I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for the ‘Epiphany’ Category

Ignorance Was Bliss

“Agree to one husband, get two children to mentor without your getting (additional) stretch marks FREE!” 

How could I not take the deal. 

19 and 10. Girls. Both smart and beautiful enough for me to claim them. In public. It may shock you to know that it took me several months after becoming engaged to have my first panic attack about being a stepmother. What brought it on, you ask?

Lil One’s dance recital. 

It was the second dance recital I’d ever been to – the first was my own in 1990. A lot changes in 25 years, the most obvious being showing up to the recital hall and suddenly realizing you play for Team Mom now. Holy crap. I sat in my chair and had to partake of my purse booze that I keep for bumpy flights to help keep it together. One, I immediately had empathy for all my music parents who ask me, “How long will your program be?” because we were there for over three hours. No more self-righteous thoughts – not that I’ve ever been stupid enough to program anything that long! Okay, for real now – no more self-righteous thoughts. Lil One danced twice in three hours. I’m all about supporting kids I don’t know on stage, even when they are literally picking their noses, but combined with the realization that I have signed up for the nightshift of child rearing was too much for me at the time. 

I began to reflect on all the sacrifices that have been made for me. Hell, that are STILL being made for me. How many evenings did my parents give up so that I could remind other parents to support other people’s children? How many weekend mornings do they still give up to watch me cross a finish line? I felt incredibly guilty for being such a leech. I resolved then not to tell them about any other races I’m doing because I didn’t want to take their time. Pretty selfish of me, huh? 

In the past, I’ve told my parents that I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t have me because I’m a lot of work. They usually would first stare at me like I have two heads and then tell me how they couldn’t imagine life without me. Then Daddy would get on his soapbox about how wrongheaded people are who don’t want to have children because it’s hard. Lather, rinse, repeat, boom, I’m 30 and at a dance recital, not able to imagine life without girls I didn’t know a year ago. 

Being sarcastic and scared about child-rearing was fun, I admit. It was ignorance, and the worst kind. The type that is self-absorbed and seeking its own ends. I no longer have that privilege. Instead, I am becoming part of an insta-family who will consistently and lovingly challenge me to be a better, stronger wife, daughter, stepmother, and hopefully mother of Jamerigreeks someday. That growth will not be easy, but truth, especially with love, beats ignorance every time.  



How to Shed That Stubborn Weight for Good

I don’t want particularly want to go wedding dress shopping. 

If someone else had told me she felt similarly just a year ago, I probably would have thought she had cold feet or was choosing to marry the wrong person. Now that my warm feet are in the shoes, I understand that it is not necessarily the case. What kind of woman doesn’t like shopping? For clothes? For “her big day?”

The kind for whom this experience is less a chance to be a princess for a day than a massive reality check. 

I won’t dwell on how I feel about my body at the moment, but I will say that I wish there were a wedding pantsuit place. Just for an additional option. Shopping for a wedding dress, for me, is about two fundamental truths with which I must come to terms:

1. I’m going to die.

Hopefully, not before I marry the man that my imagination couldn’t have dreamed up. I’m not making it out of this relationship alive. While that thought may seem morbid, it’s dawned on me that this is probably the only thing in my life that I will ever do once. I buy a wedding dress and this phase of my life is done. I get married and I’m never doing it again. Married or single, each breath brings us closer to our last, but I’m not fooled by overpriced fabric. I know what this means. I’m thankful that I will have Adonis by my side, who, incidentally, takes my breath away. How are we going to live to make it count? How will our lives together impact the world around us for the greater good? Which brings me to – 

2. Being excited about my doing something everyone else is doing is bizarre. 

Every time I hear someone say “your big day” I throw up in my mouth a little. I hope our wedding day is incredibly special, and yes, certainly more fun than some of the weddings I’ve attended. No offense, married friends, but while this single girl was praying for your success as a couple she was also taking notes if she got bored! 😜 But I digress. How could I possibly feel special when there are entire industries dedicated to all the superficial crap of a wedding? Y’all ain’t been waiting on me. I am happy to do my part to contribute to our capitalist economy, but calm the hell down. 95% of women experience this before age 55. I’m just not gonna get TURNTUP over something anybody can do – and usually does. It’s a dress.

Being engaged has been interesting. Suddenly, people who seemed distant appear closer. I thought that this was simply another case of like attracting like, but I wonder if we all are just seeking human connections. How can you get married and not think about how inextricably interconnected we all are? I only crave authentic connections. “Lady J. Don’t even bother with a mermaid dress. You won’t be able to dance.” is valuable information. But I also want, “Lady J, don’t go to bed angry. As long as it is in your power, be at peace with those around you. Especially with that good-looking hubs.” And I NEED “Lady J, we might not be Adonis but we still need you” from my friends. Maybe some of the women whom I thought were just using me a placeholder until they found a man were just overwhelmed introverts, like me. We need each other. 

Before I become a wife, I must embrace my need for others, which is antithetical to a society that seems to make getting married “all about you.” Not only to love them, but to be loved by them. Fighting the power makes losing that last 10 pounds seem easy. Hopefully that burns calories, too. 


Triathlon and Error

I have a race on Saturday, but I’m not going. 

It’s not because I don’t think I would perform well enough, or because I don’t feel well, or even because I’m nursing my injuries. I simply don’t feel like doing it. This makes FOUR triathlons that I’ve registered to do and changed my mind. 

It’s not as though money is no object for me. Each time I’ve clicked submit, even just 3 weeks ago for this coming race, I was looking forward to racing and training. I’ve made it to the pool, spin class, and run regularly since – and enjoyed it. It just doesn’t feel exciting for me to be racing triathlon at the moment. 

I feel like I registered for this last one because somewhere in my mind I believe that the triathlon magnet I put on my car is going to spontaneously combust if I don’t race soon. I genuinely feel taunted by it when I see it, as though I should replace it with a running one because it seems to be more accurate at the given moment. 

What is REALLY stopping me? Not gonna lie; I really don’t like those shark reports I’ve been hearing. It WOULD be my luck to be excited to make my return to racing and then get my ass bitten. It’s more likely that it’s just my nerves. I really have no reason to expect that I wouldn’t be okay, but it just has been so long since I’ve gotten my feet wet. Heh. I didn’t want the monster to grow, and I still don’t, but I don’t see myself getting up at 4 AM to get to transition on time.

For now. 

This summer, I will have to tentatively sketch out the next year of my life. I really do not see myself NOT racing triathlon for another year. I suppose I underestimated the break I must need from it. Maybe (gulp) I need some people with whom I could race, even though I’ll be annoyed along the way. In fact, as soon as a certain person reads this post I know I’m going to hear it. “You should do x and y with me!” And perhaps I should. 

I really am unsure how I will know I’m really ready to dive back in (blast these accidental puns). Perhaps it is partial rebellion to having to schedule my life so far in advance. When racing was new, it happened that way because I couldn’t get enough of it. Could I handle a repeat of 2014, logistically speaking? Pretty sure that’s why I am at the chiropractor 3 times a week for now. I couldn’t. Now I must plan wisely in order to avoid injury, manage time well, and stay sane. 

I am sure I still have errors to make. Here is hoping that when my triathlon magnet blows up it doesn’t damage the paint. 


Third Friday: A Bit Less Large and In Charge, Or “How to Get in the Mood”

There inevitably comes a time in any one of Blonde Oprah’s challenges lasting at least 4 weeks that a woman of child-bearing age must face one of discipline’s greatest foes. I am pleased to report that despite my quick temper and current uncertainty regarding of the meaning of life, I have adhered to the meal plan and have deviated only when scheduled. Truthfully, deviating has been a problem this week. I had to actually convince myself to do it the first time. Then, as you may know – it gets easier. Heh. 

Seriously, though – I am finding that I need to be in the mood in order to actually enjoy a so-called cheat meal. Otherwise, it simply feels like poor decision making.  


I found myself wrestling with the idea of eating a fun meal because I am feeling like I can eat well forever. Why eat poorly when I can eat healthy food? Hardly a new feeling, that one, and yet here I am again! Trying to reclaim good habits. In the end, I decided to eat my cheese fries and ravioli accompanied by a mojito to embrace my imperfection. It may sound like a copout, but it’s true. I know that any clean eating high, even one that can’t be penetrated by my hormones, is doomed to end eventually. Better to practice being excellent and human than to be surprised later when I am imperfect and then fall into regular poor habits. 

Still – I’m not having my meal when I’m not feeling that great. Thankfully, good sleep and exercise promote the good vibes that are conducive to occasionally ridiculously indulgent meals. Who would have thought that eating well makes eating badly even better? 

Three weeks to go! 

April Fool: Part II of II

Training for any triathlon is no joke. Heh. See what I did there? 

I’m pretty predictable. It’s generally not hard to figure out how I’m going to react to something. I tend to be a very cyclical person – in fact, I think one of the reasons I am drawn to education as a career choice is its seasons. That being said – I have a short term memory problem. This means that, although my actions almost always make sense in retrospect, I temporarily confuse myself when I do something I didn’t plan on doing or the reverse. 

So I’m not doing either of my big ass races this year. 

I don’t feel I have to justify this choice to anyone, but I want my reasoning officially recorded for myself for posterity, when I am (very predictably) apt to beat myself up for making this call: 

1. My body is angry. 

I am currently seeking physical therapy for my Achilles heel, trapezius muscle, and wrist. I kinda need all of those working well to train, especially for such long distances. Why blow them out at #damnnearthirty when I have (Lord willing) so much ahead of me?

2. The financial expense. 

I’m trying to prioritize. Gel, bike maintenance, tri clothes, Coachie – they all cost money. I am not convinced that that is where a significant part of my income should be going at the moment. 

3. Adonis. 

He rocks because he did not try to influence my decision either way; in fact, he asks me often if I am sure I am okay with this. I feel this time in our relationship is especially critical and my schedule is crazy enough as it is without adding additional training time on top of it. Becoming an Ironman is not more important to me than being a good partner, and I don’t feel I am able to balance the two at the moment. 

4. I’m a hobby tramp. 

A couple of people articulated something about me recently. This chick, Function, was taking in the news of my engagement. “Wow. You’re so noncommittal.” And it’s true. I can only deal with so much discipline in one area. I’d rather taste a little of everything. Then Coachie reminded me that I love life, perhaps more than I love triathlon. I enjoy racing, but I’m tired. I can only commit to so much. 

So yes, I do think it’s foolish to think that I, Joan, could handle an upcoming wedding and training for either Ironman 70.3 or Ironman at the same time. I need room to breathe or I freak out. Already I feel better knowing a weight has been lifted. The plan was to make a shift to shorter distance races next year – now I am simply moving up the plan. And you know what? Sometimes it takes more courage to say “no” rather than “yes.” I know what my limits are. Some are meant to be pushed, but some limits also keep us safe from harm. 

I am curious to see how the year plays out. Will I continue to grow as an athlete? Will I enter races as I say I intend to? Will I be fat? You know. The important stuff. Anyhow, I am happy I will have some time to reflect on these things and be the best Joan of all trades I can be. 

At least this explains the fat – Part I of II 

I’m a big baby. 

This has dawned on me as I have been reflecting on the differences between this year and last year. On average, between January and May of 2014, I was racing every other weekend. Looking back, I suppose it was logistically tiring, but it was very exciting. Coachie told me throughout the year that while it may be fun to live that way, it makes it more difficult to plan a training schedule. I dutifully declined opportunities to race that had made me so happy previously. Between January and March of this year, I participated in exactly 2 races. Yawn. 

Which is exactly how I’ve been feeling about my training. 

When I was in graduate school for music education, I learned about the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. As we get older, intrinsic awards are supposed to mean more to us; for instance, a first grader will be more enthused about receiving a sticker for doing the right thing, but a high schooler will realize that the real reward for doing the right thing is invaluable. Finish lines are the new stickers, y’all. Seeing my physical progress, seeing the results on my Garmin – nope. Not feeling it. 

The payoff is coming, they tell me. They being the government, of course. But I want it sooner. I want to be comfortable in my skin, I want to giggle on Saturday morning races whether I PR or not. Dammit, I still need stickers. 

The Blessing of Budgeting

I wrote at the beginning of last month about my resolutions. I’m making it a point to be one of those people who actually does what she says as opposed to talking big and not delivering. Not just that, I’m going to write about it to keep myself accountable.

Today: money.

Some background information – money makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve tried budgeting many times in my twenties and given up shortly thereafter because something would come up. “Stupid sickness! Stupid nuptials!” or something else I didn’t plan for as I would have to trash my carefully crafted plan. It’s ironic – I believe my perfectionism is at the root of much of my disorganization. I can’t get it perfectly right, so why bother trying?

Apparently, I’m growing up. This time around, I have planned for things like gift giving and left a bit of space in my health and fitness budget for a stupid doctor. Creating boundaries has actually given me freedom, just like my parents always said it would, tee hee. “We tell you that you can’t go past THIS line on the driveway so you don’t have to worry about being so close to the street to get hurt while you ride your bike.” I wish they had used the bike illustration with my bank account earlier! I am much more at ease as I spend and save because of the boundaries I have set for myself. Yes, I am still adjusting, and March will look different than February, but I feel I am making strides toward being a responsible steward with what God has blessed me. Budgeting has helped me see just how much I have as opposed to feeling like I am scraping by. I know, I know – I’m slow! All of you probably figured this out like, a million years ago. Better late than never!


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