One Year

One year speaks volumes. It’s the difference between being on the cusp of new beginnings and on the verge of finishing this program. It’s growing older, hopefully wiser, and passing through new stages of life and personality. The reality of a year does not always seem apparent when passing through day to day. The new becomes old and routine. As a child never understands how tall they’ve grown until the doctor measures them at their yearly check up, we do not realize the extent of a full year until we take a second and think about it.

One year represents a period of challenges, pain, and heartbreak for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. One year, out of forever, four lives will never live to see. Richard Martin, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Sean Collier should have lived this year and many more. Instead we mourn.

At this point of reflection, one year in, Boston has proven its strength, perseverance, and passion. Good has outshone bad in the first responders thinking only of assisting those in need and working for hours on end to find justice, marathon runners crossing the finish line and running right through to donate blood for those in need, the tears of the people of the city, the state, and the world as they watched in horror at what occurred.

There was a comedian who said something along the lines that Boston needs to get over it because bombings like this happen all the time all around the world. Those incidents do not hit as close to home or burn as much as this day did, and to an extent I understand that sentiment. It’s not as though we don’t sympathize, it’s just the inability to realize the magnitude of such pain until it happens to us. Human experience is based on this fact. He missed the point.

A year ago, I was in LA visiting friends when I saw on Facebook what happened. I called my sister because she had sent a text not twenty minutes before that she was two miles away from the finish line. When she didn’t answer, I called my parents and they hadn’t even heard what happened yet. The unknown, that terror, was the scariest moments of my life, but I was lucky in the end because all those that I love were safe.

To those opposing fans who said “_________ Stronger” or that they wished they could have gone through something like this to win a championship, you need to learn perspective. The championship was a happy moment of temporary relief, but it does not make anything better, it’s not worth the loss.

The Boston Marathon comes along just as Boston needs it. The beginning of spring, a time when people who have endured a long, blistering, cold winter, may finally step outside, come together, smile, and enjoy the sunshine. A long, deep breathe out.

 One year later, and that sentiment has not changed, it’s deepened.

 Next week, we will come together once more. Hopefully the sun will be shining, the air will be sweet (but not too warm for the runners), people will be laughing and cheering, but perhaps a bit subdued. We will be celebrating the lives of those lost and for the victims who battle on as much as for the runners proving a feat of mental and physical achievement.

 One year and we are stronger than ever. I don’t just mean Boston, but all of the people who ever have to suffer through terror, anguish, violence, and hate. Because after this, after the shootings at Newtown, Aurora, and Fort Hood, and unfortunately many more, now, I get the point.

 

 

Just Call Me Kitten

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Growing up, my mother claimed I had selective hearing. I heard what I wanted and had the convenient skill to miss what I didn’t want to hear. It’s a talent. Though true, even today, the unfortunate circumstance of my youth was that I suffered from hearing issues from birth. My nurse mother explains that I struggled learning how to speak because I was hearing as though under water. My occasional mumbling might stem from that or that I have a lot to say and fear I might die before I get it all out. You never know.

There was a continuous string of “tube” surgeries that I underwent as a child and the only reason I allowed this was because one, my mother made me and two, my surgeon promised me a hallucination-like story of my favorite princess tale. I was always devastated when I could not remember this fantastical version of The Little Mermaid post-surgery- maybe the reason I kept going back. Or because Q-tips are evil, but feel so good. Is that wrong? I found out a few years ago that these so-called stories were lies from my mother, the nurse, who laughed at my ignorance.

Assisting my hearing struggles is my overactive imagination. I often talk to myself, whether living in the glamorous world my brain has concocted where I’m rich, famous, married to Chris Evans (The Winter Soldier was fabulous OMG), but humble. (We’ve discussed this before). Or else, I’m developing stories, dialogue that plays out behind my eyes in perfect sequence, but somehow struggles to come to light when I’m attempting to put it down onto paper the digital sphere. My mind moves far too fast for actual pen to paper, but I often journal in cursive because it’s my favorite art form.

Some of my best stories come to life while I’m showering, running, or my favorite exercise in the world- swimming. When my body is floating and gliding- hopefully without any obstacles in the form of lane mates- and I can’t be tied down by a phone in my hand or even music that sometimes stumps my creative flow. I’ve found time and time again during my constant quest to meditate that I am not one who benefits from sitting still. My relaxation comes best in the form of exercise, when the blood pumps high to the brain and boosts my spirit, and when my body isn’t itching to move. 

Don’t get me wrong, I can veg on the couch like the best of them, but this includes watching TV, browsing online, or reading a book. Maybe it’s a problem that I can’t just sit still for the hell of it, but I’ve made it work for me. My incessant overzealous dialogue with myself, detailed new world with a host of characters, or motivation to keep on going going going has kept me on my toes.

Despite understanding this, I still surprised myself today. Due to a busted hip, I was struggling to run through a bit of pain and limping up a hilly part of my route, thinking I needed to give up. I thought, “Nothing good in life is easy, kitten, keep on going.” I don’t know where or why the “kitten” thing came to light, but I laughed so hard I didn’t realize I made it up the hill without another negative thought.

When life throws one at you, don’t question it. Just appreciate that there can still be some silliness in a world that often seems out to get everyone.

(Peanut) Butter Me Up

Breakfast is my favorite meal of any day. I am queen breakfast chef, which is a big deal because we all know I’d be quite happy with princess status for anything else. Whether I’m whipping up homemade waffles, pancakes, eggs, mostly all of my recipes have one golden ingredient in common: peanut butter. OK, the eggs itself don’t have peanut butter but usually the toast I have alongside of it has at least a smear.

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Peanut butter is the food of Gods and I count it as great luck that I do not have an aversion to it. If you can, eat more nuts because they’re just plain crazy healthy for you. I love almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts all in their natural state, however, one form of nut has become my obsession. Peanut. Butter.

When I first started eating breakfast every day, I was young and naive and thought I didn’t like breakfast foods all that much. So stupid. My senior year of college, I started waking up for myself, rather than just classes, and got myself down to breakfast every day. An egg here, egg white there. Add some grains and fruit and suddenly my day was so much brighter.

One day, however, I was on my way to work so I didn’t have time to wait for eggs, so instead I got myself an english muffin with peanut butter and jelly. Hallelujah life was changed. Now, every day, I eat peanut butter in some form, but breakfast has to be my favorite.

When I have time in the mornings (hello weekends!) I’ll take my time in the kitchen mixing up some homemade waffles or pancakes, with peanut butter in the batter and on top! On mornings when I have work, I cook up some oatmeal that will never taste bland again thanks to the beautiful peanut butter and jelly combination.

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Sure, I like the average peanut butter, crunchy, creamy, unsalted, and pure. But, there is one brand of peanut butter that made my obsession go from mild to over the top: Peanut Butter and Co. Why them? The inclusion of CHOCOLATE, my other favorite thing in the world. Either dark or white, swirled with peanut butter, it adds a whole other layer of yum to breakfast. It satisfies that chocolate craving that, no joke, I wake up desiring. My mother even said that one time when I was only three I woke up, sat down at the table, sighed, and said, “Momma, I just need chocolate.” She understood. It’s also healthier because the ingredients are simple, pure, and not tarnished by random add-ins that make the best of foods taste fake.

No, this is not sponsored, but they do follow me on Twitter. Now excuse me while I tuck into some peanut butter oats with berries!

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I Am Runner

Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with running. It’s more complicated than the old love when it’s over, hate to do it relationship we had in the past. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to be a runner. Even in the days when I never thought I could run down the street never mind a mile, I always envied those who were “runners.”

Running for me isn’t always easy. There are days when I feel like I could go on for miles, then days when a jog around the block hurts. This week, I’ve experienced both situations. Saturday, in the pouring rain, I had the best run of this short spring season. Unable to fathom the treadmill, I threw my hat on and trekked outside, having the time of my life. Today, on this beautiful, sunny day, I felt like I was going to break apart with every step. The weather apparently has nothing to do with how well I run.

I’ve learned the hard way that a number of random factors affect my run. This can range from how much I eat, when I eat, and how my stomach handles what I’m eating. Hydration, per usual, is a must, but it is challenging to find the right amount that you’re body is spongy and energized, but not so much that you have to pee within the first five minutes and this dilemma distracts and plagues you the whole way through, preventing you from finding that groove. What exercise I’ve done the day before is often a factor, and perhaps the split squats I tried yesterday have to do with the tenderness of my thighs today (thanks bro). 

Sometimes, a good run just flows when emotions are high and positive and you’ve found the right mix of music (Hello The Climb). There are days when I know without a doubt that I can run up that long, looming big hill to get back to my house, and days when I need to walk it at a slow pace. Days when not even the catchiest of musicals, of which in my head I am always the star, can’t inspire me to love that I’m running. When a good story idea pops into my head and infiltrates every other sense so I go on auto drive as I flesh out ideas, are days when I know I have good mojo.

Regardless of the outcome, the distance, the timing of each mile, the feeling at the end of each run is the same: success. So even if there are days, like today, when in order to get myself outside, I need to say “just one mile,” then in order to keep going, find random landmarks to push past. Maybe it was the sun shining, the Frozen soundtrack blaring, or even the promise of the weekend approaching, but today, when every step was painful and somewhat slow and I was running for the end, I made it through five miles. 

Five ugly miles, but it was worth it. If only because I can.

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