Today’s Happy Note: There are so many happy things in my life right now, it’s hard to choose! I’m going to go with the fact that I feel very, very connected to many people in my life at this moment. Strong human connections=pure happiness.
Marathon Training: Speed Work Tuesday yesterday! I won’t lie, a good speed work session makes me feel amazing, but sometimes it is really hard to get out the door for one. I finally figured out why there are so many “Goal Pace” miles in my training plan: my marathon goal pace is approximately ten minutes per mile, which is basically what my general pace is. Duh. Silly Caronae. A marathon — at least for me — is not a fast race. If I were training for a 10k, so many “goal pace” miles would be impossible. But for a marathon, it’s just fine. All this is to say that my speed workout yesterday involved:
2 miles GP (goal pace) miles warm-up
2 x 2 miles tempo pace (approximately 9 minute miles) — I worked HARD here and it felt great; did an easy half-mile between the two sets.
2.5 miles GP
Total: 9 miles
Today I did a total of 4 miles with 6×100 meter strides sprinkled in through the last mile. I also did a 45 minute strength class at the gym. I have been getting a little bit bored with my regular weight-lifting routine lately and this was fun. It was nice to switch things up. I loved the tricep exercises we did.
Sorry for flaking out again yesterday. I was out all too late for a weeknight. This whole having fun thing is nerve-wracking and thrilling at the same time. I kind of like it.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about people and the way we interact and relate and love one another. I think that opening up to other people — learning and listening and loving and losing — has become the most important thing in my life right now. Friends, family, loves. Ultimately, running will not save me. Having a perfect body or a perfect relationship with food or an ideal body weight won’t save me. People save me — I save me, other people save me. Not that I even need saving, really. When I say ‘saving’, I mean becoming a better me. Learning how I work. Learning how I love. I have so many special people in my life. Two caring, wonderful parents. A beautiful sister. A handful of close, fun friends. A very special therapist. Lovely, insightful coworkers. Cousins, acquaintances, smart classmates.
It scares me a little bit that I retreat inward when things become difficult for me. I want to reach out with my arms and my heart to those who care about me — I want to reach out with all the edges of my face and say “I love you” to everyone important to me. I may not quite be there yet, but I am figuring out how I work with others. The most important thing has been to figure out me. It’s something that I have known all along — something that has always been inside me. I know that when I am anxious I bite my nails; that February is the hardest month of the year for me; that I have really flexible knees and hips; that when I love someone I will love them with every angle of my body. I will let them into spaces that I didn’t know existed — I will feel them inching along my crooked chest and I’ll smile a little. I’m coming to accept the way my mouth doesn’t like to sit quite parallel with my chin. And even more, I am coming to accept the fact that others accept this fact. Indeed, maybe this makes my face a little more unique. Maybe it makes me mysterious and readable all at the same time.
It’s been a year that I have seen L, almost. I am trying very hard not to exalt her, but she has pretty much been nothing short of heroic: she has taught me that not only can I save myself, but that I can let other humans slide into my life and curl up there. I can let others settle into my life and stay a while. Or maybe even forever. I have a gratitude for L that I have had for few others in my twenty years. I don’t know how she does it, to be honest. But the last 12 months have shown me how beautifully capable I am of connecting with another person. It’s such a simple act, really, but also difficult, at times. Coming to love myself has helped the most. As I am about to start my senior year of college, I’m looking back at where I was one year ago, two years; three years. I have been lost, wild, isolated, crazy, sad, confused. But most of all, I have been growing. I have begun to let people burrow deeper into my life.
Yesterday I asked L why I deserve to be loved and cared for and thought of. She responded by saying that, by virtue of being human, I deserve love. We all do. Every single being on this earth is equally deserving of love, affection, warmth, and connection. It is a simple but powerful answer. Sometimes I catch myself out of the corner of my eye — I see my cheek in a furniture store window; I feel suddenly exposed and unmasked. Usually, I am not sure what to think. Most often I say something about how hideous that cheek is, how un-centered and pockmarked and off-color it is. I am not sure that I will ever entirely leave this way of seeing myself behind. But I am clear about one thing: I want to be loved more than anything else in the world, and, hideous cheek or not, other people want to love me. Not in a greedy, silly, childish way. But deeply and clearly and smoothly. This kind of love can come from all sorts of places. I can name maybe 8 or 10 people right now for whom I feel this.
But there is also another kind of love as well. It’s all this but also more intimate. When I started seeing L, about this time last year (beginning of September), I felt very alone. Alone is not a happy place to be. I believe that much of my unhappiness has come from this loneliness. I can’t even describe how thrilling it is to hear a friend’s voice on the phone or to hug someone after not seeing him or her for three months. That’s happiness. A year ago I did not believe it was possible to carve a small crack in my being and let another person in. I could not fathom the crack, even from a distance.
Well, there’s a crack now. A small one. But it’s there. It may not get any bigger with this particular connection, this person. But I have reached a turning-point because I now understand the possibility of the crack.
I met a beautiful, sweet man two weeks ago in the park. He sort of fell into my lap. I feel vulnerable and nervous. Alternately pretty/unique and bizarre/disproportionate. I have been doing a lot of rethinking of my body.
I like him a lot. I feel like I don’t deserve this. Then I feel mad at myself for feeling like I don’t deserve it. Silly, really. The thing is, so far, he is making me very, very happy. When he touches my arm or my shoulder or my chin, I am so very proud of myself for letting this happen. I am being brave and open and exposed in new ways.
What do people mean? What is it to let someone into your life? How do you know who to let in? How do you know they won’t break your heart?
The answer is that you don’t know precisely who to let in and how and whether or not they will hurt you. But it will be right and beautiful and soft.
I want to go back to my 17 year old self and hold her and rock her in my arms and let her know that she will love and be loved. It will not be easy but it will be happy.
I don’t know how long this particular connection will last; dating and relationships are scary things. I think I have gone on dates with two other boys this year; both fizzled out. I hardly consider making out in a club romantic. So I am not writing this to say that I have met a man and my life is different and perfect and everything has been fixed. Not at all. What I’m saying is that I understand the crevice — the opening in me where others might step in and offer me their love.
Okay. That was a little bit intense. But my feelings are intense right now. I’m processing and sorting and figuring it all out. I’m pretty sure I’ll always be figuring it all out, even when I’m 101. The point here is that this last year has been monumental for me. I understand myself better. I understand how important my friends and family are. And I can see the possibility of romantic love.
Thoughts? How have you let love into your life lately? What does it feel like, for you?
I promise I will be less intense and serious tomorrow. 🙂 Love and people and connections=happy Caronae. Happy mental self, happy physical self, happy Caronae.