Me too.

An open letter to someone who doesn’t believe me, who’s not listening, who’s someone I never thought would shock me the way you did.

As kids, I learned that when something happens, you don’t talk about it. Serious things were never spoken about, you dealt with it yourself or you kept quiet. I’ve done this all my life, not anymore.

We’ve been in each-other’s lives for years, you’ve always been one of my favorites but on Saturday night as we sat in a room full of people that we’ve known all our lives, my opinion of you changed. It changed forever. I can’t promise it didn’t change for the worse but it’s changed. I am firm in the belief of the following: you can’t pick your family, you don’t always have to like someone but you have to be respectful. That changed too.

we sat there and someone said, as a joke in a conversation “me, too” he was mocking it and it triggered something for me. I commented and said – that’s not a very fair thing to say, why would you say that? And from there, it ignited a fire. A conversation that hit me like a truck, 200km racing down the highway and I was the only person standing in front of it. We all started debating the case about a Hollywood producer who’s in the media for multiple sexual harassment cases against him. You both sat there and in not so many words voice the statement “innocent until proven guilty”. At that point, the truck was getting closer… inches away. The second we started talking about it, you both firmly voiced your opinions this person was potentially innocent and that potentially some of these victims who were coming forward were potentially doing it to advance their careers. Now I understand and “respect” your opinions and your thought process, given what you do for a living but you forgot what it’s like to be human. You forgot that these are human beings going through something beyond what you would ever have to experience. I sat there, fuming, asking you if you had ever experienced sexual harassment and you said no. I hope it stays no for you forever, I hope your significant other never goes through it, I hope the mother of your children never goes through it, I hope your children never have to experience it. I hope that you or anyone you love is never forced to do anything they don’t want to do. I hope that you never have to make the tough call of someone taking advantage of you but you have to make the decision that keeps you the safest because you don’t know what that person is capable of doing. I hope you NEVER have to experience the pain of it and the after fall that comes with it day in and day out, it stays with you forever. I have.

I have never told anyone, I have lived with it for a couple years and I replay it in my mind all the time. Daily. But as of Saturday night, I don’t let it control me moving forward. I am not quite ready to share my story but rest assured, when I am – I will not stay quiet.

ME FUCKING TOO.

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Relationships. They’re hard sometimes.

They’re a funny thing these relationships. Not only the relationship you have with friends, significant others, family, coworkers, acquaintances, the list goes on but the most important one is also the relationship you have with yourself. Every single one of these relationships is ongoing.

I’ll be the first to admit I ain’t no expert on relationships but I’d like to believe that we’ve all had a bit of experience in each of these areas. More and more as I go through life and all the series of events that people go through, these relationships become more and more important. Life can throw you many a curve balls and when you’re standing there swinging, it’;s nice to know you have your people beside you. But these relationships don’t come without work. Every single one of them is work, all the time. Even the times when you’re so frustrated with each other and wondering to yourself why the hell are you still in it, it all takes work. But, you have to meet each other half way, don’t stop trying. There are going to be times where you don’t want to put in the work, but you do. There are times you’re going to have to be flexible when you don’t want to, but you do. There are times you want to throw in the towel, but you don’t. There’s also going to be a time where you have to step back and take some time away from each other to figure it out but you never stop caring. There’s also going to come a time where you feel you’re the only one putting the effort into it, this might be true but you keep trying. There’s going to be times where you feel completely let down by one another, disappointed in eachother but that doesn’t mean you still don’t care about one another. If something means enough to you, you’ll work for it and you won’t stop working for it.

I have friends that are my life, they know me better than I know myself, friends that have been through it all with me, friends that no matter what pass no judgment but aren’t afraid to voice their thoughts. As much as you might not want to hear what they have to say, you listen with an open heart and mind, cast your ego aside and just listen . But sometimes you have to step out of your own little world to realize that  maybe the reason someone may be distant, or a little off is because something may be happening in their world that you might not know about. It doesn’t excuse their behavior but maybe just reach out and ask if they’re ok. I struggle being the person to reach out and ask for help , I suck at this. My best friend the other day had to remind me to reach out to her when I’m struggling… I too sometimes need reminders. I myself am in a new relationship with someone I care for a lot and that is taking work, time, patience and love. It’s also taking time away from other relationships and also other things in my life , this happens. You’re fostering something new, you’re learning more about yourself, you’re learning about this new person and how your lives start to fit with each other’s but at no point does one relationship become more important than the other. If you’re reading this and thinking yeah right, I assure you my relationship with you is still very much important. You have to be patient, kind, understanding, loving, communicative, but most of all flexible. I’m ok if you wanna call me out and say hey, I’d like to spend some time with you, leave the man at home – we need some girl time.

I met a couple the other day and they had been married for 48 years. 48!!!!! That’s the longest marriage I’ve ever heard of. When I meet older couples I love asking them what their advice is for a successful marriage and this couple, without prompting each other both said flexible. I giggled  and then thought, hmm….. how simple, honest and true. The woman looked at me and said “48 years brings a lot of things, you go through a lot together, you have to flexible” What’s my point in this blog … be flexible, but don’t change who you are. Be kind to one another, be understanding, have patience, love each other, but don’t ever stop caring.

Confession

“Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grief which we endure help us in our marching onward.” Henry Ford 

Struggle Bus? Who’s on it? Who’s just stepping on? Who’s just stepping off?

For the last 4 months, I’ve secured my ticket on the struggle bus to strugglesville. I don’t like taking the bus that often but when I do, it sure is an eye-opener. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about, well here goes…

My struggle bus is cruising past all the mountains, trails, and beautiful views I once craved all the time. The desire to call up my friends and adventure buddies to plan our next mountain to climb is gone. Not so much gone but man, the voice is quiet. I think I know where my struggle bus picked me up, it started just after I was supposed to run chuckanut 50km back in March. I got hit for about 3 months with cold, upon cold, upon bronchitis, with a touch of an ear infection that put quite the damper in running. Everyone was telling me that breathing is super important while running, who would have thought. From there, things seemed to just unravel. I had 2 planned races just not go as planned and it’s messed with my mind a little bit, ok actually a lot. I know that every race experience will be different and yes, it does not define me but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m super bummed. Super bummed at putting in all that time, energy and dedication into something and have it just not work out. I know shit happens, trust me I get it but I’m going to be over here, having a small pity party with a couple sprinkles and some donuts.

Now I’m not going to just come out and say that I’ve lost the will to run, cause that sounds a tad dramatic but in reality, I’m not feeling the whole running thing. What was once such a big chunk of my life has taken a bit of a back burner. I’ve talked to countless people about this and some are on the same bus I am. The weather (oh god, I hate saying this) has played a solid role in training this winter/spring. It has been nothing but rain and snow and you know when we have snow on the mountains, it makes adventuring just a bit more trickier. Factor weather in and the fact that sleeping in on Sunday mornings with my boyfriend is secretly one of my favorite things… the running seemed to fall by the wayside. I forgot what Sunday mornings feel like as a normal person who’s not up at 6 ready to run by 7am. I forgot what staying in bed till 10:00am felt like. I take pleasure in reading my book in bed in the morning while I wait for G to wake up. I’ll admit first hand it’s super awesome having my Sunday’s back but I also miss my running.

I’ve had countless conversations with my coach ( this secretly autocorrected to couch – you think it’s trying to tell me something?) and friends about how they’re all feeling and apparently I’m not the only one. Now don’t get me wrong, I run at lunch – just a few miles to keep the body moving in that motion and every now and then when Nicole can convince me to join her for a run around the seawall I go. It tends to usually kick my ass but it’s good for me and sometimes, there’s beer at the end. The break is very well welcomed because I guess my body and mind is trying to tell me something but goodness, my pants don’t fit! And yup, I’m eating like I’m training for an ultra. I sometimes often forget to cut myself some slack and look back over the last 7 months and look at what’s happened in my life – some more significant changes, career change, friendship changes, fostering relationships and a new relationship and realizing that it’s ok for the soul and body to take a little break.

I have a couple plans in place and we’ll go from there… my dear mountains, I’m coming for you.  I will answer the call.

Green monster appearance.

I often find myself getting lost in a train of thought, spiraling down into the dark zone when something is weighing on my mind… and believe me when I say that 9 out of 10 times, it’s me actually just overthinking things. Imagine that. Me, over think things? Never. Actually.. always.

And this morning it really had me thinking about more and more. Not the actual thing that was bugging me but how much power, thought, energy and exhaustion that goes into something like that. Have you ever realized how much thought you give something that in hindsight is actually not that important? That really, you’re just making it bigger in your head than it actually is. I, Dianna am super guilty about this. It’s taken me a few years to figure out when I actually get into this head space and only in the last few months have I actually had to work with myself to get out of it. But guess what, I’m human and I’m bound to go down the rabbit hole a few times. I don’t blame past experiences on this process but it does play a factor and in reality, I am the only one that can allow my past experiences to help me or paralyze me.

Last night I had something happen that sent me into this spiral. Now, I know you’re probably thinking it’s something awful but really… it’s not. It’s actually nothing but I managed to manifest it into this GRAND big problem and I fed it. I fed it everything it wanted and when you feed that green monster, it grows. Weird how that works. I actually catch myself these days having conversations with myself about getting out of that train of thought and stop feeding the green monster, well… it’s hard to do that. It’s hard to recognize that the story you’re building in your head about something that actually is nothing… is growing into something that’s not important. And while you’re building this story in your mind, you are feeding off that energy into the world… I believe in that. If you believe something strong enough, you think it to be true.

Then once you’ve realized you’re doing this, it starts to find the cracks in your armor and it gets in. It sets down roots and it stays there, forever making you doubt what you know better. It consumes your every thought, your every move, your every encounter, your everything and you are the only person that holds the power to either feed it or diminish it. It takes work to re-program your brain to turn the thoughts around to reality and that you’re making this far bigger than it needs to be.

I’ve been good lately in the sense that once I know I’m heading down this rabbit hole, I reach out to close friends and they help me through the process… never feeding the green monster but keeping it at bay. They’re my safe place, they’re the ones I can be raw, open and honest with without being embarrassed about how I’m feeling and the actions that may come from it. They’re the people that know what you’ve been through and know that sometimes, the stupid green monster can consume me.. but like I said, they never falter. My green monster is fueled by my insecurities, it thrives off it. It looks for them and if I give it just an inch, it will take the entire thing.

So what’s my point of all this… actually this post was for me. This was for me to remind myself that I’m just fine, that I’m aware of what’s happening and that I am better than green monster and I refuse it to set down roots. It can come visit, bring pancakes or whatever it wants to bring but it ain’t staying. Remember people, we’re all human, and we all have feelings, we all have experiences and we all have pasts with tons of history in them…we just need to remind ourselves that we have to cut each-other some slack.

 

It’s been a while…

While time does wonderful things and also can make something so awful good again… I have to say I’m not sure what time will do for bumps in a few dear friendships of mine. I remember grieving the loss of my best friend I lost to cancer 4 years ago and sitting with a dear friend who was a pastor and I said, it just takes time. That was the best answer I could keep telling myself, it just takes time, it just takes time. I was so tired waiting for this “time” to show up thinking that it would instantly be better. Time never showed, I’m still grieving.

When speaking to my friend, his response to my “time” comment was  “I dislike that phrase” He explained why he disliked it and his reasoning was that with time, it doesn’t bring that person back and with time you don’t go back to the way things were before. It’s a new normal you adjust to. While time is a priceless gift, time is also the shadow in the corner. How much is enough time?

And the more and I more I thought about it, I started to dislike it too. Sure it takes time to mourn the loss of someone or deal with the curveballs that life throws at you. But when you go through something like a loss, a bump in the road, a curveball to a deep relationship, things never truly go back to what they were before. You adapt to a new path, a new normal but it never goes back. Time is a wonderful thing as it allows you to step back, process, deal, fight and stuggle but time also changes things. Sometimes is changes things for the best and sometimes it doesn’t.

How do you know how long something will take you to work through? Time is that 4 letter, dreaded answer … but it’s not the whole answer. Hard work, reflection, patience, communication and distance is what it really takes.

Doubt… the 5 letter word with so much power

I’ve been trying to wrap my head about the last several weeks of my ultra training life and I can’t seem to put my finger on a few things. To be honest, I’m still working through the emotions of it all. Failure hurts, it doesn’t define who I am but it hurts.

I decided to train for my first 50 miler officially almost a year ago to the day. I figured that a year was a good approach for me to comfortably train and wrap my head around this big goal of mine. Que in life and all the wonderful things and not so wonderful things that occurred from that day to the present time.

Fast forward to about a week before the race and the onset of nerves, every doubt possible, excitement and fear all reared their ugly face. When I first decided to run 50 miles, I didn’t want to tell a lot of people. Partially because if it didn’t go as planned – I didn’t want to deal with that and have to relive the experience over and over again. A funny thing happens when you decide to push outside of your comfort zone, you learn who really supports you and who almost wants to see you fail. Yes a harsh statement, but it’s true. A few comments were exchanged from different people questioning my ability and desire to want to try and attempt this goal. I’ve been on the delivery side of those comments and now I was on the receiving end, either way – doesn’t feel good. I never want my friends to ever feel like I’m not supporting them in their goals and if I have ever made anyone feel like that, I truly apologize. Receiving those comments through people and through the grapevine doesn’t help when someone is already doubting themselves. But then something wonderful happens… you reach out to your friends and without a doubt, they have your back 100% and support you when need it the most to help drown out the thoughts of uncertainty.

I’m not quite sure what I did to deserve such an amazing group of friends that quickly drowned out the people that thought I wouldn’t be able to do this. But trust me when I say, those comments of doubt lingered in the back of my head until the moment I decided that 61 km was far enough for me. I’ve never wanted something so much in my life, I wanted these 50 miles. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of doing this. I wanted to be proud of myself for accomplishing this goal. I wanted to prove those naysayers wrong. I was lucky enough to have my friend Colin by my side for most of my race and without him, there’s no way I would have done this. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

Here we go, it was race morning. I was nervous and couldn’t step out of my head for just a second but I knew I had to control the thoughts because if I didn’t, it would for sure ruin my race. It became real when I picked up that number, pinned it to my outfit and waited for James to say go.

When I had reached out to James about a week before the race for a little reassurance, his advice was ” just go from aid station to aid station”. That was the goal for the entire 50 miles. I won’t walk you through my race but I will walk you through what I learnt that day. It was close to about 45 km when I knew something wasn’t going right. My right leg started to do funny things and instantly, doubt surfaced and it didn’t go away. We came into the aid station (which was the start/finish line) and I went to Alanna and cried in her arms. My heart was sad and all I could say to her was ” this is hard” The sadness was consuming and tears, endless. If you know me, it’s hard for me to be vulnerable and ask for support. She stood there like a rock, hugged me and reassured me that I’m doing alright and I’ve got this. I left that aid station in the most somber of moods trying so desperately to find my little light.

The next 10km were difficult. I knew I had to tell Colin that I wasn’t going to make the next cut off. It was a hard conversation and both of us knew that making the next decision was going to be a difficult one that neither us wanted to admit to. My legs, for the life of me, stopped working. I have to say that my nutrition, pace and mental (for the most part) was perfect but these legs of mine had enough. I knew that if I could get them to turn on the downhill, we could work our asses off to get to the next station. Que in a downhill to test this theory out, I was proven wrong. I couldn’t even run downhill and that was it for my race. I told Colin he needs to go on and race this race, one of us had to finish. We both knew it was a hard decision but I wanted him to do this. He hugged me goodbye and then it was just me.

Tears fell. Tears of exhaustion, tears of sadness, tears of accomplishment, tears of frustration, lots of tears. I wanted this so bad. As much as the disappointment for not finishing consumed me, my heart was bursting at the fact that I had just ran my farthest ever. Everything I needed to learn about myself during a race, I did in the those last few km’s. I learned that I am capable of anything I set my mind to, the task ahead moving forward is believing in myself. I learned that it’s ok to ask for help. I learned that it doesn’t matter what other say, someone will always have an opinion. I learned that I don’t give myself enough credit for what I accomplish. I learned that its ok to fail, it’s ok to fall down because the beauty lies in how you pick yourself up.

Tomorrow I get to work with one of the best coaches in the community and I can’t wait to see what this body and mind will accomplish next.

Grief… the thing no one talks about…

As we all go into the holiday season, I can’t help but reflect on what’s gone on over the last few months. Sorry for the somber tone but today, Christmas Eve… I was reminded what this holiday season is all about, to be with your loved ones…

My closest friends have recently watched me go through one of the more heart breaking times in my life and coming out of this experience has changed me. This post does not come easy and I have sat at my computer countless times to share this story as I feel as though it’s important. Grief is the elephant in the room, you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and sometimes you just don’t know what to say fearing it might not be the right thing… It’s ok, there isn’t one thing that anyone can say that will make it ok or all just magically go away.

We all weather storms, small ones, big ones… strip you down storms and when the storm has passed you wonder how the heck you got through it. I’ve been through a lot and seen my fair share of grief through my life, losing close family friends, my best friend to cancer and children through Canuck Place- all unique and each their own but losing my uncle a couple months ago has left a part of my heart truly broken and empty.

I sit here shedding tears because I’m so sad but I also feel like not enough people talk about grief. Everyone deals with grief differently and in their own ways, there’s no right or wrong.

Our family, along with all the highs and lows, bumps and curves… are pretty tight. Some people might think ” oh you lost your uncle, not a big deal” but our family was all we had growing up. My uncle was always a part of my life, always whether I was going over for Sunday dinner or we had one of our orphan holiday dinners – he was there. He would always come downstairs and check on us “kids”. My cousins were like siblings and that’s how it was, it’s all we knew. You never really think that you’re going to be the family that goes through this amount of pain but it happens, daily… just sucks when it’s your reality.

My uncle suffered a massive heart attack and his world began to unfold around him for 30 days after that. The spool of thread unraveled and we tried everything in our power to stop the unravelling. You know that feeling when you watch the spool of thread fall on the floor and it completely just rolls away from you and you’re trying desperately to reel it back ? That’s how this all felt. 3o days of walking into the ICU and walking out without him hoping that one day, he’ll walk out with us. Day 4 hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a day of sadness, uncertainty, fear, hope and unconditional love. Trying to stay positive in a world of uncertainty has got to be one of the hardest things that I’ve had to do. The only way I could drown out the fear and uncertainty was music and paced the hallways, up and down… up and down. For those very brief moments of having music blaring in my ears, the world stopped just for a second.

You used to be able to place me in a hospital at any given moment and instantly I would be comfortable. As odd as it might sound, I thrived off of the environment because I knew that all I wanted to do was help. I was the calming presence in the moment of doubt, but after this experience I’m not sure if I can do that anymore.

The following 26 days were not easy, by any means. We grasped onto any piece of good news we received, even a slight increase in blood pressure was such a huge success for him and a light for a us. Every night we went home, leaving him in the hands of people we didn’t know and trusting them completely. What a bizarre feeling. Every morning we’d do the same routine again, painful and heartbreaking – trying to stay positive in the darkness, trying to stay optimistic through the doubt, just trying to make it to the next day. I’m so proud of my uncle and for his valiant fight when his body just wanted to quit, his soul and heart (literally and figuratively) kept beating. Sadly, he lost his fight and the world is a little dimmer without him here but we keep his legacy and memory alive in each of us.

The gap in our lives and pain in my our hearts is indescribable… I don’t know how else to explain it and when I start to try to find a way, I’m left speechless. But I am forever grateful for the time we had as a family and those moments are forever fond in my heart. I’ve learnt that talking about your grief is ok, it’s normal… some people might not know what to say, but they’ll listen and honestly, that’s the greatest gift you could ever give to anyone. Just give them your time and a shoulder to lean on. It means more than you’ll ever know.

Christmas will be a little dim this year without him but we do what do best and that is to celebrate my uncle. We all see it everywhere around us and talk about it continuously but truly, the holiday season is about spending time with the people you love. The gifts don’t matter, the time off work doesn’t matter, what matters are the moments you have with family. We all have this incredible gift, every one of us and that’s our smile. Truly is the most greatest and powerful gift we all have. It goes a long way…

Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be merry and bright.