I believe I have discovered my threshold. In nearly every aspect of my life. Physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally, personally, familially (I know, not a word), financially. This is it; this is how much I can do.
The most obvious and apparent area (and the only one in line with the theme of this blog) is the physical. It has been well documented in my series of annoying rants that I have been trying to kill myself since the doctor gave me her blessing after the birth of my son. And it has not been easy or successful. I am neither dead or back to my pre-baby state, be it in conditioning or size.
I have waged a frontal, varied assault on my body for months. I dove back into running with desperation and unquenchable demands. I joined a gym on steroids (just like its members), started taking a barrage of classes, and participated in 90-day weigh in challenges (that made me want to kill myself weekly). I potentially spend more time at the gym than anywhere else than my home office. I changed my diet. And changed it again. And tweaked it once more.
I do not relent because I do not see results, and I do not know what other course to take. Healthy eating and exercise equals weight loss; I know no other equation. I have no ambitions of chasing the media manufactured definition of “hot.” Rather, I just want to be back to what I would consider myself, feeling like my skin is my own again, fitting back into the wardrobe waiting in my closet. I am changed, and that is ok, but I can still quest after something at least reminiscent of my remembered physical body.
However, my physical regime is not merely aesthetic. I use both routine and the endorphins released by exercise to control my own brain chemistry, to avoid the psychoactive drugs usually necessary for someone of my mind. This approach creates a strange conflict. Obsessive exercise can be rooted in a faded eating disorder, yet that same exercise keeps me sane against the more pervasive condition. It becomes a delicate line to walk, and with my sloppy lack of grace, I often stumble and fall all over it.
I feel like I live at the gym or on the trail. I fucking hate gyms, always have. The mass of bodies counting reps in front of their reflections just looks like sad masturbation to me. Who am I to judge what makes someone happy, but it most certainly does not make me happy. I try to sprint through to child care and into the classes, where I can lose myself in the group activity, most often dancing. I disappear into the music and shake it until I am red-faced, panting, and drenched in sweat.
This physical commitment is daunting, especially coupled with the lack of progress. Just physically, I am often exhausted or sore. I seem to be in perpetual recovery. Yet it is also a time suck. A 10 mile run takes me a significant chunk of time. Driving to the gym, picking up and dropping off the kid, plus the actual class eats up time. I feel like this devotion (read: obsession) is taking away from my performance in other roles. I worry that it affects my work, that it gnaws away at my time and relationships with my family.
I have absolutely no spare time. I keep my children’s social calendars full. We are constantly on the way to preschool or dance or swimming or playdate or another activity. I work from home full time. I (try to) work as a published author, both promoting my existing works and drafting my next. I exercise 6 days a week. And I am finding that not all of these things are possible simultaneously. Obligations and necessities are being compromised in the attempt to do it all.
As a result, I just feel inadequate in all aspects.
I feel like my arms are heaped in tasks, laundry is stacked on my head. And I’m doing squats. With my children climbing up my back. And my partner is asking me to spend time with him. And the empty page is mocking me. And the scale remains unchanged. And my customer is waiting for his delivery. And my editor is asking where my next book is. And my daughter wants me to just sit down and play with her. And my son is crying where I can’t see him. And I don’t even remember what it is like to sit and be with myself for a quiet minute.
I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know what to sacrifice. For so long, by some twisted miracle, I was able to do it all, somehow magically make it all happen. I have reached the threshold of that. I have fallen and skidded across it on my face.
I know my priorities. Family first, the work that supports them second. But can I let go of anything else and keep the demons at bay? Can I be good at anything if I keep myself so torn in so many directions?
At the end of this rant, all I want to do is lace up my running shoes, push the door open, and sprint until I can’t feel my face, until I’m panting so hard I can’t think, until my body is buzzing so loud my thoughts have disappeared. But that might be part of the problem.
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