Did I Say Rowing?

I was ready to row. I had set my April goal – sign up for classes, get on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake? the Colorado river? that watery spot south of the Capitol?), and row my little heart out. I had looked at the class times – twice a week, two hours each class, and for three weeks. In my mind, I had already joined my new crew where we bonded over our individual learning hurdles, and then in that last hour we finally got “it,” and really came together as a team. We would probably meet-up afterwards to celebrate – likely somewhere mid-town, where we’d a little too loud over a breakfast taco or two. Beer might be involved. We’d exchange numbers. Then we’d plan to meet-up the following week. We’d joke about competitions – old ladies like us, and then Amanda (my imaginary mascot of our gang) would start to make us actually believe we could. We’d find each other on Facebook, and start sharing our lives.

I love this imaginary gang of people – so supportive. Amanda is really the best.

On the rowing website it said, “watch the safety video before signing-up,” and like any good lazy soul, I immediately saw the 45 minute run time and scoffed. I mean 45 minutes of safety? Couldn’t they just nutshell that into: “Don’t hit each other with oars,” “Watch where you step,” “Try not to drown”?? I’ve blown that video off for weeks, but the day I was about to sign up, I finally forced myself to comply.

Ten minutes in, and something became clear, I was a hazard to my future crew besties, and myself because I can’t swim.

Let me clarify that a bit. I can air-quote “swim.” I can get from point A to point B if we’re talking the standard width of a kiddie pool. I can swim underwater, dog paddle, and even float on my back a bit for short distances. What I cannot do is be dropped into the middle of the ocean, or let’s say a lake (be it Town, Lady Bird or otherwise), and expect to survive more than seven minutes. Add to that the stress surrounding how I’d likely end up in said water: the boat tipped, me upside down, my feet locked in place, have to release my feet, get out from under the boat, tread, right the craft, then hopefully pull myself into it while remaining relatively calm. In other words, I can’t swim.

The video promised a swim test, and that I would likely need to tread water for about 15 minutes. Treading water is something I’ve never mastered. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was the only kid at my elementary school who never passed the Red Cross Level 1 class. I’ve also nearly drowned three times. When I say that, I mean it literally. I had to be fished out of the water once by an adult who happened to see me go under, a friend grabbed me as I was being swept away by a current, and well, there was the other time where I’d slipped out of a float, couldn’t get my face above the water to get air, did a 3-2-1 countdown (universal sign of drowning, or so I thought) as I’d seen on Bugs Bunny, thankfully found the pool ladder, and then sat on the edge of the pool coughing water out of my lungs. Granted all of this happened before I even turned 10, and truthfully most it happened before I had turned 6, but where some would see this as a rallying cry of, “I need to learn to swim!” I saw it more as a, “I should always avoid deep water! Maybe I’m a hot-tub girl!”

Anyway, those two thoughts were clearly at odds. I want to row! I can’t swim. Something had to give.

So, today I went to my first beginning adult swim class. It was FANTASTIC! (And a bit exhausting – and Jenn, I janked my shoulder a bit, but I’m watching foam-rolling videos right now, so go me?? It’s like actual rolling, but with my eyes. Like you’re probably doing now.)

The teacher was absolutely wonderful and exceptionally patient. Mid-class she stopped another coach and introduced us, “Beth, this is Sam. At some point, I’ll be sending you with her to work on what to do if you ever find yourself in the middle of a lake. You’ll learn to tread as well as other survival techniques.” I’d clearly made my “I’ll die in open water” and “I’m currently a danger to myself and others” points quite well. Go me!

So, my new thing in April? Swimming, and I’m pretty excited about it. Good thing since it’s probably my May, June, July, and every month thereafter thing. BUT, glass half-full, the weather might be cool again by the time I actually get to start rowing, and maybe my future crew will have some fun stories from their summer to share. I just hope they don’t mind me holding the team back like this. Save a taco and a story for me, ladies. I’m doing my part to keep us safe.

An Anniversary


Anniversary Card 2016

How long were you married?
Nine years.
Oh.
But we were together almost 17…
OH!

As if the length of time is a measurement of how much sympathy a person should garner. “She only knew him 1/5 of her life – one can hardly form attachments in such a short span. Oh, about 1/3 you say? How very sad. That explains the tears.”

Just a friendly reminder that when dealing with the bereaved, empathize if you can, sympathize if you’re not a sociopath and have an IQ over 30, but don’t ask how long the deceased was known. In fact, don’t ask about the relationship. Loss for a first cousin once removed may be just as sad as an aunt, a nephew, or a brother. I’ll also throw in, don’t ask how it happened, because you’re not a ghoul and this isn’t your wreck to rubber neck. You’ll know if you need to know.

This has been your latest installment of: How to Deal with Death

Today is my anniversary. My first anniversary without Jay.

Ten years ago today we were in Las Vegas – me in an overly feathered top, and Jay dressed like he walked off the set of Miami Vice. Hey, it was Vegas, baby! We’d dressed for the occasion. A few friends had joined us – Kendra, Jeff, Lynn (Ravenhex), Jen (Aunt Mahgs), Harry (Uncle Fel) and he who shall not be named out of fear of one of my guests. April had been headed that way, but the car gods were apparently angered. It was one of those beautiful and great days. A ridiculous day, as we started out at Quark’s being teased by a Klingon and were carried off to some Elvis chapel where apparently some of our other friends have been married (forget Bon Jovi – who cares? Meredith and Jerin where there once! I think Brandi and Ed were, too!).

Jay’s family weren’t told about the wedding where mine were. Jay had said he wanted to “elope”. I asked him about that decision at the time, and then later. It’s something I still don’t understand and can only offer that I think he liked the idea of “eloping” despite us having my friends there and despite my family also knowing.

Jay kept many things to himself, and he didn’t always explain himself. You just had to accept that it was a Jay thing.

Just a few thoughts I wanted to share on this day – my take away from being with Jay for nine or 17 years, depending on how you want to consider it…

Love isn’t always neat. It’s not a movie. It’s sometimes inconvenient and hard. Sometimes you have to fight for it. You have to take risks. Sometimes you have to yell when you’re being told your relationship isn’t ok in someone else’s eyes. Always keep in mind it’s not about them; it’s about the two of you. When you know it’s right, it’s something to fight for – to strive towards.

I met Jay at the worst time, but he was worth every risk I took, the sacrifices I made, and the lines in the sand I drew. He was worth every verbal scrap I got into. I knew he was the one. That he would love me absolutely despite a mountain of flaws, which he did.

Today I want to challenge you that when it comes to love take risks where you can. Remember, you only have one life. Live it deliberately. Worry less about the noise from others around you especially if they’re holding you back. You get to decide. If what you want is inconvenient for someone else, isn’t harming anyone, and they’re preventing you from moving forward, well too bad – screw them and screw that. Your life isn’t about them. Your happiness is not about them. Live for you. You only get this one life, this one shot. You are responsible for your happiness. Know and believe that you absolutely deserve to love and to be loved. Who cares what other people thing? What do you think?

Today I challenge you to love someone. Let them love you back.

Happy Anniversary to my best-friend, my love, and my favorite person. You were worth it.

(Disclaimer: Relationship risk advice excludes taking those risks with anyone who is related by blood, anyone whose spouse might have an uncontrolled anger issue and who also possesses firearms or is related to/belongs to a “club” with anyone like that (unless you can counter with court orders/law enforcement), anyone who dresses in a onesie whose last name ends (begins) in “Kim”, and anything involving animals. Basically, if you can be arrested for it, you shouldn’t do it. However, mirrors are ok. Go on and freely love yourself, you narcissistic little monkey!)

I’m Coming Out

I really hadn’t planned on coming out.  At least I hadn’t planned on doing it right away, maybe in 6 months or so, but there I was in the middle of a training session filled with colleagues, and I was glaring threateningly at one of the few people I’d mistakenly shared my secret with.  “Oh my God! She did NOT just out me in front of everyone!” screamed through my brain. I had stupidly trusted her with the information. I thought knowing might help her to realize there was at least one other person out there – a person who “got it” – a kindred spirit who also struggled as she did – something that might help her push through one more day.  And there she was loudly asking me in front of God and everyone else, “Soooo… how many laps did you do?”

“Laps?” I raised my brow, “you mean laps?” as if I’d suddenly forgotten English.

“Yeah, how many laps did YOU do?”

Oh no, she was NOT calling me out in front of a roomful of folks.  I was indignant. They weren’t supposed to know! If I’d wanted them to know, I would have made a t-shirt. I did a quick mental check to confirm I hadn’t been to CafePress recently, which meant  it wasn’t on my agenda to share that information ever.

Since she put it out there for the world, or at least these 10 people,  I’ll go ahead and tell you, too:

I go to the gym.  

I’d been going to the gym daily (or at least each workday) for about 6 weeks, and it wasn’t something I planned on advertising to anyone other than a select few.  I wanted to do my thing without discussion – without status reports, “Hey, how is the gym going? Seeing any results? How do you feel? Feel different? Feel invigorated every time you leave? Don’t you love it? I’m so proud of you!” but since she brought it up in front of everyone, I also wasn’t about to lose in front of my peers.

“Laps?” I repeated, and then I puffed up.  “I don’t DO laps, but if you want to talk about how much I lifted today or maybe how much I pressed, I’d be happy to do that.”  A quiet little  “ooo” circulated through the room.  Smackdown gym style. IN YOUR FACE! That seemed to satisfy her.  She turned around with a smile.

I was relieved that worked.  Had she taken me up on the challenge, I would have had to admit to a very unimpressive and quite wobbly 20 lb. barbell lift over my head while my trainer kept cheering, “you can do it! You got this!” My friends (you know who you are) have long admired my T-Rex like arm strength, and have long speculated on what my little arm appendages might be for – surely, not moving things bigger than cotton balls (hey, a daily face regimen is important and cotton balls aren’t as light as the little cotton ball manufacturers would lead you to believe).  The other things I pull and push may have been a little heavier, but were also equally unimpressive in the scheme of things.  Hey, I know an Olympic-style lifter/trainer.  She could do my routine with her pinky finger. (It’s a super impressive pinky finger! Fear her pinky!). In fact, when it comes to the actual weights I find it’s ok, even preferred, to have one’s glasses off. That way you’re not fighting to keep them up and you also don’t have to see how pitiful you really are – your trainer will make a note.  Thankfully, sans glasses, you also can’t see those notes.  Gyming without glasses makes you immediately stronger!

Of course, her calling me out led to that day’s class trainer making a gigantic deal about it.  “What time do you go?” 5:30 am.  “How do you find the motivation?” Ummm… the alarm won’t stop making this awful noise unless I get up.  (Although, the truth may involve Starfleet Academy and running through the Kobayashi Maru scenario or maybe it doesn’t. I’m not saying. Look, I don’t judge your motivators.  There’s also an opportunity to go to New Zealand.  Oh ok, now you’re on board? Really?  Starfleet is cool, too. Pffft.)  All of these questions (and there were many) in front of a room full of people who were suddenly very interested in a thing I didn’t want them to know about.  Thanks.  Thanks for that.

The next gym day with the trainer, “I need you to beat someone up.  That’s a thing, right?”  Apparently that’s not a thing.  Hey, it was worth a shot.

Now that you all know, I’ll share with you some of the important things I’ve learned from my trainer.  By the way, her name is Jenn and Jenn is kind of a rock star with an infinite amount of patience especially for my unending shenanigans.  She’s also a great source of Yoda-esque wisdom though she tends to run her words in the right order.

“Beth, I want you to toss that ball up in the air  like you’re throwing it behind you.  Really toss it up there.” For the record, this is a giant 10 lb. ball.  Hey, I mentioned the T-Rex thing; It’s heavy to me.
“What do I do if it’s coming down at me?”
“Oh, most people move, but if you want to take it in the face just stand there.”

Laying on a bench, “Beth, stop lifting the weights over your face.” (pause) “Not over the face, Beth.”

(I like to call this “foreshadowing” for my future accident)

“Beth, you’re not that weak.”
“Are you sure?”

“Jenn, I forgot my water bottle.”
“Well, I guess you’ll be drinking your spit today!”

These are all things  I just wouldn’t get anywhere else. (Ok, maybe from a few/all of my friends.)

Recently I asked:

“Jenn, have you ever fired a client?” (Hey, I accept I’m challenging)
“Yes”
“If you think you’re about to fire me, would you give me a hint? Like maybe say the word “Sasquatch” in the middle of a sentence?”
“HAH! Ok, but I’m not going to fire you as long as you keep trying.” (whew!)
“Deal!”

So, it looks like I’ll be at the gym a bit longer.
Just don’t ask me about it.