This time last year

Last summer my world went topsy turvy. I went through a breakup.

We all go through them, and as far as I can tell, they always suck. Even under the most copacetic of circumstances, breakups are hard. To get us all in the same headspace, I want you to go on a little journey with me. You in?

Think about the last time you had your heart broken – by a friend, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, sibling, parent, whatever. Have that memory at the top of your mind? Does it ache a little bit just to think about it?

I’m sorry, that was kind of a cruel exercise. Here’s a cute picture of some kissing meerkats courtesy of the San Diego Zoo’s instagram (seriously, follow @sandiegozoo – too cute).

Meerkats by San Diego Zoo

In all seriousness though,  I think heartbreak is universal. I’ve had my share (as we all have), and it never gets easier. Each time a relationship is lost, it hurts all over again…even when you know it’s for the best. My first serious breakup wasn’t with a boyfriend, but rather with a best friend. I was devastated. I lost weight, partied harder than I should have, and actually ended up breaking someone else’s heart. (At the time, having two boyfriends seemed like a good way to protect myself from future heartbreak. Spoiler – it did NOT work. Lesson learned.)

Thankfully, I’ve grown up a little bit since then, and I think I’ve gotten much better at breakups. They’re not easier – actually, I think they get harder as you get older and life becomes more complex – but I’ve picked up some healthier coping strategies. One year after successfully surviving a breakup, I present the following tactics.

  1. Let yourself be sad. I think this is the hardest one of all. There’s a lot of pressure to be happy and be ok, but sometimes you’re not. This is going to suck. There’s just no way around it. I called in sick to work one day last fall just to cry it out with my Netflix account – months after my actual breakup. Emotions aren’t linear and there’s no right amount of time to mourn a relationship. Cancel plans if you need to. Take a break from being the life of the party. Cut yourself some slack and let yourself wallow…for awhile.
  2. Get help/access your support system. Feel all the sad, but if you’re feeling like you can’t go on, can’t pull yourself out of the funk, or are engaging in any kind of self harm (including risky behavior and negative self talk) – get some support! Whether it’s a friend, family member, or mental health professional, reach out – you’re not alone. In fact, even if you do know you’re going to be ok, reach out anyway. Lean on the other relationships in your life – everyone’s been there on some level. You might be surprised at how happy other people are to just be there for you.
  3. Set parameters for your relationship with your ex. Figure out how much contact you do or don’t want with this person. Draw the lines where you need them and respect the lines that the other person needs. It may feel weird, and it certainly won’t be easy, but defining those “lines” for yourself will make it much easier for both of you. Sure they will evolve over time, but check in and be clear about that evolution. Getting drunk and going home with an ex is not an “evolution,” it’s a recipe for disaster. Set parameters around social media too. Checking his facebook profile every hour isn’t going to help you move on with your life.
  4. Set non-relationship goals. Many of us get caught up in the narrative that we’re supposed to find the One, get married, and live happily ever after. When that doesn’t happen, it can feel like we’ve failed. News flash: You didn’t fail, and that narrative is kind of bullshit (and viciously propagated by our carefully curated social media lives). My antidote to failure (even though this is NOT failure), is a new goal. Please, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT make your goal about your love life. Pick a goal that requires only you. Maybe it’s a great time to learn Spanish, play the guitar, run a 5K, or knock it out of the park at work. If you’re super ambitious like me, your new goal will be to keep a house plant alive for a full year. Not even kidding. IMG_3455
  5. Make decisions about your life. While breakups are really shitty, they are a natural pivot point. It’s a good time to reflect and change the things in your life that aren’t bringing you joy. Don’t feel like you have to do it overnight, but be open to making big changes. I moved in with roommates post-breakup (truly awesome ones too!), but months later I was still uncomfortable in my new world. Over Thanksgiving, my parents suggested I get my own place. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but it was like a light bulb went off! I had put my life on hold because I felt so unmoored by the breakup. I was drifting along. Getting my own apartment – while a scary financial decision – felt like the stake in the ground of my life as an independent person. “This is my life, I belong here.” Don’t put off big decisions waiting for someone else to come along. Move abroad, adopt a dog, get your very own Costco membership- just stop waiting to decide until you get into a new relationship. The waiting will make you nuts, and you’ll have to consider what someone else wants. Embrace the freedom.

So that’s what I’ve got folks. That’s how I navigated the dark waters of my own breakup. It was tough, but I can honestly tell you that today I am in love with everything about my life. Yes, I am absolutely terrified of getting my heart broken again (that shit HURTS), but I’m more open than I’ve ever been. Every single time, the love, growth, strength and experience I’ve gained from opening my heart has been worth the pain of breaking it. I hope you’ve all felt the same.

Enough about me. What about you? Want to share your best advice on recovering from a broken heart? Want to share your breakup story? Hit me with some of that untapped wisdom!

 

Women I Admire

I am SO excited to let ya’ll know that I’m bringing back the Rockstar Series! Founded in 2013 (and shamelessly neglected in 2014), the Rockstar Series featured interviews and stories from amazing women who live well while busy. It’s the best thing that ever happened to this little blog and I am SO excited to be bringing it back.

This time around, I’m broadening the scope a bit to include more elements of what it means to live well. We’ll hear about professional accomplishments, volunteer work, parenting, travel, overcoming adversity – you name it.

Look forward to stories from incredible women with different lifestyles across the country!

In the meantime, you can check out the original posts: one, two, three, four, five, six and seven. If you or someone you know is a Rockstar, let me know – I’m always up to meet brilliant humans.

 

 

 

 

 

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I won something and I’m angry.

IMG_0006_2I raced my first tri of the season this past weekend, and it was fantastic. The weather was perfect (overcast), I enjoyed every minute, pushed myself to a level that still felt comfortable, and placed in my age group – a first for me! But today, I’m kind of pissed off.

I’d been doubting how prepared I was for this race because:

-I’ve only been working out about 4 times a week.
-I’m about 10 lbs over what I consider my “race weight.”
-I’ve been really down on myself about the way my body looks right now.

You see, I turned thirty a few weeks ago – which was a blast, and believe me I’m NOT worried about being thirty – but there were photos taken of me in a bathing suit and I was horrified.

Here’s a sample of the offending photos (full disclosure – this sh*t is not touched up):

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On the left – my not so chiseled abs. These ones made me cringe a little.

On the right – my big bootie/thunder thigh connection in the full throes of the competing forces of gravity, momentum and muscle flex. I saw this pic, and felt absolutely mortified.

How f*cked up is that?

I have a body. It has fat on it. It also has muscle and skin and hair and is shaped differently from your body, or her body, or my friends’ bodies. Why do I feel badly about that?

Sometimes it’s a little heavier, sometimes it’s lighter. Sometimes it retains water because I’m having a good time celebrating. Sometimes it looks really svelte because I’m only putting great things in it. Sometimes it looks really svelte because I’m stressed and don’t feel like eating. One isn’t better than the other, it’s just the reality of living my life.

I’m a real person, living a really spectacular life. That means I’m not going to look like something in a magazine every time I take a picture.

So yeah, I’m pretty pissed that I KNOW all this – I know I’m strong and healthy and frankly, kind of a badass – and I still see a picture like this and feel bad.

TIMG_0011_2his is my stand. I’m so happy to see so many body positive messages and more body diversity in the media. It’s awesome. I genuinely hope that all the young women growing up today feel like their bodies are beautiful.

But this is for all the ladies in my generation. I know we all grew up feeling like we should be as waif-ish as Kate Moss. I know we all know better. I know we all still feel the pressure in spite of everything. We hit a tough time. We were raised in a world with increasing quantities of processed foods, a huge jump in rates of obesity and type II diabetes, yet the media presented us with an ideal that was desperately thin. I know my body’s never going to look like that of a 90s supermodel, but there is a part of me – however tiny – that will always wish that it did. I’m not proud of that, but it’s ok.

My imperfect body – second thigh/butt and all – is f*cking awesome. Yours is too. Whether you’re built like Kate Moss or Rosie O’Donnell, your body is awesome. Take care of it and try to love it as it is. I will too! Let’s be real – we’re worth a lot more than what we look like anyhow.

And oh yeah, here’s my big butt bringing home a third place finish.

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Coming up for air

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Summertime is here at last! I haven’t posted anything in almost a year, but summer means races, adventures, and day drinking in the sunshine. These most blog-able of subjects cannot be ignored. Stay tuned – fun things ahead!

In the meantime, I’ve updated my summer recommendations on the Arts & Culture and Happy Hour pages. Check ’em out!

The Places that Make Us

A little exposition: I wrote this post months ago and never went live with it, but it feels like a nice little tribute to Global Running Day, so you’re getting it now:)

I’ve been thinking a lot about place lately. Places we’re from, places we live, places we go. I never thought I was particularly attached to places. In my parents house, there’s a framed piece of embroidery with the lyrics of Billy Joel’s You’re My Home: 

When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That’s all right, my love, ’cause you’re my home

It’s apropos, because when they were first married (and in the first few years of my life), they moved a lot. I don’t rIMG_2502emember most of our moves – actually the only one I remember was when we moved from Raleigh, NC to Bucks County, PA when I was 9 – but I’ve never associated home with a place. Home is where your people are. Simple.

But lately I’ve been thinking about how much place has shaped me. I might not be “Straight Outta” anywhere, but I don’t exist in a vacuum.

Since I don’t do things by halves, I decided to feed my fixation. So I visited some of my places. And I bought a book about places. And I mulled over the places I choose, and the places that chose me. Do you know what I figured out?

I’ve left pieces of my heart all over the place.

In the same way that you leave little pieces of your heart with your people – you can leave them in places too. And in the same way that you’re filled with joy when you see your people – you’re filled with joy when you’re in your places. Places have changed the shape of my heart.

Lucky for me, since I’ve been running for awhile, I’ve got miles and miles of places. I may not know where I picked up the 5 different weird accent elements that my family busts my balls about, and I may not belong in any one place, but I can always feel at home on my own two feet on an open road.