Saturday, December 19, 2015

Psychologist fodder on mad maternal me

My sister told me I have transferred much of my mothering related issues onto my brood of puppies.  She might be a teeny bit right.  They are 5 weeks old today and it has been so intense and scary and exhausting and wonderful and messy and full of the biggest love imaginable.  If my boobs look bigger its because my chest cavity feels full of breathless love.  It is a physical feeling.

Speaking of boobs, when Ella was pregnant my boobs were full and sore.  My mom told me it was because of my dog but I said surely not.  On Friday the 11th I cleaned every draw in my kitchen and sorted out my tupperware.  She was only due on the Monday but she went into labour that night.  I was nesting.  I wrote how maternal I felt when they were 11 days old and I am now at the 40 poops a day ankle biting stage but somehow it is not enough for me to wish them gone.  It is so full on and I have very little freedom and flexibility so I should be over it by now but I am not.  I am so screwed.  So full of love for them.  I sit on the floor and clap my hands and 9 balls of black fur hurtle themselves towards me all wanting to be smooched and snuggled.  They are my little family and I am so happy with the owners we have so far.

I know part of the puppy care on steroids thing is in response to the nastiness I had encountered by crazy bully dog lady.  I thought F*ck you, I will be the best damn carer of puppies you have ever seen and I will still donate to the welfare even though you alienate everyone and you lump responsible breeders with the stereo puppy farmer backyard breeder type.  The abuse one takes because of choosing to breed one's dog is crazy.  Animal activists need to recognize we are not the bad guys.  They need to start treating people with a little more compassion and respect.  Recognize we have the resources to help.  It is because of responsible breeders we have all the amazing different breeds with great temperaments.  People like myself want to produce excellent dogs and protect the integrity of the breed.  My vet bills must be close to R10 000 by now and I still need to the 6 week vacs and chipping.  Best food and best care and best pups.  So my I keep one?

I will tell you the reasons why NOT: I don't want 3 adult rotties.  I start work and studying from end of January and will be very busy.  I would love a break from puppy care. I am not sure I can handle a strong male dog.  Dogs are expensive.  My wise mother thinks I will regret it.  I am afraid she is right as she has known to be before.  Rationally these make sense.
And the reasons why:  I am way too in love with my lot.  To wake up one day and have them ALL gone is going to be very painful.   I only want Paulie so I have a specific bond with one pup.  Ella and Zara were bought without my permission and blessing.  I felt sabotaged.  Lucy was bought for my girls after my dear spouse told me: You can get any dog you want if we don't have another baby. (my sign that the adoption plan and alternate IVF plan was officially over.)   I just cannot imagine another family owning him and me not.  But I am too emotional.  Marina I need you!  (my fave psychologist)  

Please don't tell my girls I might keep Paulie.  They are obviously sad the pups are going.  Will I regret keeping him?  Will I regret selling him?   I still have some time to think.  I have asked advice on 2 of my rottie FB pages I belong to but they are all rottie crazy so say keep him.  What do you all think?  I am too emotionally invested to make any logical decision. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

47 random fun facts for my old fartbag sister turning 47

My sister has many talents and can help co-create human beings but she sucks at 3 things:  Cooking, gift purchasing and wrapping or any sentimental holiday related ritual, and remembering anything.  One of the best bits of having siblings is doing remember when.  Hey!  Remember that one time when we did X, Y, Z?  No.  How about A, B, C?? No. To make matters worse my husband shares this quality.
So Arsehole, in honour of your 47 years on this planet and the fact I am stuck in a room with 9 puppies with the shits, I will give you 47 fun, random, interesting and non interesting facts.
1. You are the very 1st person I remember and was the most important person in my life forever.
2. My 1st haircut was not a special moment at the hairdresser, it was you hacking off pieces of my hair with a sharp object.  (it was the seventies, sharp scissors and 2 year olds were not an issue)
3. When we rolled in that big barrel and it went over my finger causing me to lose a fingernail you tried to get me not to cry because you knew you would be in shit.
4. We used to sit in the big cardboard box Dad kept for us and eat dry jelly out the packet.
5. You peeled off the wallpaper on your side of the room at night.
6. You were only 5 when you saved my life by pulling me out the pool at a family braai.  My heart had already stopped beating which might be why I am a little special at times.
7. Only you were allowed to be really ugly to me, anyone else, not so much.  You even hit someone with a large garden spade on their back.  Fork!  You could have killed them!! 
8.  I was so jealous when you were in grade 1 and could read and I couldn't.  I used to beg you to read to me.
9.  You were never a girlie girl
10. When I was a little less than 2 and we stayed at Granny's house I climbed out the bath with my one leg spread over and you stuck your finger up my butt.  I screamed blue murder.
11.  You hated sleeping over and I loved it so Mom had to pretend you were not allowed to.
12.  When we had a big fight we were sent to our rooms.  We finger knitted a long rope and tied it to a cup to swing to the other one so we could write notes to each other about how much we hated the parents.  Our house was not that big so we could have probably just talked but it was more fun.
13. You never really cared what you wore so long as you were comfy. 
14. You had un-diagnosed ADHD.  You lost everything and Mom would go ape.
15.  This ADHD meant you were a nightmare at school.  Teachers cringed when they saw my Loebenberg name and asked me if I was your sister.
16.  You were always super bright and I had to work harder than you.  It sucked.
17.  We used to break into Auntie Ria's house and jump on their trampoline.  Afterwards we would squash berries into the cover.
18.  We always got caught because I sung like a canary and then we would get a hiding. (The nailpolish bust, Auntie Marilyn's pumpkins)
19.  We also used her phone to prank call everyone with the classic:  Is your refrigerator running...
20.  One Christmas I got a blue and yellow bike and you got a tent.  Dad pitched the tent in the lounge and it was so cool.
21. We stayed in the wendy house one night with the bunnies who chewed the electric cord.  When I touched it I got an electric shock.  I bet you wouldn't let me tell Mom.
22.  We used to wrap up dog poo and tell Beauty we had a gift for her and then give her the parcel.
23.  We left dog poo on peoples doorsteps and rang the doorbell and the ran like hell.
24.  We collected little snakes from the fields around our house and held them in our hands.
25.  When houses were built we would ignore all parental instruction and play in the big sand piles with the lime in that burned our legs.  We would also steal the brown window putty when they just put the windows in. 
26.  We teased Andrew Jansen so badly he punched his fist through the glass window in crazy frustration.
27.  You got to lick out the bowl 1st after Mom baked.  When it was my turn you grabbed it and rinsed it out in the sink.  And I still loved you?
28.  We were at the park once and someone had written FUCK on a tree and you told me what it meant.
29.  We used to skinny dip with Dad every night and he used to hope the pervy Afrikaans neighbors would see his butt.  
30.  Poor Dad was so young.  On his birthdays we would wait for him to come home and the shaggy rug on that ugly oval coffee table would be taken off and Mom would put bowls of smarties and chips out.
31.  The 1st boy you loved was Antonio de Brito
32.  You allowed me to stay at your ABBA dance party and we danced in the garage.  I was so careful not to do anything that would have me kicked out.
33. You told me I HAD to kiss a boy with tongue before I started high school.  I felt immense pressure and eventually kissed Cedric Bachelor at a barn dance after he had asked 3 girls who all said no.
34.  Mom made me wear your entire old school uniform when I started high school including your shoes??
35.  You used to steal tins of condensed milk out Mom's cupboard and call it Tertia's Speciality.  I was allowed a 10 second suck from the hole you made in it.
36.  You shaved your legs when you were in primary school but you were not allowed to.  You cut yourself like crazy and we had to go outside and bash your leg with a brick so Mom and Dad wouldn't know.  Seriously!
37. We teased both our siblings.  Nina had her wild hair so we told her elephants pooped in her hair.
38.  We told Paulie he was actually a girl and our sister and we called him Paula-Bernadette.  We even sprayed him with deo.
39.  One of us would hold him down and the other would fart on him.
40.  I felt so left out and jealous when you went to varsity.  I missed you so. You really were my best friend.
41.  Mom bought you those really naff clothes you probably never wore.
42.  When we went to double bill movies I had to sit on my own a few rows behind you while you smooched some chap.  You threatened to take my life if I told.
43. When you lived in your own place you changed from a messy pig to a total neat freak.
44.  The day you got your new car you were allowed to choose between the red Citi Golf or the Blue.  I was so jealous.
45.  When we had the big talk with Dad you would cry and I would look out the window stubborn as all hell.
46.  You never allowed me to hug you so I would make you sometimes.  Actually I think I might next time I see you so brace yourself.
47.  Mom eventuality threw out that red, blue and yellow floral skirt you always wore.  That and the Avis t-shirts.

I could add hundreds more.  Because you are practically a hundred a years old.   I love you and I always feel lucky because while all these people admire you and follow you, no one gets a list like this.  No one else was loved, protected, teased or tortured as I was.  Happy Birthday Arsehole x

Monday, November 23, 2015

The return of Maternal Mel

I have been maternal ever since I can remember.  My first doll I fell in love with lived on the shelf at the Hypermarket Store until she became mine.  Her beautiful crib lived in the local tuisbedryf (local home craft store) and Father Christmas bought it for my baby Marie.  Marie had other dollie siblings and they took up most of my bed with me squeezing my body at the end.  She was my fave though and my most beautiful baby.  My sister Tertia flung hers across the room in careless abandon.  She pulled my dolls hair and told me they were not real but I knew otherwise.  (Big sister torture!)

Fast forward to me being 24 and pregnant with Daniel.  Absolutely thrilled and all consumed by this miracle growing in my belly.  I was fanatical about being healthy and beyond excited.  The birth was awful and traumatic at a state hospital but my face had changed. I had experienced love in its purest form and I was forever altered.  I insisted on breastfeeding despite being a single young mom working night shifts and racing from town to Durbanville at 6:00am so I could feed my boy and relieve my knockers.  Why was I so very hard on myself who knows?  I probably still do it!

Then we have Rebeka 6 years later and once again I love my even bigger belly with my squirmy baby that kicks and pushes.  She emerges after a better birth weighing 4.2kg.  She is hard work, a cross baby.  I am once again drowning in breastmilk and hormones and permanent exhaustion.  I am 100% raw and vulnerable and I try and hide in my cocoon with my baby not wanting to hear anything that makes me sad.

2004 and my last baby is born.  Zack Gary turns out to be Sofia Josephine and it is love at 1st site.  I am smitten with this baby.  I hold her in my arms for the entire 1st year and only put her down to sleep alongside me or when I nurse her in the quiet of my bedroom hiding from my other 2 kids.

Later I try and convince Gary to adopt and we almost land up adopting but it doesn't happen.  We even consider IVF as reversing the vasectomy would have taken too long.  In that time I felt that familiar feeling of expecting a baby.  I feel soft and beautiful and feminine.  I know its a cliche but that is how I feel.  Special.  And then it doesn't happen and I try and squash all the longing and maternal hormones back into a box that feels too small for such a big feeling.  I am cross and bitter but like with everything else, time passes and I get over it.

And these maternal feelings come rushing back only this time its my dog and memories from places far far away come flooding out.   Her labour was hectic.  Her 1st baby girl stillborn.  I called her Anna which makes no sense as that was the name of my daughter I never got to adopt.  The puppy was the largest of all and perfection.  I think of all the mothers I know who have stillbirths or lost infants shortly after birth.  Mothers from the hospital when I ran Bosom Buddies, my friend who lost Ethan, another who lost her daughter Sofia Grace, my own nephew who I never got to see.  I will this puppy to breath, I won't dare compare my feelings to anyone who has had a baby born sleeping but I can only imagine the disbelief at looking at the perfect child you cannot believe is not alive.  During the labour we land up losing 5 little puppies. One had died in utero and was very small.  I felt no sadness with him and did not name him.  The others, 2 girls and 2 boys.  Anna, Rosie, Ollie and Boris.  Gary took them to the vet to be cremated.  The labour was hectic, one little one was gagging and I placed my mouth over his and sucked out any fluid and rubbed his little body and prayed like crazy till that tongue turned a beautiful pink.  And since then I have been on this frantic quest to keep all 9 alive and thriving.  My Josie-Bunny was only 200grams, half the size of her brother.  Nature vs nurture?  Well sorry for you cruel nature but I cannot lose another pup.  I feel irrationally responsible for the 4 we lost.
So I sit and listen like I am listening now to their mewling and breathing and occasional hungry cries when mom is not around.  She has become less interested in feeding them and of course that makes me crazy anxious.  Gary and I take turns to sit in the room at night in case she lies on one and crushes it.  I feel total new mom exhaustion, worry, pride, love, panic.  When I go to the shops I want to rush home to my babies.  All my cellular memories of loss, of love, of nurturing are right back out again.  Raw, real, crazy maternal me is back.   How will I deal with it when they go to their forever homes?  I hope by then I am so over it.  By then they will chew and nip and bark and destroy my house.  I will clean up wee and poop of 9 pups.  I will deal with it then and right now I will embrace this experience with exhausted mind, body and soul and love my little furbabies: Evie-Pops my feisty girl, Amy-Rose my gentle big girl who loves to nap, Josie-Bunny so small but strong and determined, miracle happy go lucky George, Big Jack Jackson who is the pick of the litter and easy going and affectionate, Lincoln my tough boy who feeds and then goes off to nap on his own, Maya Papaya who fights through her brothers to get her teat, Paulie my little boy who loves his siblings and his Mama and then Molly my second biggest girl who also loves to hang with the bunch and is so easy.   I am blessed, overwhelmed and a little bit cray-cray!   

Friday, October 30, 2015


How does that song go? R E S P E C T, find out what it means to me....tra lah lah.  (Cannot sing!)  So I want to chat about respecting each other.  I am about to complete my 4th year of my social work studies.  Next year I do my honours which will take place over 2 years.  A big part of our theory is working with people and trusting in their own self-determination and respecting their choices.  We understand we do not know them how they know themselves.  How could we?

We learn about constructivism and how we all construct our own truth based on our perceptions, values and experiences.  While we have universal laws to keep society functioning, even these differ from culture to culture.  Without one exact 100% truth for all, we cannot judge anothers.   We also allow others to own their own truth without being threatened or feel the need to convince them our truth is the ONLY truth.  Everyone else is not wrong, deceived or ignorant, they are DIFFERENT and that's OK.  That is in fact great because diversity teaches us so much.

My spiritual life is a journey that never stops.  Along the way I learn what I believe to be true only to go through experiences where I learn a new true or adjust to a new self.   I have more questions than answers and I know that is OK too.  I am a critical thinker, because 'I say so' never cut it with me. I need to think, taste this truth on my tongue and soul and feel how it resonates with who I am.  Does it fit with how I think, believe and love?  If it doesn't, if it hurts anyone or makes them feel less than then it doesn't fit.  I have screwed up along the way, especially in my early days as a Christian when I did not trust my own discernment.  I probably acted like an arsehole sometimes and I apologize for the arrogance, it came from a good place.  For all those who judge me, question my integrity, my truth, my discernment, my intelligence, my ability to know what is best for me and my kids, I recognize that you too are trying to do this from a good place and don't mean to be a bully.  Do you understand you alienate people?  You disrespect them and hurt them and you do not show the love of Christ.  I swear, I have some serious issues with the contradictions and stories in the bible, I question, I take my kids trick or treating, I support gay rights, I passionately believe we need to accept and respect all people just as they are and I also don't decide who is going to hell or not.  At the moment I am not going to church which I am sure suits many people as what do you do with someone like me?   Actually based on the fact no one has called Gary or myself after going there for 11 years and now not means their is a good chance they probably haven't noticed.   I love most of them and know some really do care about us. 

A good friend told me to look for the light and not the darkness in life.  We can find both if we look hard enough.  So I am not blind or rebellious or trying to please people or 'the world' or a point.  I am simply staying true to myself and to who I believe Jesus to be.  The plus side is I have found many people scattered across the globe who also share this philosophy, to just love as He does.  Who know they are pretty f*cked up too, as much as anyone else but who want to do love well.  I have even found a pastor who attempts to love like this so I have virtual fellowship which helps a little with the hurt I feel at the loss of my church.  He wrote this piece on love which I so relate to.  Actually I relate to all his posts and he makes me feel less alone along with the many people who read his work and are trying to figure it all out.  He wrote that really cool piece on what he would say to his kids if they were gay.   I hope to meet him and his lovely wife and critters in real life one day otherwise I will see him in heaven.  We will hang with Jesus and talk about stuff.  All the other misfits will be there too.

So I do need to study and stop blogging but I wanted to explain myself even though my mom tells me a thousand times I don't.  I know I don't owe anyone an explanation.  The loss of my church this year has been painful for me so I have wanted to.  For non churchy folk, I hope I haven't put you off God.  Oh its an awesome love.  So frikkin big and bright and kind and healing.  A splendid God so fascinating and brilliant.  The love of Christ that sees no flaws but right to the depths of my soul where he loves me as I deserve to be.  In a life that is so damn hard with so much sorrow and misunderstanding it is my lifeline, my floaty device I hang onto when I feel too tired to tread water and I am afraid I might drown.  

PS:  If you feel the need to send me any scripture or articles so I can see the light please go and re read my post and sing the respect song.  #justlove     

Friday, October 9, 2015

Confident: tick. Kind: tick.

Being a very sentimental person, I take note of special occasions and keep all sorts of little reminders of times in my life that have been happy or challenging or simply noteworthy.  In the past few years I have collected a pebble or little rock from happy places and I write the date and place in pencil on each one.

When I was pregnant with all 3 of my kids I wrote a diary with letters to them and just a general how I felt diary.  I even started writing letters when I was going to adopt so she could know she was wanted and prayed for and dreamed about before she arrived.   On the 28th of November 1995 I wrote down my promises to my unborn baby of how I wanted to mother him/her:
I will try and be patient and always LISTEN to what you have to say (didn't quite do so well on this one) 
I will tell you how much I love you and when I feel proud of you.  I want you to KNOW you are loved (Got this one right!) I hope to enable you to have access to any information or things you need that interest you or you want to learn about. (Tick)I will never force you to do anything you really don't want to do but I will encourage you to try all sorts of sports, interests, hobbies etc. (Got this one too)
I really just want to do my best to make you a good, honest, fair person who always does their best and is good to other people and animals. (Tick, Tick)

I also mentioned elsewhere in my diary I hoped for confident and kind and in the last few weeks I have sat back and witnessed the awesome people my children have become and I have taken a brief little high five grateful happy moment.
Daniel.  His 1st year at varsity.  ADHD and all over the place with his reading level very poor to start off.  The 1st semester was a little crazy but I have him some grace and allowed him to find his feet.  After a close call he caught a huge wake-up and literally and figuratively paid for his mistakes and is so committed and back on track.  He owns his own life and his studies and took reading courses to get him up to speed.  He is passionate about his university and his degree.  He is a sponge soaking up all this knowledge and excited about his future career.  He has been approved as a mentor for next year for the 1st years' for 2016. 
Rebeka.  She who used to be so incredibly shy gets a cum laude for her poetry.  She then gets the same for her keyboard eisteddfod and later in the year gets a Gold for her performance in the school drama.  The big Revue which they stage every 3 years casts for the lead role and my once super shy Becks gets the part.  She cannot sing and doesn't speak Afrikaans very well but the drama teacher insists she is the perfect Molly and adjusts the script for her.  Sofie gets lucky with her sister as the lead role and gets to play the young Molly.  The opening scene is Rebeka sitting watching her younger self, her sister, stand on the stage and sing like an angel.  How did shy Gary and I raise these confident young ladies?   They speak so well and command that stage.  Wow.
Sofie.  Sofia.  Fifi. Sofielicious. This little girl struggled so with anxiety and was excessively fearful.  She had terrible stomach aches and we spent thousands investigating possible causes.  Grade 1 was really tough for her.  She has ADD, Rebeka is my only one who has escaped the Loebenberg ADHD gene.  She too doesn't read but she is funny and bright.  She has managed to control and manage her anxiety and fears and has grown so in her confidence and social skills.  She sings and dances and is our diva.  What really inspired this post though, was how the 2 of them responded to 2 different situations when we were in Clanwilliam over the weekend.
The house next door had 2 security guard working shifts.  On race day we had been up forever and the sun was killer that day.  That night we went out for pizza and waited 2 starving hours for our food.  When I got home I just wanted to go to bed but Rebeka insisted we make him coffee and she took her leftover pizza over to him.  The next guy had to get coffee too.  She is my extra kind one and hugely compassionate.
Then across the road were 2 dogs that got no attention.  They were fed but not loved much.  Sofie doesn't do people but animals...they catch her heart.  She would sit at the fence and love them by sticking her hand in as far as she could to touch them and talk to them.  On the day we left she insisted on using some of her prize money to buy them a toy they would most likely not play with.
Confident and kind children.  Children who have been taught to question and seek truth and fight for those who need a voice.  Not perfect children, sometimes selfish, rude, bratty but good people.  People who will add to this world and who will practice love and tolerance and respect for others.  I am so grateful to partner with Gary and God and mother these individuals.                     

Thursday, August 20, 2015

If at first you don't succeed...

I can’t believe it has been less than 3 weeks since my race.  Really?  Life has been a huge rollercoaster ride with so many ups and downs since.  But this post is not about the post race ride, it is about the race ride.

As you know when I went to do my Ironman 70.3 in East London and I didn’t make it and I was SO gutted.  I just couldn’t believe that after 6 months of training and so much sacrifice, so much faith, I was a DNF.  Did.NOT.Finish.  WTF?   DNF?   At the time I compared it to being a jilted bride.  Another athlete also blogged about her traumatic experience and used the same analogy.  When I look back at my race, I am now able to give myself kudos.  At the time I was awful to myself, full of criticism and doubt. Me=LOSER!  Later I took a step back and I saw someone who got severe hypothermia, who spent 30 vital minutes in medical with a thermometer up her butt and who got on the bike last of 3000 athletes at just 35 degrees which is still not optimum.  I saw that person cycle her heart out past all those who had already quit knowing they would not make the cut off.  90km in the wind up and down the hills never quitting and completing the cycle on her own terms.  Me?  I did that?  So God didn’t desert me after all.

Then I decided to enter again.  I took the risk of being that crushed with the added pressure of so many willing me to finish.  Training in the winter was damn hard.  6 weeks before my race I changed coaches and I worked my arse off.  And then we were off, so excited and expectant.  Durban was divine, great weather and great vibe.  Last time I bought nothing at the expo.  This time I was so positive so I did.  I prayed a lot less desperately, I did not presume I would definitely finish but I did know God and I would do this race together.  Race day, 4.30am wake up.  5.00am trying to eat but so nervous I could barely swallow.   Last minute check of bike and time to get in my wetsuit.  On the beach with Gary waiting our turn.  And then it’s us and we run into big surf and try and get out to the backline.  I have no idea where he is and we each race our own race.  When I faced the beach to come back in I got so badly dumped I thought that wave would never spit me back out again.  Cap off, clutching my R400 goggles I make it.  I am not freezing!  I see my friend grinning on the side-lines, as excited as I am that I can get on my bike.  I stand in my trisuit in transition and wee like a pro before getting ready for the bike.  And I cycle and I love it and I smile for over 3 hours.  I keep looking at my speedometer thingy.  26.9 average?  Me, that fast?  No forking way!  Its undulating hills but nothing hectic.  I hold nothing back and I just pedal my butt off using everything I have.  I see Gary on the course on the other side of the road and we are both thrilled we made the swim.  I finish the bike in 3:23 and I am so damn stoked I sit in the transition area just grinning as I psyche myself up to run 21km.   And then I run out knowing I have got this.  I have more than 4 hours to complete a 21km run.  My goal time is 2 hours but my legs are not thanking me for that bike.   My watch beeps at every K and it takes forever.  Eventually I get to 4km and I feel wasted.  I have 17km to go!  Do NOT walk, do NOT walk I tell you.  You keep on running!   I have the hugest blister on the ball of my foot from the bike.   The pain becomes hectic.   You have Dystonia 24-7, it is unlikely to ever end.  This is 2 hours, suck it up you big baby and RUN.  So I do, I run but I get slower and slower and I know I will not make the 2 hour goal time.  I see Gary, he is faltering.  If I had anything left I would try and beat him but I have nothing.  At 18km I want to collapse but I don’t and I keep on getting slower and slower.  At 20km I only have 1 to go but I start to think I might be that desperate undignified crawling finisher.  I run that last km in so much pain and then I do it, I cross that damn finish line with a 2:11 run.  Melanie Novitzkas 6:34.  Bam!   My legs give way and the medics and Gary pick me up till I can stumble off to get my medal.  It is done.  I have done an Ironman 70.3. He holds me when I cry like he held me the last race when I did not finish.  I am over whelmed.  I have swum 1.9km, I have biked 90km and I have run 21km.  Me?   I am so very happy and so grateful and so tired.  

The cool bit is now I enjoy that post race oh my word I really did that feeling.  I know very well I only get this once as next time it will be about trying to better my time or evaluate the race and my performance.  My very 1st triathlon was 2 years ago and I had the same feeling.  The swim was only 800m, the bike 20 and the run 5km but I lay in bed high fiving myself that someone non athletic like me could do a TRIATHLON.  Every race post that has been about times and performances and how I did compared to others until this race.  Except for now!  Now when people say that’s frikkin awesome I am like….I know!  How awesome was I?   I am so darn chuffed with myself I am allowing myself to feel it and be it and not worry if I sound braggy or arrogant or not humble.   Me, Miss C team hockey not very sporty did sweet f-all for decades did an ironman 70.3 in a very respectable time of 6:34.  AND, I am now an average biker and not a totally shite biker.  Average never sounded so sweet.   

But let me do a quick acceptance speech before I walk off the stage:
God 1st of course…for strengthening me and for giving me a healthy body and extra thanks for the no puncture on the bike!
My Gary who was initially so  reluctant about me entering but who came around and supported me
My girls who sacrificed endless hours while Mom trained
My friends and family who rooted for me and willed me on.  I felt the pressure but with that came the support.  When I hit the run my friend Jacob jumped straight into the start area and gave me the happiest hug to know I was on the run and going to finish.  My fellow athletes so stoked for me.
And my coach of course.  Mr Glen Gore from Trilab who is a phenomenal athlete himself and so patient with my endless questions and doubts and insecurities.
Thank you, thank you.  Bows, queue music, walks off stage.   

Friday, July 17, 2015

Where's Mellie?

You know those Where's Wally books where you need to find Wally in a crowd and at some point your critter draws a circle around the Wally so the book is only good for recycling?  Well I feel a bit like ol' Wally on a page of so much detail that no one can find me.  I feel like I am neglecting my mom, my sisters and my friends and this holiday I was looking so forward to, got swallowed up by studying work and training. 

So let me break it down into pages.  Page 1 is my training for my Ironman 70.3 race which is in 15 more sleeps.  Training through the winter is not for sissies and trying to stay healthy and injury free a constant worry.  I think the way I felt after not finishing my race in East London this year was pretty apparent.  It was a massive emotional and psychological kick in the teeth for me but like all of the really tough shit we go through, wisdom and perspective eventually gained was huge.  At the time I felt like a total failure and I felt deserted by the God I wanted to show off.  I had worked so very hard and trusted so very much.  When I look back now I do see God's hand in it and I stand amazed at myself to come out of a severe hyperthermic state and start the bike 30 minutes later with my body at just 35 degrees and last out of 3000 people.  The 1st 7kms the only person in sight.  I remember the broken people at the side of the road crying knowing that they were never going to make cut off and cycling past them.  I would finish on my own terms and I would cycle that whole damn 90kms.  Now for this race I have that under my belt.  Risking such massive disappointment again is huge and scary and the what ifs are there.  But how can I not?  I want that medal and I want to finish what I started.  I only started the new training program 4 weeks ago and it has been intense.  I am looking forward to being a normal person that exercises 5 to 6 single sessions a week. 

Dilbert my Dystonia.  Ah what a chop he is.  I hate him a whole lot.  My parents used to say we may not say hate but dislike is too bland.  Next month is the 3 year mark and it is somehow randomly significant.  When it first started I did not think I could do one more day.  Now I have done over 1000 days.  Some are good ones and some are so painful which makes speech so difficult.  The meds I took initially when I tried everything landed up making it worse and some of them made me so suicidal.  I did not talk about it as blog posts on: ''I want to die, every day I want to die'' seem a little bleak. I mailed someone who I thought was a friend who had battled depression himself and he said he would get back to me and he never did.  I spoke about some pretty black stuff and shared my vulnerabilities, I even regretted pressing send but it seems he didn't actually give a crap so it was all good.  I have had to forgive him but I will never trust him and I know he is not my friend at all.  The upper jaw clenching started later and damaged the nerves to my ear and gave me horrible toothache.  The botox helped loads and is only wearing off now.  August 11th I get my next shots. I have learned to live with Dilbert, hope junkie will always hope it goes away or they find a cure but for now its OK.

My studies...Remember when I wanted to quit.  How I just couldn't face doing another 2 years on top of my 4 years?  Well something happened as the theory became more practical and we had to visit various NGOs. I was renewed and refreshed and remembered why I started studying social work in the 1st place.  God has blessed me with the gift of leadership, of organizational skills and of compassion.  When I put these all together with the right training I know I can do some great work in my community.  I have found the place where I am going to do my prac and I am so excited it makes my heart race.  I know it will be tough and sad and not glamorous but it is a great fit.  A safe haven for kids, 20 boys aged 8 to 18 who live there permanently and girls who come during the day for a meal or a bath or to do washing or homework.  Maybe one day a place for the girls can be created.  I want to work with families and kids so this is right up my ally.  My supervisor social worker there seems like a great guy who also studied through Unisa so he gets it.  I am TOTALLY amped which is why doing all my assignments this holiday has been just fine.

Lastly my God.  This should be a whole separate post but I have too much work coming up to take time to blog. It has been good and bad as I have discovered there are thousands of left wing Christians out there just like me.  People who are reluctant to even call themselves Christians based on the massive hurt and destruction the right wing Christians have done.  We don't want to be put in the same category.  I know some question my relationship, my faith, my belief system.  Questions are good.  I do not have all the answers.  I just don't know a whole bunch of stuff but neither does anyone else have all the answers.  I am not going to tell anyone their beliefs are wrong.  Their interpretation of God is wrong.  I am not going to decide who gets into heaven.  I am certainly not going to say who is worthy but I am going to follow the greatest commandment of them all.  Well I am going to try my best.  I will love you God, with all my heart and all my soul and all my might and I will love my neighbour (might not like them) as I love myself.  I will not mistreat them or deny them any basic rights like who they can marry or love or live or work or whether they become parents or not.  Cherry picking from the bible?  Disobedience to God's word?  Yes I have heard them all but I am the eternal sentimental romantic so for me it has to come down to love and my gut.  I follow the heart of God.  Had Jesus followed the law at the time and not the heart of the father we would not have a new testament and the prozzies and the sick and the so called scumbags of the time would have never known this Jesus that I follow.  It does leave me feeling alone and not sure if I can still go to church as I do not have the option of churches like they have in the US that are openly gay friendly.  I love my church and I love the people but I almost feel like that silent bully who stands by on the outside doing and saying nothing if I go.  Like I condone the refusal of equal rights for all.  Only lefties who love Jesus would understand.  So at aged 44 after being a Christian for almost 16 years I have come right back to the place I started.  Knowing nothing except divine unconditional love and acceptance and that feeling of fuzzy safe warmth untainted by anyone elses opinion or interpretation.  Its delicious!   

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Birthday Sofielicious!

Eleven?!  Say it isn't so.  Every birthday I want to freeze time and keep you little, you are growing up way too fast.  Our baby of our family, our Sofie, Sofia, Bliksie, Monkey.  Our Sofielicious. 

You and Daniel share many similar qualities and the one I admire the most is your refusal to bend to peer pressure.  That means you don't care if every girl is wearing blue, if you like purple then that's what YOU choose to wear.  You do what your own self and heart tells you to do and that is something that very few people get right, especially at 11.  The other day when I looked at your school book and loved how you used every single colour you told me how you were not allowed to.  You were only allowed to use grey and  you me many times teacher told you so but you love colour so colour it is.  Loose hair on civvies day and henna tattoos that have all your friends telling you you can't and wanting to tell on.  Sofie life will always be full of rules and many of them are good ones to keep us safe and to keep our society in some kind of order.  These ones you listen to, you ask why, if they make sense and they fit your heart and they fit how Jesus loves and lives then they are the ones to follow.  If they are silly and make no sense or are unkind or unfair to other people and you don't want to follow those then you stay true to who you are and what YOU know is right. This will not make your life easy and people will want to tell you how to live.  Know if Daddy and I have rules for you which I will have more and more of,  they are to keep you safe and to allow what you are ready for when you are grown up enough.

You know how Becks has the softest heart and gets sad really easily?  Don't be afraid of allowing yourself to be soft sometimes, to feel sad about things.  I know you act brave at school and in front of your friends but at home I am here for you and it is your safe place to feel and cry and be.  Be kind, always.  You will want to be ugly back but being kind makes someone lose lots of that ugliness and the world becomes a little nicer.

All 3 of you kids have a gift and it comes with responsibility.  Daniel is an entrepeneur, he will make plenty money one day and employ plenty people.  He will need to look after those people and he will need to look after people in our country less fortunate than him.  Rebeka has her compassion and sees everyone and everything.  God has chosen her to love on those people.  And you, you have something called presence and influence.  This means people see you and notice you and look up to you.  Like Daniel you are a leader and like me you are not afraid to fight for what you want.  Fight the good fight.  People will always act ugly in this world and you will always have people and animals who are bullied.  You stand up for them and you fight for them and you speak up when you know it is not right.  Right now you only have to open gifts and eat cake and then be eleven but when you are grown up you will do these things so I will get you to read all your birthday letters again. 

I love snuggling with you every night.  I love watching you dance and hearing you sing.  I love how you dress up even when we go to the shop for 5 minutes.  I am proud of you for working so hard at school when it is not always easy for you.  You are spunky and strong and beautiful and unique and we love you and are very proud of you.  Happy, happy birthday my Sofielicious Diva!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy 13th birthday Rebeka

As you know I am not creative like you, Sofie and Mimi so I prefer to write you a birthday letter on my blog so you can come back and read today and many years from now too.
So where do I start?  Duh!

Happy, happy birthday Rebeka!
Every year you try and convince me its a BIG birthday but the real biggies are 1, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21 and then as you hit each decade.  So yes, today is a BIG birthday.
A teenager!  I have TWO teenagers in fact.  I am so very glad you are in no rush to grow up.  That you still like being little sometimes and you are.  You are your own person totally unique with nothing to prove to anyone.  Sometimes you will find yourself acting in a certain way or saying things you don't actually mean because you are with a bunch of girls and you want to fit in.  I totally get it but I also know that little uncomfortable niggle in your spirit that you feel will get you back to your true self.  Your true self is so special you never need to hide it or act in a different way to who you are.

When I have to decide about something I think about what I would tell you to do and what I believe you would do and I have my answer.  I have told you before your gift of compassion and sensitivity will make your life harder at times as you feel on a whole deeper level.  Your heart will get extra sad which is the suck part, the great part is that breathless excitement and joy that we thrive on.  Our sun is hotter and brighter, our love is all consuming and the beauty of the world created by God that much more lovely.  The ugly will be extra ugly and I wish I could say you will grow a thicker skin but you won't and you shouldn't.  The ability to feel so deeply will mean you will never be apathetic and your sense of fairness and what is right and good and true means you will fight extra hard for yourself and others.

I am so excited for you and all that awaits you in your teen years.  The rest of this year with your drama play and the revue, your Orange River trip and your grade 7 farewell.  And then we hit 2016...Rebeka the Rhenisher.  I am still super stoked you got into such a great school and I know you will have so much fun in high school.  I am so proud of you and enjoy your more than I could possibly describe.  I love your loud laugh and clumsy body and the way your food lands up all over your face.  I do NOT love your messy room but I guess you can't be perfect.

Trusting you have a special day today and feel loved by all of us.  Super happy you loved your party, you looked so very pretty.  I love you Rebeka Scarlett, today and every day always.  I thank God for the gift of you and know His spirit lives very happily in your soul guiding you, protecting you and loving you and helping Daddy and I parent you as you grow up.

Love from Mom

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Career and Studies: Where to from here?

Dear friends in the computer and friends in my life.  I once again find myself at a fork in the road and seem unable to decide which path to take.  I know once the choice is made that becomes my path and essentially the life that I then live.

When I started studying 4 years ago I had just turned 40 and my midlife crises was in full throttle.  At that point I did not have Dystonia and all the challenges that it has brought with it.  I wish I had chosen shorter courses instead of a frikking honors degree.  I started and I told myself if it gets too hectic or I no longer love it then I can always stop.  The problem is I have written 23 of the 40 modules I need to do.  I have loved learning new things and the challenge it brings.  The growth of my mind and intellect.   At the end of the year I will have the last 10 to go which makes giving up harder.  When I thought I could do all 10 in one year I was OK.   Now after researching the workload I know managing 3 children and my home and husband and annoying dogs (not you Goose) and then the daily toll my Dystonia takes, I just cannot.  It would require 3 full days at welfare institution, 1 workshop a week and then the vast volume of report writing, research and regular studying.  I spoke to a lady with NO kids who does not work and has a husband who is away a lot and she said studies Monday to Sunday.  No weekend, no holidays.   She is seeing a psyche as its just cracksville mode.  So, that means 2 more years.  OR, and here is where the fork comes in:  I finish this year and convert my degree to a BA Health & Social Science.  I qualify as an auxiliary social worker and not a full social worker.  I would still do some short courses next year and volunteer somewhere to gain some experience. 

The point, I suppose, is what I actually want to DO with my degree.  Where do I want to work, why do I want to work?   Adoptions and fostering is one area but I am pretty sure I need my full SW degree for that.  Working for Nurture screening donors and surrogates and counseling commissioning parents is also something I would love to do but once again is my auxiliary social work degree enough?  And then my other choice I would LOVE to do is family counseling and child and adolescent counseling.  The problem with that one is my speech.  Because the movements of my tongue and palate are involuntary and 24-7 the constant deliberate speaking against that movement is f*cking hard and as the day goes on more and more painful.  I have to take a deep breath when my girls ask me to ask them their work in the evening.  I don't want this to impact my family.  Gary must be so super sick of it by now, feeling helpless.  I really try and not say anything but I probably mention how sore my mouth is more often then I think I do

So what do I do?   Stick it out for another 2 years?  Take a year off and then decide although I am not sure if can start again from a motivation point?   Finish now and add some courses and see where I can work?  I need a flexible job as 8 hours of speech a day is unrealistic for me.  I also need to know on a very bad day I can rather do admin.  This week at hockey I sat next to a little girl of 11 for 10 minutes.  She chatted away about her new stepmom and baby sister and how she lived with them and all sorts of things.  She was lovely and I thought to myself, I am good at this.  Talking to kids and getting them to open up.  I respect kids and connect with them.  I want to help.  I just don't know what to do at this point although luckily I have until November to decide when I would need to register for next year.  I am seeing a Unisa career counselor next week for some more info.   I really want to earn my own money, I want the security that independence brings, I want to make a difference like we all do and make an impact.  I want to use my gifts and talents.  I also need to manage my Dystonia though and be realistic.  The energy is takes to be positive and put a smile on my literal spastic face is sometimes so huge I am unsure if I can do it all again tomorrow.  God, family, friends and exercise keep me going but I need to find some balance and acceptance and dial things down a notch so I can recover each day to build up for the next day.  

Bugger, I should be studying.  I write on the 4th and 5th.  Thanks for listening/reading to my rambles.  I will work through my options and think about it but outside perspective always helps so get out your Agony Auntie hats and pour out your wisdom.  Go!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Patting myself on the back

On Friday my 10 year old had to sing 2 solo songs in the Eisteddfod.  In a family that has zero musical inclination and no ability to hold a note, we stand amazed at our daughter and her sweet voice.  One or 2 of the little girls forgot their words and the tears welled and once they were encouraged to start again they finished their song then burst into tears.  Even my Sofie critted her 1st performance as she played with her dress when she was nervous and didn't perform to her expectations.  Her second song went better as she tried to control her nerves.  The next day we watched 2 solo rhythmic gymnastics performances.  Her 1st time competing and again some girls forgot moves or lost their time or missed a cue.  Sofie's hoop flew out her hand and she forgot some of her moves so of course was brutal to herself after the show.  We were just so proud of her for being so brave and loved that stunning big dimpled smile she gives throughout. 

On both days I wanted to stand up and tell those little girls:   You are here trying something many others are too afraid to try.  You are so brave and everyone messes up at some point or another.  The fact that you manage to finish your performance is amazing.  I don't know you all but I am immensely proud of you.   You will mess up in your life many, many times.  Most of the time it is beyond your control.  How you handle it though, that is up to you.  Be kind to yourselves and proud of trying your best.

And then there is me.  Yesterday I am down at the harbour at 7.00am in the icy foggy morning prepared to swim in the cold harbour.  Bad hypothermia in 15 degree water in January and this is 9 degrees. The memories are rather fresh and the relief when the swim is cancelled is huge.  I am then prepared to get on my bicycle and race for 40kms amongst other cyclists hoping I won't fall with slippery roads, tight corners and hundreds of other cyclists racing part.  I remain a nervous cyclist.  It is draft legal.  This means people ride in bunches and you use 25% less energy and you go much faster as you pulled in the group protected by the wind.  I just cannot.  I want to, I see the sense of it but that awful fall I had last year and my ugly scar renders me paralyzed to even consider tri-bars or cycling in a bunch.  And the run.  How I swore I would never run absolutely hating it and now I love it and my slender frame makes me a better than average runner.  But my hip, glute and thigh muscle has been bugging me for 6 weeks and even walking hurts.  For me personally this Triathlon is daunting but I am here, ready to race.

Beeeep.  The horn goes off and I am in the age 40 and above age cat, our group is small.  I try to run to my bike but my hip aches.  On the bike and we start.  My goal:  don't be last and don't fall and try and improve on last years time.  I push as hard as I can and people whizz past me.  I am so slow around the hair pin bends I almost fall off.  I manage to overtake a few people and I am not last, I am THIRD last.  People in my age cat overlap me.  The temptation to be awful to myself is big so I try and control it.   Are you doing your best?  You utmost?  Yes I am.  I think back to my huge goal at age 41 of doing a triathlon and I remind myself even taking part is miraculous for someone like me.  Lap 3 I still hope to run so I pop 2 myprodols and I finish after lap 4.  I take my time getting my takkies on, my cap.  I cannot swallow while I run as my dystonia makes me choke so I have my gel and then I run.  And I pray and I run and pray some more and somehow God places His hand on my hip and I can move.  I love it, I have missed it so the past month.  I love how my body feels.  The ache in my calves and thighs from the bike and pushing through.  Last year I was in the bottom 50.  I was revolting to myself afterwards.  It is easy to be kind to others and encourage them but I can be awful to myself.  Its a shit quality and I should know better.  My goal this year is to be above the bottom 50.  With no swim this is harder as I am an average swimmer so come out half way.  I finish my run feeling strong.  My bike time is over 10 minutes faster than last year and although very slow, it is still better.  My run time is 50 minutes for 10kms.  And I am done, grateful I got to run.  Happy that I am in the bottom 100 and not bottom 50.

The times of my group are brilliant. It is hard not to compare. I see big improvements with their performances and times and mine are tiny.  I only have my best.  I have never been athletic and I need to be grateful for what my body can do.  I need to be kind to myself.  I need to be proud of myself instead of always stealing my own joy.   Cannot draft or use tri bars?  Its OK Mel, it really is.  I know what it takes for you to get on the bike.  I know how fearful you still are but you on that bike and you show up.  You always give it 110% and the fact you even doing triathlons is crazy.    YOU?  You are a triathlete.  Do you swim, bike and run in one race?   Huh?  Well then regardless of your times or when you finish you have transformed yourself into a triathlete and that is quite something.  So imagine you are someone else and think about what you would say to them and stop being so damn critical every time.  OK?  Promise?   I will try, I really will.  Will I try 100%, no, I won't score it, I will gently try.       

Monday, March 30, 2015

Learning to chill

So today was session 2 with hypno guy.  As you know I am on a quest to try and make my Dystonia more manageable and improve my quality of life.  I actually wrote to a new professor today and as I was writing my treatment history, I was a little amazed at all the people I have seen and avenues I have tried.  I was even prepared to fly to Canada to see one of the docs who did a Ted talk on DBS (deep brain stimulation) but it turns out he is unable to help me.

So for now I research the new meds prescribed by my new fave psychiatrist and tentatively try one at a time if I get the go ahead.  I learn to relax at hypno guy and I attempt botox again in my upper jaw.  The clenching is giving me awful toothache and earache.  I know for some reading about this is boring.  I know I am hard to live with and I wish I could be lightness,I so do but I am struggling here.  Yesterday was a scary day.  Scary days are when the pain is so bad you are unsure if you can stay on planet earth.  Another reason why I support Death with Dignity.  Everyone should have a choice as to when their quality of life is too compromised to hang around.  Not even close to that point but knowing that if it ever takes over the rest of my body and I am immobile and in constant pain, knowing I can check out, well its hugely comforting.

The problem of having something like this is it is hard for the people around you so they react a certain way and it causes massive stress which in turn is a big trigger for Dilbert.  Sometimes I wish I had a place to go to on bad days.  Where I didn't have to pretend or make everyone lunch or be chirpy and available.  Where I could calm myself down in a quiet space and breath and breath till I was zen and calm.  Hypno guy made some good points.  Because my sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive and I am so fight or flight, I don't relax much.  My hands are almost always clenched and my muscles contracted.  We did a relaxation exercise today and my jaw and mouth were soft.  My whole body was soft so now I need to repeat that.   He asked me when I am in a perfect most me state.  My pregnancies.  I know this sounds sexist so please forgive me if I offend you, but when I am pregnant I feel soft and gentle and feminine and nurtured.  I feel special and beautiful and precious. I allow myself to be safe and I stop trying as somehow I trust the people who care for me to keep me safe.  The past shit from a 6 year stint has robbed me of my safe space.  I want to let my guard down, I want to just be but somehow I feel too vulnerable doing that.  Am I making any sense here?   Oh well, blogging is my therapy and as I write I work through things in my head.

I think I need to merge the old me and the new me, the best parts of both.  I need to remind myself I always have choices, I will be OK.  I have ridden out storms, I have come out the other side.  Yes, that sounds good.  The Mel Merger.  The new and improved me.  The work has been started and truth be told I guess will always be on-going but my goal is definitely lightness in my muscles, my heart and my soul. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My Face, My Page

Back in the days when I had time I used to blog almost every day.  I never had to think too hard about topics to blog on and I loved the therapy that writing brings.  I had about 500 regular readers every day that felt like friends.  Well most did, the trolls only hung around a while to spew their nastiness and then left.

Once I started studying I no longer had the time to blog.  I hardly read anymore and seldom journal.  FB has become the 5km run alternative of an ultra-marathon.  The quick bits of shared info, opinions, questions that I no longer have time to share about or ask on my blog.   I was always aware that certain posts will annoy certain people.  I am an odd mix of all my unique experiences and ideas so I am bound to hack someone off.  What I don't get is pretending you are someone else on FB.  Becoming all beige and vanilla and posting pics about your lunch.  (Yeah yeah I know I got a bit smoothie obsessed.)   I have never been afraid to be exactly who I am.  Many will think I overshare and I get that other people are more private and accept that.  For my sister and I, we are unafraid to make ourselves 100% vulnerable and wear our hearts on our sleeve.

I am not ashamed of the fact that I am a follower of Christ, that I am passionate supporter of gay rights and any marginalized or oppressed group of people actually.  I battle with anxiety and sometimes depression.  I vaccinate my kids.  I have an ADHD kid and an ADD kid and have carefully and deliberately chosen to medicate with great success.  Just last night I was telling Sofie how proud I am of her and we compared last year this time to now when she had constant tunmy aches and stayed in at break to catch up.  That was pre Ritalin which has changed her life and mine.  I am not ashamed that I was a single parent for 6 years before I married Gary. I am not ashamed of my battle with Dystonia and how hopeless it makes me feel sometimes.  I will write about my training and my triathlon as it is a big part of my life.  I will say when I am happy or when I am sad or when I am cross.  I should be beyond caring about shit but I do.  I get hurt.  I am lots of OK and lots of fucked-up too.  We ALL are!  So if you think I am boring, too much, act like a victim when I ask questions on certain pages, too sensitive, too anything then hide me, unfriend me or just ignore the boring bits like I do when I read your pages.  I love connecting with my friends on FB as modern day life means we are all too busy.  

PS...the 2 people that unfriended me lately did so for other girl political BS reasons.  Promise it wasn't my boring smoothies, training updates or odd theology! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Where to from here?

Amongst the mixture of emotions I feel I have that good old useless dose of guilt.  How can I feel this grief over a race when other people have real grief over death and divorce and illness and infertility and all the other real losses?  Yet my throat aches from being full of tears I cannot shed and I feel like I have been punched in my chest.  Punched so hard that all my organs shift and I have the hollow ache in the middle.  It feels so physical.

I went for a run this morning.  My 1st one in 10 days as I have been sick so I need to catch up for our 2015 mile challenge.  I ran and thought and ran and thought as one does trying to figure out this grief and loss I feel.  It is not the medal.  Yes its a huge bummer I didn't get it and the disappointment makes me want to puke.  That bit is all normal, training that hard and not finishing.   But this achey grief and paralysis where I just can't start my studying again and I don't know what to do with myself?  What the hell is that?   The 300 people who also didn't finish this race are probably not about to quit their entire lives.

Its a God thing.  After Singapore I knew I was totally depleted.  I knew I needed help and went on the anti-deps and we all know how that ended.  14 days on Cymgen and life long Dystonia.  So now when the going gets tough I cannot ever go on meds.  It doesn't matter how cracksville I feel, no meds for me ever.  This meant I needed to rely on healthy diet, exercise and God.  My scripture and my mantra...I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.  So I did just that and I managed my anxiety and my life and stayed sane.   I trusted God 100% for this race, for my life, for my sanity and now I CANNOT do all things through Christ.  I can train for 6 solid months and I can have total faith and belief and still I cannot.  The grief is the loss of my trust and my hope.  I know I have been in this place, where I believed for something so much and it didn't happen and God and I were not tight for a while. I know I will return because what else do I have but for now I feel like He has left me alone and I am not quite sure how to do my life alone.  Do I make any sense?   I probably sound mad?   I got home from the run and Ella had chewed up more of my outside pillows and then I stood in her squishy shit and I started shouting like a mental person till my throat hurt.   Mad?

I don't want to study anymore.  I don't want to do anything at all.  I don't know anything anymore.  I am not going to ask and trust for signs.  I am going to do one day at a time and today, the 1st day of my studies when I am already so far behind is not going to happen.    

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ironman 70.3, Ungracious in Defeat

Gary says everytime I write another bitter & twisted FB update I am simply prolonging the recovery of my disappointment.  48 hours ago I was still nervously eating breakfast in a room full of like minded athletes about to go off and do what my 6 month training had prepared me for.  This is so new and so fresh I need the time to process it.

I am going to try and explain how this feels.  I might make reference to situations that you have been in and you might think how dare I compare this pain to yours.  I mean no disrespect, it is simply to try and covey how I feel.  I am also going to swear.

When I decided I was going to do a triathlon before I turned 45 it was for many reasons.  Firstly I thrive on challenges and secondly after my brain op I felt like I wanted to live my life large, extra large.  I have had too many friends die and I just wanted to honour them by living my life so fully.  I also didn't want the fear of failure to hinder me trying big brave things.   I wanted to do something where I am in charge of my body.  I control my movements and how much pain I am prepared to take.  My Dystonia which is life long is incredibly hard to handle sometimes.  I wish I had a date that it would end so I knew I only had to endure it for x amount of months or years.  I cannot make it stop, I cannot escape.  It has me in its twisty painful grip and I can only try and live my life as best as I can with some adjustments.  The desire for 1 triathlon turned into an addiction for the mad sport and I continued improving and learning.

Training this hard for 6 months this hard has been very tough.  My bike accident set me back and every time I cycle I feel nervous.  As you know I am also not very good at all.  The slowest in my bunch so I had to try extra hard.  I knew the route was tough.  This particular ironman 70.3 is the second toughest in the world.  The bike course is endless rolling hills with wind on a bad day.  I had calculated my swim time and knew the extra 25 minutes saved that I could add to my 4 hours on the bike would mean it would be tight but I would probably make it.   The alternative was impossible.  To take so much time from my kids and friends and life and work that hard only to return empty handed was simply not an option.  I believed my strong mind and determination and my faith in God would get me there.   I also believed if I trained 100% I would make it so I cycled hundreds of kms and I swam and I ran and ran and ran.  The times on my alarm clock are 4.00am, 4.30, 5.00am.  6 days a week, 9 sessions a week for 6 months.  Even on holiday.

Fast-forward to race day and I am on the beach ready for this.  I had prayed for calm and warm sea and little wind.  6 days prior the sea had been 24 degrees and the wind calm.  On the day before the sea was so rough they were considering a duathlon and canceling the swim.  The rough choppy sea did not phase me.  I had trained in big waves.  The ocean is my place although I did not know it was 15 degrees.  I had drawn a cross on my hand, my bike and my helmet.  My God was my partner and I had many people praying for me.

We were the last wave of 8, the women over 40 and the teams.  Out of 3000 athletes only 780 are women.  The gun goes off and I get through the waves and I swim.  Towards the end my hands and feet are numb and looking for the final red buoy had me see so many other red landmarks but I was still good to go.  As I run up the ramp towards the bike area my legs turn to cooked spaghetti and I walk like I am totally pissed.  The official tells me I have hypothermia and pulls my arm towards medical.  No, no I am fine, I need all the time on my bike I slur in my drunk voice.  Thanks but I am fine. No choice and then I am on the bed and too cold to get a reading under my arm.  Under my tongue is a joke as my dystonia means my tongue is doing its usual spastic dance and the thermometer won't stay still.  Time is ticking and I am frantic to get on my bike.  Rectum she says, sorry but I have to put this up your rectum to get a reading.  At that point I am so desperate to get on my bike I don't care.  I am finally shivering which is a good sign.  34 point something.  Fuck.  I have to wait till 35 before I am allowed to go.  After 30 minutes in the tent I am released although still cold and confused.  The bike section that had 3000 bikes is now a graveyard.  I get changed and I can't read my watch as my vision is still screwy and I start my bike.  The last person of 3000 to start the course.  the LAST.  I have 3 hours and 56 minutes to complete 90 kms.  With the wind and hills and my cycling being so week it is a big ask but not impossible.  I trust God to intervene for me.  For the 1st 7km I am alone on the road which has been closed off.  Its a ghost town, the end of the world.   After a wrong turn I correct myself and I start.  I fight harder than ever and I pass the slow people at the back although I see I am still too slow.  My chain comes off 3 times but I calmly put it back on.  I hope when I get to the 45km mark that somehow the wind blows me back and the 1 hour and 36 minutes is miraculously enough.  I think about contestants on Survivor who never quit a challenge even when they cannot win.  I think about so many things and I cycle through the pain and wind and hills and when I look at my watch knowing it is now impossible I cycle anyway.  They have a truck that comes round and they put you and your bike on that sad truck and drive you back.  I see people on the side of the road crying, knowing they have missed it.  Well fuck that, I am not going on that truck.  I want to see how far I can get by the 1:15pm time so I pedal with my legs and feet so sore.  85kms the time stops for the race.  I had 5km to go.  30 minutes spent in medical would have been enough.  A girl asks me if we will still make the run and I hate that I have to tell her no.  No, we haven't made it.  We will not make that run.   I don't cry and I cycle that last crap windy hill to get back and then I cross the finish line to see Gary and then I cry but I am marched off immediately as she yells: DNF, DNF.  Did Not Finish.  I am another DNF.   

It really happened.  What I feared but what I fought because I trained so damn hard.  On the other side of the road are the runners with the awesome crowd cheering.  This is the part they said makes it all worth it.  I feel traumatized.  I walk amongst jubilant finishers with their medals and finishers t-shirt.  6 months of my life and I couldn't do it.  Knowing I would have just made it had I not got hypothermia makes it worse actually because I felt so deserted by God at this point.  We were meant to be a team.  I did my bit, all the parts I could control.   It was not enough.

Will I come back and try again?  I don't think so.  I suck at disappointment.  I simply couldn't handle it again if I didn't finish and the variables are too great.  I feel like that jilted bride and I have called off a wedding by a cheating spouse just a few short months before so I know what that feels like.  Not moving to Singapore after so much prep and hope and excitement was killer.  This feels like this.  Disbelief that it is all over and trying to process just how traumatic that was for me.

I know many cannot relate.  I am not a drama queen though and this is real for me.  I will get over it.  I need some time.  My faith has been broken, my trust.  I have to start my studies and do my kids but I want to sleep rather so I don't have to feel like this.  Crushing defeat, ah, that's what they mean.  I am crushed in my defeat.  Time to wake them up, make school lunch, carry on my life.  How do I do this???