e and I had our worst day yet. He was mad at me. I was mad at him. He screamed. We both cried. Naps were a bust. It was just really really bad. Can’t say why. I can say I shouldn’t have been frustrated or angry or mad. This kid is clearly going through a lot and has so many huge feelings and is such a small small person and I should have held his hand and gave him a hug and helped him work through them instead of having to take a time out of my own. I shouldn’t have taken it personally, because it wasn’t personal. I have so so much to learn. I have so much growing to do myself.
Dallas and Melissa,
You changed my life three years ago. Melissa, I wrote to you, desperate for a life-long solution to an eating disorder that ravaged me for two years then haunted me for twelve more. With your encouragement, I embarked upon my first Whole30 and became the person I always faked I was; I’m becoming the person I always hoped to be.
Who was I then? I was the star student, the bookworm, the captain of the water polo team, the MVP of the paddling team. I taught myself how to surf. I taught myself Python. I wrote on unlined paper in 10 point font with a 0.5 mechanical pencil and never turned in a problem set with a mistake, a strike-out, or an eraser mark. I earned a scholarship and made my way through college. I was the darling of the physics department, their brightest student. I won a philosophy award for a thesis on quantum mechanics, unprecedented. I traveled to Osaka and Key West and Alaska, measuring nuclear states and wave impacts and sonar, finding results of significant consequence. I was a blown Easter egg: beautiful, delightful, yet so very empty. I could calculate the first excited energy state of the helium atom by hand but I could not bring food to my mouth without also naming myself disgusting, slovenly, a heifer. I could charm Oxford tutors and hockey players alike but my heart lacked a smile. I could not keep my demons at bay; I could only try to keep one step ahead: physically running miles on end until exhaustion, hiding myself in tricky passages of Rachmaninoff through hours of piano practice and burning the midnight oil to lose myself in doctorate-level problems chasing a moment’s respite in that single-minded immersion called “flow.”
Who am I now? I am all of the above, without the “couldn’t”s. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a person who can take a bite and thank the animal whose life sustains mine, the people with whom I’m sharing my meal, the sun and the plants and the soil and the water and God for being part of that great big circle they sing about in The Lion King. I enjoy running, I enjoy the piano, I enjoy solving problems, but I don’t kill myself to do them and I won’t die if I don’t. I love my body. I am blessed in its health, in its strength, in its motion, and I nurture and tend to these gifts. My soul loves more often than it hates. I sing more often than I am scared. I create; I make.
Why would you like me on your team? During my dark ages, I accumulated a great amount of skill, the most valuable being skill-acquisition itself. Now I do the same but with far more joy. I learn quickly and I learn well. I am meticulous. I blog on WordPress at snatchingzion.com. I’m social in a purposeful way: time-wasting, no; connecting, yes. My Instagram is @snatchingzion, and I pin at https://www.pinterest.com/untilzion/. Microsoft Office is a piece of cake. I am a voting, concerned, but always proud citizen of the United States of America.
As for “cheese,” soggy pulverized cashews fall under the dairy chapter of the Karma Sutra of Sex With Your Pants On. No, such “cheese” is not Whole-30 compliant. Instead, try cashews, chopped but not destroyed, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sea salt over a big bowl of fresh greens and flank steak. Most things are better when you’re not pretending they’re something else. And the best cheese is stinky.
A “dream job” came up and I applied.
But first, I worked on a workout with A. It was an alley kind of day because seminars were ongoing, so wall balls were the chosen implements of debauchery. We had fun making up the rep scheme and making up the punishments and, because we did 75 thrusters for time today, we made it into one of those workouts that is not as hard as it seems.
A’s schedule is early. He wakes up at 0330 to workout at 0400, and then coaches at 0515 and 0600 before going into regular suit and tie work. He now has a regular morning crew, working out with him early and then doing the later classes too. He’s so happy and it’s so so great.
And the salt of the day: Fatal Distraction..
I can’t stop crying.
red rover red rover send maddy right over.
it was so nice to be with my sistwer. we made chocolate chip cookies. we sat on the floor. and then last night she nursed me through a lot of tears and a lot of anxiety and a lot of pain, and now I feel okay again.
bean and I went on a trip. our very first trip by ourselves. our very very first without screaming from departure to arrival and then back again.
Hankster finished his eagle-scout project! (In one day!) We’ve been talking about it since he was 8.
I always give bean the spoons while I’m unloading the dishwasher. He takes them out of the utensil cage and puts them back in, takes them out and puts them back in, takes them out and throws them on the floor. Finished with the dishes, I pulled out some blueberries from the fridge and placed them in a small bowl for him. He looked at the bowl, looked around, looked at the bowl again, looked up at me for a while, the finally, gingerly, picked up a large spoon that was still on the floor and began to the painstaking process of trying to spoon the blueberries one by one. He usually eats blueberries with his fingers, but this was the first time he had a bowl of blueberries (I usually give them to him one by one) and the bowl must have signaled the necessity of a spoon. Not being provided one (he has a very special spoon) he did what he could with what he had available to him. With him, smiles are so easy.
On our anniversary, I was reading in bed next to A and right before he drifted off, (in truth I thought he was already gone,) he kissed me on my elbow.
For the first time in his life, bean let me put him down in the middle of his nap. I stayed with him, but I did things I normally can’t do when I’ve wrapped him or he’s sleeping on me: reading and taking notes, knitting, not sweating…
Bean has a new tooth coming in.
On Memorial Day, A and I did Murph: 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups (ring rows for me), 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run. We did it an hour apart, but we both finished in 40 minutes and change. Two best parts: first, remembering the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the coast guard, and the airmen who died for us, for our freedom, for lives which are worth living. Second, remembering the first time I attempted this workout with A, doing it completely wrong (100 of each movement vice the rep scheme shown above,) taking over an hour to do so, and thinking there was no way I’d ever be able to do anything even close. That was three years ago. A came up to me afterward and told me what a great job I did and we smiled at how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. I’ve never felt connected to A at the gym; he’s so personable and so friendly and so outgoing, plus a coach, we always go our separate ways. That moment we had, where he came up to me and smiled at me and spoke with me, I finally felt like I was wanted. I finally felt like I belonged.
We saw a butterfly. bean was on my back and boom was being stubborn and a butterfly flew up from the flowers and all around us before she went on her merry way. bean tracked her flight while she was in sight, a smile of wonder on his sweet face.
The week without a phone continued. Sleep came easier, smiles were freer, and time passed slower. But no phone meant no contact, and that is playing with fire given a little boy prone to mischief. So a phone came home, (my mom’s phone, thank you mom!) and, though it was still disconnected, life nonetheless became a little bit more connected.
I know A coached at the police station, he always coaches at the police station on Wednesdays, but I’m not sure of much else. Those moments through the day, gone.
But I’m pretty sure I lived them and I’m glad for that.
bean and A accompanied me to the gym, where rowed 1000 meters, squatted 95 pounds 30 times, and ran 800 meters. It was a great workout, made sweeter by the presence of my family. As always, I should have gone heavier, and I should have gone faster. And as always, I’m glad there’s a next time.