When I ran my first marathon I was 21. I had trained for five months, I had eaten the right foods, put in the work, prepared my body well, and was mentally ready for 26.2. It was beautiful and I was happy to be there, until I wasn’t. At mile 20 as I reached the final turnaround, I felt like I’d been slammed into The Wall. Frozen. Heavy. My feet wouldn’t move. My eyes stared up the road in agony, defeat in my toes and pain in my soul.

I started negotiating quitting. I considered napping right there on the pavement. I threw up five times just a mile short of the finish line, and then two more times as soon as I crossed it.

So much resistance.

I started my first career that year too, at 21. I had graduated from college at 20, got my first set of credentials and a job, had a Master’s Degree and another credential by 24. I was prepared as prepared could be. I was ready, dammit. 

I worked at a school down the street from my house. It was the cutest thing ever, until it wasn’t. Until I had up to 35 five and six year olds in a classroom alone for 7.5 hours a day. Until I was crying in my car before class and was so tired after that I waited until the last possible minute to pick my own kids up from childcare. Until The Wall showed up bigger and stronger and meaner than the first one.  Continue reading


Be Kind (Or Be Quiet)

Be kind or be quiet!”

I said the other day, during dinner in response to our key jar question. No hesitation, I just blurted it out the second I read the little strip of paper: “if you could give one piece of advice to the world, what would it be?

My family stared at me for a hot minute. Because, well, typically answering these questions takes at least a moment of consideration. But not this one.

Yes. That’s it. Be kind, or be quiet.

Because you know, it’s the rules. For real though. Of all the things I’ve said and done that ultimately didn’t work or feel good, it was because I didn’t choose to be kind to myself or others.

Yes, really. At the root of each action is kindness, or lack thereof.

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So last Monday, a week ago, I had surgery to repair an umbilical hernia I’ve been ignoring for the last eight years. Per usual, I thought it would be no big deal. 60 minute surgery, home before noon, likely working again by 1pm.

Only, to no one’s surprise but mine, that’s not exactly how it went down. I was in pain and disoriented for a the better part of last week, and an emotional jack-in-the-box through… well, even today.

It was so much more than I’d bargained for, losing the ability to move from my core.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sit up without support. I couldn’t reach for things. I couldn’t hug my kids close to me. I couldn’t eat normally and I couldn’t exercise, not even to take  a simple child’s pose. I couldn’t even wear my regular clothes because of the swelling.

Nothing was normal. Nothing worked like I was accustomed to it working.  Nothing felt . . . certain.  

Old stories crept in. Stories of being not enough, not doing enough, being too much of something, or too little of another, or just simply — wrong. I felt completely powerless. Continue reading