Shadow and Shadow

Autumn has arrived bringing along lovely low temperatures, so that even here in the south I can imagine that seasons are still as wonderfully regular as they are in books.

Fall is the best time for me. It is beautiful- windows open and nature puts on her most lively ensemble. The kids pull out boxes of Halloween decorations and we hit thrift stores, scouring the aisles for the perfect pieces to complete our costumes.

It is the time of year in which, no matter how busy I am I pick up Something Wicked This Way Comes and revel in Bradbury’s atmospheric, perfectly crafted world. A world which houses boys like mine, one light, one dark.

There are soups and warm mugs.

And sweaters.

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Welcome Fall!

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The Courage to Start

In my absence, I became a runner. Yes, it is unexpected. Frankly, there are days when I am still surprised when I tie my laces and cue up MapMyRun.

I run without music, only the rhythm of my breath syncopating with the pounding of sneakers hitting pavement. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks or podcasts if I’m going far. A few weeks ago I ran eight miles while listening to a cool and polished British voice tell me the story of Northhanger Abbey. I refer to 3 miles as a “short run”. I have trained through the humid, sweltering summer running in full sun just to get it done, watching my mileage increase with a certainty that I can and will run my first half marathon in one month’s time.

However, just two years ago I couldn’t run for 3 minutes straight without feeling like walking home. I huffed and puffed and watched my stopwatch counting the seconds until a walking break. Those first weeks of doing Couch to 5K were a test of my will and commitment. I was sore, tired and sweaty.

I started and stopped several times always in the first two weeks of the plan. Then some friends of mine convinced me to sign up for a race.

I was overweight and I struggled with the public performance aspect to running outside. I was a body truly in motion. I could feel my stomach, thighs, arms and everything else bouncing in time with every footfall. It took a lot of self love to keep going.

Three times a week, I came home and laid on our hardwood floors dripping with perspiration, swearing I wouldn’t be able to complete the next step.

But I did.

Just a few months after I started, I ran my first 5K to benefit Autism research.

I remember being sure I wouldn’t be able to run for 8 minutes straight, but I now routinely run for over an hour. And I do so smiling.

That’s right, I smile. It is my therapy, time to be silent and unneeded by anyone. My brain floats away from problems, my focus is only on getting a step further on my path. The endorphins that come with accomplishing a goal commencing with each run.

I still lay on the floor afterwards, sweating. The only difference is the doubt.

I write this, not to inspire others to run, but rather as a reminder to self that even when something seems impossible you never know what you can accomplish until you try. Do not allow self-doubt, false starts or level of difficulty to keep you from working toward a worthy goal. The only sure way to failure is never trying at all.

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It’s a New Day, It’s a New Dawn

It’s a new life for me and I’m feeling goooooooooooooooooood.

Hello darlings, I have completed my time as a corporate coffee jockey for the foreseeable future. I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that my green apron is truly cast off, but I am very grateful that it is.

I could say a lot about the plight of the lowly “partner”. I could spend pages upon pages reminding people that although there are literal signs placed about that the company “takes care” of it’s baristas, the workers start out at minimum wage and despite good reviews and raises years later the people busting their humps to make your beverages still do not earn a living wage. I could wax philosophical about union busting, corporate globalization and the endless tyranny of rude customers who demand above-and-beyond service while never tipping.

However, I won’t.

I will instead tell you that my former workplace witnessed my laughter. Loud, ringing and genuine guffaws. In that building I laid eyes on some of the most true and supportive friends I have ever had the good grace to acquire. It gave me stories. It reenforced my belief that classism is alive and well and needs to be eliminated. It reminded me that kindness is a currency that will fade fast if not practiced.

Also, it gave me free coffee. Gallons and gallons of free coffee.

Most importantly, it gave me perspective. The lessons I learned in that service industry position accumulate to two overarching principals: 1) face to face customer service employment is some of the hardest and most unappreciated work that one can do and 2) Perspective and attitude can carry you far, but it can not make up for having to do the work of three humans for less than a third of that pay.

I am grateful of the education that having a position on the lowest rung of a corporate chain provided me, but I am even more thankful to find myself at a company that truly values it’s employees as human beings. The fact that my current job sparks my creativity, challenges me and has room for improvement and growth don’t hurt things a bit either. I love them so much I went in on my day off to attend meetings with a big ol’ grin on my face. That is a FIRST in my employment history.

Freedom (from wage slavery) is mine.

Regeneration Station

Hello friend,

I know this is awkward. It has been a good long while since I have written. It has been three years since my last confession.

I have been off having adventures, boring adult adventures for the most part, there were some of the fun and lovely kind sprinkled in. It hasn’t been an Ingmar Bergman film, there has been plenty of sunshine in my world.

This silence you have experienced, dear reader, was part of a purposeful forgetting. I buckled in and buckled down and pulled my weight in earnest with two part-time jobs. Work, work, work all of the time.

I got sad and angry and I forgot myself.

Life seemed static, I felt stuck in my crummy, thankless, slaving-for-a-corporation-that-doesn’t-pay-a-living-wage-job. I felt like there was no way out.  I felt like I had no choice.

But you always have a choice.

Next week I will go from working 47+ hours out of the house to 27. I am ditching the gig that was crushing my soul and keeping the job that nourishes my creativity and capacity to thrive.

I am returning to the thing that defines me and has ALWAYS defined me from the moment I could string a sentence together; communicating.

This incarnation of my bloggery will be a marriage of my past efforts. Parenting and humor, geekery and life will all be showcased here. I have learned some lessons in my time away which I will share to those interested.

I have missed the me that talks to you. My heart feels like a door swinging wide open and I am ready to run through it.

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