: OMG I know you, I follow you on twitter and read your blog…not just one person but a good few said this over the course of my volunteerism.  I was shocked………

The next day: Sunday, I actually ran the 13.1 race (not a bad time, felt really good, and had no GI issues) and as I was running people kept cheering: GO BETH! YEA BETH! And I was like how do people know me??!?!?!?! Then it clicked and I had an epiphany mid-run:  I am actually a part of this amazing family that is Autism Speaks…AND better yet: that family TRAVELED with me from NY to Boston!

On Sunday, for the first time since I moved up to Boston, I actually felt like I belonged…I didn’t have K to be the linking element, I was on my own and in my element and I felt the familiarity that I have been missing so incredibly much.

Lounging on the couch (with occasional stretching and rolling) Sunday afternoon gave me ample time to reflect on that wonderful wonderful feeling of familiarity.  It is something that I took for granted…something that I willingly gave up without even thinking I would miss it…and it turns out to be the thing that I miss the most.

I have made it very clear in all my blogging that I don’t ever want to derail the journey…whether it be the weight loss, the current or any others that I am slated to take in this life…it is hard to always stay on course but that is part of it.  So in all honesty the tracking and staying at goal (weight wise) has gone off the rails and taken to the back burner…does this mean I have completely gone off track and gained all the weight back? HECK no fool!  THAT will NEVER happen but I did leave behind my WW family in NY and need to find a new WW home near my actual home, which is on the list.

So as you can see I still have some stuff to work on here, and as I have learned that will never change…there is always going to be something that I can be working on or improving. 

The long and short of it:

By saying “yes” to an awesome opportunity I set out to uproot myself from my familiar life and delve into one that I am not 100% (or even 75%) comfortable with…YET.  I had an idea about what moving would feel like but I had no idea what it actually would be like.  I am fully 100% committed to my decision and I don’t regret it for a minute.  I do miss New York and my friends and my Tbot and my familiarity BUT moving has made me realize just how much I have in my life and how lucky I am.  I took my familiarity for granted but I also took my time with friends and New York for granted…being away is hard but now going to visit is just so exciting. I also am ok with my decision because I know it is only going to get better here and at one point in NY I felt the same exact way…new school, no answers, no clue, no friends, nada…but that changed and became awesome and this will too!

I am really excited about this new journey and I am proud of myself for being brave enough to say yes.  It was so so SO worth it and I look forward to discovering what else is ahead for me!

I just want to say thank you to my friends and family because they have backed me up every step of the way.  They have lent me their helping hands and words of encouragement…they have let me cry and have told me it’s gonna be ok…they have lent me their basements and parking spots…they have given me spectacular spectacular news that makes my move to Boston even MORE exciting and worthwhile.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart for just being completely awesome from late April up until this very second (before April too but you need special applause for the past few months!)

Lastly…yes this is it for now…you know you missed my loooong a$$ posts : ) …… I want to thank my Autism Speaks family for providing my very first moment of familiarity and clarity as a Bostontonian….if you were someone shouting my name or high fiving me Sunday you helped me remember what it feels like to be me!  I am so lucky to be a part of this wonderfully powerfully supportive family…so lucky. 

I leave you now with these thoughts:  

Be brave, be friendly, be familiar ;)

Monday, April 15, 2013

At 3:19 today I got a text, followed by a call telling me that two explosions had been heard at the Boston Marathon....I was driving to the gym with a pool training session on the agenda.  I pulled my car onto the shoulder of the Saw Mill and immediately dialed my brother-in-law...voicemail....tried my dad...voicemail.  I kept trying and nothing, then I tried to google what was going on and only got little blips of practically no information...the radio came on and said that a mile from the finish line a bomb had been detonated and then a second bomb closer to the finish heart dropped.  From my stalker tracking of Kate I knew she could have very well been within that vicinity and what was worse...Dad, Chris, Lauren, Dave, Andrea, Justin, Neel, Natalie, Pam, Craig were down there....this reality slammed into the pit of my stomach...even if Kate wasn't near the blast....all of those people...people that Kate loves and the I too have come to know and love were all down there...waiting to cheer Kate over the finish line.

I eventually got to the gym and shakily stood in front of the tv horror struck by what I was seeing.  My phone literally blew up with messages, calls, posts, and tweets about Kate...I couldn't give any response. The sweet sweet Lauren called and reported talking to Chris and dad, and then I got Chris and he'd reported seeing Kate briefly a few short minutes ago....the relief was tangible but as that weight lifted I felt myself start to shake even harder.  I stood there trying to convince myself to get in the pool but instead I pivoted and walked out.

When I got to talk to Kate I started to sob into the phone..."I'm so glad that you're ok" I wept….

Today was one of the scariest days of my life.  I quite literally thought that someone precious was being ripped from my heart as I sat idly by on the shoulder of the Saw Mill.   What the hell is wrong with people I just keep thinking.....why do we have to find pleasure in hurting others?!?! Runners. Spectators. Bostonoians. Out of towners....why?!?!?  It's senseless and it's painful just like all terrorism is I guess but I'm just tired of all this crazy that we have to sift through day in and day out.

I don't want to focus on the crazy....the media and all the press will do that enough over the next 14 days.  Instead I want to highlight the awesome...because we all need a LOT of positive in our lives!!!

Meet Kate Clark Dewey: a proud Boston Marathon finisher!  She raised a shit ton of money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  A few months ago she said to me "I think I'm gonna do the marathon" and I, being the crazy endurance junkie that I am, said "yeaaaaa go for it" and promptly bought her every tool necessary for training!  Kate is my big sister and she would bend over backwards for me and anyone else who needed extraordinary back bending skills.  She is awesome and amazing and inspiring.  She went out there and freaking rocked the hell out of that Boston marathon.  As I mentioned before I stalked her every stride today, saddened that I couldn't be there to cheer her on.  Every text and picture that flooded my phone I proudly announced to everyone in the room like it was an Oscar that I had just won on stage.  I was proud of her and that pride reverberated throughout my entire existence was so tangible I could taste it.

Training for this marathon and racing today has changed Kate for the better forever.  She has handled every curve ball with grace no matter how curvy...even up to the very last second of her race (which came a mere 1/2 mile short of the finish line).  She is a freaking super hero...and a photogenic one at that.  

She told me tonight that the experience was totally life changingly awesome...what I wanted to tell her was that she is totally life changingly awesome. Period.

Don't get me wrong, we have our moments of knock down drag outs....eye rolling....sass mouthing....but that doesn't change the way I feel about having her as my sister and friend.

Today it became a very real reality that I could have lost her or any of my friends at any moment.  This truth has left me really shaken.  I love my friends and family but how often do I tell them that?  How often do I tell the people in my life that they make me a better person every single day? The answer is: not often enough.

We are molded by the people that we surround ourselves with...doesn't it go "something something- the company you keep"....I have changed for the better but I would not have been able to do it without the help of my dear dear loved ones....when faced with the tiniest inkling that those loved ones could just alters the thought process.

I don't want to get ├╝ber prophetic here but just do me a favor and hug the ones you love a little tighter tonight.  I want my friends and family to always have no doubt that I love them so absolutely and soundly.  No matter how far apart we all may be your presence in my life is tangible and worthwhile. You all make me a better person, and continue to inspire me.

Kate Clark Dewey is a mother trucking rock star.  She makes me want to be more positive, more caring, more awesome, and more of a badass every single day.

As glad as I am that all of my loved ones are ok, I am heartbroken for those who cannot say the same tonight.  The community that surrounds runners and TRI-ers is absolutely awe-inspiring.  Those people deserved to run across that finish line with their pearly whites shining and photos being snapped.  They deserved to run into the arms of their loved ones out of sheer joy and excitement…not out of fear and sadness.  We live in a scary scary world where bad things can happen any moment.  It doesn't mean lock yourself away…it just means tell the ones that you love you love them before you're sitting on the side of the Saw Mill thinking it may be too late.

Give hugs, give love, spread joy, spread positivity.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be a Bright Light Today and Every Day Here After…

As the day ends and we all get into our jammies…most everyone will tuck their blue items away and set a reminder to wear them again April 2, 2014.  I am asking you…as my friends, family, followers…please do NOT do this. 

The fact of the matter is that there are astounding amounts of people who cannot just “tuck” their autism awareness away…mainly because they live with it in their lives and are constantly reminded of autism's ever growing presence. 

So yes, I rocked blue today…but it will not be retired today, or tomorrow, or the day after that.  April is Autism Awareness MONTH so I will be rocking my blue pride EVERY.SINGLE.DAY in April!!  I better go find some more blue, but I am confident I can do it.
I am asking everyone to follow meeeeeee! No, I am not asking you to wear blue every day…but I am asking you to keep your awareness burning bright and burning blue.  It is time to light it up blue because today you may be able to tuck your blues away but by next April 2 you may not be able to say the same…..

Because did you know…

  Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  Autism prevalence figures are growing
  Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  There is no medical detection or cure for autism
  Total 2012 NIH budget: $30.86 billion
Of this, only $169 million goes directly to autism research. This represents 0.55% of total NIH funding.

Through my fundraising over the past year I have met so many families who are affected by autism every single day.  They blog, they post, they rant, they rave, they gloat, they live…it is never easy and rarely is it pretty…but it is their life…autism is their life.  No matter what is happening they battle back and stand strong against the battering storm brewing within their loved one. 

I want to stand next them while the storm hammers away.  I want to take their hands and support them when the burden of the load seems like it is too much to handle.  I want to be someone who tells them that they are not alone and that they are stronger than they think.  I want to advocate.  I want to help.  I want to be a voice of hope and reason in a very dark room.

This is why I do what I do.  This is why I fight to fundraise and race for this cause.  We all can hope and pray that autism will never come knocking on our door…but the scary fact is that autism is on the rise…need I say more?

I will be posting my updates on here for fundraising and training and of course lighting it up blue!!  Help me advocate, help me be a voice in the dark, help me be a proud puzzle piece, help me light it up blue!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wise Words Wednesday

Instead of wordless Wednesday I am changing it up to Wise Words Wednesday...these words brought to you by the wonderful Mother Teresa:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fight and Fail

Jillian Michaels: “You fight and fail and then you fight and fail and then fight and fail again…and then you have a moment that shows you that it was all worth it.”

Simple but very true…this journey, this adventure, this life is cyclical…we go around and around stumble and fumble and try to make the best of choices we make…we make excuses, we make sacrifices, we make adjustments. We fight, we fail, and then we fight some more…because the other alternative is lying face down in the dirt and being defeated.  Sometimes it feels good to just lay there and wallow in self pity…but then that fleeting moment passes and you realize you’re laying down with your face in the dirt…whether it be literally, metaphorically, or a little bit of both. 
Does the fight and fail theory apply to all aspects of life?
Work – yep
Friendships/social life - yep
Weight loss journey – yep
Finding one’s inner triathlete – yep!
…and my list could go on and on…and I bet your list of applicable life aspects could too.
Life is far from easy…and it is definitely not a consecutive row of wins.  What I have come to realize is that it is not winning that makes us who we are…it’s the moments of failing that show us our defining character.  When you get knocked down do say “ok I’m done” or do you dig in and fight?  In those defining moments when failing is almost imminent do you sell yourself short or do you keep plugging away?
---For far too long I chose to just give up and accept failure as something final…the proverbial nail in the coffin---lying there and just thinking “yup this is life”---
 ---I mean who really likes to A. admit that they failed at something and B. admit that they allowed the failure to just become a defining characteristic of them?--- No one.  No one likes to fail and some people don’t like to fight…but in the end not fighting IS failing…failing is an opportunity to rearrange and modify the plan to find the successful path.  Failing allows for growth, and fighting allows for change.
I have been quite de-motivated as of lately…obviously!  The lack of motivation doesn’t just exist for my blogging but for pretty much every aspect of my life.  I let the failures drag me down into a dark dark unhappy place…and the fight to climb out just seemed (seems) slightly (ok majorly) overwhelming.  I have been fighting against the feeling of just accepting the fail and lying in the dirt…I’ve made excuses…I am tired, I deserve the rest, I have worked really hard, no one else has to fight this hard…….on and on, excuse by excuse, and shovel by shovel my hole got deeper and darker.  Wake-up call: giving up is not an option…keep fighting.
The wind has gone straight out of my sails and I have been floundering about…work has been extremely challenging and stressful, like more challenging than ever before, and I just didn’t want to track or go to WW anymore.  So I let stress get the best of me and just ransack my life…so I stopped caring and truly struggled to find the happiness in my work, and I stopped tracking and going to WW meetings. Big time fail…but I am starting to gain some form of perspective, which has lit the motivational flame of my metaphorical candle…which, in turn, has pushed me to dig out and fight on.........…
………………………...No one ever old me that it was going to be easy
and trust me when I tell you, the journey was not easy, breezy, or beautiful.  It was hard, sweaty, and ugly…very ugly at times (even to this day)…but what I frequently forget is that it was worth it…*knock knock* JEFFER SELF DO YOU HEAR ME? THIS FREAKING BATTLE AND THIS NEW YOU IS WORTH IT SO JUST…STOP.

Don’t get me wrong…there have been beautiful moments along the way…for goodness sakes I became a triathlete through it all…which is awesome and beautiful.  BUT it cannot and is not always about the finish line moments…it’s about the moments of weakness that lead up to those glorious, beautiful, awesome moments.  It is easy to be in those moments and appreciate the glory and the journey…but once the initial adrenaline wears off it becomes exceedingly hard to remember just how all the fighting is worth. 

Long story short:  I am a fighter who is not afraid of failing but failing is a blow to the confidence.  You take a hit when you fail…but we just have to remember that failing is a natural part of every journey…and that we will survive the failure IF we CHOOSE to continue to fight.

I have spent January and pretty much all of February battling the inner doldrums…the people around me- my support crew- remind me that I’m worth it…they’re the best.  But I didn’t believe it so I sabotaged myself and let the failure define me…until now…yes, the fight starts again…and yes, I will fail again but I’m gonna try my best to not let it get the best of me…no way, no how.

Work, weight maintenance, triathletism (not a word but I am making it one)…all stress me out…all make me want to cry, and have made me cry…will and have slammed failure in my face…will and have handed me winning worthwhile flashes.  These things are who I am though.  They are worth every fight waged, every failing moment, and every victorious glorious superhero blaze.

And with this I sign off…but mark my words: I will be back this week! 

Be a fighter, be a failure, be a superhero!