Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some demons

Some demons refuse to die. I've found that most demons that plague life will die away with only mere confrontation and acknowledgement if their existence. Some are a lot more ingrained into the soul and can't be done away with easily.

My hardcore demon is depression. I've confronted this guy in many ways but he always finds his way back to my life. 

Fact is, I'm struggling harder with him now than before. It's as if he's getting stronger and digging deeper into my souls like a parasite that gets stronger the longer he makes his home in the host. 
I wish I could put into words what depression is. It's more than a feeling, and it's more than physical discomfort. It's a synergy of both working together to infect your entire being. I suppose this is why neither just taking pills nor just talking things out helps. You're only defending one front while the enemy is surrounding you. 
Depression is also self-sustaining. It feeds on itself so that you get deeper into it just for being in it at all. Knowing you struggle with this problem makes you feel more depressed and broken which makes you fall deeper into its grasp. It is truly a son of a bitch demon! 
Here's a thought, realize you'll take a pill for the rest of your life because you're too weak to fight this thing yourself. Then realize this pill will only make you more dependent on the pills and weaker in the long run. Then realize that the pills will become less effective overtime and you'll probably have to up the dosage or take a second pill everyday. 
Mmmm, that'll cheer you right the fuck up huh?
Oh and then realize that most people (sometimes yourself included) just think you're emotionally weak and are taking the easy way out with medication. 
One part of me thinks that I'll beat this demon one day and I'll eventually be "normal". My rationale, engineering side thinks this is just another lie I'm telling myself. The cold hard fact is that this demon will kill me one day. I know it in that tiny part of me that stares into the cold hard face of reality. I suppose I should be happy that, through hard work and shear determination, I can hide the effects until those that need me no longer do anymore. 
Of course that path isn't set. No future is predetermined. Reality only applies in the current and any prediction made based upon that current state is merely a forecast with a chance of occurrence. An extrapolation on a variable graph. 
It's just as possible that this demon could die when those that need me no longer do. Could it be the thing that keeps me holding on is actually the cause of the thing putting me on the edge? Am I reacting to a reflection in a mirror of mirrors?
Until I figure these things out I'll keep writing and searching. Confronting is still my defense of choice. Get it out there, air it out and see if it can survive the light of day. 

Thanks for listening 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why

One of the long-lasting questions I've dealt with is why I write a blog. What motivates a person to write down their thoughts and share them with the world? Funny thing for me is that I don't really know and I haven't been able to isolate that piece of me that wants to do it.
The fact that I haven't written for awhile makes me take a look at this issue from the other side. Why haven't I been motivated to write? The answer to that may help me figure out many things.
When I look back at previous posts and think about the time at which they were written, I have to say that something was missing in me. Or maybe it was there and I just hadn't found it. I was definitely seeking something and I didn't know what it was. So does that mean I found it somewhere along the way? I'm not sure. Many things happened between then and now, some good, some bad, but I can't say that there was an "ah-ha" moment anytime. So I am thinking that instead of finding what was missing I merely grew up some and discovered little pieces of me that filled in some gaps. The writing was a tool that helped me do it.
Of course this would mean that my not writing now signifies that I don't need to grow anymore and that is far from true. I honest think I've just become lazy in my happiness. That burns me up because the me I want to be says that that is a fate worse than death. To be alive but not growing or discovering something new about yourself is horrible! Why be alive if that's the case?
The good thing is that another part of me says, "relax, you're still growing in other ways". I'm learning so many new things about other people in my life. I'm learning how to interact with those people in better ways. I'm discovering the beauty of this country we live in. I'm discovering the simple joys of creating things with my hands. So I'm growing outwardly instead of inwardly like I was when I started this blog. I think that's OK. Yeah, it's OK.
Another reason for writing this blog, one that I didn't realize at the time, is to give my kids a picture of who there father really was. I hope that one day they will stumble upon these ramblings and read them all from the beginning. I don't know what they will see in them. I know what I meant to convey but I can't be sure they'll see that and that's OK. They'll see me through their eyes and their experiences with me. These words may compliment those experiences or they may open up a view of their father they never knew. Either way, these words will be theirs one day when my words have stopped.
If that has happened and you're reading this now, know that I love you both and that you were the joy of my life. I was never perfect but you two brought me closer to it when you merged into my lane of life. Don't ever cry for me, laugh instead. Laugh out-loud and hard when you think of me.

Thanks for listening

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lonely

I'm lonely tonight.
Sometimes I feel that way for unexpected reasons. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New lives

Sometimes your life changes because you want it to change. Those changes come with some kind of relief if not happiness. Something hoped for happens and your life goes in a new direction. Those are good changes.
Sometimes though, your life changes because of things out of your control. You're going along with your life, probably working towards one of those hoped for things, and WHAM! You're hit with a change. You didn't ask for it. Usually didn't want it. Sometimes even prayed it would never happen. But it does happen. Your life changes and you can't stop it or make it go away or make it not happen.

I'd give my life to give my mom back the man she loved and for her to see those things they'd work for come to fruition. I really would. But I can't. And she won't. And it hurts. And it sucks. And it's unfair. And, and, and.

I've preached the gospel of facing fears and defeating inner demons on this blog but it has always been in regards to those things that I know are holding me back and that I know I can control. What about facing those that I can't control? Or allowing those that I care about to face their fears and demons? That's tougher. I can't stand the thought of my family suffering pain or dealing with sorrow. I work so hard to make sure it never happens to them and I'd give myself to take away their pain.

But is that best for them? Is it proper for me to keep them from their fears and demons while I know, for me, facing them is beneficial and soul building?

This may be the hardest thing I have to learn. I shouldn't wish I could give my life for my mom's happiness. It's not fair to her. It's a horrible, unfair, painful, sucky change that she has to face. I'm only allowed to be here for her and help her through it.

Thanks for listening



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dealing with death

The man that I call my stepdad died yesterday. You would have liked him. He was one if those people that you wish everyone could be and he made it look easy. Niceness came naturally to him.

I'm more concerned with my mother, of course. They had many plans that are now never going to happen. He had just retired and she wasn't far behind. His death happened so fast I'm sure she's left lonely and empty. Death sucks for the living.

I handled the news as I handle most bad news. I ran. Then I ran again. Grieving isn't my strong suit. I'm a fixer of things and death is something I can't fix so it falls outside my expertise. Running and making jokes are how I deal with things I don't understand and can't fix.

I'll be headed back to Ohio soon for the services. I'll be running back in my old stomping ground with hills and memories. Always lots of fun.

According to my mom, When my stepdad died he was coughing and struggling in a painful state with his eyes closed. Then he was calm and peaceful and opened his eyes. He had a peaceful look on his face and was looking at the ceiling. Mom said it appeared as if he was looking at something that made him very happy. He then looked at her as if to say, "I wish you could see what I'm seeing!". And then he died.

My thoughts on death are a little weird but I've come to accept them now even if I don't fully understand them but mom's experience fit. I believe there is a God but not the God that American religion sells for profit. I believe the American Indian belief in the Everywhere Spirit was much closer to the true God. We are a part of the Earth and the Universe and our soul, if accepted by the spirit, remains a part of this world after we die. Maybe not on Earth and not in a human form but as a part of the eternal cycle of cosmos. This earthly body we inhabit is only one form of our being. 

I'm sad for so many reasons right now. It's part of living though and I know that. Barry has moved on and his soul is in a new place experiencing things I can't wait to see. We'll bind up the wounds of those left behind and move on in our own journey but it'll be different. Different doesn't have to be bad though. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Double double toil and trouble

I really should update the pictures on this blog. They're a bit old. I'm a bit older. Nah, I looked better back then. Had more hair too.

So I still run. Not as much but some. I ran Austin, Oklahoma City, A2A, and just recently Tulsa this year. Not a stellar year for number of marathons but not too shabby. I managed a 3:39 at Oklahoma City too so I can still bring it every now and then too. No major injuries this year but I did have a few knee pains that set me back a few times. All-in-all not a bad running year for old Willie. Good thing too because old Willie is leaving his 30s in a few days and venturing into the land of 40. Things will probably start falling apart and eventually I'll look as badly as Maurice. It's a depressing thought but there's not much I can do about it so I'll accept it with the grace and dignity that only a West Virginia born stubborn ass can.

There are many things I haven't done yet in my life. That list always comes to mind around birthday time but this year it's really on my mind since it's the big 4-0 for me. Most of the not-done items on my list are personal and you wouldn't understand them if I listed them. A few others are frowned upon by decent society so I won't list them here. My running to-dos are growing shorter but there are still a few out there.

One item that I have scheduled to complete this month is back-to-back marathons. I'm schedule to run a marathon on New Years Eve (my birthday) and then another one on New Years Day. The races are in Allen Texas and they have a super cool 2-piece medal. Should be fun. Except for my knees. I've kept this plan from them so far but they are twitching a little now so I'm sure they know something is up. I know they'll be fine so why worry them?

Anyway this thing goes it'll be an adventure so I'll get what I'm looking for even if I fall flat. A fitting way to run my last marathon as 39 and my first as 40. I'd say something about this being the beginning of the second half of my life but I don't think I'll make it much past 60 so already beyond half way. But who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Was it follow the orange and not the white or....

So I ended up in upstate NY for a couple weeks for work only 1 week after returning from Europe. It's getting hard for me to say I'm actually from Oklahoma since I haven't been in the state much lately. Anyhoo, I ended up here over a weekend so I figured I'd look for a race to run. I really wanted a marathon but couldn't find one anywhere near here. In fact, I couldn't find any road race longer than a 5k. There was, however, a 15k trail run just North of here. That's right, I said TRAIL. I hate trails. I get hurt on trails. Trails are bad. Those are my running dogmas. But when there's nothing else to run and only a lonely hotel room to keep me company even my dogmas go out the window.

The Forest Frolic 15k is put on by the Finger Lakes Running club. They also have a 7k but if I'm gonna run trails I'm gonna run trails by God! The thing about upstate NY is that it can be pretty hilly. Actually it's very hilly. I knew this going in so my race strategy was to go out slow and expect the worst. The other thing about upstate NY is that it's really green with lot's of trees. This makes trails narrow and overgrown.
About 150 people ran this race split about evenly between the 7 and 15k. A pretty good turnout for a trail race in the middle of upstate NY. I saw license plates from Virginia and South Carolina but wasn't sure that they had actually come from that far away. The trail itself was way off the beaten path. A couple 2 lane roads followed by a couple more gravel roads passed cattle farms and fields got me to the start. No parking lot, just a trail cut into the woods off the gravel road. Luckily I saw many other people were already there or else I may have left in fear for my safety. I swore if I heard banjos and squealing I was leaving!


The race started very informally with some course instructions. Since most of the runners were local the director made a lot of references to things I didn't understand. The one thing I did hear was to follow the ORANGE streamers and DON'T follow the white. Got it, Orange good White bad. That's all Willie needs to know. I'm off!!

The beginning of the race is downhill. Very downhill! It was an old grown-over dirt road with lots of rocks and run-off trenches. The footing was horrible for a road racer like me. I thought sure if this was the trail I was destined to fall many times. The amazing thing to me were the other runners that took down the hill with reckless abandon! The let it fly and didn't seem to miss a step. I, on the other had, was tip-toeing down this pile of slippery rocks like a grandmother. Screw 'em, I wasn't going to fall in the first 1/2 mile.

Funny thing about long steep downhills is that they so often lead to long steep uphills. Yep. Hit the bottom and immediately started going up. Straight up. Everyone was walking. We hadn't reached mile 1. We were walking. GREAT DECISION WILLIE! THIS RACE ROCKS! Mid-way up Mt St. HolyCrap, the 15kers get a choice of continuing straight up the hill or turning left and winding up the hill. The course is a figure-8 so it seems you can run either direction and get the same distance.

Pride is a stupid thing. Why doesn't the pride part of my brain feel the consequences of the things it makes me do? Stupid pride.

I'm a runner damn it! I looked that hill and the face and continued straight up the face of the mountain. Walking, of course, but walking straight up the SOB!

The trail narrowed down to.... well the trail really became the tiny bit of ground between the massive trees that surrounded us. I decided that I shouldn't be left alone out here so I picked a runner in front of me and decided to stick with them no matter what. The pain of trying to run fast would be nothing compared to the sure death that awaited me from getting lost and decomposing rapidly in this rain forest. The trail wound it's way up and down hills, across cricks (creeks for you high society people), through fern covered areas, and clear ground underneath tall pine trees. I will admit that it was a beautiful area. Not that I saw anything but the few inches of root-covered, slippery, muddy ground. Every now and then I looked up to make sure my "guide" was still within sight but mostly I spent the race searching wildly for some solid footing.

When I found a short period of level ground I noticed that the orange streamers were gone and there were white marks on the trees. The instructions I heard said white is bad, orange is good. WTF? My guide continued on without concern but I had to stop and make sure we weren't the only people on this trail. I had a momentary worry that my "guide" was actually a psychopathic runner slayer that lured their victims into uncharted parts of trail runs and ate them. That worry passed quickly because if that were true I would be happier with the quick death of being eaten than with the slow death of decomposition. Luckily all this morbid thinking was for not because another group of runners came around the bend and convinced me that we were on the right trail. So much for race-day instructions.

Eventually we made our way out of the forest and ended up on the road leading to where we started. This was a major relief because I was sure we were going to have to run up the horrible mountain road we ran down at the start. I began to like the race director again because of that little bit of joy. I finished in a respectable time and in the middle of the pack. I was happy with a good, hard 9 mile run through the NY forest. Oh, and, I was alive! And they had beer!


Thanks for listening.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kissing

I was walking through New York city yesterday when I passed a man and a woman in an embrace. I was walking through the NYU campus so I suppose they were college age and were obviously very much in love.




It was one of those things you see on the street that you just notice and then intentionally look away for fear of embarrasing them and yourself. Something caught my eye as I was about to look away though. The look on the woman face as she gazed into the man's eyes was amazing. While they held each other she looked up at him with eyes that said "I love you more than you'll ever know". Her eyes were loving this man with her entire soul along for the ride.




I don't know why I even noticed it but from that moment forward I began to notice the way woman look at men when they are in love. Women say so much more with their eyes and their face than men.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Adages

There are a lot of old sayings that I really like but I think my favorite is the one that goes something like, "To have a lot of friends, you have to be a friend". I like that one the most because it has proven so true in my life on so many occasions. It's also the saying that pops into my head when I'm feeling down because I've learned that the best way to cheer myself up is to do my best to make someone else happy. I suppose that leans more towards the saying, "The greatest joy you'll ever receive is when you are giving joy".

For me, being inwardly focused is a downward spiral that always ends up with my realizing where I'm at, who I've been, and changing my focus. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a long time for me to ride that spiral to the bottom and start climbing back up. The spiral begins to feed on itself and I move from the simple wanting something little for me to the eventual feeling that I "deserve" certain things and that people are obligated to treat me a certain way. It's funny that even writing that now makes me laugh because of the absurdity but I can live that way for weeks without realizing it and the absurdity that infects my brain.

The worst part of this spiral is the wave of discontent I cause to those closest to me. I'm fortunate enough to have wonderful people in my life that either ignore these little episodes or don't notice them. Still, I'll spend a large amount of time trying to get back into the good graces of many people once I hit the bottom of the slide. Most of these people won't even know that I am trying to climb back into their acceptance but, in my head, I'm constantly looking for ways to climb their ladder.

I suppose these cycles are normal and I can say that I've learned a lot about them and how to recognize them over the years. The most important thing I've learned, though, is how to end them quickly by implementing that old adage I started with. Be a friend. Listen instead of talk and be a friend. Suppress that ego and be a friend. Offer encouragement instead of advice and be a friend. Make a conversation completely one sided in the other person's favor and be a friend.

I'll be putting this into practice this week and I'll be you dollars to donuts (Mmmm donuts....) I'll be feeling better by Tuesday.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Freedom

I can't seem to keep a plan for very long. I suppose part of this "learning about me" experience should include reading my old posts. If I'd do that more often I would realize that planning is not my best ability. As true as I know that is about me, I really do love to plan. I do. Really! I also, however, cherish my freedom to change that plan at a moments notice. That's one thing I have absolutely learned about myself over the last months.

Keeping the freedom to change my plans is one of those "third-rail" thing for me. I can put up with most other things and I try hard to understand and keep others in mind when I make decisions but I can't tolerate non-acceptance of my right to change. Sorry, that's who I am. Luckily I've been blessed with people in my life who, maybe don't like it, but accept it and take it with humor. I know it's frustrating for them but I hope that it's a sign of love to accept me for who I am.

So I'm running the full marathon in Tulsa tomorrow after weeks of planning for the half. I'm struggling with why. The surface level cause was peer pressure but it goes much deeper than that. I'm sure of this because as soon as I was put up to it something down deep let loose and it overwhelmed me with a nostalgic feeling. It wasn't that I was responding to the outside pressure as much as that pressure pricked a nerve that wouldn't shut up! I wanted to run the full, I just wasn't aware of it.

I'm not ready for the full but I've been there before. I want to run marathons again and I don't care! Earlier this year, before I came down with mono, I had lost the desire to run them even while I was running 1 per month. They had become a chore. I wanted to want to run them again but I couldn't find the desire. Now I have it back.

To deny that desire just because I had a plan seems silly to me. Maybe you'll disagree and see it as simply blowing with the breeze and that's your prerogative. I understand how silly I seem at times and, not only am I not ashamed of it, I have come to cherish it as a gift.

Thanks for listening