Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Today I Renamed My Ex-Husband and Freed Myself

I have called him by many names since our divorce.  Some of them are expletive filled and not best shared here.  But the name I have assigned to him today is the most beautiful.

When I first met him, I called him by the wrong name.  His name was pronounced differently by others than how it should be and he never corrected anyone.  The first five years that I knew him I mispronounced his name.  It was not until I met his mother that I learned his real name.  It was also the first time that I saw him as my love.  We were on a college French class field trip in New Orleans and his family hosted a dinner for the students.  I find intellect to be extremely sexy and became enthralled with him when he began to do his school work while everyone else was chilling out at his home.  I admired his focus.  I became enamored with his mind.  The next day I saw him in the sunlight in the French Quarters and knew that I wanted to call him my husband.

And for 21 years, I called him my husband.  He was my Butterfly.  Beautiful to me in all his stages.  And when life called on him to fly away from me, his name began to change.

I remember the first time that I had to refer to him as something other than my husband.  We were still married, but newly separated.  I did not feel right calling him my husband because he did not want to be married to me any more.  But he was still my husband in my heart and legally we were still married.  I remember the torment of having to come up with something to call him in a conversation after we separated.  He was not my ex-husband because we were not divorced.  I remember the awkwardness of trying to come with something and don't really remember what I came up with.  I eventually began to refer to him as my children's father.

For the months that followed our separation, I chose to see him in the light of the most important role he became in my life.  The father of my children.  Seeing him in that light kept me from calling him a motherf****r in public when my anger was at its height.  I would not dishonor him because I did not want to dishonor them.  I really wanted to call him a motherf****r, but it was best to call him in the best and highest light.

After our divorce was final and he was truly my ex-husband, I didn't really like that word.  It sounded so cold.  Despite the tragedy of the end of our marriage, it was a great love story.  To reduce him to an ex when he was still a huge part of my life did not sound right.  So I continued calling him my sons' father.  But that made him sound like a baby daddy.  And that didn't really sound right either.  When writing, I would often refer to him as my then-husband when writing.  But that sounded kinda weird.

So I continued to struggle with what to call him and began to just call him by his first name.  People who knew him knew who I was talking about.  People who didn't would ask who he was.  And then I would have to decide whether to call him my ex-husband or my son's father.  

But today, I finally decided who he is in my life.  The role fits perfectly.  It represents who he is and who he was to me.  He is my first husband.

He is my first husband.

He is my first husband because he will not be my last.  He is my first husband because I have found love again.  But he was my first husband before I did.  He is my first husband because our marriage ended but did not cut off the possibility of marriage for me.  I will marry again one day.  In honor of that possibility and as affirmation of  that promise, he is my first husband.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Woman, Thou Art Loosed!

One of the most powerful moments in your life is when you realize that the breakup you thought was the end of your life is truly the release that created the ability to have the life you were truly meant to live!  I used to lament the end of my marriage as a huge failure in my life.  And certainly there were many personal shortcomings that contributed to my marriage not working.  I own that.  I learned from that. Most importantly, I released that!  I released myself from my past so that I could create a beautiful future.  I did an assessment of what I did “wrong” and reframed them into what I could do “right” to be a better partner in a relationship.  I am more cognizant of what I can control—my behaviors and actions—so that I can be better for me and better for the one I love. 

Far too often we hold onto our past and allow it to rob us of our future.  I was listening to the Redefining Wealth podcast by Patrice Washington, America’s Money Maven, and she dropped a nugget of wisdom that reminded me of the power of release.  She wisely noted, “Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.”  Bam! 

Can you create a better past?


You cannot go back and make your past go the way you wanted it to go.  You cannot go back and make him love you the way you wish he had.  You cannot go back and love him differently than you did.  You cannot go back and create a better marriage, relationship or life.  You. Cannot. Go. Back!

You can learn from the past and create a better future. 

Releasing yourself from the past will open you up to all the possibilities of the future.  Releasing yourself from the power of your memories will create a superpower of shaping your future.  Releasing yourself from the devastation of your breakup empowers you to have a beautiful future. Your past will either entrap you or release you.  Decide to be released!

What do you need to release today? 

The present is time to create the future you desire, deserve, and deliver yourself!

Today, I challenge you to create a Release Agreement.

Here’s a template to begin this powerful process:

My name is _____________________ and I release myself from my past so I can create the future I deserve.

I release myself from feeling __________
I release myself from the fear that  __________.
I release my anger about ________.
I release the hurt that ________ caused me.
I release myself from the hurt that I caused.
I release myself from the disappointment that _______________.
I release myself from ______

Signed __________________
Dated: _____________

Once you create your release agreement, print it out and post it on your mirror and say it aloud everyday until you feel the freedom of the power of your words and live them everyday in your spirit.

Woman, thou art loosed!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Requiem for the Birthday Cake

A Requiem for the Birthday Cake

Oh Birthday Cake
Oh Birthday Cake
You were not meant to be
I baked you with love
And you treated me unkind
I baked you with care
And you played me like a violin
All I needed was for you to hold it together
And you fell apart on me
All I wanted was a birthday surprise for my son
And you surprised me with cruelty and abandonment
I never thought you would do me this badly
I never thought you would hurt my feelings as you did
You tried to steal my joy
But the jokes on you

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Phidippideedodah! Life is a Marathon, But There’s Hot Chocolate at the Finish Line!

Phidippides was the first to ever run a marathon when he ran the 26.1 miles from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, Greece to tell of the Greek victory…then collapsed and died. He made history, but never got to celebrate his historic run.  Today, many people around the world run marathons voluntarily, some multiple times, for the mere laurel of a finisher’s medal.  Crazy, right???

I ran my first marathon in 2009.  It was after several attempts…at training.  I would always start training, but I would never finish and would abandon my plans to actually run the race.  It would always be some excuse or another.  I only had one legitimate reason in 2002 when I became pregnant with my second son.  But in 2009, I had no excuse and I was tired of making them.  Either I was going to run a marathon or quit training for them.  I ran into the usual challenges of completing my training, but I trained enough to actually run the race.  I ran the Rock and Roll Marathon in New Orleans in 2009 in 4 hours 36 minutes and some change—30 minutes more than my goal of 4 hours. But I finished!  It was a great run and I learned a lot about myself and life.

I love running!  It is the ultimate therapy.  I run to clear my head.  Some of my best thoughts have come during a run.  I started running again in 2016 during my divorce to run away from my sorrows.  And so I decided that to complete the catharsis, I would run another marathon—the same marathon in New Orleans that I had run before.  My training went well and I was on track…until the last month.  I had a scheduled a move the week after the marathon and just could not make the trip to run the race and so I postponed my victory run. 

I signed up for the Publix Georgia Marathon in Atlanta for March 2018 and began my training in October 2017.  I faced many trials in early 2018—extensive travel, illness, bad weather and a series of unfortunate events that kept me from completing my long run training.  I could only run a half marathon as my longest distance before the marathon.  But I was not deterred and knew that I could do it.  I had run it before.  Despite being less than prepared, I ran it any way.  I just didn’t want to postpone another time.  I felt good the day of the race and was well on my way to run a 4:30 and some change marathon.  But alas, the hills of Atlanta got me.  The course had 71 hills (yes, I counted!).  Hill # 37 at mile 18 took me out!  The hill was a slow incline that lasted almost the entire mile.  My legs said, “Girl, you have straight lost your mind with this foolishness!” and gave out on me.  I never fully recovered and had to slow my pace tremendously.  I had to walk the hills for the rest of the course.  And yet she persisted!  I refused to be defeated by 71 hills and finished in 5 hours, 36 minutes and some change.  I was disappointed in my time, but elated that I did not give up.  And I did not die!

There were several lessons learned from this final victory run (Yep, that was my last marathon.  No more Phidippidoing for me. I’m good!) I had three major races in 2018 that yielded great gold for this thing we call life.

Sometimes You’ve Got to Run in the Rain!

In January, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15 K in Atlanta.  The prize was a cool medal shaped like a chocolate bar and real hot chocolate at the end!  I was well prepared for this race, but the morning of the race I woke to rain and cold.  Seriously?? Yep, it was raining for real.  I really wanted to stay in my warm toasty bed.  But a little rain wasn’t going to hurt me.  I put on my warmest clothes and found a blue poncho in the trunk of my car and off I went.  I looked like a smurf running the hills of downtown Atlanta, but it wasn’t that bad.  I had a goal to achieve and a little rain wasn’t going to stop me.  Eventually, it stopped raining and I ran a record time.  That’s how life is.  You may face rain, a storm, or even a hurricane, but eventually the sun does come out and you will be victorious at the end.

This race yielded many great life lessons.  I spent most of the race looking at the backside of other runners. Not because of perversion, but I ran with my head down to keep the rain out of my eyes.  There were a lot of posterior depictions—big ones, small ones, lopsided ones, where in world is it ones—but they were all running.  You don’t need a perfect backside to run!  You just need to move and run your race.  There were also many runners with fancy smancy rain gear.  There was me in my blue smurf poncho and other runners in trash bags.  But all of us crossed the finish line.  You don’t need perfect gear to run either.  You just need to move and run your race.  Far too many times, we don’t go for the goal because we don’t have everything we think we need.  No race is ever run in perfect conditions.  All it takes is the runner and the will to keep moving.

Life never yields perfect conditions.  You will always face rain, potholes, and the occasional inconsiderate donkey running with an umbrella in a crowd of people.  You can’t let these imperfections rob you of the perfect opportunity to do something great!  If you quit when you run into obstacles, you’ll miss out on your hot chocolate at the end. 

Sometimes You Just Need to Enjoy the Beauty of the Race Course

The second major race I ran this year was the Diva Half Marathon in Peachtree City, Georgia.  I had to drive a marathon to get to the race at Dark Thirty in the morning.  Although the race was in March, it was cold.  No rain, but it was cold.  I had registered to run this same race in 2016, but had to defer because of a work engagement that conflicted with the race date.  Luckily, I was able to apply my registration for a future Diva Run.  I had almost forgotten about the credit and remembered when I was trying to plan my long run recovery after almost a month of barely running.  I could not miss out on the opportunity to run in a tutu and earn a boa and crown!  I almost didn’t make the race because I had to get my son off for his Spring Break trip early that morning, but I was determined.  My mind was heavy during the beginning of the race and it was my first long run in weeks.  My pace was off, but I was moving.  This race was on a flat terrain that wound through a beautiful nature trail.  At mile nine, I really began to appreciate the beauty of the run!  I got to see the sun rise beautifully over the lakes and trees along the trail.  The majestic views along this trail were just magnificent!

And I almost missed out on them by focusing on the odds I faced to finish.  At one point, I began to worry about finishing the marathon!  It was one full week away and I was worrying about a race I had not even begun.  But, I raised my head above the dread and enjoyed the beauty of the trail I was on.

It is so easy to be weighed down by the worries of the world that we forget to enjoy the beauty of the moment.  Our lives are a series of moments that create impactful experiences.  We miss out on so many beautiful experiences because we don’t pay attention to the wonderful moments that we have the ability to create.  We are existing rather than embracing the countless moments we have to connect and create great experiences.  As I began to focus on the beauty of the trail, my pace improved and I was able to fully appreciate the awesomeness of running by my own power in a race that I ran against all odds.  In the end, I wore a crown!

The Worst Hills Are at the Finish

In every major race I ran this year, the universe was conspiring to defeat me with steep hills.  The joke was on me because every time, the most difficult hill was at the end.  In the Hot Chocolate 15K, it was at Mile 9.  In the Diva Half Marathon, it was at Mile 12.  And in the Marathon, it was the hill of all hills at Mile 18 and the 34 hills that followed.  How cruel?  Who plans these courses?  Do they place these hills to crush spirits and render defeat?  Or are they just hills that happen to be there and you just have to push through?  Hills occur naturally.  They are not sinister plots to kill your joy.  They are just part of the course.  And so I wove a tapestry of obscenities and made it up each hill to get to my finish line.  The hills did not defeat me.  They slowed me down.  They depleted a little more energy.  They tested my leg muscles.  But they did not crush my spirit.  I took each hill one step at a time until I got to the top.

The thing about hills is that there is a glorious decline on the other side.  You get your wind back.  Momentum improves your pace.  You make up the time you lost making it up the hill.  And so is life.  You will have the ups and downs, but they all balance out in the end when you just keep moving.  You just need to move and run your race. 

Although my Phidippedays are over, I will keep running.  I will run my 5 miles regularly and the occasional 10 mile long run.  I may even run a half marathon if I get to run in a tutu.  I will encounter the monster hill that meets me every day at mile .5 and the rolling hills thereafter.  Some days I will run fast and others I will run slow.  Some days I will feel like a champion and others I may feel like I share the fate of Phiddipedes.  But I will keep running.  I will run in the rain.  I will run for the crowns, boas, and tiaras of life.  Most of all, I will run for the hot chocolate.

Life is better when you run to get hot chocolate.  My hot chocolate was also my love.  He was waiting for me at the end of the 15K.  He was a joy to see!  He waited for me in cold and warmed me up with a hug and kiss.  Honestly, if we had not been running the race together, I probably would have punked out and got back in the bed when I saw the rain coming down.  But he dutifully picked me up and made sure I was prepared to withstand the cold and rain. My love was a great motivation for finishing that marathon.  I knew he would be waiting there for me.  I kept looking for his face along the route.  Hoping he would have mercy on me and come pick me up.  I almost called him at mile 24 when I really wanted to quit.  But I persisted and kept going.  As soon as I crossed the finish line, I ran into his arms to get the kiss that took 26.2 miles to find.  This hot chocolate was even better!

What is your hot chocolate?  A new job?  A business you’ve always dreamed of?  A new love?  A new life?  Whatever it is, there may be a marathon between you and your hot chocolate.  Just run it one mile at a time.  Just conquer one hill at a time.  Don’t worry about the perfect posterior or gear.  Run around the jerk with the umbrella.  Anticipate the monster hills before the finish line and be determined to conquer them.  Just don’t quit.  You just need to move and run your race.