I got an email the other day that read – “Congrats! Walk Toward the Fire turned one today!”
And that was weird, because it certainly hasn’t felt like a year. This time last year I was still recovering from the C-section, recovering from having to shelve my first novel, recovering from the realization that I didn’t give birth to a sixty-pound baby and the nurses’ continued warnings about too many carbs while pregnant were SO EFFING RELEVANT WHY DID NOT I LISTEN OH BECAUSE I COULDN’T HEAR THEM OVER THE SOUND OF MY CHEWING
…but I digress. It’s been a year, and this poor little blog has been sorely neglected (…that’s the last time I ever use that phrase. Promise). I could blame the editing/re-writing process. I could give one of my well-rehearsed whiny complaints about being a mom at two different grad schools. I’d point to the baby mess on my shirt and my un-showered self and corner you while reading off my homework load and you’d be like
But I don’t want to do that.
I want to tell you my kick-ass plan to remedy this problem.
This will be an experiment based on a burning spark that sits somewhere deep in my chest. It requires a bit of a back-story, so bear with me.
A few months ago Ross and I were running on fumes. We were both barely keeping our heads above the water, doing our work in frantic binges before tapping out, taking Aryn, and letting the other person jump in. We had perpetual bags under our droopy eyes and coffee cups practically glued to our hands. I managed to crank out another round of edits and send them to my agent and Ross managed to still stay on the Dean’s List at school… but we were paper thin and short on fuses.
I was a hot mess. I’d set alarms and then ignore them, sleeping in until Aryn woke up. My days were spent trying to do everything and succeeding at nothing. Writing made me feel guilty about being an absentee mother, but a lack of writing made me grumpy. My sleep patterns were almost as terrible as my eating habits, and I’d given up trying to get rid of the last of my pregnancy pounds.
I was a mascara-smeared bundle of grumpy nerves surrounded by Taco Bell wrappers.
It was kind of like
and a little bit of
Somewhere in the mess of days that all seemed to run together, I realized something.
I do not want to be this person anymore.
There was no emotion attached to this decision, it was simply true.
So I made little changes. I got up and got dressed, my body a machine I willed to move despite my mind’s protests. Then I made some more. I went for bike rides around the neighborhood in my mismatched pajamas and started taking Aryn on errands.
Over the past few months, Ross and I have taken little steps to be better. First, we’ve disciplined our time – because it only took us three years of marriage and a baby to figure that out that manic work binges don’t work in the long-term.
Next, we started waking up early because Ross pointed out how much work we could get done if we got up early. It kind of went like this:
Me, at 5:30PM: That sounds like an amazing idea! We could get four hours of work in before Aryn even gets up!
Me, at 5:30AM: **insert the sound of me hissing like a vampire as Ross tries to shake me awake**
It got better, of course. We’re now starting at 4:30 in the morning, and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better. I never though I would be a morning person, but God can do cool things when you put your mind to it, roll your tired self out of bed, and sleepily lap up a cup of coffee.
Then, I started realizing that I could do way more than I thought. I started going for runs. This might not seem that crazy to some people, but I ran like a twenty-two minute mile in the fourth grade, guys. I distinctly remember my P.E. teacher yelling, “Move it, Blair!” across the dying grass of Shull Elementary School’s field as I wiped sweat from my eyes and defiantly continued to walk for the rest of the period.
Who has two thumbs and almost failed P.E. in elementary school? This girl.
Just for a little more of a frame of reference: Before this year, I’d run one mile in my life. Once. Like, three years ago at 24 Hour Fitness, when “We Will Rock You” came up on my iPod and, I don’t know, I was inspired. The magic came, made me feel like a superhero, and then left. It never returned. So I went back to being that girl that ran for the duration of exactly one song before clutching my side and huffing like that straggling rhino on Jumanji.
I wanted to run. So I started. I limped, felt like puking, but I kept going.
I’ve also been kickboxing and doing Jujitsu. Arm-barring people and managing to run with minimal vomit makes me feel like Black Widow from the Avengers, I’m not going to lie. So I’m going to keep going.
That’s where this blog comes in.
I’m not who I was in March, but I’m not done, yet.
This Fall, I want to finish the edits on Bloodburner and start my next manuscript (which – side note – I am SO EXCITED about). But… I’m also going full time at Pepperdine and Claremont Graduate University and presenting my thesis at Pepperdine this Fall. This means I’m going to have to be incredibly disciplined with my time. While Ross and I have started doing this, it’s a work in progress. It’s got to be 4:30 wake up calls…writing in my odd hours before school and while Aryn naps. I have to get this done.
I’m also really loving this whole “getting strong” thing. I’m going to keep running and fighting and getting beat up at Jujitsu. I want to be able to touch my toes without wincing. I want a clear mind and strong body.
I want to be the best version of myself. I want to learn to push past emotion and work hard even when I don’t feel like it. I want to be an author and a fighter. I want to be a role model to my daughter and an awesome wife to my awesome husband.
So here’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to post twice a week about this effort to chase down my dreams. More often than not, I’ll fail more than I succeed. More often than not, I won’t want to admit that. But that’s why I need to.
The gap between who you are and who you want to be is filled with blood, sweat, tears, and hard work. I’d also like to think it’s full of honesty. So I’ll be honest with you, even when it’s not pretty. For instance… I might have eaten pizza and a donut today. I might have woke up too late to do my writing, and I miiight not have done any writing besides this blog.
Can only go up from here, right?
So I pose this question to you: are you who you want to be? If not, what’s stopping you?
Kick Ass Fall II has begun.