“Try not to offend and unnerve!”

“How can I put this in a way so as not to offend or unnerve.” Yes a Prince Song (Gett Off)

I am going to attempt to write this thought piece so I do not offend or unnerve someone. But, I am not the thought police, so in my clunky way I am sure in my attempt to articulate this and not upset someone, I can guarantee I will most definitely upset an individual. I actually may not even post it.

I would like to say firstly I am not racist, or homophobic or elitist (writing this, does this then make me all these things?). I believe in kindness and love to all. I really do not give a shit, as long as you are a good person. I also have to be honest that I am sure there are many things I do or say that are “wrong” in todays inequality era (which is much needed) I am sure I do many things like using the incorrect term, it is a minefield that is forever changing and its terrifying, because I despise making another feel inferior.

I am a white, 43 year old female, I was brought up in England (which as a country when it comes to race and equality are further ahead than America). I went to school, I was never hungry or homeless and I graduated college. I could afford to buy my first car by working 2 jobs and my parents are still together, I am straight – I am in fact a tick box of white privileges’ (a term that has been thrown at me before, as an derogatory term, by a single white male) – I understand my life has been easy, I have never experienced multiple attacks for the amount of melanin in my skin, or where I have come from, or poverty and I feel guilty, yes guilty. None of the above is my fault, my skin color, my upbringing, I was lucky, very lucky. Yes. I have to defend my upbringing not to the individuals who have never received my start in life, but other privileged white people. It is from the white people, working so hard to be correct, politically correct, to make the changes, to do the good, to fight the good fight, I get it, I welcome it. BUT, this is where I may OFFEND, what if by zeroing on what is deemed the difference, you are making the difference greater, by trying not to make it a difference you are strengthening this invisible divide, by saying I don’t see color, race, sexual orientation you are dismissing it , the thing that makes a person unique, IS them. What if we acknowledge the friend is bisexual and ask Qs, learn, love, try? What if we can joke and laugh about each other and our uniqueness. On the flip side, what if we work too hard to see it, make a VOCAL point of accepting and acknowledging, does that also make it wrong or racist, I really do not know anymore. As a kid of the 80’s life is so very different now!

I personally believe, color, race, sex, sex preference aside, we simply help those less fortunate than us. Those in poverty, the worlds greatest divide. We need to love, be kind, help, help, help, forge friendships. Yes, I admit I have never experienced true hardship, but I have been taunted and followed down the road, had fireworks set off through my letterbox due to my sex and skin color. I have had my bag snatched down a dark alley. I have been called weak due to my sex, too sensitive because of my sex. I have had my ass grabbed, been jeered and followed by men down the road in the dark. I had a “Me too’ moment.

I am now going to apologize for saying this!

Society has made me feel guilty for the lack of “bad” moments in my life. The lack of pain and poverty. I share them to say, I understand a little and it is not fucking fair that some people have a better start in life. That the world is cruel, ugly and nasty. But in amongst the forest of hurt, there are glimmers of light and hope on the horizon. See the difference, celebrate the uniqueness of each person. Love the person inside, not its shell. I have dated black men, bisexual men, straight men, I have kissed women. This is not a badge of honor, I am sure I am not formulating my point well, but I loved them, because of the person they were, how they made me feel, I saw the beauty of the soul that cared for me and loved my skinny, white ass. Am I a wrong for sharing this, I do not know anymore? I give my thoughts to say look beyond the skin, the height, the background, the sexual preference, the glasses, the hair color, dress sense, music tastes, dance moves. Love and nurture the soul lying beneath the layers of societal rules. America in particular has made this all so muddy.

I also am not writing this for some poor, confused white girl sympathy, but to formulate my feelings during an everchanging movement. I love the change, but it seems so complicated. Why can adults not look at humans like a child does, simply, open, accepting and all encompassing.

Privilege – I understand I have it, I didn’t ask for it, I do not want to apologize for it, I accept it. But, I need to use it to help others. But, I also need to know who created this, it wasn’t society, it was a higher power. What was it based on? Fear? Need? Power? Religion or all of the above. Who decided one group was better than the other and WHY ? “Stamped From the Beginning” the book by Ibram X. Kendi is a good place to start.

I will surely continue to have moments when I will apologize for my life, I will experience white guilt, I will flounder in saying the correct term, I will upset unknowingly, I will try hard to do the right thing, to say the right thing. Sadly, I can never know what it is like to be in someone else shoes, walk someone else’s life. I will never feel your struggles or pain, only my own, as we are all merely human. We are all unique packages of life, delivered on to this earth to take root and bloom. Whether it be a daisy, a oak tree, a willow, a rose, we all search for the same thing, the sun, rain, ripe earth to feed our roots. To seed and release ourselves back into the ecosystem, the ground, the soil. We can all be hurt, bleed, cry, laugh, reach for the sky and fly. In a world of individuals, I think the greatest gift I can give my boys is the ability to unite, not fight. To know there is no “NORMAL” but happiness . I always ask them, “What is normal?” who decided on those rules? Society? Religion? Pollical leaders? NO – no one, as that term is obsolete, not required, we do not need to be the same as the herd, we need to be ourselves and proud. To give the best of “us” back to others, to lift others to their dreams and fly amongst the stars searching for the magic of each other.

Unhindered by the guilt of our uniqueness or the guilt of being the same.

Hues of Blue (Poem)

Shadows flicker playfully across hues of blue,

The sun illuminates shade, the light blooms.

Scattering with abandonment, embracing the cold,

Holding to its bosom ancient stone, stark and bold.

Yielding natures crushed stories, laid bare in stone,

Revealing, seeking, creeping cracks splinter and roam.

Yearning for the rays that ignite your craggy peak.

Searching old dreams, adventures, lives lost to the winds creak.

Open and Unashamed.

As always, I will start with a caveat.

I write this piece not to generate a circle of shock, sympathy, or embarrassment. I write this to be honest. To allow people to lift their heads and look away from the shame of difficult moments in time. To know that experiences no matter how terrible, hard, or heartbreaking should not be hidden. Do not conceal emotion because it might make the other person uncomfortable. Or hide beneath its cloak of darkness, as this will only shield your light, and dull your emotions.

Experiences are factual, they happened, and it is fucking OK to share what hurt, as much as what made you smile. Life does not define you, it created you, experiences educate you on how to live, about good people and bad people.  It teaches you that you are strong, and from each uncomfortable act, a flicker of kindness can be ignited. Allowing you to reach out from under the suffocating blanket of mortification.

Most of you know my story. I have always been extremely open, probably to the chagrin of many. But it is my survival tactic, once I have voiced it, it can be looked upon, analyzed and allowed to float away. I mean, It is not like I walk up on a first meeting and say…  “Hey, I am an anorexic, I have been depressed, self-harmed blah blah blah”. NO! Shit the only person I did that with was with Kieron, as I thought he was way too nice for me and could not believe he genuinely liked me. I thought I could scare him away. Instead, he told me he loved me.

Here is my list in black and white. Know I am not ashamed, yes these things can be hard, but I also know that many people have gone through the same and hold on too tightly to a guilt that is not theirs. I know many who have been through excruciating experiences and they have survived. Like all of us with baggage, they continue to live and love their lives as best they can. Especially on the days life allows that freedom from pain.

In Chronological Order: –

~At age 6 I was abused by a man in my parents’ circle – the details are not needed, my parents now know, and are heartbroken. It is no ones fault except his. It was a long time ago, and it was from that moment life started to hit me hard. It created so much pain that I have diligently had to work through. I acknowledged it in my 40s with the help of a Psychologist, and then a heavy wave of relief flooded through because everything now made sense. I am not ashamed, I was angry for long time and I cried a lot, but this was not my fault.

~Therefore, at age 9 I developed a severe eating disorder. This is why I purposely hurt my body, this is why men frightened me, this is why I was in and out of hospital, this is why I was 2 weeks from death at age 10 (malnutrition) this is why I was told to stop running, and this is why I do not like my body. But I am not ashamed, I know exactly what I am.

~I had a “Me Too” moment. As a female I know most of us have.  I am not ashamed.

~I do not like my body. I am like a spider, I have no breasts. I have learnt to understand and appreciate my body. It does not mean I think it is pretty.

~I was told when I was age 12, I could not have children. But with time, hard work (on myself) to get to a good weight, at age 30 I had my first period; yes, my first. I went on to have 3 beautiful boys. My body is now a machine to me, but it is amazing, if defied the odds, my hatred, and gave birth to life. I am not ashamed.

I lost a baby. This broke my heart and it still hurts today. It was extremely early in my pregnancy, but it hurt, it hurt so much, I felt like my body had let that sweet baby down. I am not ashamed; we do not talk about this ENOUGH as women!

I developed crippling anxiety at age 34, I had panic attacks often and they were not rational. Each day I woke up thinking I would die from a heart attack, or a meteor would wipe out the world, we would die on a plane, in a car, I struggled to do anything. The boys have seen me collapse in a ball crying, Kieron has had to listen and try to understand why I rushed myself to ER when I thought I was dying. This is where my running has helped, my anxiety improved with my discovery of abuse, this is not my fault. Medication and hard, fucking hard exercise have been a life changer. I still suffer today and that is OK.

I have been taking Prozac since I was 10 and I have seen multiple Psychologists. – I am not ashamed

I AM NOT ASHAMED, and I will NOT apologize for writing this.

This is me. I feel that people who go through this and more have something to give back. They have a light you must see, they have a light to share, they understand people, they are there to hug you hard when you hurt, to listen to you when you are sad. Because they know. They are not weird, broken, or damaged goods. It is those cracks that let you SEE THEM, to see their heart. They can help you; they can love you “right” if you let them, do not turn your back or hide, they will never judge you.

We need to talk about all these topics and more, so much more than this tiny list. People are out there being hurt, discarded, and forgotten every second of every day. Open you heart, your arms and experience and tell them – “Please do not be ashamed, I understand, and I am here for you”.

Run, Release, Reflect

Recently when running with a good friend of mine, we got to discussing the reasons of why we run. I also have to say that this is a person who makes me think beyond my day to day. When I am with them, I formulate questions and answers with a deliberate, careful thought. The question of, “Why do I run?”, actually brought tears to my eyes, tears I quickly brushed away. As I thought about it, my 43 year self-melted to the floor, and my 10-year-old self stood there in its place, wide eyed, expectant, and open. Open to the core feeling of why I ran then, and accepting it is the same reason to why I run now.

I distinctly remember the feeling of running as child. I ran to feel reckless, out of control and wild, there was no agenda. The main goal unbeknownst to me was to express my uninhibited adulation for nature and being alive, no constraints, no rules needed. As a 43 year old I still do the same, I’ll run down a trail with my arms stretched wide, chest open and head thrown back hollering with delight (you may be pleased to know this only occurs in my solitary moments), just me, the earth, the sky and whatever creature that peeps its head up to watch a wildling tumble by.

If you look around, there are many people who train to be competitive and that is their number one goal. Do not get me wrong I am as competitive as the next person, I am an Aries after all, not that that is an excuse for my unashamed competitiveness. But really, why do I run?

I gave it some careful consideration. I run to be open, in general I am a very honest and raw person. I mean I have had to be, otherwise the darkness of a time gone past would have crushed me. I run to be excited. I run to feel the adrenaline high. I run with my inside on the outside. I run for the caress of the wind on my face, the coolness of sweat on my skin, the elongation of my limbs, the expansion of every tangible part of my body. I am free yet grounded. I am like a bird, but a rooted tree, all at the same time. The energy feels all-consuming and warm in my chest, it fills me up and explodes. My deepest feelings can rise upwards to the sun and pour forth, spilling out as I pound past. I cannot count the times a feeling I had thought was so hidden away from years past bubble up and caused me to cry out. To openly sob as I move with abandonment, running to nowhere, but running to everywhere. The release is cathartic, welcome, and needed.

Yes, I train to be competitive, but I run to be unfettered, rough around the edges, reflective, and honest. To be unshackled from the constraints of my life, uninhibited for a fleeting moment. I run to feel my life, feel nature, accept my life, to understand and learn to love who I am. To give my true self to others. To run is to allow myself the moment to feel my emotions, to hurt and not be ashamed of them or myself. 

I run because I love to run.


That beautiful face creased with a grin. Oh how I miss thee oh bountiful smile (yes I love Shakespeare). Shrouded by cotton, the mask that hides a million beams. I yearn for the eye cease paired with a lip lift, a teeth glint and merriment in the pupils. I long to see a whole face with all its nooks and crannies. Cheeks I can see turn into apples with mirth. A cheek, a brow I can caress softly, if it is allowed. Those lips I could kiss, if I would choose and it welcomed. Oh if they were not so abruptly hidden from my view. The proud chin and noble nose swaddled from a worlds welcoming horizon.

The smile is what I yearn to see,

Encouraging heart ache and angst to flee.

A crinkle of nose, a crease of lip,

Can make my cold heart flip.

The lightness of the face,

When the teeth are given space .

To grin at you with such cheer,

Oh that sweet smile, how I miss you dear.

Love Kelly

The Kids are Alright!

Yes, that is a quote from “The Who”

It has been a long, yet weirdly short eight months.

Eight months ago, in a land far, far away (come on, we all love a good fairytale! No?). The Joy family ventures off merrily, on their much anticipated Spring break jaunt. Skiing. Snowmass, Colorado, here we come!

Then BOOM Coronavirus hits, as our esteemed President likes to call it “The flu from Chi – Na” (I still crack up when I hear him say this word!). We finish our week skiing – Snowmass shuts down. We spend a weekend in Boulder, restaurants shut down, we have to queue to get into Wholefoods, but then I feel like that store does love to make you feel slightly unworthy of shopping there. Toilet roll – SOLD OUT, Sanitizer – SOLD OUT, any semblance of liquid soap – bloody SOLD OUT. Finally the axe fell, schools closed their doors, and we were banished to our basements. Sitting in the gloom, bathed in the deathly glow of a subpar laptop and harangued by a wealth of teachers. Who really had no fucking idea what they were doing (no criticism intended) just stating facts.

AND there we all were festering. One overwhelmed, anxiety driven mother; I seriously thought we were all going to perish on a daily basis. A “at home” working husband who is always on an important call and then add three small dragons (boys) lost in the ether, breathing fire at us all. EEEKKK

Spring Break was looooonnggg.

Time marched on and we have had to all learn to be together and let me tell you that this is by no means easy. Ummm I like my own space, I like to not be constantly watched, asked for 30 million snacks, water, toilet roll etc etc. I do not want to be responsible for trying to keep the kids online and on top of that actually learning. All I wanted to do, was to let them swim and watch old movies, if only if it was to experience a little peace.

We had screaming matches and fist fights (kids). Blood was spilled, furniture broken, glasses smashed and usually over the minor fact that someone had tapped their fingers a little too long. We have learnt to be tolerant of each other’s annoying habits – OR NOT, mainly NOT. I spent my days trying to keep them quiet, while daddy held down a job. Then, if that was not hard enough, we decided to just pick up and move all of us from Florida to Colorado. That was clearly not easy or stress free – online schooling came in handy then.

I had to manage tiny people melt downs, from missing friends, hating the “Corona”, wanting to be at school, we have copious amounts of anger and laughter. I have been told daily that I am hated, just for enforcing a rule, which ultimately will make us all better people, or I may have just asked for a small person to help mama and empty the dishwasher. This enforced eight months in each other’s pockets has opened my eyes up to the fact, that the kids truly think I am the dumbest person in the room, that I know nothing and I have been nowhere. When in fact, beneath this dippy looking exterior of mine I am the ONLY person in the room (remember my kids are all boys of ages 11, 8 and 5) who has a upper class degree in Sports Science, was in the academic top 10% of kids at high school and travelled the world in her 20’s. But still to these three boys I know nothing. Deep breath Kelly, calm and collected… Be nice, be nice I tell you woman.

The months drag on/fly by and the kids are still home, still no school. My house looks like an elephant has stampeded through, I have mountains of washing tall enough to rival Mount Washington, I have given up on homemade food, my hair looks like a birds nest and I have aged at least 10 years. Seriously, no judgement please, or at least silently in your head.

Tick, tock, tick, tock ……. Another month trips by, summer in COVID passes, vacations are cancelled, family is missed. Yet, new adventures and friends are made.

Then on one glorious sunny Colorado day, announcements are made – THE KIDS CAN GO BACK TO SCHOOL. My heart lifts, the kids scream for joy and they are all rapidly booked for a haircut, as I am currently in possession of three very shaggy bears.

Our freedom is returning, we can all start to stretch our wings and break free from our family nucleus. As much as I have been extremely worried about the children, we have all learnt so much, yes even dumb mummy and we all know how stupid she is. 🙂 We have learnt to be –

Tolerant of each other.

To care for each other always.

That we all love to watch 1000 repeats of “Jessie” and the “Simpsons”!

That you can truly never have enough ice cream.

That the impact of an action has a profound effect on the group, good or bad.

That we genuinely love each other.

On that note my eldest (who is in school two days a week) has just come out to inform me, that there has been 340 days of Coronavirus thus far.

So, after eight months at home together we are relishing our time apart. You see, my friends do not think I am an idiot (I hope not). Everyday I am living, loving and relishing, as we all know this could all change tomorrow. With another lock down, another spike, and we are thrown back together. These eight months have also taught me that my kids are alright, I am alright. That with all that can be taken away, we can still love each other, hug, be silly, dance wildly and learn to be silent, together.

I have to admit there had been a high chance of serious injury and maiming with my crazy kids all together, but they are definitely ALRIGHT!

Love hard, live with ferocity, care for others, laugh a lot, adventure with intention, be silly, hug when you can and always, always be kind.

And you will be just fine.

Love dumb mummy. ( I think that upset me you know 🙂 )

The Run

6am, a Fall morning, deep breath in, blown out and a mist obscures my eyes. Headphones rammed in, house music selected on my old iPod – click, clip and the club sounds of 1995 flood my ears. Swig of water and bottle thrown into the car, beep beep, car is locked. Hat pulled down, heart rate monitor adjusted around my chest; headlamp switched on, and its sickly light seeps across the gloom of a creeping dawn. Watch clicked on, it lights up, Select – “RUN”, click.

The darkness envelopes me and I strike off into the black. Leg strides out, foot hits the ground, crunch. Breath flows in, breath hisses out, crunch, arm pendulums back from my shoulder, it drives forward again, foot crunch. The icy breeze bites my skin, crunch. I glide through the ink, tinges of orange crinkle around its edge, illuminating the horizon, as the sun starts its climb.

My pace quickens, my breath in synch, the first tendrils of sweat bead across my brow and back. Feet snap out and back, thigh muscles tense and relax in relay with my calves, they are in motion and free. Crunch, I hit the trail, crackle I hit the leaves. Surging deeper into the morning light, I can now see the trees, as they come into focus and glow gold, the sun seeping through their branches. Miles tick by, 1, 2, 3, 4 …… The rhythm is soothing, seducing my frenetic mind, it falls silent. All I hear is my breath coming thick and fast, in time to the building music in my ears. I feel calm, connected and at one for a fleeting moment with my consciousness, my body and nature. It feels easy and natural and exactly where I should be. ALWAYS. The adrenaline is hitting my system and I am rising up out of my body and I float above the effort, I drive even harder, miles 5,6,7,8, at times I want to hurt, I want to blast every ounce of energy and give it to my body and let it flood around me, seeping into the earth, feeding the trees and plants and absorbed by the light, ready to cycle back around when I need it most. Water starts to run down my back, my chest, my head, collecting in the creases of my joints, pooling until it flies to the floor from exertion, my shirt is stuck to me, crushing me, as I force the last filaments of energy out. Miles 9, 10, 11 I am almost running “all out”, I check back that last 10%, stride, thump, crunch, swing, breath, drip, 1995 boom boom boom, My heart is racing, my shoulders start to ache, the pain in my legs heats up. Mile 12, time to put it all out, every fiber screams, the warmth is almost unbearable, the fog descends, a metallic taste rises in my mouth, my blood rushes in my ears, suffocating the crescendo of the happy hardcore sounds competing for my attention. Tick tick tick the meters on my watch count down, 800m to go, 400m to go 200m. Kelly run, run hard, sprint if you can, until NOTHINGNESS, click, 12 miles. STOP.

I slump, hands pressing hard on my knees I am breathing with such force, it is painful. The morning has risen to warm my already steaming back, licking away the sweat as it drives from my skin through my shirt and tumbles to the floor, drip drip drip. My heart starts to slow and the metallic taste in my mouth subsides, my eyes clear, and I whisper “fuck” under my breath. The noise in my muscles dies away and I stand up straight. The night has faded and a new day has begun. Other runners have emerged from their nightly hibernation and are tripping past me in groups of 2s and 3s, chatting merrily to the awakening birds.

Click – my headlamp is off, click 1995 disappears, click I open the car door. My day begins.

Truth of a child.

I have no grand notion of making this piece long and full of empty, laborious words. It does not need flowery sentences or elongated wordage. It is the “truth” in its blatant and short honesty.

For most of my life I have had a weight in my chest, it is the burden of an unknown knowledge, the heaviness of the past, that when ignored, it drowned me, suffocating the life from my lungs, stripping the flesh from my bones trying to scrape out all that my body knew. Then one day 18 months ago I walked in to ANOTHER shrinks office, looking for an answer to something I knew the answer to . My question was, do I too have high functioning autism, like my son, am I the cause of his brain makeup? Is it my fault? What I was truly looking for, was a person who would not look to fix my symptoms of mental distress, but to look deeply in to the WHY I have them.

Instead I came out with the truth. The truth I had always felt. It was standing ominously in the fore, glaringly bright in all its glorified awfulness, I was no longer able to hide. The crevasse was open and it was vomiting over everything I thought to be true.

I have struggled with the, “should I share, should I hide it” dilemma. But that is what I have being doing all my life and it ate me up. It literally festered in my cerebral cortex and stopped my ability to eat, it created a self loathing of my body so harsh, I denied it food and wanted to destroy the memories it secretly held. It gave me nightmares, that I would wake up from screaming in fear and not knowing why. I would jump if someone touched me, I developed anxieties and fears never known before and I did not know why. I was scrabbling for control. I was labelled mentally unstable, the kid with mental issues, the weirdo, skinny kid, the loner. My heart and soul shrouded by the thin shell of an emaciated child, so delicate she could shatter at any moment and that is exactly what I wanted to do. Shatter all over the floor and be swept away. But did I? No, I was resilient. I was, unbeknownst to me, fighting and I was fighting hard to stand back up and be Kelly.

I will not write down the raw images in my head, that always sit on the periphery, to creep in and shock when I am feeling vulnerable. You the reader do not need to know details. You just need to know the truth and that it is ok to share. Because, to share is to reveal, to bring the dark into the light and expose it. To reveal all its ugly. We can unite, love and move up and away from what holds us captive. Lifting up, supporting, cradling, caring for each other.

I am crying

I feel sick

I am acknowledging

When I was about 6 years old, a dark, odious man, an adult I knew, took away something from me that was not his. A room with no light, unable to breathe, my head in a flowery counterpane. Crushing me, suffocating me and then darkness,. The rest became a shadow, a reaction of my skin.

All that was left were nightmares. I did not know where they had come from, my brain shut down and I retreated inward. That was how I was to stay, until I walked into that sunny office age 41 looking for something else.

The thing is, when I finally let that door open and everything wash out, I could see, I could see me at 6, I could feel met at 6. The thick sludge of disgust oozing out on to the floor, I could look at it, I could hate him, I could stop hating myself. You know what the hardest thing has been all my life? It has been the not knowing WHY I am the way I am. Why I am unemotional and unfeeling to any intimacy. I am not a nut job, or weird. I was created, created by someone who took away my control and my right to say NO.

After the days of aftermath pain, crying and anger had washed away, all that was left was relief, relief it was not my fault. Everyone looked at me when I was a child as if I were broken. Yes I was broken, but that was when I was enduring something I had hidden, Now it was there, in all its terrible reality, stretching its arms towards me, as I looked at it, acknowledged it and at age 41 I finally walked away.

The weight was gone. That guilt did not belong to me.

When I was 6, I was sexually assaulted, there I have said it through tears and relief that I have given it to the air. I have voiced its pain and am now old enough to say that I am ok and I am worthy and good and you can love me and I deserve it.

When he took me away in that dark room, he inadvertently gave me a strength, a resilience to push through hurt and pain. It became a part of life, I chased it, I stopped eating, I would punch my stomach, scratch me arms, I developed an anxiety that locked me in a fog of fear. I drank too much and would fall over, I dabbled with drugs. I was hiding and I was destructive. I met Kieron and he saved me, he taught me that I could be loved, that he loved me for all that I was, and he waited for me. I discovered running, I could release, I could chase the pain and create it, by running far, fast and long. The feeling of exhaustion fed my need to hurt in a healthier way. The world became less heavy, the sun shone again.

I have written this, as it is time, time to let people know, to allow people in, allow them to share their story and know I will not judge them, but love them ever more.

I used to recite this poems verse in my head when I was sad as a child. If I could not lie in the grass with the breeze in my hair, smelling the earthiness of the ground and watching clouds zip across the sky, I would recite Wordsworth to calm me.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud – William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I leave you with this – please don’t feel sorry for me ever, I do not need it, I am well and happy. Please just look to care for others. Please protect and fight for the quiet, lonely wanderers because we really need you to see us.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
― William Wordsworth

Love Kelly

Cary Edwards – Heart Runner

“I never regret a run. Every run is a positive. It is a fresh start to my day”

“Go big or go home, moderation does not work for me.”

Cary Edwards and I chat over the phone. To be honest we chat on the phone most days. She is my running sister, my confidant, my therapist and she will laugh at my jokes. Cary Edwards is a ball of energy, with a smile that is infectious, a ballsy laugh that can warm the coldest of souls and she will always make a friend at every race she runs. With her dark hair swinging, fierce determination plastered across her face and her decisive, practiced stride, she truly is a running force and man that girl can bust out speed when she wants to.

At 46 years old (she does not look it) Cary has achieved a lot, run a lot, and cycled a fair amount. Cary has run track (she was a sprinter), X country, marathons, she has played competitive tennis, long jumped for the high school team, completed Iron Mans, can ski, water ski and in 8th grade competed in the Junior Olympics; yes people, the Olympics. She ran in the 4×100 relay. Phew, that woman has done A LOT.

As a person, Cary is open, raw, bright, and intelligent. Everything she does is with an honesty and gusto that is refreshing in an age where people like to hide in groups and behind social media. Basically, if Cary Edwards likes you, then you have a loyal friend for life.

Born in Austin, TX, a single child residing in a small, countryside town, Cary’s sole companion was her pet goat (yes I did say goat) called Pinto Bean. Who she swears would bleat her name, “CAAARRRYYYYYYY” (now read that in the voice of a goat, I amused myself, it sounds pretty good, give it a try). Pinto Bean liked to run. Cary goes on to explain that to catch the bus to school it was 2 miles to the Highway and then 2 miles back. So, to save time Cary would run, Pinto Bean would run with her. She would like to run fast, Pinto Bean liked to run fast. They would run as fast as they could, and Cary’s running days began, at the ripe old age of 12.

As an aside, the “running to the road” and the “goat running” remind me of two books, one I have read and the other to read.

Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed, by Matthew Futterman

Bill Larsen, the main protagonist of the book, learnt to run by running on his farm and to catch the school bus at the road. – Just like Cary Edwards.

Also, Pinto Bean, the goat that loved to run, reminds me of a book by Christopher McDougall (of Born to Run fame) called Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero. Yes, I know it is a donkey, but a donkey that runs with people, just like sweet Pinto, the perfect companion to a probably sometimes lonely child, living in the middle of nowhere.

Both books are available on Amazon.

But I digress. On with young Cary. Now she is running, and she hits the X – Country team in middle school, track and field and is the 3rd leg of the 4 x 100 team that gets to the Junior Olympics in California. Sprints are her love and forte and as she gets to high school, those quick legs are eating up the 100m/200m/400m and 4 x 400m relay distances. That explosive power is also making its way to propel Cary in the long jump.

“I was always very loud on the track, I have always landed on my heels and even in my spikes you could hear me coming, I sounded like an elephant.” Cary chuckles. “I loved the rush of sprinting, I still do. I have always been competitive and if someone is in front of me, I will chase them down.”

Life moves on and Cary is still running. In college, where she is studying biology and nursing (Cary is a nurse practitioner by trade), she takes a job as a lifeguard at a country club and she starts to swim recreationally. Which also keeps her safe when she fell in love with water skiing. Not something you would imagine Cary doing, which reveals her sense of adventure and mental strength to push boundaries.

After running her first marathon in Austin, in 1996 at the age of 23, with a drive to achieve, the natural progression seems to be the Triathlon. But what about the bike? AHA but this gritty, I will have a go human, is also mountain biking, thanks to an old boyfriend. Although, she had a habit of flying off her bike.

It is around 1998, Cary is in her mid-20s, she enters her first Tri, Olympic distance, to help a friend in Denver, CO. In her own words “WORST RACE EVER!?!?” On her old mountain bike, with no bike training, no wetsuit; the water was freezing, no bike shorts or water bottle cage, I mean what could go wrong? She finishes the race, thirsty, sore, and freezing and that was it for the triathlon until she met her current coach, Aubrey Aldy from All Day Endurance. Where she went on to do a ½ Ironman in 2018, driven by a back injury and the need to do cross training.

I could sit here and run through everything Cary has run, jumped, swam, and biked. I mean she has run around eight marathons, run 5Ks, 10Ks, ½ marathons, a fifty miler, she has run Boston, which is no mean feat.  But WHY does she do this and after 34 years, why does she keep striving to achieve. What is running to her?

The thing that has always struck me about Cary is her heart and her capacity to care for others, I mean she is a Nurse Practitioner after all. Her ability to run in any situation and still manage to make time for others. For example, in her fastest marathon (which was a Boston Qualifier) she stopped to give a lady who was struggling some of her base salt; can you imagine what her time would have been?  One year in the Naples half marathon, she assisted in helping a man who was having a heart attack; he survived. Whenever she runs, she comes back with a friend, but as much as she gives herself to others, what does running give back to her?

“I run for myself, it helps with my anxiety, it creates time for ME. It gives me a forum to feel balanced, physically, and mentally. It is my natural Prozac. It puts my problems into digestible bites and at the end of every run, it is like being given a fresh start to my day. I love the process, I love training, the accountability it gives, the sociability of the run”. The “process” of the run, over the years has guided Cary to figure out who she is. Morphing from the little girl running to the highway, with a goat by her side, to the woman who continues to drive and strive forward and be the best she can. Like us all, Cary feels unsettled if she has no race to train for. It helps us to dial in our training and to justify having a coach. Cary runs with Aubrey Aldy and he is an especially important element in her life. He is a person she can check in with and be accountable to. He keeps her injury free. “Aubrey helps to keep me running as I grow older and my family likes it because happy momma, happy family”.

Cary’s 5-year plan in running and life.

When a person has already accomplished so much, what is next? As we get older, we do slow down, we can get injured and we have lived many dreams. But it is OK to have new ones, to reach for new goals and to power onward and upward. So, what is next for Cary? She reveals that she would still love to try and PR in the marathon, ½ marathon and maybe a 10K. Additionally, run more interesting races like the Leadville Marathon, to experience something challenging and new. “Life” she says, “is best lived one race at a time”. Maybe she will go back and do another triathlon, as she did love that process, take up trail running, maybe biking. Who knows?

In life she is studying and working on opening her own functional medicine practice, maybe move to a cooler climate, like Montana, Idaho, or Colorado.

What I do know about Cary is, whatever she does next, it will be pursued with her heart open, ready to receive what nature throws at her. She will strive to do better, be better, love harder, work harder, run strong, run with abandonment, run as fast as she can. Just like the little girl and her pet goat Pinto Bean, with the wind in her hair and letting the freedom her legs provide wash over her and drive her demons into the dust. Keep running, keep loving and keep caring, as Cary, after all, is her name.  

Cary Stats

  • Favorite race – Leadville Marathon – Why? Because it was beautiful, scenic, new, and different. No pressure to perform as all ran at altitude.
  • Fueling – Honey Stingers, Tailwind. “However I am still searching for the perfect nutrition”.
  • Favorite Sneaker – A combination of the New Balance 1080 Fresh foam, mixed with the Altra Torin 4.0 plush.
  • Runner Quirks – I get up 3 hours before a race to have my coffee and pre – race meal and I always pray.
  • Runner Superstitions – I visualize an ugly thing on my shoulder (this is my negative thought) and I flick it away. I also like to Sharpie 413 on my arm to remind myself I am not fragile. 4:13, Philippians “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
  • Inspiration – “My Kids, if they can get up to swim in cold water super early every day, I can get my ass out of bed to run. Also, my friend Bob, who has been through so much and still gets out to run and that helps me to want to keep going”.
  • Things people do not know about me – Cary can speak Spanish. She was taught some Spanish by her Grandmother who helped raise her. Which she leant from her Mexican husband, Cary’s grandfather, whom sadly she never met.  I am her friend and I never knew that.


What does it mean to be happy? What does it feel like? What is the physiological response to feeling happy? So many questions. In the dictionary it means :-

Definition of happiness

a: a state of well-being and contentment JOY

b: a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

For example it brings me great Joy that Joy is actually my surname (last name)

Even the word H A P P Y makes me smile. Despite that, I do have a huge issue with happiness, and it is not with the warm, fuzzy, nurtured state we experience. But that society seems to expect that we should be ‘happy’ ALL the DAMN TIME. To say otherwise is a social hand grenade, that will surely make you an outsider.

For example, lets say a friend comes up and says :-

“Hey, how are you? or “Are you happy?” They are probably just feigning interest in your well being, which ultimately makes them feel good, or they are using it as an opener to a conversation. Let me caveat now, that I do know that this will not always be the case. In short the acquaintance will expect you to say “yes” or “I’m good” but what if you go “well, no actually I am having a really bad day”, or “I feel awful and sad and I cannot stop crying. ” Now, that throws a spanner in the works and the friend, colleague, acquaintance, family member have to actually show up and either care for you or cringe in the shadows wishing that the rawness of your reality will disappear.

Why is it assumed that we have to be happy and content all the time? We cannot truly enjoy, accept and relish in happiness if we have not felt the sadness, the discontentment of life, real life at times. Have we not all experienced heart break, loss, hate, discontent, a harsh word, mental abuse, physical abuse? Yes? No? These things do not evoke the feeling of happiness or a warm fuzzy feeling, it will not envelope your body and fold you in the arms of bliss. No – It hurts, it makes you weep, it can make you angry, your heart may ache in sorrow and may never fully heal. It is from these moments of night that a light can break through, it enables a person to see the beauty in the ugly and rise above the discord, a goodness can filter in. The touch of a lovers hand, a letter from a friend, a child’s cheek against your own, the sun on your face, a cool breeze in your hair, the view from a mountain top, a promotion, a call from a family member, diving into a pool, running through a field of grass. And it is from those sweet, miniature moments that happiness blooms spreading internally and externally, a pure, honest, golden haze of joy.

The world is built on equilibrium, each and every feeling, action and thought has an equal and opposite. Harmony is built on opposites, without experiencing one we cannot embrace or understand the other.

To feel happiness is the ability to also feel and appreciate sadness. To love someone gives us the ability to experience loss. To live life, makes us appreciate how it will be to experience death. In my heart of course I want to feel happy, I want you to feel bliss. Yet, there is something so honest, liberating and open about feeling, accepting and appreciating what it is, to be sad. I appreciate it when someone is open and expresses their pain, it is brave and strong and is truly living life to its fullest. I learnt from a very young age that to live my life with emotion was freeing, to allow people to see it, was honest, and I was not lying about who I am. It also gives me the super power to be truly and unashamedly feel HAPPY.

So the next time you ask someone “How are you? or Are you happy?”, please be open to the fact they may not be and really need to share. Embrace their pain, see their pain and allow them to feel and help to put them back on the path towards JOY.

Love Kelly