The 5 stages of the triathlon
A few weeks ago, I completed my first triathlon. I wasn’t feeling as though I did a very good job until Ryan pointed out that about 10% of the entrants didn’t finish. So. Finishing is pretty awesome. The triathlon was far more grueling than the 2 half marathons I’ve done so far. This could be due to the extreme humidity. It could be that I didn’t get all the training in that I should have. It could be any number of things. It could be because it was a mother loving triathlon. Either way, forget about the stages of grief, here are the 5 stages of completing a triathlon. (Words have been changed for the good of people reading this article. I wish I could tell you my vocabulary the day of wasn’t as spicy, but….)
1. You start with the swim. No matter how much you practice, there’s something about that murky lake water that induces a certain kind of panic. So, my first thought was “Spoon! I hate this forking swim!” as I gasped my way through the first 500 meters using the…sidestroke. *Sigh*
2. After the swim I trotted for my bike. Water ran down my legs and pooled into my tennis shoes. I got on my bike and immediately encountered hill after hill after hill after hill. Somewhere around mile 2 of 3, I muttered, “Damask! I’ve only made it 3 miles. Fork!”
I struggled on. Just as I managed to catch my breath and find some semblance of a groove, I got passed by a 71-year-old lady (ages are helpfully sharpied on each calf) who shouted over her shoulder, “Oh, wow! You’re the first person I’ve passed all day.” I spoke a little more about spoons and damask.
3. After a particularly exhilarating downhill ride, I turned off and found myself confronted by a hill that would not stop. I had to give up and walk the bike for a while. As I reached what I thought was the top of the hill, a curve revealed yet more elevation to go. “Fork me!” I growled. The lady behind me, who had also dismounted, grumbled, “Damask, right!”
4. Finally I reached the transition point. As the volunteers yelled at me to get off my bike at a certain point, I attempted to dismount. I fell. Once again, I spoke of neither cutlery nor fabrics, and I feel this is a win. I put my bike back on the rack and told my legs to start running. They hesitantly obliged until I rounded a corner and was confronted with yet another mother-loving hill. That hill may have loved mothers, but I did not love his mother. Yet another hill, and I met a volunteer who had the audacity to yell, “It’s all downhill from here!” This, by the way, was a vicious lie. There were many more hills to go. Halfway up the third, I muttered, “Fork you.”
5. Finally I wound my way through the streets of Acworth with my new friend, Jennifer. It was her first triathlon, too, so we encouraged each other. As we confronted yet another hill, I thought to myself, “Oh, fork it!” This meant I was ready to be done with hills, humidity, and triathlons. As we rounded the last building on Main Street, I challenged Jennifer to race the last bit to the finish line. Total time? 2 hours and 24 minutes. Holy fork and spoon!
To recap, these are the 5 stages of the triathlon:
1. I effing hate this.
3. Eff me.
4. Eff you.
5. Oh, eff it.
And my apologies to the good city of Acworth for my sadly diminished vocabulary.
I did it. I survived. Tri training did improve my 5k time and my 10k time, but I don’t think I’d quite classify it as…fun. Good for me maybe, but not…fun.
Ladies, we gotta talk.
It’s time to put a stop to goody bag madness. Things are getting out of hand, and we’re all in danger of raising a bunch of sugar-mongering hoarders. This morning I assisted Her Majesty as she cleaned her room (if you read: I finally gave up and did 75% of it myself because I’ve got other sh*t to do, then you translated correctly) and I found a plethora of rubber popping caps, cheap pencils and crayons, dubious stickers, broken plastic toys, misshapen bracelets, 2 page coloring books, and who knows how many other useless THINGS. There were valentines that still had candy attached, crappy crafts from schools of every description. I hate to sound like Susan Powter, but we gotta stop the insanity.
I vow, as of this moment, no more birthday party goody bags. When did that mess start anyway? And wouldn’t you rather I put that money into a better cake? Something ALL of us can enjoy?
I vow, as of this moment, not to order things from my nemesis, the Oriental Trading Company. Not to be given away as party gifts, Halloween candy substitutes, or Sunday School/VBS parting gifts.
I vow, as of this moment, to stop taping pencils and candy to Valentines, Christmas, Easter, or Bastille Day goodies.
Let’s be honest. A lot of this crap started in preschool when we were all trying to out-mommy each other. Guess what? I give up. I can’t out-mommy you. I regret ever attempting to keep up because my kid doesn’t need that crap nor the extra candy, and I doubt yours does either. My kids have more THINGS than they could ever want. It’s time to remind them way too many children out there struggle for enough to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes to wear–they don’t get to worry about what happened to their poppy thingy or if mom’s throwing away candy of uncertain origin.
All that said, I love you. Please come over to my house for some scruffy hospitality–and it will continue to be scruffy until ALL of us in Casa Kilpatrick learn to cut the clutter and downsize. But I’ll feed and fire water you. We can play board games or shoot the breeze.
Maybe I’ll even share the stale candy.
Dude. I’m just an infant author, a babe in the woods, but I am here to tell you that, in many ways, having a baby is easier than writing a book.
10. No one questions what you’re eating as you struggle to the finish line when you’re preggers because you’re eating for two. When you’re on deadline, you’re going to have to show your face–and the rest of you–at a writer’s conference at some point in the near future. Edge: Baby
9. Swollen feet you can prop up. A crick in your neck from staring at the screen and willing the words to go where they are supposed to go lasts for days. Edge: Baby
8. The first few months of pregnancy you spend puking your guts out. The first few months of writing a book, you spend in delirious euphoria. Edge: Book
7. The last month of pregnancy, you spend waddling like a whale and wondering if you have everything you need while wishing it would all just be over with. The last month of writing a book, you spend questioning yourself and hoping you have everything just so while wishing it would all just be other with. Edge: Even
6. No one calls your baby ugly–at least not to your face. Someone, somewhere–probably a lot of someones before the whole process is over- is going to call your book ugly. Edge: Baby
5. You can’t have booze while you’re pregnant. You can, and probably will, have booze during the book writing process. Edge: Book
4. With a baby, there’s no sleeping after you’re done. With a book, there’s no sleeping until you’re done. Edge: Even
3. With a baby you can have an epidural. With a book, you can have a steady diet of coffee and wine, but they won’t make the pain go away. Edge: Baby
2. Making a baby means all of that life knitting happens on the inside, no muss and no fuss on mama’s part. Making a book means at some point having a stack of papers all around you and trying to will them into coherent order with a through line and no dropped threads. God knits that baby in your womb. You have to play god with your book even though you’re only human. Edge: Baby. And God. Clearly.
1. At some point, someone’s going to tell you to push. With a baby, your doctor will be on hand to facilitate the
birthing process. With a book, your editor is going to tell you how to push yourself to make your baby prettier. I wouldn’t want to do either on my own. Edge: Book
Whew! I *think* I’m on the homestretch. I *hope* I’m on the homestretch. Catch you on the flipside after I pick up some more threads.
I have to get this book out of my system. I bought Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale for the mister as a sort of joke. He finally read it and then said, “You gotta read this so we can discuss it, and make sure we do the opposite of everything her parents ever did.” It was another “Here, smell this” read. I thought, why not. I like to see what makes people tick. It’s good Goals-Motivation-Conflict practice. I finished the book in 3 days because it is like a train wreck, and I could not look away.
Now, the easy thing to do would be to condemn Jameson and every aspect of her life. I can’t do that. For one thing, she has made some significant—if somewhat questionable—accomplishments in her life, and I’m not one to take that away from her. Besides, there’s this whole thing about not throwing stones at glass houses. Who knows what kind of trouble I would’ve gotten into if my mother had died when I was wee, my father had left me to raise myself, my brother dragged me into all sorts of scrapes, and/or I’d somehow managed to become entangled with a tattoo artist/biker of very questionable morals at a ridiculously young age. I’m saying I have to admire a girl who would pull off her own braces to accomplish a goal. Even if that goal was to get a job as a stripper. You can’t help but wonder what Jameson could’ve accomplished had she had loftier goals.
Five particular lessons stand out of this story for me:
1. Ladies, you have got to learn to live without a man/woman. Almost every bad decision Jameson makes—and there are several of them—comes from preferring to be with a bad man/woman than being on her own. Even worse, she clings to these unsavory people and does all sorts of things (strip, take nude photos, film herself in revenge porn) either to please or tick off someone else. If there’s one thing I could tell young women of the world, it is this: learn to stand on your own two feet. Yes, life is infinitely better when you share it with the right person, but life can be sheer hell if you’re with the wrong person. And one biggie I learned from my own mother: If he says “If you love me, you will…” then the best response is “If you love me, you wouldn’t ask me to do something I don’t want to do.”
2. Don’t put yourself in crappy situations. If you’re fifteen, you don’t need to be hanging out with older men…anywhere. (Unless they are your uncles and they need you to sing tenor for their barbershop quartet. Even then, don’t you have some friends your own age that you can hang out with?) Don’t go on trips with people you don’t know. Don’t drink with people you don’t know. Don’t go riding off in trucks with two boys you barely know. I could keep going, but I trust you see a pattern here.
3. You deserve the right to consent. No one gets to touch you anywhere that you don’t want to be touched. If someone rapes you, you should report it if you can stomach it at all. If you don’t, the rapist will almost certainly strike again. If someone takes your hymen while you’re passed out, that’s rape. See #2 and #3 as two ways to minimize situations where your consent would be dismissed. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a girl can follow all the rules and still have her lack of consent ignored. This is one of the facts of the world that terrifies me most.
4. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SACRED AND HOLY DO NOT DO DRUGS. This book is rife with drugs. Jameson herself says that some of her worst decisions came about as the result of drugs and/or alcohol. I cringed at the amount of drugs done and the catastrophic results. The woman almost killed herself with meth. She talks about dropping acid the same way I discuss reading books. At one point, she casually mentions doing drugs with her father and brother. The family that does smack together, cracks together—that’s what I say.
5. Sex is sacred. I know that philosophy is going to be unpopular with some folks, and I’m not saying you have to remain a virgin until your wedding night. Just remember there are consequences to sex. Pretending we human beings can go out and shag anyone and everyone willy-nilly is ridiculous. If you don’t believe me, read this book. Sex confuses the issue for so many people, women AND men—and not just Jameson. Other than the exploitation of new starlets that she describes, it’s clear these folks have a very, very difficult time building and maintaining healthy relationships.*
Now, aside from UNlearning all sorts of new words, phrases, and practices, I think I can move on with my daily life. I really don’t consider myself a prude. I don’t aim to be all judgy, either. I’m probably failing at that. Put simply, her book breaks my heart. The most persistent undercurrent is that Jameson wants to believe she’s a worthy person (she is) and that she’s loved (that’s a little harder to determine). I hope to goodness she finds the love she’s been looking for, and sooner rather than later.
The number one take away? We’ve got to instill our children with a sense of self worth. Jameson says she isn’t a victim, but I can’t help but see her as such. To be sure, she’s taken care of herself as well as she could, but up until the point she goes into the Wicked Studios, there’s a whole heckuva lot more reaction than action.
I kept wanting someone, anyone to say, “No, you don’t have to be a show girl because that’s what your mama did. No, you don’t have to go live with the nephew of the guy who raped you because your dad kicked you out. No, you don’t have to become a stripper because that’s what biker dudes’ girlfriends do. No, you don’t have to make a porn movie as revenge. No, you don’t have to…. I think you get the picture. There are some serious assumptions going on in this book, and I think we all know what they say about when we assume.
As Gretchen’s favorite video would say, “On a scale of one to even, I can’t” with this book.
*Someone’s going to say, “What about all those romance novels? They’re all about sex.” Point of order, romance novels are actually more about people coming into their own and happening to find that one person who helps them be their best selves—at least that’s what the best ones do. Romance novels usually include monogamy and almost always end with a commitment between hero and heroine, suggesting strongly that these are two people who are going to be able to tough it out. Now, I still have issues with heroes, in particular, who have had sex with every woman in their particular hemisphere, but that’s another post for another day. Also, fictional characters aren’t exactly traumatized by the making of the book—at least not that any of us knows.
P.S. And God bless Amazon for putting Deanna Raybourn books on sale. I had books 1 and 4 in the Lady Julia series as well as her two non-Lady Julia books. I had been planning to ask for the rest of the Lady Julia series for Christmas and go on a serious binge. Thanks to the sale, I’m cleansing the ol’ mental palate with book two in the series. It is just what the doctor ordered. I’ve almost erased this experience from my mind. Almost.
A little slice of hormonal life—or at least one woman’s experience—this is what I bring you.
So I had my tiny T-shaped demon exorcised, and I felt pretty good for about three days.
Then my monthly friend showed up with a vengeance.
Oh, but wait. According to the Interwebs, that bastion of all knowledge, it doesn’t really count so I can expect another visit in two weeks.
Just what I’ve always wanted.
I’d intended to write about this journey a little later, maybe give things time to settle. Since I feel so incredibly UGH and have since Sunday, I have reconsidered. Once again I tell you that I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV, but I am a big believer in telling things like they are. If this post helps just one person feel as though she is not alone, then it’s more than worth any embarrassment of writing about lady problems. For the love of all that is holy, we have to stop being so damned secretive about the inner workings of our mysterious ovaries.
Here are some basic things you need to know about yanking an IUD:*
1. It’s not anywhere near as painful as getting it put in
2. When your doctor says you may have some spotting, what he’s really saying is that you may be incapacitated. About four days after I was relieved of my burden, things got real. I could not leave the couch on Sunday. I could hardly move on Monday. Stuck Hog Syndrome, that’s what I like to call it.
3. Low grade cramps.
4. All that improvement with your iron count? Undone in pretty short order. I didn’t prick my finger this morning, but I got really short of breath in my workout and, apparently, lost all color in my face. (That’s not quite one week out)
5. A fog of depression will descend. Still haven’t kicked that one. I can feel the corners of my lips turning down. Complete lack of interest in just about anything other than a nap, and I’m not too excited about that.
6. Paranoia. Part of you believes everyone hates you. Thanks to the depression, the other part of you agrees. Thanks to your inner monologue of the past few months, you’re entirely sure it’s all the stupid things you’ve said over the past few months. You consider moving to a new community and starting over where people don’t know how awful you are.
7. Your nasty inner monologue will abate (Yay!) but its left the aforementioned paranoia in its wake. (Boo!)
8. Your synapses don’t fire properly. I walk from room to room, constantly forgetting why I headed in that direction. Her Majesty asks me questions, and I don’t hear the words in order. I try to revise my work, and I lose my train of thought. I look at people, and their names refuse to match with their faces.
9. You crave carbs and eschew that which is green and healthy. (Because that’s just what I need) You will also not really be hungry but then eat entirely too much anyway.
10. You feel like the Goodyear Blimp, look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man, and have the 5 extra pounds on the scale to prove it.
11. Apathy central: I don’t care about shaving my legs. I want to clean the house about like I want a hole in the head. I don’t even want to write this, but I’m smart enough to know I’ll forget most of what I’m feeling if I don’t.
12. Fatigue: I’ve wanted to take a nap the past 4 days. I’m not a napper, I swear.
13. Inability to make decisions—see the brain fog mentioned in 6.
14. You get this far down the list and realize you are so far out of it that you either messed up your numbering scheme earlier or have screwed it up just now.
15. You know there were at least 5 more things you wanted to mention, but your brain grabs at them like a toddler reaching for butterflies.
All right. So that’s a taste of what a hormonal imbalance can do. I’m fighting the little bastards, but they are currently winning. I’m sorry, world, that I’m not doing better. You see, this is the part, too, where you look at all you should be doing and beat yourself up for not getting it done. Then you take a little time and lecture yourself on how unbelievably lucky you are to have such great friends and family and gorgeous children and that you ought to snap out of it. Then you shed a few tears for no good reason, and contemplate ripping out your own traitorous lady parts.
Consider this one moment in time captured. I’m hoping for a happier follow up in about a month. Until then, ladies, stay strong. Gentlemen, my apologies.
*As always, this is simply my experience. Other women have NO problems with their IUDs although I’d be surprised if there’s a woman alive who hasn’t experienced at least part of this roller coaster at some point in her life.
P.S. I hope you don’t all really hate me. I mean well….I swear!
P.P.S. Coffee has no effect—that’s one of the things I forgot above.
P.P.P.S. Some enterprising jerk may try take this blog post as some kind of proof that women can’t “handle” certain things. Don’t. Don’t even go there. This is one experience at one moment in time from one woman. Not only that, but I’ve “handled” a lot of situations, jobs, people, etc while feeling even worse. So just….don’t.
Ah, there’s just something about me that causes people to talk to themselves. Here’s something hubs sent me about the frustrations of making plans when you’re a responsible parent:
Ryan A: It’s Friday, it’s summer, I get off early, I want to go out and have some fun tonight.
Ryan B: Awesome! What do you want to do?
Ryan A: I don’t know…we live in Atlanta, one of the most happening cities in the country, I’m sure there’s something fun and cool for us to do.
Ryan B: Like what?
Ryan A: Uh….something with like food or music or something.
Ryan B: Great! You’ll need to find a babysitter. We have kids, you know.
Ryan A: Right….I remembered that. I thought I’d cross that bridge when we came to it. Who can we get?
Ryan B: Well, there’s not a lot of people we can trust. Did you see that story on the news?
Ryan A: Ooooh, good point. That was awful. The girl did the thing with that kid and that guy…that was bad. So maybe we should do something with the kids?
Ryan B: Good idea! It’s always a good idea to spend time with your children. What’s something you can do with them?
Ryan A: All kinds of stuff! We like movies and mini golf and bowling and Disney World and…
Ryan B: Sounds expensive. Do you have any money?
Ryan A: Of course! I have a great job. I work really hard, and I save a lot of money (checks bank account)…oh….
Ryan B: What?
Ryan A: Maybe we don’t have a lot of money. I forgot about that time last week where I had to pay for the thing at school we didn’t know about. And the emergency cheeseburger I had to get the kids because they were going nuts. And my Dad’s birthday. And the new tires.
Ryan B: But you have money saved, right?
Ryan A: Yeah, but that’s for retirement.
Ryan B: So you can’t have fun now so you can enjoy yourself 20 years from now?
Ryan A: Pretty much, yeah. But it’ll be really fun when all my friends are working and I’m kicking back.
Ryan B: What are you going to do then?
Ryan A: Sleep late, read books, watch baseball, go to Disney World, eat well.
Ryan B: Don’t you do that now?
Ryan A: Sort of…except the sleep late part. But then I’ll do it without any responsibility. Except my kids will be grown and I will still have medical insurance and I’ll probably be too old to move. Quit asking these questions!
Ryan B: OK…so what are you going to do tonight, then? Stay home.
Ryan A: Yeah, I guess. Like watch a baseball game. I love baseball!
Ryan B: But your kids don’t. I mean, they say they do, but they don’t.
Ryan A: Fair enough. But I get off early from work. Surely there’s enough time to do something with the kids then watch a game.
Ryan B: Absolutely! What time do you get off work?
Ryan A: 3 pm! It’s awesome!!!
Ryan B: Great! So when will you get home?
Ryan A: It takes about an hour, so probably around 4. That’s plenty of time. Game starts at 7:30, so that’s 3 ½ hours!
Ryan B: Superb! But don’t you need to exercise today?
Ryan A: Sure, but it’s only a short run, about 40 minutes.
Ryan B: Excellent! Then you’ll go shower, right? So it’s closer to an hour total.
Ryan A: Sure, but that still leaves 2 ½ hours before the game starts to do something with the kids.
Ryan B: Great, what are you going to do?
Ryan A: Uh…
Ryan B: Nothing?
Ryan A: I don’t know what my kids like. It changes by the day. And they probably need to get outside and do something active. Kids today with their junk food and their video games.
Ryan B: Didn’t you buy them the Disney Infinity game?
Ryan A: I am beginning to dislike you.
Ryan B: I’m sorry. I’m only trying to help.
Ryan A: Try harder.
Ryan B: Ok, I’m sure we can figure this out. What about bowling or something like that?
Ryan A: Refer back to the bank account.
Ryan B: Oh, right…so something at home, then?
Ryan A: Right…I’m pretty sure we already covered this.
Ryan B: Don’t get saucy with me, Bearnaise.
Ryan A: I love that movie. We should watch that!
Ryan B: Mel Brooks is not exactly kid fare.
Ryan A: I watched it about 12 years old and I turned out ok.
Ryan B: …..
Ryan A: Fair point.
Ryan A: So what about watching another movie? These kids don’t know what good movies are! They haven’t even seen Terminator!
Ryan B: You think a 7 year old girl wants to see Arnold Schwarzenegger’s naked butt?
Ryan A: I’m 37 and I don’t want to see that. Fair point. What movies to they like?
Ryan B: They like Disney movies. And so do you.
Ryan A: See, now you’re being helpful. Let me look and see what they haven’t seen….(browses DVD catalog, Disney movies, etc.)….uh, they’ve seen everything.
Ryan B: So you can rewatch something that you’ll all enjoy. It’ll still be fine.
Ryan A: We’re going to watch Frozen again, aren’t we?
Ryan B: Looks like.
Ryan A: Can I have a beer after they go to bed?
Ryan B: Sure. As long as you’ve already got some at home. No money and all.
Ryan A: ^%$#%@
And thanks to my dear sweet husband for coming up with a blog post for me today even though that wasn’t his intention. Honey, you’re my favorite responsible adult, if that counts for anything! Oh and just so you know, world…