Thursday, April 25, 2013


All I know is that I did it again. I bolted from a social situation where I was feeling a sense of panic and fear, for no visible reason, and in my worry I propelled myself home without so much as a glimpse in the rear view mirror. As I loped up my apartment stairs into my empty home and turned the locks on my security, I wasn't filled with relief or gratitude for the safety of home.  Each click of each lock sliding into its designated space filled my heart with sadness. I recognize now the irony of my fear: I long to connect and I evade it all the same. We do that sometimes.


In her book I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t), Brene Brown says: “Shame is about the fear of disconnection.”  Many of us, from a young age are told we are “too” of something.  I was always too loud, too emotional, too much of a dreamer to hang out with the cool kids, or even my own family. So I spent my growing up years (meaning until last month) trying not to be those things because being those things meant being alone, disconnected.  My efforts to not be those things turned into anger at myself because I could not successfully fight being myself. This resentment incubated in my person and eventually unleashed in many painful, tortuous ways. I nearly lost my life for all of the anger I had at myself for being who everyone else told me not to be, for being what kept me living in isolation, disconnection, and shame.

I was only able to emerge from this disconnected space when I was able to share my story with a community I trusted. In exposing the ugly truth of who I really am, I was able to see that I’m not that ugly: I’m human. Slowly, others stood up and said, “Me too!” and I wasn't so alone any more. We can do that; end another’s loneliness with that simple revelation.

Tonight, I heard the words I've so often spoken and thought behind closed doors, painful words that label and cage and bruise. But they didn't come out of my mouth; they were from a friend, of herself. And tonight I had the opportunity to connect with her, to be the voice shouting in the dark “ME TOO!” And I didn't  I let her heart fall flat on the floor, bouncing around, and I stared on like I had no idea why it was palpitating and oozing like that.

Vulnerability brings connection; shame brings disconnection.

She was open to connect, crying from the pain of the openness, and I stayed silent and closed off, thereby leaving her, to some degree, in shame.  Her freedom is my freedom and both of must risk to be free.

I want this freedom. I want the friendship and I want the togetherness of “me too.” Can I silence the voices of all the people and systems who tell me not to be me because it is wrong or ugly or unacceptable long enough, courageously enough to end another’s shame?

To end my own?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On When Nothing Fits Anymore

I hate when spring rolls around every year and I have to start wearing clothes that don’t cover up all of my wobbly bits. There’s such comfort wrapped up in my scarves and sweaters and cups of hot tea. There’s a safety in the barrier they create; a warmth.

There’s protection there, too. In my winter state, things are expected to remain the same, frozen in time, hibernating. Underneath the snow and ice and thick sweaters, all that could be lies dormant, hidden away from scrutiny and observation.  No bikini ready body or bud  is expected to emerge, yet.

And in some ways, I think this is grace. That a period of silence falls upon us every so often, that the diets and charades die and this particular lifelessness, or the feeling of it, can be hidden, for a while.

I might be emerging from another winter, just about to thaw out and trudge through the miry field of early spring where nothing is solid. I’m not convinced it won’t snow again and cover up all of my attempts at blooming, but I suppose the dawning of spring isn't something I can have arrive at my will.

My feet keep getting caught in the mud, where the thawing meets what was. My shoes from last season don’t fit anymore, they seem to be falling off of my feet and when I trip, looking around for a hand to help me up, the one I’m looking for isn't there. He isn't, entirely, there.  Nothing is as it was.

And this place, this time, it is foreign. I long for the safety of the season before.  The people, the words, the language – there is no harmony between this and what I know. What I thought I knew.
Nothing fits anymore.

From jeans to routine to truth, everything just feels a bit…off, not quite right. Yet, I am weary of willing away the need of spring, the necessity of re-birth. Perhaps in the melting away, I’ll find a new safety, a new normal. Or maybe, I’ll just find peace with my wobbly bits, sans the cover up. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This is Our Race

The events of Monday’s Boston Marathon have been on my heart and mind non-stop for the last 48 hours. I’ve replayed the events looking for some shred of meaning in each of them, especially the moment I realized the horror. My boss’ quiet yet frantic question, “Have you heard about the Boston Marathon?” It was just minutes after the blasts when she snuck around my office door and asked, like one afraid to break the words of death to a loved one.

As I watched the footage of runners, spectators, smoke and chaos, my heart sank. It’s funny in a way that it’s not: My very first thoughts had nothing to do with the physical pain or the loss of life or the disgusting nature of whoever plotted to harm so many in this insidious way; my first thoughts were for the runners, staring headlong into a goal cut short, ripped away from them. I couldn’t stop imaging the disappointment of bone-deep commitment turned mute.

As a runner, I think I understand. I know the hours, and sacrifice, and pain that goes into training for a distance race. And I watched with sheer sadness at that being stripped away from each runner in a matter of 12 seconds, whether they finished the race or not. Every win was tarnished and every incomplete race became another tragedy.

Yet, the running community doesn’t see it that way. From Twitter, to the streets of suburban Denver, I’ve seen runners taking this disgusting act of cowardice in stride, wearing race shirts to support our friends, dedicating miles to their honor, enduring and overcoming with each new moment, the same way every runner takes each new mile. It seems my running brothers and sisters see triumph all over the face of this mess.  I’ve read account after account of altruism and beauty far outshining the darkness of this evil plan: So many ran INTO the danger.  In my heart, I am revived by the truth of solidarity in Something Bigger than.
We are Boston, and now, this is our race.

Hate cannot win. Fear must not be allowed to choke us. We cannot let go of what we love so much, what we value in each mile, each life, each pounding foot –fall, for the evil that fills one person or groups sickened heart. Instead? We must take that laborious, painstaking first step out of bed, to our closets. We must lace up, and we must run. Each and every step is an affront to the hate, a statement of resistance to fear.

Most importantly, we must pray. We must pray for peace in the midst of hate, peace in the heart that tortures itself with hate, peace in the hearts maimed by hate. Wounds will heal. Hate erodes.

We are Boston. This IS our race.