Monday, November 24, 2014

What did you learn about yourself?

Those were the words my massage therapist asked me when I told him I ran a 5K the previous week.

It was a response I didn't expect and one I haven't gotten. And one that made me think.

I've had a few experiences over the past month that could make me ask myself that question.

The Arbonne Experiment

I went two weeks with no dairy, no wheat, no gluten, no refined sugar, no artificial sweetener. It wasn't that hard. I learned to be more mindful -- again -- about what I put in my mouth. To answer hunger queues and not eat according to the clock. I ate real foods and tried to not be afraid of certain foods because they were high in fat, good fat, but fat nonetheless (like walnuts and almonds) or high in carbs (like fruit or the bad-reputationed starchy veggies).

While the whole FB challenge is going on through November, I was happy to get back to a more balanced diet after two weeks. I met with a nutritionist on Friday and put a plan in place to focus on calories in and calories out, and not so much about the protein to carb ratio. And for the most part, managed to do just that this weekend.


He texted me at the beginning of the month, that he missed me. I was immediately annoyed. And hour later, he texted again that he was rereading all the cards I wrote to him and balling (sic). [Yes, it bothered me immediately that he spelled bawling wrong.]

Maybe I'm a bitch that my initial reaction was annoyance. And that my reaction didn't change 12 hours later when I finally responded to him. I learned that I don't need a boyfriend. I want one, but I don't need one. And I think in those last few months of our relationship I was afraid to end things because I didn't want to hurt him, because he was comfortable, if not boring, and there wasn't anything really wrong, just unsatisfied.

And he was the one who broke up with me, because he had too much going on in his head, as he put it. I thanked him a month later, thanked him for having the courage to end it because I hadn't realized how unhappy I had been until I was on my own again, I didn't realize how one-sided the relationship truly was, and how much he was not meeting my basic needs, even when I asked for them. A back-handed compliment, but one that I truly and sincerely meant, not as a slight, but as the truth.

And so when he texted me out of the blue, having no clue as to where I am in my life -- I could still be pining for him or I could be in another relationship -- I felt that it was unfair, that he was once again being selfish and putting his own needs ahead of mine. I texted back that I was annoyed, that he fucked up and he gave up and it's too late, that I wasn't sure of his intentions by texting me at this point but it was unfair to pull this emotional bullshit on me.

It took me a few weeks -- and some Catholic guilt -- to learn that I had come through for me on that one. That I was authentic with my feelings and expressing them. I can't do "what if" but I wonder if I had come through for myself more like that in the relationship if things would have changed. I think the only thing that would have changed was that ex-boyfriend would have gained that status much earlier than he did.

The Rocky Run

I didn't really train for it. Some interval running, but no long times on the treadmill of sustained running. I was ready to be happy with a time around 40:00, knowing that if I didn't run at all I could finish in 45:00, but also knowing that I would run some.

And so at 7:30 a.m. on a very cold November morning, I channeled Rocky running through the Philly neighborhoods and ending at the Art Museum.

I ran the first mile in a solid 10:59; I ran the second mile in 11:41. I lost some steam and walked the rest, but still finished in under 37:00.

To quote A.A. Milne in Winnie the Pooh, from all of these experiences, I learned that I'm braver than I believe, stronger than I seem and smarter than I think.

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