Crystal

And not of the meth variety…. Although maybe in my 90s I may give it a go for shits and giggles, going to die anyhow.

Crystal is actually the symbol of our 15th anniversary, chink, chink, I need some new wine glasses, as I am notoriously, well ridiculously clumsy. Modern day is a watch, so I am secretly gunning for a man’s vintage Rolex to appear on my wrist, but apparently I have spent that money on a running machine and that has a clock on it, which I can use – oh well, always worth a shot.

May 21st, 2005, dressed in a deep pink, short, 20’s inspired dress, I said “I do” in the Chelsea Old town hall on the Kings road, yes the same place Mick Jagger got married to Bianca. The man who crazily wanted to put a ring on my large knuckled fingers was Kieron Joy.

To this day he truly amazes me, first up, the fact he took the brave step to take me on. On our fourth date I think it was, I sat down across from him in a pub in Balham, London, UK and said, “Well you need to know, I am anorexic, I have anxiety, I take Prozac and have been told I probably cannot have children because of my eating disorder, so you can run away now.” He sat there and stayed, he looked at me and said, “I think I love you even more, and if we cannot have children we can have awesome ski holidays”. Gulp, I totally thought he would make for the hills, giving me the double fingered salute and a “See ya, you crazy bitch.”

No, Kieron Joy sat very still, took a sip of his beer and stayed.

Why? I still ask that often, I am not always a steady ship and my path is like the ocean, calm some days and stormy the next, but I am honest, care with all my heart and love so hard it hurts. So when I say I love you, I mean it and it is unwavering. But he stays and is truly the steadfast, mighty mountain to my flighty bird.

Fifteen years and we are crystal, it truly reflects us as over the years, we are transparent to each other, no muddy waters. Yes we argue, fight, disagree, but we laugh hard and often. We listen, we love to be outside and sit in silence, to take on new exploits we may not complete, we champion each other and it was truly only the other day I realized why I love Kieron so much. First up let me say that we are quite traditional, I keep the home (quite poorly), I do the kids day to day stuff, I do the cooking (Kieron is not the best, although the damn kids, told me daddies scrambled eggs are better than mine – ass holes), but I have never had to mow the lawn or power wash the house – thank fuck for that, absolutely no desire, to do that stuff. But, I will heavy lift and drive across a country to get an adventure. No I truly realised when I loved Kieron, on 2 separate occasions it hit me in such a grateful and warm way, it made me feel wanted, loved and at peace.

1) When without me asking, he gently lifted me into the bath when I was really unwell and proceeded to wash my hair, rinse and comb it and put me back to bed.

2) When, as we moved on out of Naples, he in that huge truck carrying all our worldly possessions from 10 years and pulling a trailer with his car I have never loved him more, for his capacity to do this shit and reverse that monstrosity and not be phased one iota. SWOON. MY hero 🙂

But, what is it about Kieron and I that has kept us together and not pushed us apart, humor, we both possess a shit one. He is hardworking, honest, a doer, kind, nothing is ever too much for anyone if you need his help, he is generous, he loves a challenge and makes me push my boundaries to realize I can be who I want to be, not what people think I should be. He loves me unconditionally when I am melting down, and life gets too much, he understands my need for space, that I can be a prickly hedgehog (yes I am called the hedgehog), that my past can cloud my present and just like that day in the pub in Balham, he stays, he waits, he loves me for being me.

Crystal, clear, cut glass – we are clear to each other, cut from the same cloth and yes I am good at smashing glass. These 15 years have brought so much, three wild boys, a move to a new country, new jobs, new adventures, some pain, some challenge, but even with our busy lives and demanding kids, we can still see each other. The best advice I was ever given was by my nan, who sadly died before Arthur was born, she said “remember your husband came before the children and when the kids leave, your husband will still be there, so see him, put him first always”. I still rememeber that today and check myself to put Kieron first AND without him and my bodies amazing ability to reproduce after all the years of starvation I subjected it to, we managed to have three astounding wildlings.

Therefore, I dedicate this post to Kieron (he is not a vomit your life on social media like I am), who loves me for all I am, men came before and could not take up the Kelly challenge, or want to just wait for me to be me and accept me. He did, with his huge smile, brown eyes and kindness he let me be. He allowed me to let him in, with no force, he just patiently waited and listened and he will even dance with me.

15 years , WTF, May 21st, sadly he is travelling, he works hard, or may just be hunting for my Rolex 🙂 but we will not be together, but that is ok, a day a relationship does not make, but a card is nice, ohhh, I love a soppy card. Kieron , this is for you, know that I see you, I love you with all I am, I appreciate all you do for our family, how hard you work to create the life we now have and enjoy. You may not be a flower guy, but man you buy me gorgeous hand bags. Superficial me? Nooooooo 🙂

Now about that Rolex?

Love Kelly (Crystal) Joy

Mrs. Home “not” fooling anyone!

I would like to introduce you to Mrs. I have No Bloody Idea, a shit show of an educator, a human thrust in to the limelight to teach her children for the foreseeable future.

Her skills lie in baking, science, writing amusing self depreciation blogs, headstands and running long distances. She knows her multiplication facts and is pretty good at percentages. Her laundry skills are shite, but her cooking is pretty good.oh and she knows all the words to the opening scene in Macbeth and all of the Sound of Music.

Which is pretty apt in the current climate

“When shall we three meet again?

In thunder lightening or in rain?

When the hurly burleys done,

When the battles lost and won, that ere will be the set of sun…….. ”

From this very small base she now has to teach a 5 / 8 and 10 year old (who is already way smarter than she)

I would like to apologize to all my children’s teachers for the fuck ups I will make. But know they are loved, safe, brushing their teeth and can cook a mean banana bread 😂

Drowning in Motherhood 2020

I would like to caveat, that no I will not be ending my life anytime soon. Some days as a parent I just cannot keep up with the demands of being a mother of three small dragons (boys), of being a wife and then meticulously making sure I have time for me. This post was borne from a day when I felt like I just could not keep up.

Drowning in life! An oxymoronic phrase? Not just my life, but the life of my kids, my husband’s life and even the darn cat. Scrabbling to hit all the bases, these lives throw at me and always missing the mark. Treading water and slipping under, allowing the water to slowly seep in, fill my lungs and pull me deeper into the depths of a sweet, dark, silent oblivion.
A world of gentle nothingness. No laundry to be done, no “healthy” dinners to be made, no cleaning to get to, or beds to be changed, no first job or second job to create time for or not fail at, yet excel at and then off to mop and care for my sickened child. Pay bills, change the car oil, activities to sign for, pay for, get to. ALWAYS running late, never on time. With the last-minute shoe searches of three young boys, hanging like shackles on our ankles dragging us back, never on time.
Activities! The dictator of my day, ruling my life with its iron fist. Where each activity cannot comprehend that your kid may do another (god forbid your loyalties are split). Or you have more than 2 kids, each an individual and each wanting to do something uniquely theirs. We have homework, school trips, lunches to be made (uhum they must be healthy or be classed as the shit mum with the unhealthy kid). Snacks to remember, water bottles to be filled, sort clothes into piles that need to be scrubbed and bodies to be bathed. Because, boys seem to be perpetually dirty or covered in a bodily fluid of some sort.
Then there is ME. I must remember me! I want to run and run daily. Running is what keeps me calm and happy. But, sadly this is just another weight tied to my ankles dragging me further into the silt of not enough hours, dark dreams and no air to be found. With a sickly glow of light filtering through the watery murkiness of my fears, that ……
I am not enough.
I will never be enough.
I am failing.
I can never be the person that the life I have created needs me to be.
I am lying in the depths of failure and wishing I could breathe.

Signed – Motherhood 2020

To write – Poem

Weirdly or maybe not so much, poems pop in my head and I write them down. This appeared in the shower today and here it is…

TO WRITE – by KKJOY

When I write, I lose the fight of hiding from myself,

When I write I stand in sight and the façade melts away.

RAW, BARE, EXPOSED,

Watching, alone, my breathing slows.

No one is listening, as no one dares,

As to be real, is to feel, is to care.

Screaming silently to nothing……

But myself. Healing, revealing, everything.

Too harsh a light for some to see,

The reality that is me.

Beautiful, ugly, perfect, ravaged,

Sane, insane, serene, savage.

Yet, when I write, I lose my fight of hiding from myself.

Because, when I write, I stand in sight, façade destroyed to stand true.

Marco Tona- Warrior runner

A interview I wrote for a local running group of a local ultra runner. 

“Greatness is achieved the moment you decide you cannot do anything else, other than that one thing” Marco Tona – 12.22.19

With his halo of wild curls, enthusiasm for life and relaxed demeanor, on initial inspection Marco Tona comes across like any other regular 22-year-old. Hailing from Destin FL, a student of Exercise Physiology and the third youngest of eight children, he grew up surrounded by family and well loved.

However, not every 22-year-old that you meet has just completed a 24hr. running race and run 100 miles. WHAT you say!?! A 100 miles! Now let us relook at Marco Tona, underneath his big smile and gentle personality there lies an old soul, the heart of a lion and a steely grit that is seldom found in the youth.

Okay, so who is Marco? I sat down and chatted with Marco on a wet, storm riddled Florida winters day to discuss his journey into ultra-running, what drives him and his aspirations for the future. Because at age 22, this is merely the beginning of his great journey.

Let me start from the “Big One” and take you back to his beginning. “Icarus Florida Ultra Fest”2019, a looped road race, where a runner will run as far as they can in an allotted time. Your choices being….

12hr / 24Hr / 48Hr / 72Hr / 144Hr

GULP! EXACTLY!

What they say about the race “What this means for seasoned ultra-runners and new runners alike is that the Icarus Florida UltraFest is not just a place to test your limits, but to abandon them” taken from website.

So, what is it about this race, after running only three 50K (Calootsahatchee, Croom Fools, Washington Red Devils) races previously that made Marco dive off at the deep end and jump straight in to 100 miles? Well, as with all great beginnings and heroes, it started in a bar. Marco goes on to explain that one evening before a long run, he was designated driver, as all dedicated runners are on a Friday night. His epiphany hit! He was finished with the nights out and wanted to push his limits. It was about, in his own words “shattering his ceiling” and really seeing what he could achieve. So in that bar he signed up on impulse for Icarus. Because in the realm of the unknown a person’s boundaries can be found, accepted, crushed, then rebuilt once the core is exposed and they know who they are. It was from that point, in that dingy bar that the training begun. As 100 miles is literally the only step one can take, to really find out what they can do.

In his youth Marco was a swimmer and as he moved into high school he began to run. He joined the cross country and track team as they did not have a competitive swim team. Blazing a trail through 600/800 m distances and the 5K, Marco carried through his running to college. Moving to Florida and continuing his studies, Marco met Aubrey Aldy, (his now trainer) in their local pool and another piece of the puzzle clicked in place. Marco kept running, he dabbled in triathlon and at 21 years old he signed up for his first 50K. Why? To see if running was “great”? So minimally trained and with the zeal that only a 21 year can bring, he completed his first 50K in 6hrs 40mins. The bug had bitten and in his 2nd 50K with some training he took 2 hrs off this time. From here his ascent had commenced. One more technical run, the Red Devil 50K in Washington and his love of endurance running was secured and the next big challenge set.

We went on to discuss Icarus and what it meant to Marco, how the race broke down and what he discovered about himself, as each layer peeled off with every 1.0408 Km paved loop completed. The key was to take heed of Icarus’s story. To listen to and respect your body, to push boundaries but not destroy your limits, to hit the edge but not melt and fall. Fly close to the sun but not too close, because like Icarus you could be doomed and not rise again to complete another loop. Running 100 miles is a fine balance, of training, respect for your body, nutrition, honoring the distance and to push the edge, while holding back. It takes grit and mental toughness, and this is what Marco had to discover and layer it thick upon his enthusiasm base.

After four months of long slow runs, he was hitting he said 50-60 miles a week. Pretty moderate for ultra-training, with most of his mileage scheduled at the weekends and with some double day running, he was ready. Nutrition was dialed in; he likes to use Electrolyte Fuel System (EFS) drink brand and not eat too many of his calories. This helps his stomach and reduces the usage of the dreaded port a potty, that my friend is a whole separate mental game in itself. The long runs revealed his weaknesses, he hit mental barriers and drove past them to more manageable mental ground. Marco said he loved figuring out “where his walls were” and obliterating them.

The Start Line: –

Saturday November 23rd, 2019, 9am, seasoned ultra-dogs and young puppies alike, wait at the start line. Marco is there, mentally steeled, pacers in place, nutrition lined up and they are off, “let the games begin”. Because if you have ever run an ultra, you know that nothing invariably goes to plan. It’s about managing the situation, driving away the demons, embracing the crazy and the crazies around them. Because, to be a person who can step up to this line and cross it and manage the next 24 hrs, that element of crazy must lie deep within you too. As, it is that insanity which will ultimately carry you up to your goal and past it, then vomit what is left of you at the finish line. Kind of like the Exorcist, running 100 miles is like an exorcism, exposing all your demons and making you face them, because that is all you can do when you are exhausted.

Marco’s personal race to victory: –

We discussed in depth his race, how it panned out and what it threw at him. Marco revealed that no matter how tough it got he “never wanted to quit” that was not an option. It was never in his dialogue and he was convinced he would hit his 100-mile goal in 24HRs. Now my friends that is a very good foundation to any personal win. He found a steady pace and stuck to it, now remember this is not easy and he hit two huge low points. He told me that between mile 42-48 he felt terrible, yet he pushed through and only thought of the race loop to loop, his next drink or next piece of food. He was lacking a little in the nutrition and was given Ensure by his pacer and trainer and Marco said that totally put the wheels back on and he felt fabulous, with 15-20g of protein a bottle it was definitely the way to go. Miles 50-70 he felt awesome as the distance and hours ticked by. Through into the night he kept running, lulled by the solitude and hypnotic darkness, relaxing into his stride and putting his mind at rest; the ultimate meditation. Day breaks, mile 80 hits and he tumbles down a crevice of “low”, muscles are locking up, as the lactate acid builds, feet are numb, stinging from over use and at 20 miles to go, his cousin jumps in for 5 miles to eek him through the discomfort. Then his brother steps into pace Marco, who had come all the way from Oahu, Hawaii, to be with him for the race. He ran the final 10 miles with his brother, striding towards his goal. The pain is excruciating, every mile an eternity, but he remains steady, his dream taunting him and waiting for him to grab it with two hands and with a mere twenty minutes to go to the 24HR cut off Marco hits his 100 miles. YES! He hits 100 miles, can you even imagine what that feels like, the pain, the elation, the relief, the tiredness sweeping over, the excitement. AMAZING! His total mileage was 100.29 miles. He crushed it, ringing in at second place.

The Future: –

We go on to discuss his plans for the future, what inspires him, what he learnt from the race and areas he wants to work on. When working on his running Marco takes inspiration from the strengths of the people around him, his trainer, friends, running partners and creates a person of pure inspiration and looks at what he can draw from that. We talk about what he needed to work on, and he said “consistency” in his training, to get out there and run the miles and not be lazy – his own words.

His love of the outdoors drives him and when we talk about his 5 year plan in life and running, he reveals that he is striving to do some faster 50K races and 50 milers, begin to work on doing some long trans through hikes (think PCT – Pacific crest trail and AT – Appalachian trail) and a maybe a 200 mile race. In life he aspires to move to the beautiful, Rocky Mountains of Colorado, indulge his love of technical trails and being at one with nature. While there he aims to utilize his Exercise Physiology major and build up his own endurance coaching business, partnering with shoe companies and work on training and nutrition of athletes. I mean the world literally is his oyster, with his determination, lust for life, intelligence and cool confidence, I feel we will see and hear a lot more of Marco Tona in the years to follow. He truly was a joy to talk to and a person already in tune with themselves, which can take most people a lifetime to discover. I am excited to follow Marco’s journey and to see where he goes from here as he continues to shatter his ceiling and lift higher.

Marco Tona stats

-Favorite sneakers – Altra Torin

-Trademark look – Wild curls

-Thing most people do not know about him – He was a book worm and home schooled.

-Special power – Enthusiasm and excitement to run.

-Furthest run – 100.29 miles.

 

 

Erica Szilagyi – Marathon Maven

My latest article on a local runner for a local run / triathlon training team.

“With the marathon you must struggle, you have to move to a painful place.” Erica Szilagyi 1.24.2020

Erica Szilagyi strides out to meet me, expressive hands waving, her voice warm and loud. She is such a petite little thing, but there is no hiding her open, all-encompassing presence, it pretty much socks you in the mouth and then hugs you better. I am quickly guided into her bright and airy conservatory, the evening Florida sun dancing on her fledging paintings, a new skill she is dabbling with. The serenity of the room is an interesting contrast to the woman who has just scooped me up at the front door and thrust a red tea in my hand.

OK let’s stop there! I think before I move on, I need to do a quick Erica statistical run down for you, so you can truly comprehend how epic one woman can be.

Erica in Numbers: –

Years running – 46

Total Marathons – Erica Szilagyi, teacher and mother of three grown women herself, has run 34 Marathons. Yes, people you heard correctly THIRTY-FOUR MARATHONS. WOWSERS!!

Boston Marathon – 12 of those marathons have been at the breathtaking, revered Boston Marathon – The world’s oldest annual marathon established in 1897, which makes it an astonishing 123 years old.

Fastest Marathon – 3 hours 13 minutes – fast.

Fastest 5K – 18 minutes 50 secs – even faster.

Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that at 59 ½ years old (her own words, by the way she does not look a day over 50) that Erica is an animated bundle of running knowledge, a force to be reckoned with, all cemented in a heart of gold. PSSST on another aside, she turns 60 the day before she runs the Gold Label Chicago Marathon, the perfect way to celebrate a new decade of life, don’t you think?

As you can imagine, I was excited to sit down to chat, pick her brain and dig down to the core of what makes Erica tick. Eager to discover the drive that has kept her running all these years, since that day when she first laced up at age 14 years old? To be honest, there is pretty much nothing Erica does not know about running and especially the marathon.

Originally, a native of Philadelphia Erica did most of her growing up in the urban landscape that is Detroit. But, at the fresh-faced age of 20, as the eighties hit; the age of computers, conservatism and end of the cold war, Erica chased the sun and headed south to land in Naples. Via a sojourn in Texas where she went to college and earned her degree in Biology and Nutrition. Her path led her to become a teacher of AP Environmental Sciences and then on to study a master’s degree in counseling. Which is where her skillset now lies, helping teens to become the best possible versions of themselves. What better role model, than Erica herself?

My question to her was, why running? Sure, we could discuss her recent race, the Jacksonville marathon, where she ran a 3 hours 38 minutes with change (impressive). We could chew the fat about her big races of years past. We could skip along her athletic journey. But what I truly want to comprehend is why Erica runs, what keeps her running as she grows older and as her body changes? How does one move through time, life and keep being able to bound through marathon after marathon, still relishing the journey, the struggle and achievement? Of course, with age we slow down. We may peak in our 20’s or 30’s, and then we must adjust our goals or reason to run. Or maybe the reason has always been a constant, never wavering, concrete?

Erica was not a college runner, but she always ran. It was a part of her day, her routine, her wellbeing. I mean, there was no cross-country girls’ team in her high school and with there being no set path to her education, she flitted to different colleges as her degree focus shifted, Erica never settled in a track team. Remember these were different times, Title IX was only introduced in 1972, which brought about equality in sports and increased athletic opportunities for females; hence let’s have a female cross – country track team!

Now comes the history lesson: –

The following is the original text as written and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

— Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (20 U.S. Code § 1681 – Sex)

Did you know It was not until 1967 that Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. She was subjected to disgruntled officials trying to shove her off the course, because at the time women were still deemed unable to compete at these distances.

Did you know that a female was not allowed to run an Olympic marathon until 1984? It was at the L.A games and the race was won by the phenomenal Joan Benoit in a time of 2:24.52

Yet, Erica kept on running. And at age 24 years, completely self-trained, she ran her first marathon. It was in 1984 at the NYC marathon, the same year Joan Benoit ran her first Olympic marathon. Serendipitous? I think so.

Taking another sip of delicious tea (I am British after all), I ask her what it is about that distance she holds so dear? She goes on to explain that the beauty of the marathon for her is, “We have everything in life all laid out, but in the marathon you must struggle, you have to move to a painful place and reemerge to finish. Every time you run one you learn something new.” Erica carries on expressing that running is not something she “needs” but, “it is a part of my life. I do not feel good unless I run. So, I run.” It is a parallel to breathing, eating and being. Without it, things stop ticking over and equilibrium is disrupted.

After Erica’s recent impressive time at Jacksonville, she will be running Boston again for 2020, this will be her thirteenth time, almost four months shy of her sixtieth birthday. How has her training changed? How has she coped with slowing down? Erica confesses, that yes, it is difficult mentally, not to be as speedy as she was in her twenties, but it is the process of the run that is the challenge and the drive, not necessarily her speed. As you can see, she is still kicking ass in her age group. She goes on to explain that strength training has become a greater focus as she has aged, because with age, we lose muscle mass. It is also about respecting her body, avoiding injury and letting her muscles and mind rest. She now does yoga to help with her strength and flexibility. All of this has meant she can still do “that thing” she loves.

If you know Erica, you know you cannot have talk about her running, without discussing Boston, her heart race. I ask her what it is about the Boston that she finds so beautiful and engaging that it keeps drawing her back? She explains that on top of it being the oldest marathon in the world, when Boston is run on Patriots day, the whole city stops, the whole city comes out to cheer, it is a holiday, a tradition and it is a tough course with those hills. Erica’s feet have pounded the course from Hopkinton to Copley Square in 1988, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001 and then she decided to try her hand at triathlons for 10 years (as you do) and then continued her streak every year from 2012 – 2017, 2019 and now 2020. Need a blow for blow account of running Boston, Erica Szilagyi is your number one resource.

What I love about Erica is her openness, her resilience, her passion and that there is an innate gentleness simmering underneath. This makes her quick to care, nurture and to see the good. She strives to be better. There is so much more to her than what you see. For instance, she paces every year at the Naples Half Marathon, pushing others to achieve their own goals, a pursuit she finds enriching. I want to know more. We move into her five-year plan. What does she have left to achieve, when you have already achieved so much, and this is where you truly see the woman that is Erica Szilagyi?

5 year – run plan

Run the Comrades Marathon (55 miles) in South Africa, it is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon established in 1921. Women are currently excelling at these longer distances; I am excited to see her knock this out of the park.

To stay healthy and continue to run.

To continue to run Boston. (You know she will and continue to strive.)

5 year – life plan

To explore, express and celebrate her creativity with her painting and writing. Erica also would like to join the Peace Corps. I could not think of a more perfect person to travel the world and help others.

While interviewing Erica, I certainly did not have enough time, and I most definitely do not possess the adequate vocabulary to give her the written justice she deserves. How can one condense her journey so far, her commitment to her sport, her successes, her challenges in to one article? She is strong and has so much to give. Just like in her twenties, she is still growing, changing and evolving in life and her sport. For me though, I will remain an interested bystander, watching in fascination and delight as she pursues her goals. She will most certainly still crush the marathon. But to see her attempt a longer distance is something I cannot wait to witness, because for Erica Szilagyi even though her speed may be winding down, I believe her true potential is only just beginning to shine through. Erica may be turning 60 years old in 2020, but her running journey is far from finished and may even be just truly beginning.

MORE Erica Szilagyi stats

-Favorite sneakers – Training – Saucony Kinvara, Racing – Nike Vaporfly

-Fuel – Gu, Sports Beans.

-Trademark – A big smile and positive outlook

-Inspirational figures – Betty Lou Tucker from the Gulf Coast runners, still running in her eighties.

-Thing most people do not know about her – She loves to paint, journal and garden.

-Special power – Experience, talent and grit.

-Furthest run – 50K.

Perpetual Motion

I am always in motion. To be honest, I am happiest when I am using my body; gliding through a series of precise movements to get from A (somewhere) to B (nowhere). I revel in change, I thrive off new beginnings in far flung places. Rebuilding my life, my home, my circle of friends once again. I wake before dawn with a longing to fire the synapses and engage my muscles and run. Out the door and down the road, in to the enveloping security blanket of the morning black. Yes, people may think it strange, but if I stop a vice closes over my body and I am trapped, strangled by my own inactivity. My muscles grow tight, shortening fast, as if trying to crush and splinter the bones beneath. I am in the box of my childhood, where a moment in time obliterated my being. Squeezed every drop of life out of me and took away every choice I ever had, and I just had to wait. Wait in the void until I could breathe again, and I could run…..

Why does a child stop eating? A child who is desperately trying to regain some sense of order in her life. A child trying to hang on to any tangled thread of control in her 10 year old hands. That is what makes a child stop eating. A child who wants to become so physically small, that no one can see her. A child who wants to destroy her body, so she can climb back out of her withered chrysalid and be reborn as the butterfly. A butterfly who can rapidly move her wings, and fly away to regain her life, embrace the change and rebuild.

Instead the withered child was placed in a hospital. Thankfully, she was too young to be locked up in the local mental asylum next door, and thrown in a padded room. Instead she was placed in a hospital to be force fed and told not to engage one single muscle. And so I was placed on a months bed rest and that was when I truly died.

I could not run or escape the suffocating darkness that lay on me as I slept. I could not break free in to the sunlight and feel the breeze on my skin. I could not sprint from my fears or my emaciated body. Instead, I was left to wallow on a bed under a exposing strip light; watching my shrunken skin grow yellow and begin to decay. Because there was nothing else, I was left there, incarcerated, straining at the chains to fly away. My choice of movement was once again not my own.

So you wonder why I run, why I want to keep running, why I never want to stop running, because it is my choice, not yours. Why one day I will run 100 miles maybe I’ll run 200, maybe not, but I will run and I will run every day if I want to. Because, It is mine, it moves me away from the forced stillness, the pressure of my nightmares that hold me captive at night. Lost in a dark room, an invisible presence crushing me until all I can see are the veins in my eyelids as I squeeze them so tightly my head hurts. I will let my body move, I will fly out into the light and let the rain lash my face, the wind whip my skin, let the snow settle on my eyelashes and the sun scorch my shoulders. As I run, as I run far, as I run towards life, coping, sometimes winning but vowing to never let movement be taken from me again.

Crash landed and it’s not pretty?!?

Fuck fuck fuck! Today, out of nowhere, after 2 years, I had a full blown panic attack. In my car of all places…

I was alone thankfully, No small children were scarred, by my inability to keep my shit together. My heart was skipping beats and had been for 2 days. It feels like it is getting worse and that dear readers, was the catalyst to send me over the edge. Plummetting like a rag doll, back into that viscous, black abyss of brain crushing, hysterical, blinding panic.

I was sobbing, my face was numb, my heart raced the world was blurry and the white noise was screaming, I was hyperventilating and could not stop it, I just could not stop it, so I instead let it crash over me and hoped I would resurface soon.

Side note – Post meltdown recovery to be conducted as soon as functional, sane brain restarts …

I’m alive. I share, to show this is what myself and 1000s of others deal with and this is my way of making this rational, to remove the fear and look at it in black and white and walk away.

Darkest little secret….

WOW that sounds sinister?! Why do secrets languish in the shadows of guilt. Why is it wrong to admit the truth to something that is deemed against the norm? Am I scaring you yet? Pssttt, I am not a killer, sorry that would have been exciting gossip for the parents at the school gate? No, I do not have a favorite child, well to be honest that actually changes on a daily basis. Hey and before you mount your towering horse of parenting judgement, I love them equally, but for their differences and quirks. One cannot quantify love, it cannot be seen or held, only felt and how can one measure a feeling. Well I cannot. Good for you if you can.

Lets get it out there…

I Kelly Joy, GULP, sometimes wish I had a illness so great, that I am bed ridden for a few days. Enabling me to get off the whirlwind that is modern life. Hey and before we go all batshit crazy on this, I do not mean cancer or some other terrible heartache many humans have to navigate, just a nice dose of “friendly virus”. It can be uncomfortable and hurt, so it allows me to have a perfect excuse, just to not to get up. I can hide under those dark, deep covers of sanity. Away from the family chores, the cleaning, the responsibility of my children, my work, the bills, the scheduling, the driving. All the things I can never get to, that compound on my shoulders, weighing me down. My fight to push myself to a sub 3 HR marathon, balancing work, running and family, trying to cook a nutritious home cooked meal, bake cakes, organize birthday parties, vacations, getting to each of my children and giving them what they need at any given moment, to fight aging and look attractive against the sea of under 40 parents, the fear my husband may leave me for a younger model. Be put together and calm, follow social rules, think of others before myself, a good friend, a kind person, give back, organize Christmas, keep in touch with family abroad… ARRGGGHHHH I Just cannot keep my fucking head above the water line. I almost drown daily and thank god I am a pretty good swimmer, as I have always swam against the tide.

Can you believe, I curl up and cry and hide, SHOCKER? Sometimes I wish for a dose of friendly flu, so I can avoid and hide and sleep, I just want to sleep all bloody day and not empty the dishwasher for the 10 millionth time or listen to my kids kick the shit out of each other, not cook dinner, fold washing …. just sleeeep. Crazy huh?

Before you go all preachy and worried. No I am not depressed, never have been, I love life, I love adventures, I love my boys. My anxiety is gone, so have my panic attacks (thanks to my 40 miles a week of running), my anorexia is managed, I have great friends, an awesome husband, but life is messy and busy and cluttered and sometimes I want it all to stop for 24HRS. Like the Thanos SNAP and then we go back and start again, clean slate, tidy life, to go forth and mess it the fuck up again, as that is what life is, a long messy transition from birth to death. With so much love, living and being thrown in between.

Dirty little secret it may be? I am sure people will think I need help, or am nuts, or not coping, but who the fuck does not need help, is normal ( I hate that word) and is coping, no one I know on the inside. Why should it be a secret, why can we not share and care, love and help, laugh and cry together over this tectonic ride we are on, forever moving and changing.

I will always feel every moment, I will cry hard and laugh loudly, enjoy the good, balance along walls, cartwheel in the grass, sing to my favorite song, love with all my might and not apologize for my honesty. But I will be honest and not be perfect and a pain in the ass, a bee in your ear, revealing all I am and reflecting all you will not share and with that I am giving you permission to reveal, break down, join my party in life and that is my gift to you. I give you my dirty secret and honesty, so you can be you and release and know I am way crazier and needy than you will ever be. Don’t mind if I do.

You are so very welcome.

KKJ

Summer, break every part of me.

Let me start with a very honest caveat to this article. I Kelly Krystina love my children with every fiber in my body. Yet, that does not mean I always like them. Truth.

As Philip Larkin rightly said :-

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”

So clearly there is no hope that I will actually create a better, kinder version of myself. I may as well stop beating myself up, when my kid farts at the dinner table and laughs and I crack up in hysterics internally under my stern facade and, ” please do not be so rude, young man”.

I was not born to be a mother, it is not my forte or natural talent. Yes, I work damn hard at being the best version of a mother I can be, but no I am not the “chosen” one, it was never on my list of career paths. Fashion Buyer, yes, Travel Writer, yes, Architect, yes, Mother – um nope. My forte of dreams are international travel, coffee drinking, running and people watching. For example, right now I would particularly like to spend 3 days in the snow tipped mountains of Colorado, trail running every day, interspersed with fine wine drinking in exclusive vineyards and floating in natural pools totally alone.

As a family we bob alone on the sea that is school, work and after school activities and then out of no where along comes summer break. Fist pump, yes, no schedules, no early mornings, no packing lunches… WHOOP, here we come fun adventures and vacations to strange places. I dream of idling on the beach watching my beautiful boys build elaborate sandcastles and splashing in the sea.

UM NO F ING way, are you delusional? BOOM, lets start with ocean water drownings, sand rammed into eyes and rugby tackling into the surf is what I contend with, snacks dropped in to the water, (clearly all my fault as I am now their resident snack bitch). Heart broken tears when they do not get the (insert beach toy description or brightly coloured confectionery snack here). Therefore, summer has me like – shit I have birthed three, mini, ungrateful ass holes. At least one of them is my mini me GULP. Summer is grinding me down to the point, where I don’t want to parent the crying, the fights (I am really a referee and not a parent) the eternal eye rolling, continue with the constant food prep, the tidying, the keeping them entertained, safe, off electronics. I do, just want to close my eyes for a few seconds, hopefully no one will die and wish for a small moment that they may disappear for an hour or two and I can lie down with a book or take a pee and not have to break mid stream, pull up my knickers and bolt towards the blood curdling scream emitting from a child being pummeled by his sibling or the fact he cannot find (insert random toy here). I mean WTF – you mean that broken plastic toy you have not touched for months.

I don’t want to deal with their ass holeness, when I need to work on my inner ass hole and man she looms large some days, Yes I have walked silently behind my wonderful  small child flicking the double V sign and no it is not for peace, maybe peace out, as he berates me, with his smart talking mouth of how unfair I am and life is, that he cannot have a play date this second with his friend I have never met, let alone the parents. I just do not have the capacity to deal with a double dosage of the ass… At that point it is all about survival until 7.30pm and I can put them to bed. Or myself 🙂

Older people say let them get bored oh and I do, but unless my three boys are given a constructive physical activity, they will just run wild around the house like Genghis Khan heading into battle or they wrestle over every item of furniture they can find, imagine the noise and destruction, please imagine that. Mind Blown BOOM. Each day is a re enactment of “Lord of the Flies” and each day I wonder so who will be Piggie today?Occasionally, they play quietly, but they are boys they need to move and letting them run out and play in the streets on the afternoon of a 95F Florida summers day, well that lasts all of 5 minutes and they can only be in the pool for so long before someone attempts a back flip in the shallow end. NOT COOL – I scream in horror as I pour myself a large drink and turn on another kid friendly movie. PEACE.

Yes I agree Summer, is fun and truly it is, but oh its distressingly hard, to the point where I cannot decide if I love or dislike those hot summer days of supposed freedom and carefree fun?

I’ll let you know once these 10 weeks are up, probably from a padded cell in the local mental asylum. 🙂