twenty two: spinning.

and i scratched these words into a black notebook…

last straw, jack’s mannequin

There are so many unexpected ironies included in those lyrics with what was to come—foreshadowing.
i’m one year older now since the last time I saw you in case you wanna know, i’m about to say what i’m up to.
first of all i’m a sluggard, moving slow in a clumsy way
some peace of mind is what i want, but that will be the day.
i’ve been going without fault for so long, and this must end
running round in circles, i’ve been so far from myself
searching for the energy, and the time to make a change
to make a change in my life, instead of watching it pass by
do something now while i’m alive
 
i’m twenty-two, don’t know what i’m supposed to do
or how to be, to get some more out of me
i’m twenty-two, so far away from all my dreams
i’m twenty-two, twenty-two–feeling blue
 
[…]
afraid that i will be weak forever
i can’t stay in this shape any longer
my life’s just another cliche
 
twenty-two, millencolin
As I did of 2013 when 2014 started, I refuse to recap my twenty-second year: It was important, it changed me, but that change did not occur through circumstances I chose. It was important to me—it still is important to me—to share those stories, to be transparent, for a variety of reasons. Among the most important, though, can be summarized concisely in my friend Jay’s words: “We cannot control our circumstances, only our responses to them”.

i’m keeping quiet until the phone stops ringing  lately it’s hard to disconnect, i just want something real i’ll find my words if i can just stop thinking the room is spinning, i have got no choice be patient, i am getting to the point… 

spinning, jack’s mannequin

I grew, I came out on top with a few more scars inside me.
you watched that poor girl waste the best years of her life and i’ll be damned if i am going out i will not go out that way.
last straw, jack’s mannequin.
I’m alive and determined to make this count.

i can’t remember when the earth turned slowly so i just waited with the lights turned out again i lost my place, but i can’t stop this story 

Tomorrow, I turn twenty-three.
i keep forgetting when the earth turned slowly so i just waited till the lights come on again i lost my place but i can’t stop this story i found my way, but until then i’m only spinning 
spinning, jack’s mannequin.

if we’re growing . . .

My friend Mike started a thing called “Mirror Mantras”, where he posts a positive or motivating phrase on his bathroom mirror to keep him inspired throughout the week. Here’s mine for the week–my last-ever mantra as a twenty-one year-old!

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creating resolution: make yourself.

Life isn’t about making resolutions.

It’s about finding and creating resolution.

there’s a lot that i don’t know, there’s a lot that i’m still learning. when i think i’m letting go, i find my body is still burning, and you hold me down. and you got me living in the past. come on and pick me up, somebody clear the wreckage from the blast.

i’m alive, and i don’t need a witness to know that i survive. i’m not looking for forgiveness. i just need light, i need light in the dark as i search for the resolution.

and the bars are finally closed, so i try living in the moment. till the moment it just froze, and i felt sick and so alone. i can hear the sound of your voice still ringing in my ear, i’m going underground, but you find me anywhere, i fear.

the resolution, jack’s mannequin

Change, growth . . . they are processes that can start at any time . . . and hopefully are continuous. There may be lapses. That doesn’t mean it’s over. A “resolution” to me seems so finite. Nothing is finite.  Goodness . . . is continual.

Let’s make ourselves better all around, let’s move, let’s meet new people . . . let’s change our worlds through interaction, through hope, through love . . . and though Good Things.

2013. Let’s go.

make yourself

Make yourself.

grow.

From time to time I cycle back to the topic of personal growth. Often.

And sometimes, I forget that I’m a piece of the nurturing growth puzzle. Not growth in myself, but in the kids I see every day I go into work. In the tape and pencil crayons, sparkly wigs and lego, cars and endless board games, sportsmanship lectures and hugs, soccer and Livin’ on a Prayer outbursts, problem solving and water parks.

Some days, I see these things as ways to fill days for our kids. But some days, I really see those things as what they are meant to be: opportunities for growth and development, opportunities to learn, opportunities to develop new skills and moral dissonance.

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From one of our soon to be first graders and his family.

Growth happens inside, but it requires things from outside to ensure all aspects–physical, affective and cognitive development–are nurtured. I need to see these things, these steps we take, for what they really are more often–like I’ve been reminded of today. That we are, many hours a day, helping to build these kids into who they are becoming.

Helping them grow.

exercise train back on the literal track: if you don’t push through the shit, you don’t grow

Last week I had a really awesome track workout.  Because of the awesomeness both Sam and I experienced, we decided to go back this morning before class.  Now, to be perfectly honest, because I’m in the gym at least one class a week, my exercise train has not derailed as much as it could have potentially during midterm madness [three exams in less than 36 hours is not fun], so Movement Ed, I am grateful for you, as am I for having a job where i can play around in the gym . . . and get paid for it [noodle hockey anybody?].

So this morning, I told my Twitter friends to have an intentional day, and went to school two and a half hours before my class started, and got the exercise train back on the literal track. And despite my breathing not being fantastic (mornings sometimes a little rough), I was determined to make the most of it and try to go kick my own ass out there.  Because “K-I-C-K-A-S-S, that’s the way we spell success.” (–Giant, Matthew Good).

Today’s workout? It was hard. I left it feeling more exhausted than energized, and basically forced myself around the track for 45 minutes. I was TRYING. I was trying to be like “Yeah! This is awesome!”. Except it wasn’t.  My cousin Dean was there too, along with Sam and I, and the kid just effortlessly basically runs straight out for half an hour (It blows my mind that people can still breathe when they do that, and then I remember that only 10% of us have screwed up lungs. And 50%~ of that 10% of us with asthma do not exercise. In Canada, that amounts to 1.5 million people.  And now I have gone and scared myself with statistics about exercise engagement and asthma and want to go change the world.

And you know why half of asthmatics probably don’t exercise?  The conclusion I came to on the track today while slogging through 5K:

A thing I hate about asthma? I feel like I can never have a consistent workout because there are about 8000 variables at play.

First it’s dependent on how I feel when I wake up. If I’m a little tight, or feeling a little “off”, I’ll still work out.  if it’s anything more than that, I’ll push it off till the middle of the day or evening, or defer it until the next day. How I feel when I wake up in the morning though is also dependent on about a million things: my environment, the weather, the season and my own body.  Identifiable variables today perhaps contributing to the not breathing my best: it snowed late this morning, hormones and a basically empty inhaler of Atrovent.  So ALL of these things contributed to both how I felt when I woke up, AND how I felt during my workout. During the workout? That’s dependent on how my warm-up goes, how I FEEL about how my warm-up went [if it sucked, I’m less apt to push myself harder], the air quality in the locker room or gym [ex. intense fragrance, how dry the gym air is, etc].  And of course, the stuff I put into my body. So, food, water, and medicine.  See the above point about the dead Atrovent, maybe didn’t give the Ventolin enough time to kick in, note that I didn’t eat before my workout, and realize that I forgot my water bottle in my locker? Less than perfect lungs, little fuel stores and probably some dehydration at play.  So consistency? Not going to happen. That changes day to day.  Once again, I’m sure most of you with any chronic disease can identify with this.

As I am winding myself around the track at the beginning of a sprint [running is a big deal, people. I used to only be able to do a quarter of the track, now I can do a whole lap with a long walking break between], and I’m fighting my lungs, fighting my legs, fighting my brain. Focusing on the breathing, focusing on ignoring the legs, focusing on telling my brain that it is the thing that wants me to BE INTENTIONAL about my choices.  And fighting to let the zen that should be running take over.

The realization comes at this point.

If you don’t push through the shit, you don’t grow.

I run.  I don’t run fast, I only complete that one lap, but . . .

I pushed through the shit.  Like a flower.