The Courage to Begin Again

My return to running has, more or less, sucked.

I mean, really sucked.

I started running again upon the suggestion by my physical therapist that it would not hurt to give it a go again. So, I went to the YMCA for my usual injured biking and light weightlifting workout, and somehow decided to end the day with a mile. A slow, painful mile. It felt wonderful to run again (and even more wonderful to be pain free) but I knew the road back to fitness was going to be long, hard, and, frankly, exhausting. I drove home, stumbled in the door, and headed straight to my bed for a nap.

The next time I decided to run, I wanted to add more minutes (and mileage) but did not want to overdo it. So, I put myself on somewhat of a “Couch-To-5k” Plan like those you’d find on Pinterest. I begrudgingly decided to run for a few minutes, walk for a minute or so, and repeat, for about 20-25 minutes (an arbitrary time I set for myself to keep from overdoing it). I was extremely frustrated with how out of breath I felt after only a few short, slow minutes of running. I wanted to get better, but the first steps to getting there seemed to be so much.

After another week of the same sort of thing, I did not seem to have much better results (at least not emotionally). Physically, I may have been improving a little, but emotionally I was simply not feeling like myself. I felt defeated, knocked down by a small lumbar stress fracture, sciatic nerve pain, and 5-6 weeks of absolutely no running. I was not sure how to proceed–nothing seemed to be working (not to mention, my pain had decreased significantly but my recovery was beginning to plateau at around Level 2-3 pain (on a scale of 1-10). I grew tired, frustrated, and even a little angry. I hated every minute of those first two weeks. Sure, I was grateful to be running again, but I did not care for running when it felt like that.

But then, I took to the trails. I decided to run at whatever pace felt good, with my iPod shuffle to accompany. I settled on “Lover of the Light” by Mumford and Sons as my first song–if you were unaware, Mumford makes for the perfect trail running music–and started off at an easy pace. Partway through the run, I was surprised at how good I felt. I felt as though I was capable, strong, and able to finish the run. This strength carried me through to the end. This run served as a turning point for me. Suddenly, all the work I had been putting in for the past few weeks had meaning; it was all worth it after all. My mood was lifted, my attitude toward running was much more positive. I knew, once again, what I had forgotten for so long: I could do this.

Today, I set out again for another run, beginning my fourth week back to running. Sure, my pace is nowhere near where it normally is, and is even further from where I’d like it to be, but I’m keeping it realistic for now. I’m going to continue to push myself within the limits of my recovery in order to improve and get better with time. I’m going to be tough. I’m going to be strong. I’m going to do this. Running (currently) sucks, but not running sucked worse.

Like with anything, running again after a long break is not easy. It is challenging. It is trying. It is difficult. It is worth every frustration, setback, and struggle. Greatness after a struggle comes down to one thing: the courage to begin again.

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All for Love, and Love for All.

Ok, so it’s been a few days since I’ve sat down to write. I would like to say that I was just too busy to do so, but let’s be serious: It’s summer, I’m unemployed–I have nothing to do. The truth is, I’ve been lacking inspiration.

…Well, until today.

This morning, I slept in late, as is expected for someone with no daily life happenings because, well, summer. When I woke, I sat up in bed and pulled my trusty iPad into my lap in to check in with the world around me (a daily habit of mine that is a sad indicator of my dependence on technology, much to N’s chagrin). While scrolling through my skillfully-curated Twitter timeline, I became aware of the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell, Et al., v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, Et al. (sorry, not sorry–self-proclaimed SCOTUS nerd here), or, more colloquially, the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision on same-sex marriage.

All at once, my heart swelled with pride–not only for the members of the LGBTQ+ community, who had achieved a long-fought victory today, but for our Nation as a whole, who began to make steps toward a more progressive, more inclusive future. I beamed at the thought that, at last, everyone in the United States could make their wedding dreams a reality–a privilege afforded to me my entire life as a heterosexual woman. Finally, my friends, classmates, colleagues, and community members could publicly profess their love to another in the highest and most formal way that, for reasons of bigotry and fear, was controlled by the government and denied to them until today. This is a monumental step in the right direction–but there is certainly still plenty of work to do.

As the day went on, the true colors of some Americans on social media shined through. While many posted supportive rainbow flags and wrote supportive words (a Facebook friend of mine even told of coming out to her mother–very powerful), all of which gave me hope, I grew sad as I read through comments on Instagrams, replies on Twitter, and written Facebook posts that cried out in the name of their God (I do not associate this God with mine, as any God I would choose to worship would not call for us to hate another on the basis of difference) or in the sheer basis of their ignorance declaring their disagreement with this SCOTUS decision. Hateful speech, including derogatory slurs, sprinkled throughout these posts.  I am thankful that in the midst of today’s celebration, these ill-given words were likely overlooked, but I am concerned for what is to come. I hope that these couples, like all couples, who face challenges will be strengthened by their love, as love is what guides us all, and is what brings us all together.

It is also my hope that others begin to recognize love as love. Many social media posts (including ones that positively spoke of the decision) began with the basic sentiment “I don’t want to get political, but…” or “I’m normally not political, but…” I understand. I try to avoid politics as well, as, after sitting through a number of fiery, exhausting Political Science courses in undergrad, I’ve tried to remain numb to purely political action. But I don’t see this as a political issue. The freedom to love is a basic human right. Basic human rights should not be an issue of politics. They should simply be upheld, appreciated, and recognized by all. Love is not politics. Love is, well, love.


One of my sorority sisters posted this Tweet today, which I love, mostly because it reminds me of the big picture historic significance of this day.

Weird and wonderful, the way history works.

YAS.

x.M

the semicolon project

Found this blog post through @TotalSororityMove on Twitter. I was so pleasantly surprised to discover what it said. Many of the humans I know who have struggled with mental illness are among those I hold closest to my heart. Instead of providing some of my own words today, I reblog this, as a way to fight the stigma of mental health and the stereotypes that surround it. Please give this a read!

hpwritesblogs

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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Weekend Wrap Up!

It’s Monday again, which means we’re all back to our weekly routine and I share some things I discovered this weekend! I had a great weekend getaway to Columbus, where I hung out with an old friend and revisited the city I lived in last summer for an internship! I had such a blast!

1. Stylecast’s 10 of Pinterest’s Best Hairstyles to Survive a Heat Wave

So, this past week the weather in Ohio has been just awful. It hasn’t been super hot, but the humidity has been out of this world–brought on by daily rainstorms. As a result, my hair has drastically suffered. I found this article on Pinterest to help deal with the heat and humidity that summer brings!

2. Huffington Post’s 12 Reasons Why Yoga is Spreading Around the World

June 21st was the first International Day of Yoga according to the United Nations. This article discusses bunch of reasons for Yoga’s spread, detailing the benefits of yoga and how it helps a number of people throughout the world! Give it a read if you’re an avid yogi, a curious first-timer, or if you’re simply wondering what those poses are all about!

3. Rent.com’s Five Things to Do Before Your Interstate Move

Another timely Pinterest find, this one is an informative list for twenty-somethings relocating after college, or even anyone who is making a big move! Provides some handy tips about packing and moving all of your stuff!

That’s all for now! Have a great start to your week!

x.M

Selfish Cookies

If you know me at all, you know I have a sweet tooth. It’s true, no matter how much I run, do yoga, love fruits and veggies, etc., I will never be able to fully give up sugar. It’s a trait inherited from my Grandma Dot (who used to beg for multiple mugs of hot chocolate every day, claiming that one “just wasn’t enough”). She was the absolute sweetest lady. 

Here’s one way I satisfy my sweets craving without eating an entire dozen cookies! I call it the Selfish Cookie! 
Selfish Cookie Recipe

Serves one. Hence the name. 

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Melted Butter

1 Tbsp White Sugar

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Pinch of Salt

Few drops of Vanilla Extract

Egg Yolk

1/4 Cup Flour

1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips (or your desired amount)

1. Melt butter in a microwave safe dish.

2. Mix melted butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl. **You can do all of this in a cereal/salad bowl with your average dinner spoon–no need for cooking utensils!

3. Separate egg yolk from whites. Mix yolk into butter-sugar mixture. Dispose of whites, or use them to make meringue!

4. Once egg yolk is added, gently stir in flour, stirring until a dough forms. 

5. Fold chocolate chips into the dough. Place mixture in a ramekin or microwave-safe mug.

6. Microwave for 45-60 seconds. It will be done when there are only a few wet spots on the top.

7. Let cool, and then enjoy your melty, gooey Selfish Cookie!**
**Also good for roommates suffering from a breakup or a really tough study session.

Confession: Tastes so good, I’m even eating one right now! ☺️

  

Run Free

Yesterday, I read an article a former teammate shared on Facebook that begged the question, “Is it OK to Run in a Sports Bra?” The article centered around the conclusion that any reason women shouldn’t run in just a sports bra and shorts is utter garbage. While I completely agree with the premise of this article, I still found myself uneasy by its existence. I’ll admit it: I’m a sports bra runner myself. But even I have moments where I feel judged by the t-shirt-and-capris runner that I pass on the bike path near my house. However, this should not be. Why, in the name of Shalane Flanagan, are we worried about what people wear while running, let alone what we wear while logging some miles? 

Running, like other forms of exercise, is a somewhat uncomfortable activity. Runners push themselves on each trail, track, and road they encounter, moving out of their comfort zone to find their own personal strength. Running is an uncomfortable journey, despite how much we love it. Amid this lack of comfort, why would anyone want anything that would add even a hint of added discomfort? I run in a sports bra because it is comfortable for me. Sometimes the weather in Ohio is so humid and meltingly hot that running in as minimal clothing as possible is. However each person has a different level of comfort. The woman I pass in a t-shirt and capris is equally as comfortable in her own. We should not question each other, but instead allow the other to run free of discomfort or judgement.  It should not even be a question whether or not it is OK. It should just be. 

Weekend Wrap-Up!

It’s a new week, which means it’s time for another weekend wrap-up! Here are some things that caught my eye this weekend!

1. Cleveland Scene‘s 17 Cleveland-Inspired Tattoos

  

While I’m not personally a tattoo girl (needles freak me out, plus they’re so permanent!) I find them fascinating on other people. And while it may seem weird that people are getting Chief Wahoo tattooed on their bicep, the CLE pride is definitely something I can get behind! I especially love the one with the simple outline of the skyline. The city is truly full of proud Clevelanders, and I’ll always love that. 

2. Making my first Poshmark sale! 

 

Adding my signature, a paper crane, to the packaging of my jacket before shipping it off!

 

This weekend, I finally experienced success with the Poshmark app, which I mentioned in my post about Closet Cleaning. I sold my first item, which I was really excited about! It took a lot of work to market my Closet, but I’m afraid I’m addicted now! If you’re on Poshmark, comment below and I’ll give you a follow! 
That’s all for now! Have a good start to your week!

x. M

Graduation Present Ideas

It’s nearing the end of graduation season, and that means a lot of twenty-somethings (and high school seniors) are starting a new chapter in their lives. What would make a more perfect graduation gift than something that celebrates not only their accomplishments, but also this new journey they are about to take? Here are some ideas found on Etsy, my favorite site for one of a kind, handmade gifts. 
A GPS Coordinates Bracelet

 
Have this bracelet personalized with the coordinates of her alma mater so she’ll always have the memories of her school days with her! 
A Leather Key Chain

   

 

Is your friend moving into their first apartment or dorm? They will certainly need a simple, stylish place to keep their keys. Personalize the second one with a monogram and a favorite color for an extra special touch. 
Leather Passport Cover

  

Have a friend who is taking a gap year to travel, or one who is just bit by the travel bug? This  the perfect graduation present for them! They will think of you every time they travel!
Monogrammed Robe

  
For the friend who loves relaxing at home! The monogram adds a personal touch and will make any apartment feel like a spa. 
Inspirational Print

  

For the hard worker bee in your life: an inspirational print to hang on the wall of her new office or cubicle. Because why should motivation and inspiration end when graduation happens? 
Monogrammed Necklace

  

Celebrate her special day with a timeless classic. She’ll cherish it forever!
Laptop Tote Bag

 
For the friend going for more school: a chic, updated, more professional-looking bag to carry her laptop, books, and other supplies. 
Congrats to everyone on this momentous occasion!

x.M