Love on the Long Run

Where friendships are made and social barriers fade!

Today I am here as an observer, I am not here to put the world to rights, or solve your latest problem, that is what the “Long Run” is for.

The Long Run – from this moment forward will affectionately be called the LR, is generally a run that is over 60 minutes and essentially it has no limits in length, I have LR anywhere from 9 miles up to 32 miles depending on time and race training for. So, it is ALOT of time either on your own or with a group.

Regarding my running, it is where I have met in recent years the majority of my close friends. A 2-hour run could genuinely equate to 2 months’ work of regular hanging out, I am not sure why? Maybe it is the intensity of the work you are doing, the heightened serotonin, or you just talk a shit ton to fill time? Maybe, you just feel safe, as here is another person doing the same crazy stuff you are doing. I have been known to not knowing someone at the beginning of the run and occasionally revealing all trauma and inner secrets by the end, they never ran with me again :). The high from running, is similar to drinking for me, it makes me honest, ummmm sometimes too honest. But more open than I would be in a bar, or at a social gathering. I also do not trust people who hide their inner workings, trust is the wrong word, maybe I just feel unsafe with how genuine they can be. Maybe that is a 3 x long run crack the emotional crust kind of person.

Whatever it is, I am thankful for the people running has given me, raw, slightly bananas, very driven people. Who are usually outsiders, a little damaged (running keeps us together mentally) we may be running from problems or using it to be safe in the pain we inflict on ourselves to feel sane, happy, included? Running is tribal and religious, it is forgiving of your sins, I do not think it really cares about them. It lifts you up and gives you people you can geek out about paces, races, gear, nutrition etc. etc. all that shit that the rest of world thinks “you are so boring” for being maybe a lot obsessed about!

So, thank you running, for all the sunny, eclectic, wonderfully strange, fantastically beautiful friends you have given me.

Love on the LR

Silence

I am in shock. Today I wandered aimlessly around my soul feeling, helpless, lost, traumatized and empty.

Another accepted mass shooting of innocents, when a man, who is barely an adult decided to walk into a school and snuff out 19 lives. 19 young lives who had barely started to live. 2 teachers who had given their life and lives to caring and nurturing children. GONE, in the space of minutes, seconds, moments in time. A breath and then nothing. SILENCE!

I will never understand America’s fascination and desire for guns. They are killing innocents daily! But that’s ok, as long as you have an arsenal in your basement.

I am a mother of three young boys, similar ages to the children so brutally murdered this week by just going to school. I felt sick packing them up and sending them to the place we see as safe away from home. I began to imagine life without them, about never holding them again, hearing their voices, their touch, their laughter, their voices, wiping their tears, cleaning their knees, curling around as they slept after a nightmare. My heart has shattered into a 1000 pieces, my eyes keep weeping tears, I know I would never ever recover, I too would want to stop breathing, to stop feeling the pain. Just like the crushing, unfathomable pain the parents of those 19 children, who never came home with excitement in their eyes to show artwork in their bag. Children who will never realize their full potential, who could have made this world better, brighter, happier. Now all there is are empty seats, homes all left a little darker. SILENCE

I am too broken from afar to be angry, I am devastated, shocked, distraught and perplexed how none of this creates change. Lives are expendable it seems, lesser than money, a price to pay for power and control.

BUT we must change. We must address mental health, the childcare system, and gun laws for this to stop. It has to stop, we CANNOT as living beings accept this aimless, needless brutality and death.

It is the silence that kills me, the gap that is left when a person leaves this world. please do not let these kids’ lives be in vain, let a small ounce of goodness come from this hell, let them be the catalyst for change, for kindness.

I implore you, please as you navigate this fantastical world, reach out to the quiet ones, push for change, fight for what is good, look for the lonely ones, be kind to the hurt ones, be a mentor, give back, love with all your might, know that a baby is never born evil, a society creates hate. Create a society that we can feel safe and loved in, don’t dismiss another’s pain, welcome it and hold their hand. We are the change, us, the regulars of the world. Be that change.

No more silence, it is the silence that kills.

Be kind

Love true

Tis the most wonderful time…..

OF THE YEAR…. If I sing loud enough will this make it true? PLEASE MAKE IT TRUE…

Hummm Christmas. Sits as a conundrum in my mind. A time of magic, fairy lights, stories, family, a fat jolly man and fantasies.

I still see Christmas through my child eyes, I dreamed of Victorian London, Carol singers, Father Christmas appearing down a chimney, elves, reindeer, Rudolph and brightly colored presents piling under a tree, that was so beautiful it used to make my heart flutter with excitement.

Christmas could stop right there for me as a child, when the magic was still tangible, and I could smell excitement in the air. As soon as that first present was opened Christmas was dead, the magical bubble POPPED.

Then came Christmas as a mother! First up, ALL MOTHERS OUT THERE, I SEE YOU, I see the magic you weave, the unseen grind you commit to from Halloween to Christmas its a full time job of……. FUCKING doing EVERYTHING which no one fucking really sees.

DEEP BREATH here goes

Costume making, candy buying, present wrapping, cooking, cooking, cooking, cleaning, cleaning, laundry, laundry, cooking, navigating family tantrums, family feuds, kid hyperactivity, kid meltdown, kid fighting (my boys go from Lord of the Flies, to Kill Bill then finish up with the Hunger Games), present wrapping, travel, travel organizing, packing, school plays, school carnivals, school parades, activities, kids party x 20000..

Mothers drowning under expectation, suffocating in the false Joy you emit as you sweat holding the 2nd turkey of the year and bring it to the table, which NO ONE EATS. Lets not forget the cards you create, mail, trying not to forget the random uncle who lives in the Outer Hebrides. Next on top of family gifts we have, teachers gifts, breakfasts, thank you notes. The list is endless… I make lists for lists, it is all about survival by the third Thursday in November.

Now multiple all of the above by 3, I have 3 kids, this is three of everything. EVERYTHING !!!!

Mamas of multiples – I SEE YOU.

Coping strategies equate to, but are not limited to….

Running away / drinking / drinking / hiding in cupboards (oh drinking) / Valium and drinking / hiring help if rich / running away if poor / screaming /learning to box / Running away / sitting in the car (hiding) / doing puzzles in the cupboard / changing idendity.

I want to love Christmas, but I’m too tired to even try.

My head breaks through, and I breathe again.

My anxiety is triggered by many things, many things I have to manage on a daily basis. Yeah the whole world has anxiety I know – YAWN – The modern day excuse for not coping with life.

How I see it though, is when my anxiety kicks up a notch and smacks me over the head with a BIG SCREAMING SURRRRPRRRIISSSSEEEE , I am always actually surprised, even though I have been navigating this for about 38 years. Because, after every single episode; that can be as long as a month, but is usually 2 weeks, I think I have it beat and I’m like oh if this happens again, I have totally got this bitch covered.

NOPE! Here I am again, curled up, struggling to breathe, frantically checking my heart rate over and over again, desperately trying to act like all is cool when I am fighting back tears, and crumbling back into the child who is crushed against the floor.

It really comes out of the blue, but I do get clues, when life is busy and I’m continuously coping with its pace, I am not sleeping enough or not getting enough alone time, multiple stressors are thrown at me, and I cope, I cope, I cope and then BOOM I am not fucking coping …

I have just realized that racing kicks me off, WHY? I have goals , I do not want to fail, and now I am in a semi elite group (I am not a semi elite), as the almost oldest and definitely the slowest, I am terrified if I do not perform I will get laughed at or worse kicked out. This is all self inflicted and my own insecurities blooming with the stress of my own expectations.

I AM WORKING ON THOSE!!!

Please understand that anxiety and panic attacks are not me failing to cope, IT IS me coping! I am accepting my own imperfections, sitting in them, falling apart and rebuilding a more resilient version of myself.

Anxiety is not something you can always see, it is a silent manifestation of the mental and physical. Panic attacks are actually my overly sensitive personality combining with my overly busy life, plus dragging up my past and forming its own little package of hellish survival.

I have said this before, but the strange thing is, as much I struggle with my anxiety, I would not give it up. The constant state of high I sit in is beyond anything, my whole entire body is alert and buzzing, the world snaps into ultra HD and colors can hurt my eyes. When I fall out of the cycle, the calm is mesmerizing, and I sleep dreamlessly, my whole body falls loose and the world spins back down to normality, which I cherish. I will never conquer my panic attacks or anxiety, but I accept what they are, they no longer terrify me like they used to and I always know in time they will pass.

This too shall pass. To live my life, is to feel my life in all its gory, painful glory.

This is for all of you who suffer, I see you, I know you, I am you, I am here for you.

Love Kelly (just had another episode and survived) Joy

T I R E D

Tired is a feeling I know well. From a very early age, It has been a significant safety net in a world that has always felt a little too fast, a little too loud and a little too busy to me. However, over the years I have become sloppy with my wanton usage of the word “tired”….

The conversation being…

“Hey are you ok? yes, I am just a bit tired!”

Now just change that word, the word “tired”, that innocuous, innocent 5 letter word to reflect its excuse to my real meaning. We then could replace tired with a multitude of hidden feelings that I am not quite ready to share…

Sad / angry / annoyed / scared / bored / uninterested

It is also my blatant lame attempt to avoid, confrontation / talking / expressing feelings / facing truths / doing something I do not want to / avoiding sex / avoiding physical activities that bore or scare me.

It’s true meaning is….

TIRED in need of sleep or rest; weary.

an anagram of ..

TRIED – found good, faithful, or trustworthy through experience or testing

Yet, 50% of the time when I say I am tired I am not “found good, faithful or trustworthy”. I am lying through a fa├žade of sleepiness to avoid revealing the real thing that has me off center.

I am not entirely sure when I started to do this. I mean, do not get me wrong I do experience true exhaustion daily. I am a mother of three boys, and I am running after them, on top of running just shy of 60 miles a week. No I do not take naps, there truly is no time, so in reality, YES I am pretty knackered. I daily would love to lie down and stay very still, but no, instead in my world I am putting on ANOTHER WASH!!!!!

So when I say I am tired as an answer to a question, I truly may be tired, or failing that I just do not want to talk to you.

Love Kelly – so so tired – Mother of Three.

Maze

Life is but a journey, that’s what people say.

Life is but navigating, a complicated maze.

There is a distinct beginning, and definitely an end.

Life is not a straight line, but has many curves and bends.

We climb up many mountains and fall down deep ravines.

Experience love and heart break, and all the things between .

One attempts to avoid the sadness of feeling loss and shame.

But hold it tight and accept it, the sun will grace the rain.

Without the hurt we feel no pain, but that will make us numb.

To joy, to love, to kindness and a multitude of fun.

The shadows of a high wall, where the destinations obscured.

Fate is what you create, opinions are blurred.

Life is but a journey I’ll always disagree.

Life is what you make it , to live to love , to be free.

Do not let someone tell you, you have to box it in.

Or where you should be going , or where you should begin.

Natures seeds that’s your life and that is what you’re sowing.

Only you can control the path by, living, accepting flowing .

Life is but a journey, that’s what people say.

Life is but navigating, a complicated maze.

The day I stopped being normal! By Kelly Dixon.

“Normal” my least favorite word, as who even defined normal? Who decided that when people follow the same pattern, that is the normal? What if that is the “weird” and I am the normal. Essentially we are all a little crazy, some people just hide it better than others.

I remember the day I crossed the divide and hugged my presumed insanity.

I was 8/9 years old standing in the unheated school pool, freezing. I peered down at my blue swimsuit clad child’s belly and thought, “I am fat.” That was the day I slid off the cliff of childlike normalcy into the crashing ocean of crazy town, and it continued to consume me for the next 10 years of my life.

I have never been shy about telling people I am / was an anorexic, it is not something I hide, it is also not the first thing I blurt out, but it is an intrinsic part of me. It has single handedly created my personality. I am not ashamed of it, I actually do not wish I had never had it, I mean I cannot change what was. People need to know why I do not follow their sense of normalcy, why I am a little bit kooky. People need to realize that If you have never had an eating disorder, you truly will never understand the body dysmorphia, the power and control, refusing food thrust upon me, being force fed, the happiness I felt when I could see my bones protruding aggressively from all parts of my body, picking myself apart in a mirror through dark eyes, sunken back in a face that was a skull. A skull that sat like a bobble head on my emaciated 10 year old body, and all I saw was rolls of flesh, spilling on to the floor. You will never understand the relief I felt punching my stomach, scratching my arms and bruising my knuckles releasing the anger that filled my shrinking torso. I was a 10 year old child when I was at my first worst, I was eating an apple a day and no clothes fit me and I was struggling to move. The day I finally reached out for help to my parents in 1987, my father had to carry me into the Children’s ward of Maidstone Hospital, where he gently deposited me on a sickly, green covered bed, and that is where I stayed for the next 4 months. Unbeknownst to me the doctors had told my parents if I didn’t go into hospital I had about 2 weeks left to live. To be honest I didn’t care, because at age 10 I secretly was over living, it hurt too much, it consumed all of my day, and all I wanted to do was hide from the panic, the hate and the loathing I had for myself. The loathing that is still a wisp of a shadow in my 40 + year old body today.

What I have never told people, is that as soon as I came out of hospital I went back to my old ways. I was a master at hiding my food, it was stashed in shoes, under my arms, snuck down toilets. Where at age 11 a teacher was monitoring me constantly, and that was life until I reached my second “worst”, and I finally was admitted into a newly created eating disorder home for children. Kelly Krystina Dixon age 13 was the second group of inmates. I was there for a whole 5 months, hidden away from my family and friends. I never went back to “normal” I created a whole new me that embraced her madness.

You may call me crazy, weird, nuts, mad, hey go ahead. Because it was at age 8 when I first acknowledged the sanity shift. It has taken me 30 years to love it, that was not an easy acceptance. Because, at age 8 I stopped being like my peers, I was the difficult, unstable, the weird, emaciated loner kid that no one knew what to do with. They tried to understand me , to help me. They locked me up, sent me to therapy, force fed me, shouted at me, sobbed at me, begged me, pleaded with me. Sadly or thankfully, I have a force inside me that is unmovable by others, only when I decide, can a change be made. From that pivotal moment, when my young eyes caught sight of that swimsuit clad belly, there truly was no going back to pre crazy Kelly age 7 1/2, she was gone, destroyed, extinguished maybe she never really existed. I promise you she did, she really was there, and she was stolen.

I have spoken a lot about my eating from the moment I started to get better, but the early years are shaded, I actually have never written the details, the pain, the anger, the hatred I had. The eternal feeling of hunger, the hair on my arms as my body tried to keep warm, the fact my body was eating its muscle to stay alive, the hair on my head was a fine cloud of wisp, my heart rate was so low, just to keep me in this world. I have never discussed, the fights, the fits, the throwing of food, the night running of a small child as she desperately tried to waste calories in a sleeping hospital, the fact I was never allowed off my bed for a whole month to conserve calories, the fact all my sport was taken away from me for years, the perpetual bone chilling cold, because I did not have enough fat to keep warm in summer. No one knows apart from me, my parents and my brother. Who have always been by my side, my army of warriors, who loved me.

What know one knows is I have never written this down, that I am now sobbing at my desk as I sit back in that dark hole of child hell, of fear, of nothingness. I didn’t care if I died, but of course something in me so desperately wanted to live, wanted to fight, wanted to sit back in the sun, and be a child who had friends and fitted.

This has been a good thing to “share”, it may not be what many want to hear or read, but eating disorders are here and they are everywhere in varying guises. They provide a destructive safety net / control in a place where you have no control.

So, please take this as you will. No I am not normal, and I never will be. I will be open, wild, honest, true, believe in the magical, raw and blunt. I do believe that I am also kind and I would truly help anyone in need, I am the person who stops the car to help the lady cross the road, to smile at the person alone on the bench, to hug a stranger crying, and tell people I love them. I know what it feels like to be alone, laughed at in the school, bullied in the playground, in life and constantly told I am weird. But, if weird is not normal then maybe that’s ok by me.

If you don’t like my “different” it is ok to walk away.

Hey, I’m not stupid! Says the mother…..

I was listening to a podcast today and they were discussing, how no one ever recognizes raising kids, or being a carer as a full time job. That it should be celebrated, appreciated and quantified in value. Yet, I am not writing this piece from the stand point of “hey look at how hard this job is”, or how much work I do, everyday, all day and night. As a parent you also do the night shift. Check me out – I am a warrior against bad dreams and bed wetting.

What I want to share is the silent shame that seems to be woven intrinsically into being a full time mum. At age 32 I became pregnant with my first child, at the time I was a project manager for a media company. I am also a 2:1 graduate with a Sports Science Degree, and have been a top 10% student for my whole schooling career. In the past I have been a fashion buyer for department stores and Levi’s Europe, an assistant Pastry Chef, blogger and recruiter.

BUT as soon as that wiggly single sperm fertilized that big ass mama egg, I became a “mother”. On a dime I decided to give up work, and work hard at being a mum. In that single moment all my education, and my entire career just faded away. From then on, all people would see, was a disheveled woman with kids!!! With snot on her shoulder and a small, dirty handprint on her thigh. All they can see is a bearer of screaming infants, and not the intelligent being that lays dormant beneath. I basically became a walking womb! A person who could not do both, who could not parent and hold down a paid job simultaneously. DO not get me wrong I tried to do both, but I crumbled, I was up working at 5 am and starting again at 9 pm and trying to parent in between. I could not do either job well, and I was failing miserably.

Today I cried when I heard that podcast, because, I do feel like life has kind of passed me by when it comes to work. I am a 44 year old mother of 3. Seriously no one wants me, when you read the numbers. When people cast their eyes in my direction and look me up and down, I want to scream, “PLEASE see me, I am smart, I have ideas, I can create and be creative, Hey hey hey I can still do mental arithmetic in my head, go on, go on, test me.

Yet, why? Why do I feel like I need to hang my head as I mumble, yes I am a full time mum, full time care giver. Is it my own internal shame of working failure, or did society create this. “Oh you don’t work”??? What you settled into the homemaker role, what a cop out. “Dumb bitch” !!! I am not going to sit here and list all the shit I do every day. The continuous work I do as a parent of three. I hold my hand up high, yes I took the role willingly, but that does not make me unintelligent, so why do I have this driving need to make sure people know I have a brain

I will admit at times I feel so unbelievably lost. A languishing amoeba floating in a sea of meal planning, bed making, wound cleaning and ferrying small humans around. Yes I am single cell creature fighting to be more. Yet life right now just doesn’t see me, I am an aging shadow that no longer has the time to be fleshed out.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I still want to be an architect, a painter, an antiques buyer, museum curator, a historian, a writer, a sneaker designer, a run shoe tester, a gallery curator, a merchandiser…….

I still have work dreams. However, as a sit up at 2 am cradling a small frightened child on my lap, stroking his hair and telling him mummy loves him, I do know I have the right job. I was made to be a boy mum, a strong mum, a fair mum, a loving mum, a mum who will always be there….. To pick you up, take you to the dentist, to hold your hand, to take you to the zoo, to rush you to hospital, to clean a bloody knee, to make you pancakes in the morning, to bring a forgotten lunch, to see your first steps, your first smile, to hear the words mama first, to have your warm arms around my neck and your face buried in my hair, just loving you. I was made to love you.

Yes, that may not tell the world my IQ, but that makes me amazing to them, to the little people I created. It grants me the time to watch them blossom and grow, forge their own path. AND that is why I gave up work, I gave up so I could be everything to my children. AND I must stop feeling guilty about that.

That is who I am and will always be, a mama, a mother, a mum, their mom, mummy…

Love ME

Not “Another” Mother runner!

As a mother and a runner, there is something really damn annoying about the title of “mother runner”! It is an over used rhyme, for runners who happen to be mothers. To be a runner and a mother are actually two very separate things for me. Both elements / roles are extremely important, commanding equal positioning in the genetic fabric of my soul, my being, my sanity.

Each have single handedly created a very resilient human being, blossoming from my core. Each have taught me love, deep deep happiness, a sense of order, and a sense of relief. In equal measures they have also driven me bat shit crazy and forced me to look at the reality of my failure. Of missing expectations and grounding myself in the limitations of my “Now”! Not that this has to be continuous, but it grants me the time and space to sit in the moment and to feel, taste, tangibly experience loss and pain, in a safe and controlled way.

Motherhood has been my making, yet, so has running. However, they are not part of the same thing, they are not joined or rhymed or even belong together. But they can flow in harmony, rubbing together with a slight friction that creates the “spark” that is my drive and superhuman powers to dig in and welcome the ability to feel extremely uncomfortable in wilding emotions and pain for long, excruciatingly long periods of time.

Although the Mother runner phrase is ridiculously over used, and even slapped across tee shirts, to be a mother and a runner with goals makes me an outlier, an outsider, a juggler. I cannot make the 7am run or the 8am run, I cannot take naps after a 60 mile week, I like many run on a perpetual empty, I cannot stay and chat, I have to run, pack up and haul ass back to the fold of wild boys, school, runs, packed lunches and activities. PTO commitments, work, dinner planning, shopping, washing, cleaning, folding, doctors appointments. I work fucking hard in my over scheduled life to carve out a daily 1-2 hour slot to run, to train and to not impact my home life. That does not make me a mother runner, but a “Mutha Fucking Runner!”

But, there are others, other mothers running in those twilight hours, alone and dedicated. Other Mother fucking Runners” all juggling, all exhausted, all so badass and dedicated to managing time to have the ability to leave, alone. Propelling ourselves forward, stride after stride. Stride, arm swing, breath, sweat, inhale, exhale – repeat over and over and over again. We run together at 5am pushing each other with a strength and understanding no one else can provide. We hold each other up and listen in those dark morning hours, just waiting for the sunrise to peek above the horizon, beckoning, calling us home. As the light hits the trees we crouch in tiny groups stretching, pulling off sneakers, guzzling water, moving inwards, shedding our runner skin as the mother once again returns, all business as she kisses small children awake, drinks coffee, busying whilst listening for the waffles to pop.

Wake up children! The Mother has returned.