Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brother/Sisterly Love

Family is probably the single, most important thing to me. It involves a lot of love-hate relationships, sure. But at the end of the day, it’s my family who I can count on to be there for me- sharing in my success and pulling me through disappointments. It is strange to think that I have hardly mentioned my family at all in this blog, seeing as I do hold them in such high regard. I have no idea what a normal family looks like, but if I had to guess, mine isn’t one of them. I’ve never known the reality of the white-picket-fence-lifestyle that the “American Dream” promises. Instead, I’ve known something so much better. It’s dysfunction at its very best. I think it is so crazy how different, yet surprisingly similar members within a family can be. Tonight, I want to talk about my siblings. I have 4 siblings; two brothers and two sisters. Each of us has our own personality type and disposition which sets us apart from each other. Yet, we have this same underlying competitive, aggressive drive that unites us.

The oldest, KateSpade, is an ambitious, high-maintenance lawyer living in Florida. She is the only one of my siblings that has ever really left “the nest” (as the rest of us have preferred to stay closer to home). She knows what she wants, when she wants it and basically demands that it be done that way. She is a girly-girl by nature, loves being spoiled and pampered, and is always dressed to impress- completing every outfit unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. She is probably my most favorite person to make laugh. She finds me to be completely ridiculous- which I probably am when I am around her simply because I do love listen to her laugh at me. KateSpade is someone that will argue with you about anything simply because she knows she can beat you. And I mean that in the very best way, as I probably share this trait. She is sharp and quick. Yet, at the same time she is outrageously ditsy and even sometimes outlandish in terms of her overall expectations. I don’t get to see her or even know her as well as I’d like, but hope she will someday move home- maybe one day even open a law firm with me, if I’m lucky.  

Next, is Lil’ J who is probably my best friend and is the most devoted, hard-working person I know. It’s really hard for me to really put J into words because she is probably the most influential person in my life. She owns her own company and is a ball-buster if I have ever seen one. She’s very different from KateSpade- low maintenance, independent, and a definite guy’s girl. At work, she is a woman in a man’s world and earns every bit of the respect that she deserves. Outside of work, she is an animal lover at the very core. She rides her horse, what seems like every day of the week. And her dog, Oliver, who is the best dog on the planet, is like her child. She is a woman they write country songs about- she will pick up a stray dog off the street no questions asked. It may be this same instinct which caused her to take me in and allow me to live with her for the past three years. I have no idea where I would be without Lil’ J. She has been like a mother to me. She knows me better than anyone and of all the people in my life, she is probably the one person I am afraid of disappointing the most. Like I said, I do things on my own terms in my own time, and she has always respected that, just supporting me and encouraging me along the way. When I have struggled, she is the one person I have been able to depend on to lift me up. I can be the most honest with her because I know that she will always give me honest and loving advice.

My brother, Brosopher , is actually my twin brother. Our birthday, however, might be the only thing we share in common. We are complete and total opposites. Brosopher is the president of his fraternity, an accounting major, and can sweet talk you into believing anything. Growing up, I always liked to call him Eddy Haskell. Things just seem to come easy for him. I think some people would call him a little self-absorbed, as he never misses an opportunity to flex his muscles in the mirror; and well I guess I might too if I had 0% body fat. He can eat whatever he wants and never gain a pound. Brosopher is a lady’s man and a charmer but always a little sly too. He can walk into a room and people just seem to notice him; it doesn’t take much effort for him to grab the attention in a room.  As competitive as my family is, I think that’s the one thing I have always resented about him. While I can grab the attention of an audience, it usually requires me to do somewhat of a juggling act, where for him, he just has to smile and wink at you. He will be successful simply because he has this aura about him. As he always say, “he can sell a popsicle to a woman in white gloves.” We’ve have our differences, but I found that when I need someone to turn to he’s there for me. One similarity of ours is that we love our family.

Lastly, is my “little” brother T-bone who is by far one of the most impressive people I know. He has a level of discipline that is unsurpassed by most. We used to tease him growing up because once the guy had his mind set on something, he never let it go. If he wanted something, he didn’t stop until he got it. I used to think it was spoiled, baby-of-the-family syndrome until he grew up and had the same mindset when it came to life. Like me, he finds passion in a few things and is able to completely give himself over to those passions. T-bone’s biggest passion is football. About seven years ago, he decided that he wanted to be the best football player he could be. Since that day, the man hasn’t touched a piece of sugar; he toned up and became a boss-man on the field and in the classroom. I don’t know what else to say except that he is just impressive. He has this somewhat quiet way about him if you don't take the time to get to know him. Normally I am the one that likes to be the jokester and the center of the comedic circle, but T-bone is the one person that can get me to just totally shut up and laugh. I’ll admit he makes me pee my pants. I have this special relationship with him where we just kind of understand each other. He is similar to me in a lot of ways. He does things on his own terms, in his own time and I think that’s where we have a deeper respect for each other.

I wanted to write this post about my siblings because I think that they have a huge impact on who I am. It’s funny but as I wrote this, I could see a little bit of myself in each of their descriptions.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For the Love of Running

I have never been much of a runner; a sprinter in my high school basketball days maybe, but distance running has always pressured my usual laid back disposition into one of anxiety and stress. Maybe it’s different for track stars, but for me, running was always attached to this idea of punishment and pain. Athletics have always made it a task against time; forcing me to race for playing time and water breaks. I never understood how people could just go running for “fun.” Any running I did was purely for training purposes and getting into shape for season.

As a field hockey goalie, for years, I spent several hours a day jumping into the splits and manipulating my body into positions that, well, literally tore my hips. These tears made the repetitive motion of running excruciating.  It turns out; I spent the majority of my college career running on torn hips. The more miles I ran, the worse it got. If you can imagine the feeling, you'll understand how much I hated running; I mean I really hated it. I loathed even the idea.  I stuck to my strengths and busted my ass in the weight room, as that seemed to be the only way to keep my coaches off my back. All that time, I didn’t know my hips were tearing. All I knew was that running made me hurt so bad that I would spend hours afterward, curled up in the fetal position for relief. My trainers told me that there was nothing wrong with me; having never ordered a single test, they cheaply sent me to physical therapy. However, I knew that the pain wasn’t simply, and I quote, “in my head.” I sought out a hip specialist who determined that I did indeed have a torn labrum due to pincer impingement. This basically meant that as I ran, the ball of my hip joint would knock up against the back of the socket, scraping away the cartilage. I had hip surgery on 1-11-11, which included, chondroplasty, labral/cartilage debridement and osteoplasty to repair my left hip and give my right hip time to heal on its own.

Considering it was surgery, I had a great experience. I was walking within days and back to work in a matter of a few weeks. My doctor said that he had never seen anything like it, in terms of how fast I healed. After a few months of rehabilitation, I started being able to really run, at first only about a few laps at a time. Since about October, I’ve been running off the weight I gained, trying to get back into the groove of actually being able to run pain-free and working towards being able to run for miles.  

I have been enjoying my evening runs for a while now, gaining a bit of understanding with each run that it can be something more than a race for time, but rather something that I can do for me; something pleasurable. I went for a run tonight, and I had this epiphany of sorts; there are very few acts that really create a perfect rhythm with everything. Tonight, it dawned on me just how poetic running is. I think it is the poetic nature of this act that I always missed out on; I never understood the love of running until tonight when I really paid attention to everything that was happening, and it all happens at once.

As I laced up my tennis shoes and turn my Pandora App to Eric Church radio, I was ready for just another run. Except tonight wasn’t just another run; I created a work of art. The night and the music and my body seemed to just flow together like lovers. The air was warm, yet soft, as my skin broke through. Each evenly paced stride seemed to create a perfect rhythm which mimicked the tempo of the music exquisitely. As I danced through the cracks in the pavement, my feet never held a place long enough to make an impression. I felt almost naked as my self-made breeze cooled the sweat on my arms and my chest. My hair tickled the base of my neck as my ponytail bounced in unison with my movement.  I could feel the power of my legs, propelling me up each hill where the stars seemed to literally touch down at the peaks. At the top, I let momentum carry me downwards with ease. Not sure if I was running away from something or towards another, my feet continued to chase my shadow. I felt nothing but ecstasy as the endorphins pumped through my body. Not wanting it to stop, I continued to run farther and farther from home, knowing it would take me just as long if I ever decided to go back. Considering it was an act I had completed before a thousand times, it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It was a complete high, so much so that I am afraid now that I created an addict. Coming down from that high, it makes me sad to think I have missed out on that feeling for all this time.  


If you are interested in more information about my hip surgery and the whole process, you can watch this video that will show you exactly what I had done: