Wednesday, January 2, 2013

of course there is a marching band

I realized recently that I have done a monthly recap post for every month that I’ve had this blog.  Which is quite a long time, if anyone is keeping track.

In each of them, I walk through the goals I set - some serious, some silly - at the end of the previous month.  Then I discuss the current status of my swim, my bike, and my run - always in order.  What follows next is usually a mishmash of discussion about my personal life and what the next month will look like.  Then I round up a few goals for the next month and hit publish.  Done.  Yesterday I started writing my December recap post and thinking about January, and thinking about how I wanted to set it apart from all the 2012 recaps/2013 resolution blog posts, and it just made me feel exhausted.  Mentally, exhausted.  And I realized, I think, that it’s time to change direction.  For good.

I’ve been struggling lately with my life, with the life that we are building here in Colorado.  And I’m struggling because it’s good, and I feel like I don’t deserve that.  When I found a new job at a great company, and then started working and loved the job and the people and the work, all I could think about is - when will this end?  And then the poet found a job and then we found a house, a beautiful little house that was well under what we could afford based on how much we sold our DC house for, a house that will allow us to recover from the financial holocaust of 2012, to build and grow.  I have friends and training partners and a new triathlon team here, it’s everything I wanted and I feel at peace.  But a little part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

When I lost my job last April, when Graham got sick and my world went insane, those things were horrible.  But in some ways they were almost relief.  Our happy little marriage had been chugging along and I was waiting for something to go to hell, and when it did, I could relax.  Because the wrong turn, the hard and vicious slap, the drop in my stomach that came when the vet walked out of the back and motioned us into an exam room, those were things I expected.  That - I felt like I deserved.

I have no idea why I feel this way.  I’ve tossed and turned with it in my own head, and I wish I could spin this blog post into an amazing story of discovery and renewal, but I can’t.  I don’t have answers.

My whole life, I’ve been a teacher.  I started teaching piano lessons to little kids when I was 14 years old.  That that turned into a career of teaching high school, of private music lessons and technology-related instruction, of coaching cross country and swimming and now, over the past year or so, coaching my own athletes, pulling all the pieces together to help others move forward.  Because that’s all teaching really is, is finding the way to move forward.  
  
And I think that teaching, that coaching, is such a two-way street, I think that often there is more to be learned as a teacher than as a student.  I have learned from Sonja a love for my own athletes, for every single one, for the ones who check boxes in perfection and the ones who struggle.  I recognize pieces of myself in each one, I triumph when they triumph, I fall when they fall, I am fiercely protective of them.  It’s the same way my heart would beat, hard, when the pile of sticky teenagers won the meet or the goddamn clarinet section finally could play measures 37-41 or the marching band - of course there was a marching band - came in second instead of first and my students looked at me, face upturned, for the answer why.  And this history of mine means that I always search for a lesson, in any situation.  I’m searching now, my face is upturned, I am trying to find my why.

My journey has brought me here.  It has been flawed, it has been riddled with mistakes and errors and wrong turns.  I have never pretended to be perfect, although I have longed for perfection.  I don’t know where 2013 is going to take me, I don’t know the things that I am going to accomplish.  I know that I have been hiding, these past few months.  Every punch that has landed - and there have been so many - has pushed me further into my shell.  After ironman, after Graham, I refused to believe that I had anything great left inside me.  It had been emptied out, it had been replaced by fear, by sadness, by self-loathing.  Or worse, by acceptance.  It’s so easy to look back on the second half of the year and explain away the mediocre performances, the way I just sat back and let it all wash over me.  I can remember, time and again on a race course, these feelings, I can pinpoint the moment I gave in.  The way I lost all of my will to fight.

So, it’s not because it’s January or because it’s a new year or because we’ve moved to a new state.  I’m not going to call anything a fresh start.  A clean slate indicates that I’ve wiped the past away, and I think that would be the worst way to move forward.  To guarantee that I’ll keep repeating my mistakes, that I will never learn.  But it’s time to find my way back.  There is a girl inside of me, one that bounces up and down and yells “that’s right, motherfuckers!” in the face of her biggest critics, of her demons and her fears, a girl that lets happiness explode out of her, someone who wants to embrace the joy instead of punishing herself with the mean, the petty, the anger, the rage.  Who can say, “You know what, you’re right.  I am NOT perfect.  But what I AM, is fucking awesome.”  That’s where this year needs to begin.  That’s what I need to find.

33 comments:

  1. That is cool that you coaches swimming AND cross country. I never knew that! You've never mentioned it here. When did you coach those sports? That's amazing because it seems like you just learned how to swim 2 years ago.

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  2. Did I ever tell you that I started running essentially as a giant f-u to my ex, who said sweating was unattractive and never let me do anything physically? My early running and triathlon was all fueled by anger. Thankfully it has morphed from that into something better, a sense of wonder at what my body can do and a challenge to myself to keep getting better. At the same time, I think my life has changed overall to encompass that same attitude. You are well on your way to being who you want to be and having the life you want - 2013 will be a wonderful year for you!

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  3. Holy shit. This is awesome. Thank you.

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  4. Awesome post. I often have the same feelings that I don't deserve to be happy, but one of my goals for 2013 is to embrace the good.

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  5. One of my goals for this year is to focus on finding and embracing the joy. Because I'd rather be surprised by the other shoe dropping, rather than sit around waiting for it to happen. You deserve all the good that's come your way because you're not perfect - not in spite of that. Happy year of joy and happiness.

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  6. One of the things I'm constantly saying to my children is "you don't deserve anything". (Granted, it's usually in response to one hitting the other and saying that they deserve it.) What matters is your effort and your response to situations.

    You've worked hard to be where you are. Enjoy it. Sure, shit may hit the fan at some point and life will not always be rainbows and unicorns, but what matters is that you are awesome regardless of the good or bad going on around you.

    Have a great 2013!

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  7. Love this post!!! This year is going to be awesome!!!
    I agree - it is a struggle to find the awesome inside ourselves - but definitely worth doing!!

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  8. This post is wonderful. It resonated with me more than I care to admit. I especially love your last paragraph. You are awesome! Happy New Year!

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  9. 1. I didn't make any of the 2012 photos? That's horseshit.
    2. Happy New Year!
    3. Boobs.
    4. Of course you're fucking awesome. Own that shit.

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  10. You and your family went through a lot in 2012 and I'm so happy that you have all come through it and ended up in such a great place. Here's to an amazing 2013!

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  11. Katie - Don't climb as high as the mountains or sink as low as the valleys and smooth it all out but never forget the past. Those lessons are there for a reason and you, of all people, will take those lessons with you as you move forward in both the literal and non-literal sense.

    Here is to you, Thom and the pups in 2013 and beyond. Happy Fucking New Year!

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  12. Ever have something you want to say but can never think of the proper words to get your point across? I think this happens every time I try to comment on one of your thoughtful posts (most of them). Anyway, it is interesting to me that you are struggling with your life being awesome right now. Try to embrace it and deal with any shoes dropping when they happen. You've worked hard to get where you are and the highs and lows of your past have built you up to where you are today.
    I also had no idea that you coached cross country and taught music/marching band. Did I ever mention that I did both cross country and marching band in high school?

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  13. You deserve a GOOD life!!! And if you're anything like me you have a hard time trusting the good, because you know the bad is lurking. I'm trying to be more confident in my abilities in 2013 and stop saying, "i'll stop stressing when a, b or c happens."

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  14. I get that. All of it. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It comes from being constantly beaten up and pushed around. I get shoved around like that all the time. Take the punches and roll on.

    and I also know that the teachers learn more than the students do. I taught for many years in technology, and even coaching athletes now I learn from all of them.

    You're going to have the 2013 that you deserve. I think it's going to be wonderful.

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  15. It takes a while to shake off what I call the "Sunday night feeling," or the feeling that you can barely enjoy the present because you know Monday morning is just ahead. Shaking off that feeling after a period of seemingly neverending Mondays requires bravery and self-compassion, and a little bit of patience, too. Luckily, you've got all of these things. Hang in there—life always involves some ugly Monday mornings, but there are lots of fun Friday nights ahead, too.

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  16. I definitely hear you on the fear of things falling apart. You deserve to be happy and get back on your feet financially! So glad you made the switch, very inspiring!

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  17. YES you are fucking awesome! I can relate to this post in so many ways. Its like you are in my brain. Get out!
    I am so glad that BoB led me to your blog. She be a good egg. Love your blog. Happy New Year! And you'll see 2013 will be great!

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  18. So many things but...
    1. You rock. I'm in the fan club.
    2. I lost some of my fight this year too. Racing too often does that, I guess. Trying to stay hungry this year.
    3. When things are too awesome I have that nagging feeling too.

    Happy lucky '13! :)

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  19. 2013 is going to be a wonderful year for you. I can feel it!

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  20. Great post!

    You have deserved every bit of happiness that has come to you this year! I understand how you feel though - sometimes it's hard to except that nothing is going wrong and that you are happy. Enjoy it! :)

    And Happy New Year!

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  21. Well you succeeded in winning for best NY post. I cannot believe how long ago some of those events were and no that you have moved. Anyways I wish you the best of luck in 13!

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  22. I really think that you should write a book. This, along with SO many of your other posts, is just wonderfully posed and written.

    I too often wait for the other shoe to drop, and find that instead of enjoying the moment while it lasts I hold my breath waiting and anxious for something else to go wrong. This is certainly no way to live. Something I need to change, but I'll get to it....eventually.

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  23. found your blog today and so appreciate this post. i can completely relate. keep moving forward with arms wide open!

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  24. I like Amy R.'s comment. And while the ugly can help you appreciate the good times, don't let the worry that a bad time is always just around the corner consume you. And always remember that bad patches are temporary, you'll find your way back to the good. I was telling Mark that I'm always a little apprehensive about leaving a year behind, especially if it was a good one, because I feel the same way as you do - waiting for that other shoe to drop. What did I do to deserve the good friends, family, and life that I have? You're a good person Katie and you deserve good things. So excited to do some kick ass races with you this year! I miss you and your fig-balsamic pizza.

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  25. Lots of positive thoughts being sent your way - you will have a great year in a new place! I am so fortunate to have met you - you are a wonderful person!

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  26. Love this post. I hope 2013 brings you great things!

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  27. Trying to believe that I deserve happiness instead of something worse or less is a tough climb for me, so this strikes a chord. I want that for this year, though - for you and for me!

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  28. I know what you mean about feeling like you don't deserve good things. In my case, it was because someone told me I didn't long enough that I believed them. It took awhile to work through things, to hit a point where I could point to a thing and say 'You see that?! I did that good thing! I'm a good person, I do lots of good things. And people like me because I'm a good friend - and they even like me enough that I can screw up here and there and they like me even more for it! I am grateful for my life.' It helped marrying someone who recognizes all of that and thinks I deserve good things. I wish you get to the point of peace I've found much sooner than I did. Now go kick some ass!

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  29. You absolutely deserve to be happy. Everyone deserves happiness. The trouble is, we have to work to find it. It doesn't just fall in our laps, as you know. You worked to make this beautiful life you have. You deserve it.

    One of my closest friends and I always say that life is a cycle - there are constantly ups and downs. When you are up, ENJOY THOSE MOMENTS. And, when you are down, recognize that these are but fleeting moments that will cycle out. No matter what: every experience is a teacher. Just as you teach others, life teaches you too. I hope that right now you are learning that you are worth it. That you deserve good things. :)

    Can't wait to meet you at IMLP. Missed you during Jason's google hangout :(

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  30. Somehow I missed this post. It's March already! Almost April. Holy shit. That's right, mother fuckers!! Love it. I get the worst potty mouth during my racing. Now I can just steal your catch phrases. So that makes you even more fucking awesome!!

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