Sunday, October 30, 2011

In My Head

After taking the week to recover from my first long distance (almost 3 miles is long for me) run in over 20 years, I ran again, and in interesting weather as well (weather that went from constant rain to a freaking snow storm in October!).

Anyway, I decided that Michael Jackson would accompany on the day's journey, and it was a perfect choice (let me tell you, there is something about listening to "Man in the Mirror" when you're jogging and in a zone).

I realized something around mile 2. Life is like a race, and while I do want to get to a destination, where I end up may not necessarily be what I thought I wanted or needed, and that the journey is equally important in evolving into hopefully a better and happier person. In my head, while favoring my right thigh muscle, in the beginning I kept saying over and over to myself that "I have to do 3 miles, I have to do 3 miles" and then finally that chant turned into "I have to keep good form, I have to keep good form" because let's face it, what's the point of getting to any destination if you don't do it in good form, or with regard to real life experiences - with no class.

I may not end up rich, I may not end up with a husband, or more children or a new job, or whatever, but it hit me that living my life with as much class as I can, and getting through my experiences - yes, with goals in mind, but being present in the moment as well - is just as important as crossing that finish line.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm a Runner?

I did something today that I have not done since I was about 13 years old. I ran today!

Actually I did a combination of walking and jogging for about 2.75 miles (when adding the walk to the track it may even be closer to 3/3.5 miles - yes, I will be counting my distances) because of the differences in my body from that active 13 year old to this "mostly active' 36 year old. First, and basically most important is that I know have chronic asthma that so bad that a little cold for me can easily turn into pneumonia. Second, I hadn't working out consistently in over 2 months - it's been very sporadic - so while I knew I had some endurance and strength in the tank, who knew how that would translate to me running outside on a track as opposed to doing 20 minutes on my new mini-stepper or lifting hand weights.

I usually don't get nervous about a lot of things, but I admit I was. I knew there would be people there - especially considering the time of day (2:00) - who would be there, watching, judging, and possibly being straight up a-holes, so I didn't want to find myself in a situation where I'd have to directly deal with anyone's attitude. Unfortunately we live in a world so full of criticism where you'll have someone talking shit even though they aren't doing anything themselves, and with the change of climate in my neighborhood, I just wanted to avoid it all together. But you know what - I pay my taxes, so that track is just as much mine as anyone else's, so I put on my running pants, sports bra, t-shirt, y\Yankee hoodie (bought at Yankee Stadium for a ridiculous amount of money - hey it was freezing that day and I was desperate!), my sneakers (with insoles), set out to purchase a fanny pack, made sure the J. Cole album was synced to my iPod (I need my rap music when I'm working out hard - regardless of how ridiculous the music has gotten), and I got my ass moving.

And it was great!

I was so scared about the possibility of an asthma attack, but I didn't want to not do this because of that, so I did a combination of running and walking - I don't know all the running lingo, but it was like interval training. I was in constant motion for about 40-45 minutes (even when folks decided that the track was a perfect place to play touch football or soccer), I monitored my breathing - never forgetting what works for me (in through the nose, out through the mouth), engaged the core (but I wasn't anal about it), maintained my form, and when I accelerated, I jogged (I could have very easily got into my head and tried to compete with myself, therefore ending up doing something stupid like running at full speed, but I paced myself). I am so proud of myself. And I feel good - feel like I got a good workout (who knows how I'll feel later, or tomorrow morning, but I do like the burn so to speak).

Here are some of the benefits of jogging:
  • Strengthens the heart*
  • Increases the capacity of blood circulation and respiratory function*
  • Speeds up digestive system*
  • Increases metabolism*
  • Strengthens muscle and bone density*
  • Reduced blood pressure**
  • Increased HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol which helps control cholesterol levels)**
  • Improved endurance**
  • Stronger immune system (as is the case for exercise in general)**
  • Improved sleep**


Monday, October 10, 2011

Old Settler

I just read an article on MadameNoire that made me want to chime in on the topic of women settling, or more to the point: for women to stop settling.

I'll try not to be a pessimist about this, because I still have hope for many things - but sometimes, not settling is hard to do for some things.  I do agree, however, that settling is not a good look at all.

For instance, in my experience with "relationships" it has been proven that whenever I settled, I have suffered many an emotional and physical ramifications.  And I always knew immediately "this shit happened because my ass settled."  If anything, I am more than honest with myself, especially when I screw up.

It's a great article, especially when one needs a bit of a pep talk to rise out of the dumps of despair.  Maybe I'll even get it through my thick head one day, lol!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mean Old People

One does not earn respect just for living longer than the rest of us.

My neighbor who lives in the apartment above me, and who is either 93 or 97 (it's keep changing every time I talk to her, but I guess after 90, it really doesn't matter), and who has lived in this building for 34 or 37 years (that also changes every time I speak with her), is a freaking noise pest.

She is going deaf. I am not, but apparently I am on the losing team and am forced to listen to news television until about 4am.  Oh, let me not forget how she keeps moving what I believe to be a wooden chair back and forth, several times throughout the night - and when I say "night" I mean from 11pm up until 4am most times.

You see, the first time I confronted her about the noise, she gave me the "I'm an old lady, I don't mean any harm" BS. She even gave me a hug and said she wanted to be friends.  I told her "Ma'am, I understand that you have some hearing issues, but you have to understand that I have a child who goes to school, and I go to work, and we both have to wake up really early in the morning, so we need sleep.

And do you think that worked? Hell no!

I was on the phone one night, around 11pm, and the person I was talking to could hear the sound of the 7th floor lady dragging this chair back and forth.  The other night, after being kept up late but the dancing chair, and then woken up early by the blasting TV, I slipped a not under her door.  The first line went like this: I am TIRED.  She got the note almost immediately, and turned that shit down.  Then, about an hour later, buzzed my ringer, not to apologize, but to tell me again about how long she's lived in this building, how old she may be, and how she has hearing problems in one of her ears (which means the other fucking ear is working fine, right?) When I brought up the furniture dragging, she swore "that's not me."  "So now I'm imagining things?" I asked.  She didn't reply directly to that, just said "she doesn't have a chair". Yeah-freaking-right! I am not deaf, and I know a freaking dragging chair when I hear one.  She also claims "I go to bed by 10:00, 10:30 the latest."  Actually, it seems like she wakes up around that time.  And now I sit here, after 11pm, listening as my walls vibrate from the sound blasting from her TV, so this is what I'ma do.  File a 311 noise complaint online.  Leave her a note in the morning - shit, my night is ending shitty, why not start hers letting her know (and if anyone wonders, hell no I don't feel bad - I've been going through over a year of this shit, complaining to management and the super, so I'm doing good on my, not "threats" but promises).

I share all of this to say "look lady, bravo on being 94 or 97 years old - whichever it is that day - and if you need someone to put in on some headphones just ask, but I cannot respect someone trying to play the "old person' card when they're being an ass.  And I peeped her game when I reminded her that we'd had this conversation before. Wanna know what happened? That soft, naive, "I'm an old person, let me do what I want' look on her face dropped, the bass went up in her voice, and one of her eyebrows went up (and I know allllll about the eyebrow honey. When my eyebrow goes up it means I'm about to cut someone), so it is officially war!  Chaaarrrrge!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Daddy for hire?

I am 36 years old, and a single parent to a 10 year old boy (pardon me, 10 and a half), and for the first time in my life, I'm sit here about to type the words that I have never even considered, to share with whoever is out there with insomnia who ended up on this page after initially looking for a cake recipe of youtube: I wish I had a father.

I hate to admit that the relationship of who should be the first man in your life affects your relationships with other people, and with men in particular, but it unfortunately does.  I thought it was good that I was this tough girl, representing the boogie down Bronx in my suit, raising a lovely boy and maneuvering a daily routine that, if I saw it written down on paper, would not understand how it's done. I thought that mean-mugging through the tough neighborhood where my son's school is housed just so no one would even think about messing with me, teaching my boy how to box, hell, raising my boy without his dad or a father figure - I thought "it's ok, it's ok".  It really isn't, and that's not to say that it can't be done, but I wonder when will the cycle end?

I love men, but men have not ever really loved me, including my own father.  One thing I need to explain about my father is that I did not meet him until I was about 2 years old because according to a letter that I found, he wasn't leaving college to "see some kid."  And then when he finally did "come home," it was fucking torture.  I don't know if many women have withstood lectures with a father who had notes - that he gave to me afterward - titled "3 Things that are Wrong with You" (on yellow post-it notes, sectioned via Roman numerals).  And then there was the time when he "disowned" me - apparently I was hopeless because I was "so much like my mother" but then a year later he tries to beat me like a dude because he thought I didn't say "hi" to him when I passed him in a stairwell...

Look, I don't write all of this to do a poor me routine, it is what it is.  The thing that upsets me is that even though I know that's how he was and that not all men are like him, I somehow have managed to live a life that has attracted men who are either unavailable or abusive emotionally (not physically!  One ex pushed me ONE TIME, and after I pushed his ass back I ended that, stat!).  So I guess I should really be mad at myself for not seeking better, not doing better.  And now here I am, 36, never married (which isn't an issue), never been loved, and now wants to curl up into the arms of a Daddy who will lie to me and say everything is going to be all right because I feel like a failure and I imagine that the hug of a Daddy would make it all feel even a little bit better.

Clearly, this is my issue, as many other women without their own Daddies have gone on to have love and very fulfilling lives, so I have to wonder, what is wrong with me?  Did he - my own Daddy - see the thing that is wrong with me decades before I was able to?  Does he have any advice (as I recall back when I was 13, apparently my problems were 1-Lack of love for family, 2-Lack of love for culture, and 3-Lack of compassion, and while I have to sincerely disagree, it must be something, right?).

Interestingly, I'm not one of these hateful hens out there who wants everyone to be miserable with her.  I love seeing the people I care about in love. I am just so freaking happy for them because the idea of not feeling loved in a romantic, or even parental way, is so painful, I honestly do not wish that on anyone. I love seeing people happy, just 'cause.

Well, hopefully in a year, a month, a week, a day - I can look back at this late night case of verbal diarrhea and laugh at my melodramatic self, but right now, I really am in search of an answer.  And I really would like a Daddy, even at my old age!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Me Time: For Moms

There seems to be a bit of a revolution happening around here.  All of a sudden, it appears that some moms and going to the local store by themselves.  Taking walks in the parks by themselves.  Even - gasp!  - going to a restaurant or the movies, you guessed it... by themselves!  And to that I say, It's about freaking time!"

Maybe I should have prefaced this entry by stating that this message is not for negligent moms - you know, the ones who tell their kids good night on Friday and then don't come back until Sunday morning (trust, I saw this kind of behavior with my own eyes when I was a child - not my mom, but an "aunt" - sorry, I wasn't having anyone think my mom was the one gone all weekend - nope, not her... anyway...).

So, like I was saying, it seems some of us moms out there are starting to realize that we aren't confined to elderly homes just yet, and that we should be able to take just a little time to enjoy doing things for ourselves that don't include making sure someone has their snack, or a change of clothes just in case a little one can't hold it, or going to see boring ass cartoon movies (or what I like to call "paying to take a nap in an uncomfortable chair and cold theater").  Or how about just being able to space out as you walk down the street, with the hope that you don't space out so much that you get hit by a vehicle, or by someone walking and texting!  The point is, some of us moms are reclaiming "Me Time!"

Now, there are different types of "me time."  There's the kind where you lock yourself in the bathroom and cry like Cochise (Cooley High reference) died all over again because your kid asked you for the 10th time why can't he sleep in your bed anymore (and that broke the camel's back).  Then there's that me time that includes locking the kids in their room and doing what we all did before we gave birth to them - vacuum in the nude blasting U2's Greatest Hits while sipping on a glass of something alcoholic. Or, just taking a walk somewhere, with no timetable, no real reason, except to just breath and be.

I decided, now that my son is in middle school and is forced to travel damn near 3 miles home everyday on public transportation, that maybe this was the real beginning of the cutting of the strings just a bit (I stress that because at the end of the day my child is still a child, he just isn't in diapers and doesn't ride his bike with training wheels anymore).  So at first I found myself doing things like going to the supermarket around the corner alone.  Then it was 'going to the hair supply store just 10 blocks north' alone.  Then it was 'I have to run to Riverdale to pick something up' (a 5 minute drive) alone, and just 2 weeks ago it was the "I'm going to see an adult (NOT porn) movie alone!'.  F.Y.I., I say Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Ron Perlman, and IT WAS AWESOME!  Both the movie, and the overall experience, despite the fact that my son calls me 20 minutes before the film ends to ask me when I'm coming home.

My sister happens to be doing the same thing now too with her kids.  Heck, the movie theater in her town is even closer to her than mine is.  And a friend of mine recently went to Ireland, leaving her kids with their father/ her husband, for a week and a half (forget the fact that they seemed a bit traumatized by the experience - they'll get over it - she looked great and refreshed!)

The point is, having children or a mate or both does not mean that we give up everything that made us who we were before these new factors came into our lives, because whether it's going to the movies, eating out once a month, taking an art class, window shopping for the hell of it, going to a street fair, going out dancing - all of those things made us who we were (and when we hopefully liked ourselves a lot.  If you didn't like yourself then, well, this isn't for you, no harm, no foul).  And the people who love us should support mommy "me time" because isn't what informed us of who we were in the early stages of our relationships - didn't that inform our personalities and what attracted them to us in the first place.  So moms everywhere, I beg you.  When your children are of an appropriate age, and when you are in a situation like me and many others who do not have physical support, when you can, give yourself the gift of "me time."  You'll love it.  And after your kids and/or man stop being mad at you, they'll love it too!