New Year, Same Me

As I spent the last remaining minutes of 2015 celebrating an overall good year with some really good friends, I started to think about resolutions. For the past week it’s all anyone could talk about. What would they do differently in 2016? How could they be better? For the first few weeks of January, gyms across the nation will be packed, health food sections of grocery stores will be sold out, families will be spending more time with each other, and we will spend less money on frivolous things. As many of the mainstream news stations were quick to point out, as January turns to February and the excitement of a new year begins to wane, so do our resolves to “better” our lives. While the idea of New Year’s Resolutions is admiral, I can’t help but consider them fruitless endeavors. So here is my New Year’s NON-Resolution: I resolve to have no resolutions.

Hear me out on this, we spend so much time criticizing ourselves and others that we never really think about everything that is great about our lives and who we are. I am particularly guilty when it comes to self-criticism. It’s no secret to the world that I have struggled with an eating disorder for most of my collegiate career, my last post focused on this. I don’t know how much that comes into play when it comes to my knack at finding flaws, but I do know that I am unnaturally quick to point them out in myself. I can always be smarter, work harder, give more, do more, be better. Year after year I have resolved to be a “better” person, whether it be academically, socially, personally, or athletically. Over the past couple of months, as I’ve dealt with my disorder, I’ve come to realize that there is no need to be better. I am enough as I am. While it’s still difficult for my brain to comprehend that fact, I try to remind myself of it everyday. It’s actually written on a sticky note attached to the mirror on the back of my bedroom door so that I see it every morning. I’m not saying that I’m successful at thinking like this all day, everyday, but I’m making the effort and that’s all I can really ask of myself or anyone else.

So back to my point. I’m not making a resolution this year. I’m endeavoring to just live my life as it is and let it be. I know that there are things I could do better, things I should work on, but I have my whole life to do that and frankly, I think there are always things that we will wish we did better. Our society is so focused on the next best thing that we never really learn to appreciate what we have now, who we are now, and I think that’s sad. We can live our whole lives never really knowing ourselves because we spend so much time criticizing the things that we think aren’t good enough. But here’s the thing: we are good enough. I know that this sounds unbelievable coming from a girl with an eating disorder who strives for perfection in literally every facet of her life, but it’s actually the opposite. While I’m still struggling with my disorder, I’ve reached the point where I can recognize the thoughts that have lead me to this point. It’s my desire for perfection and control and that self-critical talk that led me to beginning my first diet and from there, it spiraled. So, as someone who has seen the terrible side-effects of being too self-critical and looking to “improve” myself so-to-speak, I can honestly say that it is not worth it. Hence, my resolve to not resolve this year.

For a while, I thought it would be a good idea to resolve to be over my eating disorder this year, but I know that this may not be the case and I will not set myself up for failure. A year is a long time and I cannot predict what will happen or the decisions that I will make over the next 366 days (hooray for a leap year!!!). All that I can ask of myself is to live each day like it’s a new day. I will make poor decisions, I will fail, and I will disappoint myself and others, but while these moments are inevitable, I can move past them and try my best not to repeat them the next day. Failure is a part of life, as are flaws, and that is something that I am learning to accept in therapy. The funny thing is that I know that I will fail at that too, because if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be so hard to get over my disorder. Failure to accept failure, it’s a funny thing. So yeah, my resolution this year is non-existent and for the first time, I feel good about it. Every day is a new day and a chance to fail and a chance to succeed. That’s a 50/50 shot at success and I’m okay with that. I hope you can be too.

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Time moves quickly

Wow. It’s been a while. Like, a whole summer of training while. I’m clearly bad at posting when exciting things are not happening. I guess this is what happens when your best friend moves to a different state and your other friends are stuck in class all week while you’re stuck at work. YAY FOR ADULTHOOD. Okay, quasi-adulthood…my mom still pays my phone bill and I’m still incapable of killing bugs in my apartment. Shout-out to graduate school for allowing me to hold off the real world for at least another 2 years. Anyway, while I’ve been absent from posting, there have been a few significant changes in my life as a runner.

I’m a fourth year now. That’s so weird. I’m literally the oldest person on the team (besides Anne who has me by 5 months…) and that’s something I’m really not used to. We’ve got a whole bunch of newbies too and they’re pretty good. Our entire team dynamic has shifted and it’s taking me a while to adjust to this new feeling and these new people who are so foreign to me. These new girls are more talented than any other incoming class we’ve had since I’ve been at UC and that’s both terrifying and totally amazing. It’s confidence shaking and leadership building. It’s new and different and I’m learning to embrace the challenge.

We finally have a permanent assistant coach now and she’s a female. This is the best thing that has ever happened to our team and me as a runner. She’s easy to talk to, fun to joke with, and a fantastic running partner. Basically Lara, you’re the bomb.com. Thanks for being a great coach and thanks for believing in me.

I have steep(le) goals this year. I want to break records. I want to win big meets. I want to turn heads. I want people to say “damn…” when they watch me run. Over the past couple of months, I’ve often found myself laying in bed awake at night just picturing races that are still many months away, if at all. I revel in it though. It’s what makes all of the early mornings, sore muscles, and complete lack of a social life worth it. As I begin my penultimate year as a UC athlete, I can’t help but feel nostalgic of all the years that have led me to this point. Basketball, injuries, illnesses, and so many other things have stood in my way but I wouldn’t change a single thing about my journey to this point. It’s been a crazy bumpy ride and I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner. Fingers crossed that it’s good.

People are like Clothes

As I sit here in my bed staring at the pictures that are hanging on the wall above my closet, I can’t help but realize that the people in these pictures are a lot like the clothes in my closet. Some of these pictures date back to high school and others are from this year but one thing strikes me as I look at the collection: things change.

I’ve never been the type of girl who has a million friends and everybody loves. I guess I’m a little…what’s the word? Intense. Anyway, I’ve always had friends and got along with people, but never any deep relationships. As I look at these pictures, I realize that many of the people in them are no longer in my life. That’s fine though because there are a few that are and I know that they always will be.

This takes me back to my point: people are like clothes. Fashion is such a fleeting industry and it’s always changing. The trends of this season are the bargain buys of the next and the trash of the next. There are those people in your life that you love for a little bit but then disappear out of your life. These people are like flare jeans or crop tops or, god forbid, canadian tuxedos. Shudder.

Then there is the other type of people, and I’m glad I can count myself lucky enough to have found them. They’re the little back dresses of people. You may not always wear them, but they’re always there for you when you need them. They never go out of style. (Cue Taylor Swift)

Coming to Cincinnati, I didn’t know anything about the girls who would become my teammates outside of what I could gather creeping on them through every form of social media possible. At worst, I would have to tolerate them for at least four years and find friends elsewhere. At best, I would find my second family. Luckily for me, the latter of the two was the result. Over the course of my three years on the UCXC team, there have been many girls to come and go, but six of us have remained. Three seniors and three juniors. My sisters, my best friends, my little black dresses. I really don’t know what I would do without them. I’m really glad I’ll never have to find out.

We may argue and fight and spend semesters separated by co-ops and injuries, but one thing remains constant and it’s that we can never stay apart for long. Apologies can go unspoken and endless snapchats of “I MISS YOU COME HOME” can be exchanged and the end result is always the same: bottles of wine and dancing around our apartments while we proclaim our love for each other. We are each other’s biggest fans and our reality slaps. We share our dreams and sometimes we share boys. But mostly, we share clothes and skinnygirl. Six girls means six times the clothes and six times the alcohol. Sounds like a pretty good situation to me.

I know I’ll move away and have to make new friends someday but they will never be able to replace these girls. These girls amaze me, inspire me, and keep me humbled. They are the reason I get up ridiculously early to run around a golf course. They truly are the best people on the planet and finding more of them will be a struggle. My advice to you, find these people, cherish these people, never let these people go. These people are so very important and you will need them more than you realize. Congrats UCXC, you’ve set the bar high.

Hello world!

Hey. What’s up? Hello. Besides being the lyrics to Trap Queen (I can’t stop listening to it), I thought that was a fitting first line for my very first blog post(I really just didn’t know what else to start with)!  I’m not a huge fan of these “let me tell you about myself” posts, but I feel like it’s necessary if you’re going to be reading about my life and my insights. Or what I hope can be considered insights…they may just be ramblings. But that’s beside the point. I guess I’ll just start with the basics then.

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I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland which is basically Washington, D.C. because it’s literally across the street. I lived there with my mom until I was 3 when we moved in with my grandparents in New Castle, Pennsylvania while she worked on her MBA at Youngstown State University. When I was about to turn 5, we moved to North Canton, Ohio and that’s the place I’ve called home ever since. North Canton is a big town disguised as a small town about hour southeast of Cleveland. It’s a pretty awesome place to grow up, but that didn’t stop me from getting the hell out of there the very first chance I got and that’s how I ended up moving across the state for college.

College. I go to the University of Cincinnati. I’m going into my fourth year here and my first year of graduate school. I’m a biological anthropology student and I want to go into forensics someday and work with the UN on human rights cases. Pretty intense stuff, I know. We don’t really have a forensics program at UC, but with the help of my really awesome professors, I’m making it work. People told me I should leave and go somewhere else, but that never even crossed my mind. I love being here at the #hottestcollegeinamerica and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Even though I couldn’t wait to get away from home, I talk to my mom pretty much daily. Sometimes more often than that. She’s my rock, my idol, and the best person I know. I’m an only child and I’ve never met my dad so it’s been just me and her for the past 21 years of my life. I think she did a pretty good job raising me on her own. I don’t think I could have done it. Kathy’s a rockstar and a pretty badass engineer too.

Anyway, because I don’t want this to be 1,000 words and you don’t want to read 1,000 words, I’ll just list some little tidbits about myself. I’ll call them golden nuggets.

Golden Nuggets

  • I run cross country and track for the University of Cincinnati
  • My favorite events on the track are the 3000m steeplechase because who doesn’t like running through an obstacle course?! and the mile because going fast is fun.
  • I graduated a year early this month with my bachelor’s in anthropology.
  • I also ran my first 5k on the track the morning of graduation. That was fun. (It was actually really hard, but I PRed)
  • I really like movies. Like REALLY like them. Especially when they come with popcorn.  Homemade though. That’s the only way to go.
  • I’m addicted to coffee. I couldn’t survive without it. My Keurig is next to my bed…I blame my mother for this.
  • Bravo television is my guilty pleasure. I love the Real Housewives.
  • I like to be outside doing things so winter makes me sad. Being cold is not fun.
  • Daffodils make me smile
  • I have a slight obsession with Batman. Slight.
  • Dolphins are my absolute favorite animal.
  • Cory and Topanga. Relationship goals. Life goals. All around goals.

I think that’s all you need to know for now. Also, I think I’m starting to get boring.

Boom.