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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Running to Process

I wrote earlier this week about how I've gotten back into running. I've been running longer than my training plan requires because getting outside with my thoughts is one of the few things keeping me sane during this pandemic. I know many of us are struggling with our new reality. Going to the gym is my way to let off steam, work through tough emotions, and figure stuff out. I've been enjoying how running outside with no music is helping me to process some heavy feelings I've been trying to squash for a long time.

I'm not proud to admit it but I lost my mind over some Facebook posts the other day. I saw my ex-boyfriend in photos with his new girlfriend celebrating his birthday. I wasn't allowed to take photos of us together, and if I did, I was definitely not allowed to post them on social media. And if I did post them to social media, I couldn't tag him and he would untag himself if I did. And I was never allowed to spend his actual birthday with him because birthdays are to be celebrated with the guys, but I could take him out for birthday dinner after his birthday, but the food was never as good as it is somewhere not here in Atlanta.

I am tired of keeping this hidden like a shameful secret. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for three years. I was repeatedly put down, lied to, and convinced that I was imagining things. I became obsessed with winning back his affection and attention, to the detriment of all other aspects of my life. I now say that I was never as good a friend, child, sister, or employee as the day before I met him. For three long years, I engaged in a cycle of abuse and self-blame where I would tell him off and try to leave, only to be bombarded with calls, messages, in-person visits, and gifts until I gave in and agreed to be with him again. I recently learned that the term for this behavior is called love-bombing.

I regretfully decided to move into a new apartment with him last March. He had to travel for work almost immediately after the move and so I had several weeks of unpacking alone and getting settled. He returned one week and the arguments got worse than ever before. One night I was studying for a college algebra exam for my Maymester course. He told me he was going out with his friends so I could have the apartment to myself to study, which I appreciated. He came home around 8 PM, drunk, and proceeded to tell me what he really thought of me. He told that he couldn't stand me, didn't find me attractive, that he was the only person who could ever love me and even he didn't like me, that everyone we knew had told him that they hated me, and that my own family hated me because I was so awful. An epic argument ensued and continued until he took my two dogs into the bedroom, locked the door, and passed out. I was used to sleeping in the guest bedroom at this point because my presence in what was supposed to be our bedroom upset his sleep. I cried hysterically while trying to study until about 4 in the morning. My exam was at 11:30 AM and I figured I had enough time to catch some sleep before I had to leave for school. Just after 5 AM, he came into the guest bedroom and tried to touch me, telling me he was sorry that we had a fight but he forgave me. I told him to get the hell away from me and repeated all the awful things he had said to me. He alternated between denying it and apologizing it away by saying he had been so drunk he didn't remember any of that happening. Needless to say, I did not do well on that exam. That was the day that I decided that I hated him and that I could never forgive him. I emotionally checked out of the relationship. I started to drink more and go out often. Sometimes I stayed out all night just to be away from him. But I didn't leave.

I was financially and legally tied to him. Thank you apartment lease. I spent my entire adult life saying I wouldn't live with someone until we were married (no judgment, just a personal decision), and yet he convinced me to do otherwise. I was embarrassed to admit that I had made such a terrible mistake. And I was scared to ask my parents for more money to leave because they do help me financially so that I can attend school.

Only when he became physically abusive, did I speak up to my parents and ask for their help. A weekend trip that was his idea of fixing our relationship turned into a living nightmare. I had been drinking so I couldn't drive back to Atlanta, I didn't know anyone else in the city where we were staying, and he was drunk and very angry. I was terrified for my life.

It still took me two months to move out of the apartment we shared. He called into work sick repeatedly so that he could be home for 52 straight days. I had to be in Atlanta to attend class. He has a crash pad for work and an apartment in another southern city. I never got to be alone unless I was in the bathroom and sometimes he would follow me in there too.

I was so used to the way that he treated me that I rationalized his behavior. I justified the sketchy, rude, and cruel things he would do by blaming it on my bad attitude or the hurtful things I said during an argument. How dare I criticize his drinking when I was drinking too? Of course he's in a bad mood. He spent all day traveling home to see me and I didn't show my appreciation enough when he arrived. He's right, I did gain too much weight and that's why he won't touch me. I am so inconsiderate. I put ice in my coffee and he was trying to sleep.

Do those statements sound as effed up to you as they now do to me? But I was an addict who craved his attention, even if it was of the awful variety. I moved out at the end of December. Even after I moved out, all of my thoughts and actions were based around him. I own the washer/dryer and moved them to my new apartment. On the day of the move, I washed all of his towels and put them back into the old apartment so he would have clean towels when he got back from his trip. I even considered doing all of his laundry until I was explicitly called out about it by a loved one. Only recently have I recognized the truth of what happened. I am a victim of emotional abuse and now I'm working to process through the emotions I'm having. I'm really angry - at him and at myself. I know it's not my fault but it still feels like it is sometimes.

I share what happened to me because keeping it inside has been poisoning me. And maybe by sharing my story, someone who is reading this will recognize abuse in his or her life, and know he or she is not alone. If you are being abused, there is help. There are people who will believe you even if you don't have bruises or broken bones. I will believe you. If reading this makes you want to talk about emotional abuse with others, I think it's a conversation more of us need to have. There should not be a stigma and we shouldn't feel weak or stupid when people hurt us. But I do ask that you respect my decision to share on my blog and talk to me directly if you have questions about my story. Please don't speak with my family about this. They are very aware of what happened. I do not need you calling up my mom and telling her you read on the internet that her daughter got abused.

I will get through this. It's just going to take time. I am very thankful that I am able to run.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

10k Training Week 2

I'm training for a 10k and I'm going to look cute doing it.

Good morning folks! I hope everyone is surviving sheltering in place, both literally and figuratively. I'm trying to keep in shape and my mind in one piece (see what I did there?) so I've set two goals for myself this April:
  1. Move every day
  2. No alcohol
I'm defining movement as doing something active every day, may it be a home CrossFit workout, yoga, running, stretching, or walking. The weather is gorgeous in Georgia and I'm trying to get outside as much as possible. I have wanted to get back into running and this feels like a great time to do it. I found this 10k training plan from Snacking in Sneakers and I'm on week 2.

Monday's run was supposed to be 1.5 miles but it was so nice out that I kept going. That last mile was entirely uphill and it was a bit of a doozy.

My bedroom has turned into a home gym but this apartment is finally beginning to look and feel like home. There are no overhead lights in the bedroom (WTF I know), but I found these floor lamps at Walmart for $10 each and they make a huge difference.

  • Sports bra: Born Primitive Moxie sports bra. It is no longer available in this leopard print but you can get it in vibrant cheetah instead.
  • Shorts: Oiselle Roga shorts in brown. These are my favorite running shorts and the colors change each season. There are some BEAUTIFUL floral prints available right now. The Roga is available in this original inseam, as well as a long and short (Mac) inseams. You can also get a toolbelt version that are great for long runs.
  • Shoes: Brooks Ghost 8 leopard print have been out of stock for a while, but the Ghost 12 is for sale. I'm eyeing the all white pair. You can sign up for Brooks emails and they'll let you know when limited releases, like these sweet snow leopards, drop.
  • Sunglasses: Knockaround black on black polarized Classics. They appear to be out of stock, but the Premiums are basically the same pair, just a little heavier. I own several pairs of Knockarounds, including Classics, Premiums, and Mile Highs. They are the best because they are quality and inexpensive. You'll never cry if you lose them. Their customer service is the BEST.

Wednesday's run was also supposed to be 1.5 miles. There's a house we're interested in 1.6 miles away from my apartment so my plan was to run to it and check it out before having the realtor meet me there this week. Loved the house and the weather was great so I ran back. I knew I shouldn't run so close to eating lunch but I did it anyway and I got some cramps so I was running slow

Sometimes a run that is almost identical in route, weather, and gear to another can feel drastically different. I went to sleep really late on Tuesday night because I had been up taking an organic chemistry exam. I turned off my iPhone alarms but forgot about my Fitbit alarms and only got 4.5 hours of sleep. I felt like garbage all day. Just getting outside made me feel better and then I was able to get a great night's sleep last night. TEN HOURS AND 57 MINUTES! I have to remind myself that my workouts don't have to be perfect. Getting them done makes me feel better and pays off in other ways, such as better sleep.


Sports bra: DYI Elevate bra
Shorts: Oiselle New Lori shorts in Denim
Top: DYI The one I'm wearing isn't on the website but they have cute similar styles. My mom bought these for me at her Pure Barre studio. BTW, it is silly to name your company DYI because Google wants to correct it to DIY. 

As we know, I love tracking things to keep me motivated. I use a Garmin Forerunner 630 paired with Strava to record my runs, but that's all digital and so it doesn't do it for me. I wrote my training plan out on my calendar and I put a running sticker on it when I complete my run.

Getalong Dachshund Rescue releases a new calendar every year in time for Christmas. Daisy Mae was Miss February, and Frank and DM are featured in July.

These stickers are from FayeCreates on Etsy. She makes the BEST stickers and can do custom designs if you want.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Get Your Ducks in a Row

If you're going to be trapped inside your house for the foreseeable future, you might as well make some life improvements.

I really want to get pet ducks!

I'm REALLY over social-distancing, sheltering in place, and not being able to get my freaking nails done, but I don't want your nana to die, so I'm complying. No promises that I won't start a riot on May 1. Since I'm stuck inside my house, I have been finding ways to work towards my physical, academic, and financial goals.

Online Sinking Funds
One of the coolest things I started using this year is SoFi Money. It's a money management account that had a pretty high interest rate (1.60% APY) before the world ended but it's still higher than a regular savings account at 0.20% APY. I love The Budget Mom but I'm not keeping a bunch of cash in my apartment. Instead I have SoFi vaults for my sinking funds because I can get the money out of my checking account where I might accidentally spend it and into a designated account that earns interest. SoFi sends you a debit card you can use as payment or at the ATM. Or you can transfer the money back to your primary account. For example, I have been transferring money to my tattoo sinking fund for months. I used my SoFi debit card at the ATM (transaction fees are refundable) to take out the cash I needed to tip my tattoo artist. I transferred the remaining balance back to my Bank of America checking account. I paid for my tattoo using my cash rewards credit card and then paid the card with the money I had transferred to the BofA checking account. Are there easier ways to pay for things? Sure, but these extra steps earned me interest and cash back. Here is a referral link to SoFi Money.

These are my current vaults. I take annual expenses and divide them by 12 and transfer a small amount into the sinking fund each month. My executive Costco membership is $120 a year so $12 goes into the vault. I also use vaults to save money that I didn't spend. I had $77 left in my dogs monthly spending category so I transferred the amount here to put towards larger future purchases, such as heartworm medicine or vet visits. If coronavirus taught us anything, it's that we need adequate emergency funds. We have to start somewhere so I've got $50 in mine.

Tidy Your Space
I cleaned my desk and I feel so much better. I am obsessed with this Wayfair desk and chair in my home office, but I started stacking a bunch of stuff all over it in March. My productivity took a hit because I kept getting distracted by things when I would start digging through the mess to work on an assignment. Take 30 minutes to organize and disinfect your workspace.

Back when I was an elementary school teacher, I learned that I am motivated by displayed trackers. I use Canva to create trackers for just about everything, including studying, exercising, and paying off debt. There are some sweet existing templates that you can tweak to fit your needs. I used one to make this organic chemistry study tracker. I pay myself a dollar for each action completed and I'm going to use that money for something fun this summer.

Writing in a notebook with pretty pens brings me joy. I invested in these workbooks and I'm more likely to use them consistently because it makes me feel good. I'm loving my new Gym Gypsy journal and will post about it soon.

Read Something Interesting
I use the Libby app to checkout digital library loans for my Kindle. I finished Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining last week and loved it. Last night I read about optimizing protein intake in adults because that's the kind of thing that gets me all jazzed up. 

Find Community in Fitness
I rejoined my CrossFit gym, CrossFit Identity, because they have been slaying online community and accountability since this nightmare began. I have felt connected more than I have in the past year and I get excited to do the workout. I usually film us and post to Instagram and I fill out the daily workout from home competition survey. CFID has started offering Zoom classes four times a day but I haven't attended one yet. Lots of places are offering online fitness, but I think the key component is finding one that makes you feel connected in this time of isolation. Dancing Dogs Yoga is also doing this well if that's more your speed.

I gave Brad a pair of Nanos for his birthday. We do CrossFit in the apartment parking lot.

Let me know what has been working for you during this bizarre time. I'd love to hear from you!
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