Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Tread-ed Truth

I'm running.  I'm in the groove.  I can feel it.  Five miles per hour.  Breathing is steady, deep.  Song is playing on the discman.  I'm dance running.  

The sweat clings to my body, ready for the next step, to fall into a puddle, to be absorbed into my tank top.  I cover the timer with my towel so I don't obsess about the time, about the calories, about the blinking red lights.  

I really do love running to this song.  My arms are moving.  I am feeling the funk.  

My hand hits the earphones cord.  The discman plummets off the viewing tray and travels down the running belt...seeming to go way faster than five miles per hour.  I stumble.  I think, for a second, that I might have recovered.  I look back to see the discman break into several pieces.  My ear phones still stuck in my ears.  

I realize, in the biggest oh shit moment ever, that in all the commotion, I am losing momentum.  My body is not moving as fast as it was, and the treadmill is still moving, really freaking fast.  I try to balance.  Wobble.  Grab.  Reach for the buttons, the handles.  It's not working.  I'm not going to make it.  Oh shit.  This is gonna hurt.  I am. Going. Down. 

My feet stop moving all together.  I am horizontal in the air.  Like those cartoon images...waiting for the drop.  

My chin hits first...the tread...scraping the first layer of skin.  I am forcably shot three feet backward off the treadmill.  My body hits.  I lose a of moment of consciousness. 

I am in pieces.  On the floor.  Right next to my discman.  And, the disc is still freaking spinning.  

I lift my head.  Try to gain my composure.  Try to focus my eyes.


I see it.  I taste it.  I see it!

The treadmill is still five miles per brain is moving just as fast now...just as fast...trying to put together the pieces of what just happened.  The blood.  Scared.  Panicked.  

I push myself up and off the floor.  Leaning over to keep the blood from getting on my clothes.  (Who does that?)  I grab my broken discman and head downstairs to my apartment.  My roommate is home.  The look of horror on her face confirms that I am in a state of shock.  I don't see the horror she sees.  I am still running on the treadmill.  I can still hear the machine.  My feet pounding the belt as I land.  The music.  I was dancing.  I was looking at the glimmering swimming pool.  I was fine.  

My bottom lip is bleeding.  Bleeding terribly.  She grabs me a washcloth.  I dab.  I insist I am fine.  I see the inter-workings of my lip that no one should really ever see.  My knees start to feel weak.  My hands start to tremble.  

I anxiously try to examine the rest of my body.  Did I hurt anything else?  Am I bleeding anywhere else?  No, but my lip is still gushing full force.  My knees are still making it a challenge to stay standing.  I feel nauseous.  I want to laugh.  Did I really just fall off a treadmill?  Did anyone hear it?      

I tilt my head back to see the point of impact.  From one side of my jaw bone to the other I have what looks like dirt.  It's not dirt.  It is a bruise, already forming.  My chin is black and blue.  

My roommate insists we go to the emergency room.  I don't have the strength to tell her no any longer.  I give up.  I am ready to pass out.  She drives me to the hospital.  

Lesbian domestic violence.  

I am sure that's what the nurse is thinking.  He asks if there is anything else I need to tell him.  If I need some privacy.  If I need my roommate to step out of the room.  I insist she stays with me.  I am semi-conscious.  I am in shock.  She makes me feel safe.  Makes my hands stop shaking so much.    

I tell him the story.  I tell him about running.  About the discman.  About the falling.  

He laughs.

Yes.  He laughs.  

The ER doctor comes in.  She's eating a sandwich.  She looks at my lip.  She tells me I need stitches.  


My roommate gets to help her.  Gets to hold the tray.  The tray that holds all the items the sandwich-eating doctor will use to close my lip.  

She places a place mat over my head.  There is a hole where my mouth is exposed.  I can still see everything she is doing.  I wonder if this was for panic prevention or for her breadcrumbs.  

I watch her stitch each of the stitches.  I try to not think about the consequences of my my my beautiful face.  I try not to cry.  Try not to laugh.  Try not to shake.  

We leave the hospital.  My lip is huge.  It's late.  I have to work tomorrow.  I have to work tomorrow!  I am a high school teacher, and this is going to be hell.  How do I do this?  I am going to get so much shit from my students.  

I call my department lead.  She can't understand me.  I can't speak correctly with my lip this puffy.  Hard consonants don't come out right.  "I pell obb the treadmill and my liiiib is puwwy" I say.  It's no use.  My roommate gets on the phone.  She tells the story..."She fell off the treadmill and her lip is puffy."  I am so very grateful.  I still decide to go to work set the lesson pretend like everything is I didn't just get 15 I didn't just do all of this...feel all of this.  

The denial is thick.  My tummy is growling.  I can't eat.  This is going to take a while.  A really long while to recover.           

It was over 10 years ago that I was launched off the treadmill.  My lip, although still scar ridden, has healed well.  The laughter with my family and friends carried me through those weeks of recovery.  Everyone I know loves to tell this story, to know someone that did this, to know that this really does happen to people.  It's not just a funny youtube video.  Although, I do wonder how much money I could have made if there were a video.  Millions, I tell you.  Millions.

Bottom's okay to laugh...everyone does...even me...even now.     

Surprisingly, I still really love the treadmill.  It's been a while since I gave it some love, and perhaps my true intention of writing this homage to this whole experience now.  I yearn for that time.  For that space.  For that fun.  For me.  For the privacy.  For the body movement.      

If you use it, you've got to play it safe.  Here are the safety guidelines, and some sarcasm as an added bonus:  
1.  Obviously, wear the damn safety belt.  It really does make the world of difference.  Ask my lip.
2.  Keep a clear space behind and around the treadmill.  If you fall off, you have room to land, and not be sliced like a piece of meat.
3.  Buy an arm band to hold the ipod/phone...then you don't knock it off the viewing tray.  (Discman...I know...I'm old...what can I say?)  
4.  Run dance.  Dance run.  Whichever.  It's the best!  

This is the second in a series the discusses my return to body movement and exercise.  Be sure to read my first posting Hitting the Gym.  

Have you ever experienced anything like this or know anyone that fell off the treadmill?    

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hitting the Gym

Her boobs are perky.  Her hair glimmers in the light...highlights, long, newly brushed.  She smiles, a little too eagerly.  She wants too much from me.  I am immediately uncomfortable.

As we stand here, in the lobby, with so many people coming and going, I search for something, anything to keep me from bolting to the door.  Then, in a--I am, like, in, like, the 7th grade--obnoxious high pitched voice, perky boobs says, "Um, so, like, what are your goals here?"

What are my goals here?!  Did she really just say this?

"I am here to exercise, to check out your classes, and get an opportunity to have some much needed time for myself."  I say, quietly, and somewhat sternly, in that only-a-mommy-teacher-can-say-it kind of way.  I am trying to be polite, as I desperately try to remember what it felt like to have perky boobs, time to brush my hair and exude that much positive energy.  My mind wanders...searching...

Obnoxious squeak again..."No, um, I mean, uh, your weight loss know, cuz, like, we are here to help you achieve anything you want."

Hmmm...does that mean you can make you go away?  Wow.  Do people just come into this gym and discuss these private things with perky boobs here in the lobby?  Am I really that old and that much of a prude already?

With any kind of dignity I can manage to scrape off the bottom of her perfect athletic shoes, I say, "Frankly, my weight loss is not something that we will be discussing here, right now.  Thank you."  

Oh, did I see a little less inflate in that chest?  Pop.  I snicker...well, in my head, at least.

We tour the gym.  Her boobs were the only good part.  And even that was over done.

My husband and I converse in the car, while our little man whines for a snack.  A snack I forgot to bring.  I scavenge for anything...oh...a granola bar...doesn't matter how long this is in the's always good.  I toss it back to him, and he is grateful.  You'd think I starve him or something.  Poor guy.    

As I digress into, how could I forget a snack, I am a terrible Mommy mantra, my husband wants to know the next place.  I tell him it's the one we will want but we cannot afford.  

We pull in the parking spot.  I am nervous.  Sigh.  My husband, looks endearingly, says, "Sweetie, I am just looking at them as a bunch of pretentious ass-wipes, let's just go in and check it out.  It will be okay."  He forgets that we were once those ass-wipes...those ass-wipes that could afford a place like this...could justify a place like this...could buy into a place like this.  I am even more anxious. 

From the back seat, we hear, between crunches, "Daddy, what's an ass-wipe?"  I secretly hide my laugh.  It's the only reason I have the courage to check out gym number two.  

This is the first posting in a three post series that exposes enlightens my journey to find a place for body movement and time for myself...a series that will make you laugh, wish you never knew about, and embrace, wholeheartedly, with me.  I hope you enjoy.  I am laughing, even now, even after all of check in again tomorrow...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mommy, It's Wake Up Time...

I start with the oranges.  Perhaps it's the smell, or that it doesn't require much brain power, but by the third small orange placed in the container, I am ready for more.  My brain starts engaging, I can begin to open my sleep filled eyes.  The smell of the coffee brewing.  The trickles of the caffeine rush I am about to enjoy, drips into the carafe.    

I move on to the salads, the sliced fruit, all placed into his large lunch box, he'll have plenty of options for his day.  The sandwich is always the last step.  By this point, I can manage more than one thing at a time, and juggling the lettuce, cheese, meat, and bread, I invent a new taste concoction for the day.  I wonder how it is that he can eat the same lunch every day and like it...then I think of my coffee...still the same deliciousness...maybe that's how he feels...maybe he feels my each bite of his sandwich.  

Breakfast burrito or egg sandwich in the microwave, to eat on his way to work, and I am moments away from freedom, from my time, to write, to read, to socialize, to disengage.

Kisses, longing looks of, oh I wish we coulda coulda last night, and my husband is out the door.  He's ready for his 12 hour day, for the driving, for the sales, for the fixing...he's off...and I miss him already.   

I grab my coffee and I'm in.  Networked.  Reading.  The words on the screen fill my mind, inspire me to do, to be, to think.  I savor each moment.  The laugh.  The status update.  The thought provoking post that requires further analysis during my day.  The friends I miss.  This time is all mine, and I am loving it, embracing it.  


Was that....?  The denial.  I'm not finished, I have a few more articles to read, another blog post to edit.  No. I didn't hear him...maybe it was the dog.


The disappointment sinks in as I race to the bedroom.  I'm  not done.  I didn't get as far as I'd hoped.  I wanted more.  More time to reflect, to focus, to be.  I really wanted to finish this or that, or both.  I am not ready to entertain, to change pull ups, to play "ram mommy with the tractor truck."  Just...not yet...

Then, I arrive at my son.  His covers kicked off.  His cold feet.  His open arms.  His half-asleep cry for me to hold him, to help him wake up, to help him embrace the day.  I pick him up.  Feel the weight of his body.  The feeling of his arms around my neck, his head resting on my shoulder.  A huge hug.  

I hold him tight...until I let go of my disappointment, until I let the love in, until I arrive in the moment.  He's already in it, already bellowing sleepy words at me to go do this, to get that...and I just wait.  Wait for the gratitude.  Wait for the tenderness.  Some days are easier than others.  Sometimes the hug is short because we are both raring and ready to go, and sometimes the hug is long because one of us really needs it, needs the connection, needs the grounding.  We talk about his dreams.  About how much I missed him while he was sleeping.  About what we are going to do for the day.  When the hug ends, connection established, the morning routine begins, the day is in full motion.  

On the occasional weary tired morning, I will try and coax him back into bed.  Under the covers between his mommy and daddy.  Snuggles.  Sleep.  He'll often try and go with it, feeling loved, warm.  Those moments in and out of sleep, dream land and will all end with one of two things happening--one--he jumps and lands knee in my ear, giggle laugh, and repeats; or--the more prefered--two--in the sweetest of voices, he looks up at me, big brown eyes, hair disheveled, and says, "Mommy, it's wake up time."  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Escaping the Present Two Lines

Another test.  Will there be two lines?

Two lines.

Calling my husband.  Telling him there were two lines.  A moment I will never, ever forget.  The joy.  The excitement.  The immediate expectations.
I don't know what it is about those few seconds you wait until your urine travels up the stick to read a positive or negative pregnancy result.  It feels like years.  Watching.  Waiting.  The anticipation.  Hope.  Excitement.  Will there be two lines this time?  

I am finding that the most common way for me to escape my present moment is to think I might be pregnant.  The symptoms haunt me, and I wonder.  Wonder if that could be the missing link...put the seal on the "have another baby" stamp in my perfection passport...and then I could feel safe...feel like I have it all...feel happy.  The anticipation of wondering if we will have another, forget if we actually want another child, I bolt from my current reality and obsess...about what it might look like...what it might feel like...what I might be like...nothing like the current me...I would be content, fulfilled, loved. 

So here I wait,  impatiently yearning for two lines, over and over again, sure that it's positive this time.  

The pregnancy symptoms are there, but always explained by something else.  It is my thought pattern of escaping the present moment that sets me up for disappointment when the test again reads negative.  Am I creating a way to punish myself?  I don't want this.  I do want this.  I suppose the question I need to be asking myself, the awareness I need to stay present to, is the moment I start to bolt from reality.  What am I thinking?  What am I feeling, in my mind, and in my body?  Why do I feel the need to escape?  

I would love to have more children.  I don't, however, want the expectations of more children carried in my body.  When someone asks, "When are you going to have another one?"  Never thinking there might be problems.  Never thinking you have wanted another one all along.  Never thinking it is none of their business.  I carry the anticipation of that moment, the defensiveness, the anxiety, the stress of it, in my body, waiting, ready.  Ready to shame myself.  Ready to explain, justify, defend, something I have no control over, something that is no one else's business.  I don't want to carry that reaction in my body any longer, but I don't like staying present in that moment either.  It's not a nice one to feel, to realize, to know.     So, I suppose that's the true reality I am escaping.  

I also know that I would value me more if I were pregnant.  Like it gives me time and reason to take care of myself, as if, in and of myself, I am not worth it, but pregnant, sure, take a nap, put your feet up, eat good meals, and pay attention to me, all guilt free...because the baby deserves it, not me.  

It's really no way to live, no way to treat myself.  I know it.  I just want the escape.  The escape from the pressure I feel to be perfect, to do it all, to be happy.  The distance I sometimes feel from happiness, and the ease with which I tell myself I could have it if I were pregnant.  It is all a false pretense, the worst of false realities...not to mention, the immense expectation the child would have, even while still developing in my body.  I don't ever want to give a child the burden of my own self validation--the burden of telling me my body is healed, my body is resilient, my body works.  And yet, it is exactly what I am imagining.  

I don't know the real truth yet.  Right now, my pattern is to simply sit here, and wait for the urine to travel up the stick.  To wait for that moment when there will be two lines.  When will I realize I don't need the test?  When will I trust living in my own body?  I look forward to that moment...