Today, I’m writing to detail (like, legit detail…it’s long-winded, be warned)and outline the path that led me here, the path I’m currently on, and where I forsee it going – where I hope it goes, and how I vow to get myself there.
(From the sounds of that it’s about to get real serious round these parts, huh? Only half right; only half serious.)
When I started running more regularly, and for longer periods of time/distances, I began to get this sense of peace about me that I was unfamiliar with. I began to think of, and cherish the time spent running as time that I can spend with myself, and have some solace in. My boyfriend, Josh aka Drummer Boy, and I just moved in together three months ago. Before that, I lived alone (well, with Pepper, of course) for about 2yrs; the second of those two years spent back and forth between my apartment and Josh’s. Before living alone, an ex and I shacked up together for a while…and before that, I lived with my parents, where I was an only child (read: used to playing alone, having my space, having time to myself).
When you’re raised an only child, like me, you develop the ability to entertain yourself a lot. I had toys (I called them ‘my people’ – they were NOT dolls), and I loved just turning on my little boombox, popping in my favorite boyband’s cd (KTBSPA 4-eva) and playing with my people for hours. Alone. My mom would check on me if I ever got too quiet, and sure the parent fed me too, but I could spend all weekend in my room playing by myself with no issue. Some weekend I had friends sleep over; some weekends I slept over at their houses, and when I got older I had a few friends that I liked to hang with outside of school regularly. But nothing beat just chillin’ in my room doing my own thing.
Cut to: living alone.
I was 21, recently single, out on my very own (with Pepper!) for the first time – it. Was. Awesome. My mom was afraid I’d get lonely. I was afraid of no such thing. I distinctly remember my very first night in my apartment; my mom had helped me put together an IKEA coffee table. I ordered myself a Hawaiian pizza from the hut, had a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer, and a movie lined up to order on demand. I was set for the night. My mom went to leave and said, “Ok, well…if you get lonely, or scared, just call me and I’ll come over.” I wasn’t worried about it in the slightest; sure, I had a few nights where I felt lonely; one night in particular I felt scared (noisy, and very temporary, neighbors had a fight)…but really, I never felt like I was missing having people around. I was very content going to work, hitting up the gym or boot camp, and going home to my dog and some peace and quiet.
What was wrong then, you may ask? I didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t take advantage of it. I didn’t relish in the solace of personal time because it wasn’t personal time. it was ALL the time. And not in a bad way – that’s just how it was.
Nowadays, however, that has all changed. That may come across and daunting and regretful, but I don’t intend it to – I love living with DB. He’s great, I love him; I love having access to him to roll over and snuggle, or to pinch his butt, and I love not planning on when we are able to go to each others’ apartments, or packing overnight bags and realizing I forgot to bring a bra…all of that. Living together has been great so far. But the caveat that I didn’t anticipate – I never get alone time. Not true alone time. I get an hour here and there sometimes, but for the most part, I’m either at work (around other people), at the gym (around other people), running errands (around other people), etc. No escape. Constant chatter; someone I run into at Publix whom I haven’t seen in a while, or just the friendly cashier; work friends who want to socialize (which is almost always welcome), gym buddies who wanna discuss GAINZ (again, almost always welcome)…well, then I go home to my loving boyfriend who is a TALKER to say the least. He starts up as soon as I get home, and sometimes as soon as we wake up – I’m not rippin’ on him, it’s one of my favorite qualities of his…but the point being: constant socializing.
I just can’t have that. Maybe it’s the only child in me. Maybe it goes back to the hours spent alone in my room, left to my own thoughts, fantasies, ideas, devices… who knows. All I know is this: I NEED alone time. REAL alone time
Running is something I do alone. Running lets me get in my own head, or out of it if that’s what I need. I can think of everything, or I can think of nothing. Or I can do both. I have never felt so comforted and calmed yet challenged and focused all at the same time. that’s what running has become for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it totally sucks too – that thought is always surging through my head when I run, “How far have I gone? Am I almost done? No? further? Ok…ugh this blows!”…yet I’m calm about it. I want to be out there doing it and thinking that. It’s my own little zen-sesh. Personal reflection; good, bad, ugly, and hungry. Always hungry.
Now, enter: yoga.
While I’ve come to enjoy my personal zen in running…I’ve never been good at the whole calming, inner-peace-meditative, relax in of the mind, body, and soul thing. Like, ever. In the handful of yoga classes I’ve sampled in the past, I can recall giggling when something seemed funny in that awkward-pose-to-a-12yr-old-boy way, or hmm’ing and haww’ing at the 10-20mins of relaxation meditation (that I now know is called shavasana) because HELLO – I got things to do people, none of which included laying on floor for that long. I never appreciated the poses, or the balance, or the peace and tranquility and soothing calm of the instructors voice. I didn’t ‘get’ it. I didn’t care to get it. I only did it because it was on the gym schedule and it was something to do.
The past few months, and this past weekend especially, has changed all of that. I can feel it, and I am seeking it out. Last week, I went to a Les Mills BodyFlow class. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Les Mills Body programs, I highly recommend you give them a try – they’re killer workouts. See fitness page for more deets.) BodyFlow, in particular, is a combination of Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates. Now, admittedly, I don’t gif Tai Chi. That’s’ one thing I just cannot (as of yte, at least) get into. It’s a great class for anyone unsure of yoga, or new to it. I’ve done it a handful of times, back when I was a member of the local YMCA. Great class; always enjoyed it if I wasn’t feeling hard cardio or lifting that day. Although I considered myself somewhat learned in yoga, BodyFlow class semi-regular, and all, I had never been to an actual yoga studio until this past weekend.
My bestie, Bree the Art History Major, is a big yogi. She loves it, is great at it, and is tall and slim like I envision a successful yogi always is. She rocks it. Home for the summer (from V-Tech where she’s getting her grad degree – smarty pants!), Bree has started coming to Sunday morning park workout with me and my other bestie, Andi – aka Cool Mom. As a way to switch it up, on her first weekend back, Bree invited me to try a yoga class with her at the yoga studio she frequents when home. I did. And I haven’t been the same sense.
I knew it would be great for my hips (as a now-runner, of course), and I figured it wouldn’t hurt my knees either (since I’ve had some IT-band issues as of late). What I wasnt sure about were the incense, dim lights, heat, hippies, and ommmmmm. And then I ate my words, er thoughts.
From simply the past week of yoga every other day, or so, I can honestly say I feel a newfound sense of calming abut myself. I can feel my natural (hereditary) anger and sadness melting away, albeit slowly. I can truly say, I’m already finding my zen within the yoga world.
Final words…I vow to better myself, not only physically, but mentally. And, I’m still going to giggle when I say this because it sounds so hippie dippy; I’m ready to begin my yoga journey, and my run journey will intertwine with that perfectly. And I think I finally understand what that means, and am ready to commit to a better life.