Ugh! I accidentally hit the publish button when I had barely started writing this post and then could not make it go back to draft without deleting it completely and starting over. Someday I will take the time to learn how to use WordPress or I will simply go back to drafting posts in Word and then cutting and pasting.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday training with J day, so a very fun morning. It is also a very special day, because my oldest would have been celebrating her 32nd birthday today as well as St. Patrick’s day. I miss her every single day of the year, but always on her birthday and always on the day she left us behind and ascended from this realm. When the kids were little, their father and I would take them to all the local holiday parades. Until she was about 5, B thought the St. Patrick’s day parade downtown was to celebrate her birthday. The memory still makes me smile.

But back to the serious business of training day. Today was review day on the cable machine:

  • Tall Kneeling Lat Pulldown
  • 1-arm Row
  • 1-arm Press (Incline)
  • Rope Overhead Triceps Extension
  • Rope Facepull
  • Rope Overhead Lift and Reach
  • Half Kneeling Chop Low-to-High

I love review days. Even though I have been known to come home anguished that J is still having to correct form and weaknesses therein, the Devil I know is always better than potentially hurting myself by doing something or many somethings incorrectly for an extended period of time.

Today was nothing like that. The shrug (oh shoulders, how you love that shrug) is an ongoing issue, but I am trying to stay focused on it and keep correcting myself until I overcome it and keep those shoulders down rather than creeping up or rounding forward. There are still rice crispies in the shoulders, though, and J was trying to identify what is causing them and what adjustment should or could be made to make them stop snapping, crackling, and popping with the overhead movements. I think we made some progress on this, and I will be trying it on my own and making mental notes about it over the next few days. It did not hurt while were were engaged in our work, but one never knows what the future actually holds.

Not sure whether it is all in my head, B’s birthday, or a culmination of a lot of factors building, but I am having a bit of a melancholy visit to sadville. Okay, it’s quite possible B’s birthday exacerbates the factors in my head, so probably I am more sure than usual about why I am in a dither. To be sure, though, it is a minor dither as these things go, but still it relates to training and my better health quest and just the way life unfolds. I apologize in advance as I wander farther than usual off the gym/exercise/fitness reservation. Just a lot of free-floating thoughts to purge today that were all sort of congealed before, during, and after training.

I am doing well under J’s tutelage with the exercise. RD is next week, too, and we have stuff to review and discuss as far as eating, eating more protein, nutrition, and other matters. I have been drug free for about a week and am having no ill effects from it – blood sugar is holding stead in an 80 to 110 type pattern when I test. TM was Tuesday and as always gives me stuff to think about and homework that has me swearing profusely, but he’s effective, I’ll give him that.

I am having nightmares about the most ridiculous things. Last night was about the gym attachments – how to hold the rope thing on certain exercises after wandering through the entire gym and in my dreams having a very public meltdown while in search of said rope attachment. Maybe I was thinking cable machine review before I walked into the gym this morning?

It’s March madness for sure. B’s birthday today and all the texts and emails and phone calls from my friends and her friends (now grown up with families of their own), the date of death is in another few days, so it’s a prickly pear sort of situation with me every year for the last 20. I am hyper-sensitive about just about everything and have to show extra restraint in my interactions. While hyper-sensitive, I feel distrustful of so many other things in my life.

Strangely, despite that entire disclaimer paragraph, I am in very upbeat frame of mind. It’s just … death is so damn final and so real; no do-overs, no review days, no waffling about if happened or if I just imagined what it was like. It was real; it hurt like nothing else ever experienced. For me, that says a lot about painful endurance.

Trust is emerging as a dominant theme this week, and it is really difficult for me, always has been. Do I believe what I am seeing, hearing, feeling? Conspiracy theories aside, at least death is final in that I can trust what I see, hear, feel. I spoke recently in a other posts about staffing my village, and for all my fear and insecurity, I have done well with choosing wise professionals who work with me in very positive ways. Despite my own deeply held doubts, we are getting stuff done. The strangest part of it – I trust my team more than I trust myself. I tend to believe them more than I believe what I think and how I feel.

I really trust them to be real with me about our interactions and the state of our professional relationship.

On Tuesday TM said I expect to let people down, that I expect to disappoint him, J, my closest friends, even M and my young adult children. With each and every one of them the expectation is that I will fail, so I try harder. And I may hope to succeed yet expect to fail even more spectacularly.

TM is very skilled, and it is rare for me to leave his offices without a sense of discomfort at best to out and out tearfully upset at worst. Part of the territory with working on my emotional issues. He makes the bold statements in a gentle way, but I never see them coming, never expect them to land with such definitive impact. Sometimes I stew upon them, with anger roiling and boiling just beneath the surface with every passing thought about it. This time I am mostly disquieted by our work; there really are now more new discoveries to make or timebombs to disarm within me.

These days I think we are mostly cleaning up the loose ends and leftover messes. Neatly picking up, packing up the fallout. There is no rush, nothing is on fire within me, but this year it is time to address my confidence and self-esteem. It is just time.

Truth hurts. And it really, Really, REALLY burns like … wildfire … during March madness. But thing about pain, it tends to deter behaviors. I learn from painful experiences, and maybe he woke up the part of me that is standing up on her hind legs, arms in the air, trying to stretch out those tight shrugging shoulder muscles, and listening, really listening. And finally ripping the band-aids off and letting that wound be opened up to heal.

This is a big one, my expectation of being a disappointment. And it matters to me; it matters more than is realistic or sustainable. If I cannot completely distance myself from what some random stranger thinks, imagine how impossible it is for me to do when it’s any sort of genuine relationship.

I recognize this is a key component in why my anxiety manifests in fears of getting fired by my trainer. Even though I know I am a good client and am making progress, there is always this niggling doubt that I’m going to fall short. Intellectually I understand how unlikely that is to happen; emotionally, I waffle between all is well and I am a ticking timebomb about to splat all over the gym floor. Irrational? Of course. But real and oozing out in nightmares right now. Mostly, almost completely, I am sure it will pass.

Disappointing friends, they will drop me and I will be all alone in my self-describe awfulness. I put up with stuff I would never tolerate other people imposing on anyone else, and I am slowly escalating my own self-worth so I will not tolerate it myself. Progress is progress, even if I do not always see it in the moment.

On this unfolding and unpacking process with TM, I cannot be 100% certain about what is going to stick from this harder, trickier phase of our conversations. But this is why I am in therapy with him – to learn how to alter my behaviors and thinking so I can get break painful patterns of behavior.

Training, exercise, diet – I am listening and I am learning. I am putting it into practice and walking the walk, even if I’m tripping over my own feet, making mistakes, feeling inadequate. I still go to the gym every morning. I frequently think I can’t. I want to quit before reaching my minimum reps. I hate glute bridges or pushups or core work or whatever other exercise is vexing me most right now. Yet I continue. I get up, dress, eat something, get into my car, drive to and walk through the doors of the gym and into my practice zone. Through the months I see where my anxiety has faded and enjoyment and anticipation have replaced it. I see little creases in my limbs between muscles where there were none before. I actually see less fat and more muscle … maybe. M tells me it’s true, so I struggle and try to believe him. But I believe my meter, and my lab results, and my doc taking me off medications. Slowly as the days, weeks, now months have passed I have improved inside-out. The process seems almost miraculous but so very satisfying.

Yet I still have anxiety about disappointing others. No matter how many times I hear the sincerity in their kindness and encouragement, deep down I have this fear about falling short. It too is fading, but perhaps now that TM is dragging it, and me, to the surface for a tete-a-tete it will resolve more fully. I trust his professional judgment, much as I do J’s with exercise and RD’s with diet and nutrition. I mostly believe in my ability to learn and adapt, too. I am working on that in the same way I am working at my Lists every day.

Speaking of the RD, I am pretty happy with my eating efforts. Not completely – been some backsliding, some crappy food consumed, some carb overloading – but I am mostly back on the track to eat more protein and plant-based carbs. Crappy food is not worth much for me anymore, because  food hangovers are real and so unpleasant.

But not today. Today I am avoiding all temptations and steering clear of anything remotely like cake, opting for my usual chicken and spinach salad and drinking fizzy water for lunch. I’m writing this post and thinking about my girl, wondering what she would be like at 32 and how my life now would be different had she continued on to celebrate this birthday. TM’s question on Monday haunts me, because imagining the domino effect of changing history seems so impactful in both positive and negative ways.

My sweet, funny, quirky daughter was called away too soon, far too early for me or anyone else to be prepared or ready for it. Even before becoming a parent I felt kids were on loan only, that they are destined to grow up and blossom into independent lives separate from their parents. I was ambivalent about having children of my own before becoming pregnant with my daughter, and it’s impossible for me to say now, having known and raised my terrific kids that I would make a different choice if I could turn back time. I just know my life changed when she entered the world, 32 years ago today, and the person I am now is so interwoven with being a mom, being her mom.

I doubt I will ever understand why she died so young. There are a lot of things I’m grateful for, and a peaceful, unforeseen, natural causes death is one of them. It sounds so morbid to speak of, but if I had to let go of my child, I am glad there is no one I am blaming for the event.

Life has and does continue, and some measure of faith comforts me into believing there is reason beyond my ability to understand. Bad things do happen to good people, and I have no doubt that in this, I am good people.

In keeping with my song titles for training recap theme, it was an excellent session today, because J has lots of wisdom to share about exercise. On top of which, our conversation about life stuff and events is always interesting and informative. But this was B’s favorite song when she was 12; I still have the cassette C and G got her for her birthday that year.

Happy birthday, B. I miss you, and my world will always be a smaller place without you in it. But we seem to continually add to our tribe, so the village created for our family is strong and it thrives.

And reading back through this, it does seem like I am melancholy baby dwelling in my eternal grief. But truly, I’m not. I have so much to be thankful for, a rich and wonderful present day life to live and to enjoy. On so many fronts, I am moving forward and making progress, even if it sometimes seems like the push-pull-fall down is so uneven. I fall down, often, but I am getting back up a lot more readily these days … my best definition yet of progress.


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