My Drug of Choice

1.28.2016 -
I laced up the laces of my bright worn running shoes that had seen my pounding feet through hundreds of miles. I thought about how I hoped I would get new shoes for my birthday and if I didn't I opened a new tab in my brain (that was the last thing I needed was another open browser) to put in my budget to get me a new pair before my next half marathon. I sat on the concrete to stretch and continue to convince my mind I had to run. I had to stay on my training schedule true but that wasn’t the only reason. I needed my dose of medication for the day. I had put it off until it was now 4 pm and I had exactly one hour before my time would be taken up for the rest of the evening. My mind was trying to overpower the itch my body had to run. My mind was tired, whining at me. I had spent all morning hashing out the future on paper, pros and cons, looking up options for which direction I wanted to go on this fork in the road I have come too in life, and I had starting some online classes that had my brain swirling with thoughts, ideas and 'itches'. But my body was telling me to run out the emotions pent up in my shoulders and back. To run away the voices, the noise, the chaos, to focus and quiet my mind. To run out the demons and once again sort through the mess in my head and heart.

My feet pounded out the pavement to the blaring playlist in my earbuds, finding my rhythm and pace as I got further and further away from the comfort of my home I could hide in the shadows of if I wanted. I was running streets and through neighborhoods I usually don't run in and my eyes started noticing things. The dirty streets. The consistency of thrown out cigarette butts, too many to count. There were lost shoes and gloves, littered trash thrown thoughtlessly out of windows and even a flattened metal spoon. Empty beer cans mixed in with the leaves and grime and then the liquor bottles, empty glass bouncing off the afternoon sunrays.
Stories. Things that were once in peoples hands. Behind every cigarette butt something that spurred the need to cope, to deal with something. Pain. Stories. Behind the lost worn out shoe that someone once wore. Wonder what horrors and what joys they have walked and faced. If they are thriving or just breathing. If they are full or empty. The empty cans and bottles. Who’s lips the liquid fire passed between to drown out whatever it was inside them that was eating away, that hurt that was killing them, or the guilt, or the shame, or whatever it was they couldn’t face. What sadness or pain did they endure. What bad or good are they giving to this world. What was it, who was it, that made them the person they had become. What life have they known. Have they ever only known this small town of people living in boxes and molds. What are their dreams, their fears, their hopes, their nightmares. Stories. Beauty and hell.
I think everyone medicates. Everyone has some way of dealing with pain, sorrow, anger. Everyone. And those who go into the church building doors medicate as much as those who can’t even step foot inside the church doors. And there is no difference in the worshipping servant of religion and the worshipping servant of anything else. But it is easier for me to empathize with those who know they are hurting and in pain and don't hide their medication of choice than those who hide their medicating in the shadows even sometimes from themselves. Those who stay blinded. God however I have been able to make it to where I am today…I am thankful. Sometimes I wonder how. I do. I am thankful to have been split wide open and broken. To be going through the pain of psychological surgery. I can not even imagine being back in that horrifying place where I was so blinded and brainwashed I could never have seen the stories on the streets. Where I couldn’t even see my own stories. Where I couldn’t breath for myself or think for myself. Where I walked through the church doors nearly every day of my life for years and years and thought I was safe and better than and had been taught how to have appear at least to have it all together. That the evil that happened all around me in “god’s house” was okay, somehow, okay…I mean it must be, right? This stuff happened in other girls homes too right? My parents are my authority, my go between between God and myself so everything they did or said had to be right somehow. Because somehow we believed everyone there was better than the other humans in the world. That somehow we were different because "we had Jesus". When really everyone was just hiding their pain and ugly humanness behind religion and masks and false pretenses. That was what I knew.

So I…I run. I run until the pain, or lies, or stress and emotions of the day, of my life, of my stories has poured out of my body with the sweat. I run until I can no longer hear the voices of my mother telling me I am a bitch or a drama queen or a lier, or my father whispering in the dark, you are my special daughter and this is our secret I can't have with anyone else or God has put me here to help you grow up in "this way”. I run from the voices saying stop because you aren’t good enough. Give up on yourself you can’t do anything right. You are worthless. I run.
And I damn them to hell. I run for myself. To prove to myself. To fight for myself. To love myself.
Because my stories are mine to tell, to share or not to share, to be vulnerable with, to heal through. And I don’t want my stories to end with: she gave up. Because now, deep down under the shit and lies, I believe I am worth it. The opposite of what I was even taught, told and shown is that I am valuable. And that is something that I have learned on my own. From my pain and my stories. No one implanted that in my neurological pathways. That is something I have found on my own. I have taken back my own power.
And so...I run.

Finish Each Day & Be Done

1.22.2016 -
So I worked hard to get a handle on my emotional and mental health yesterday. By lunch I was feeling in a better mindset and had some things I had thought through that had just finally clicked; some ah ha moments. I felt hopefully. Ready to maybe try and stand up again from the last few weeks.
And then I come home from school and there was a bomb waiting for me to arrive and drop on my head. After the bomb dropped and a couple hours went by I felt proud. I had handled it somewhat calmly and cooly and was not wallowed in fear and panic and worry in my room biting my nails and looking for ways to busy myself to cope away reality. I stayed somewhat focused on continuing life through the rest of the evening and still be a mom for the kids and not let another unknown circumstance control my emotions and peace. It felt good. I felt proud. Then after the boys went to bed and the house had calmed down and I was starting to think about crawling in my bed, letting the comfort swallow me up and passing out for the next 9 hours we had another bomb drop and this one hurt more. My heart physically ached at this one. I felt frustrated and sad. Frustrated that every time I feel like I’m getting in a good place again immediately that is tested. No pause. No recovery. Immediately tested. Sad because I felt my hope being tested and this bomb poked at my loneliness I fight and the desperation I have to get out of Duncan. I immediately was fighting thoughts of feeling defeated. Feelings like I was sitting in a glass box watching someones life spin around me while they laughed and mocked me sitting like a shattered spectacle inside. And I felt tired again. Tired and sad. I couldn’t be angry, I couldn’t talk through anything, my brain kind of shut down. So I told myself gently, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. But tomorrow is a new day; you can try and begin in well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with then current shitty nonsense.” I crawled in between my sheets and giant fluffy blankets encapsulating me with warmth and hugs, plugged one ear with an earbud and zoned out to the noise and movement of a show on netflix, fighting the want to shut the whole world and everyone in it out, telling myself; It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. You are not alone. Change will continue to come and in all this shit there will be good change too. Just hang on for this crazy life ride. Circumstances will not steal your hope, Leslie. You will not let it. Look at the beauty beside you, the people next to you right now.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will keep fighting for, loving, nurturing myself. Tomorrow I will try again. I will keep trying.

Making My Physical and Psychological Heath Equal.

1.20.2016 -
I am practicing my emotional hygiene this morning. Psychologically I have dozens of cuts from the last few weeks and this last weekend and instead of taking a knife and cutting them deeper I am practicing stitching and bandaging them up. Instead of going boxing this morning, like I almost did, and working on my physical health some more and beating some shit and tears out, I took my laptop, some ted talks, hot coffee and a quiet corner at a coffee shop to switch, work on my psychological health and write.

The therapist reminded me yesterday of something I already knew but had let my mindset take over and slip me into a bad place instead. No one can put me in a awful place, in a negative mindset, in a box but myself. People can reject me, make me feel alone, say and do hurtful things but my mind is the one that chooses what to do with it. The thoughts and actions are implanted by others but I can either heal those wounds or cut them deeper. If someone walks away from me I can either cut myself down more, let the negative thoughts and reasonings as to why they would do that or I can reject the notion that because someone walks away from me I am not good enough, I did something wrong or I am a failure. If someone questions my authentic actions, words or love, I can let those thoughts and lies creep in I have been told that they are telling me I am "dramatic" or that I am a "manipulative selfish bitch" or I can take it as a sign I am on the right path to loving myself, being confident with my words and truth, and that I am on the right path to being vulnerable and letting my walls down. I am in charge of my own psychological health and well being. Just as equally as I am in charge of brushing my teeth, feeding my body and bathing.

I had been hurting all week the games and manipulation that had been played around me again, the place I felt I was being viewed in again. Being put in a fighting ring with someone again I wanted to stay distanced from without my consent. Being the bad one again, the scape goat like I used to always be in my family. Feeling the pain of people I truly wanted so badly to be there not being able to empathize or understanding. Feeling alone again. And alone is a dangerous place for me to go. Loneliness creates fear in me, a psychological wound in my mind that makes me less perceptive to truth and to my own power and instead feel like the people right beside me care less about me than they actually do. And I see the proof in that in this last week shit hit the fan with Sam and I. I have felt like he hasn’t understood me, hasn’t wanted to care or empathize, everything he has done or said has been a knife in my heart. There were misunderstandings flying left and right between us. We both were dealing with our own individual emmotional and mental pain and hurt and we were not dealing with that and letting that even more so greatly affect the connection between us as a couple. Words were flying and stabbing like knives into hearts. Yesterday we both felt physically sick. My mental health was affecting my physical health. I felt nauseous and achy. I felt physically exhausted like I had just ran for 5 hours straight. It took every ounce of my being to get up, get the kids taken care of and off to school, get dressed and get out of the house for my busy day. Sam had to call in to work and take a day because he was feeling the same way. You can not tell me that our psychological health should not be equal with our physical health. A huge misconception. A flat out lie to ourselves and others.

So today. Steps.
"Get out of bed. Don't lie there and think - thinking is the kiss of death for us in these moments - just move. Take a shower. Sing while you are in there. Make yourself sing. Sing stupid and laugh at yourself. Joy for its own sake - joy just for you, created by you - it's the best. Find yourself amusing. Put on some makeup and fix your hair. Wear something that makes you feel good, for yourself not for anyone else and if you don't have something like that go buy yourself something that will make you feel that way. Show yourself you love yourself no matter how hard that is. Get yourself a hood cup  or coffee or tea and read a book without thinking about other things while you are reading. Get out of the house, if you have nowhere to go take a walk or sit at a coffee shop. Do not excuse yourself from a walk because it's too cold. Bundle up. The big endless sky and oxygen will help."
- excerpt from Carry On Warrior

And here is a Ted Talk from my morning that could be the best video you could watch all week:
The Importance of Self-Care

"Why is it our physical health is so much more important to us than our psychological health. We sustain more psychological injuries than we do physical ones. Things like failure, or rejection or loneliness. If ignored they will get worse and they can impact our lives in dramatic ways. "Oh your feeling depressed just shake it off it's all in your head." Can you imagine saying that to someone with a broken leg. "Oh just walk it off it's all in your leg." It is time we close the gap in our physical and physiological health. It's time to make them more equal."