Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Training for the Wild and Crazy Run for Your Life

I’ve signed up for the Warrior Dash, a run to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The Warrior Dash is a 5K run that involves an extraordinary obstacle course.   I'm guessing the course was more than likely dreamed up after a few beers at the finish line of some ordinary, plain, old 5K.  Because, as it turns out, even ordinary, plain old 5K’s can sometimes feel as though you are running for your life, hitting walls, being pounded by hills, and thrown into thorny briar patches, as you press on against the odds, desperately hoping it will end soon with you making it to the finish line with an ice cold one waiting for you.  Running is, as they say, a psychological sport and if your psyche is not in it with your feet, and your knees, and in my case, my gravity enhanced well-endowed wide end, you and your defiant little psyche are doomed.   The Warrior Dash has a few obstacles built in, don’t let the names worry you;
  • Warrior Roast
  • Barricade Breakdown
  • Deadweight Drifter 
  • Leader’s Ledge 
  • Mortimer’s Crossing 
  • Hard Rain  
  • Vicious Valley,
  • Petrifying Plunge 
  • Road Rage  
  • Great Warrior Wall ….etc, and so on. 
It sounds like great fun, No?  It sounds, I hate to say, a bit like the divorce process, which is definitely not fun.  And I hate to say this because I’m fairly close to reaching the end of my pre, during and post Divorce Dash, or race, or slow crawl toward being among the living and actually functioning, fully.  I’ve made it to the point where I no longer speak of it, or worry about it, or compare it to a walk through hell with petrifying, vicious, frightening, maddening, raging, tear filled, seething, thoughts or obstacles attached to it, every third minute.  I’m even at the point where I can look back and laugh at one or two moments.  Truly, laugh and smile, and roll my eyes and even groan, but ever so slightly, at how I approached and made it over some of the sadly predictable hurdles, long jumps, sprints and endurance runs that ended with a steeplechase slapstick crash course into a stunned and previously unfathomable jaunt toward freedom and a what’s next outlook on life. I’ve outlined a few of the Divorce Dash events for training purposes only.  Please get advice from your, doctor, lawyer, plumber, best friend, random stunned strangers and anyone else on your path before trying this course on your own.  There is no website, permission slip, or disclaimer to sign.  No matter how prepared you think you are, you won’t be, but people do survive and some even start to feel the joy of running through mud, wearing Viking helmets climbing walls and leaping from cliffs like a wacked out Warrior.

  • Divorce Initiator Starting Relay (Followed by the Tit for Tat Terrain Run)
This is the start. All participants are lined up waiting for the gun-blast or whistle or very last straw. For all sorts of reasons and a few more than that, one person asks for a divorce, states they are leaving, or otherwise communicates it’s kaput.  This part of the race moves quickly.  In spite of what running coaches, life coaches, lawyers, or mediators and a few well-meaning friends suggest, much like a race that involves running, pacing yourself is important.  Except that in this phase, once the running starts it seems impossible to stop or slow down or catch your breath.  This is when a great big pit of tit for tat swallows you whole and you are left wondering why you hadn’t seen all the road barriers, hairpin turns, pits of quicksand, and otherwise unbelievable characteristics of someone you never actually knew but spent a great deal of time with.  The object is to keep passing the baton, even though every time you pass it to the lawyer, the judge, the attorney assigned to your children, and any other ambulance chasers and hanger-on’s, the person you pass it to fumbles, drops it, or takes five steps backwards as their cash registers ring, and beep and fill up with thousands of dollars that would be better spent on college, or rent, or dinner next week.  Keep passing it, eventually someone will grow tired and give up. Someone will be the bigger loser and this part of the race will at least end, so that you may go onto the next part of the course.
  • Miracle Mile and Human Ball Chute
Dr. Thomas Merrill, Ph.D. an expert on divorce comings and goings, offers this bit of wisdom explaining the underlying factors related to the next obstacle on the Divorce Dash Crash Course.   The "Non-Initiator", now stung and fully awakened from the phase of denial or simply being oblivious to his or her spouse's discontent, enters the fray and retaliates in some fashion designed to deflect the pain of rejection, to punish the "Initiator", or derail the decision to divorce, or all of the above. Often the "Initiator", wounded by guilt or outcry from family or friends, loses motivation and reconsiders. If he or she does not reconsider and proceeds with the divorce, then the parties move to the Transition Phase.  

Cash registers continue to beep and ring and overflow with thousands of more dollars as you attempt to hold on for dear life, roll into a tight ball and slide down the Miracle Mile Chute.  This is deemed the Miracle Mile because somehow, even though you are moving through the worst nightmare you have ever endured, exposed your children to, and have absolutely no control over a great big part of, you do slide into the transition phase of the Divorce Dash almost exactly according to the plan with exact and precise timing.  You uncurl yourself from the tight, guarded, stooped ball that you have become, and you stand, straight, tall, thinner than the garcinoba colon cleanse green tea raspberry extract diet of the week could ever make you.  You look……. good?  You aren’t sure how this is possible, but it is, and so, you start to feel better. Alive.  Exhilarated.  Energized and…..horny.  This is important for the next part of the course.
  • 50 Points of Passion Poll Vault
On this stretch of the Race to the End of the Divorce Dash, a reawakening begins.  Sugarplum sex fairies alight your every moment that is not interrupted with court dates, back-stabs and everyday life events such as work, parenting, laundry, dealing with bill collectors….  The Transition Phase, or  "Crazy Time" , according to Dr. Merrill, “is a period of time fraught with the potential for a wide range of "crazy" behavior.   Merrill states, “Men often become "hip, hirsute, and horny". Both men and women may become obsessed with sexual fantasies.”  I was certainly feeling like a member of the 3H club.  (Menopause helped. It brought out the hairy in me. Hair randomly grew from my chin, and nose, and my brows starting filling in….Sssssssssssexy.) Hip and Horny.
Not for nothing, but E.L. James' book, 50 Shades of Grey, came out just as I was entering this phase.  I understand this book is known for it’s gift of pushing the otherwise sexual limits of women and allowing us to fully explore the thrills and pleasures of sexual fantasies, but I had a rough time with it.   The concept around submission was one I couldn't fully embrace.  I was feeling a tad frustrated, sad and angry.  As I faced the reality that I had been living with some fairly submissive constraints, reading this book just wasn’t very appealing. Call me crazy, but relating to a young inexperienced virgin’s delight with being controlled by a powerful male, just didn’t sit well.  At first.  Annnnndddddd even on second glance.  I couldn’t get through it.  I was interested in experiences of my own, perhaps, extremely so, and maybe even a tad bit afraid of where this really could have gone, in my small town surrounds and big city propensity toward the pleasure principle had I decided to road test these feelings, fully.   

Fortunately the whips and chains were on back order, I was able to cancel them before I got myself into a whole bunch of fun, I mean, trouble and I moved out of this phase without too much incidence, or maybe just enough.  But honestly, how many of us even know this is a standard part of the regular course of divorce?  It’s not even a special category, it’s regular routine, standard, normal, everyday fodder.  Wild, obsessions, and thrilling fantastical thoughts…who knew? and hopefully more to come.  Which leads me to the post divorce dating tips….
  •  The TriFecta Tower
During this part of my Race to the End on the Divorce Dash course, I was able to include all three Dating After Divorce  Pitfalls To Avoid, written by Kimberly Pryor of Experts Blog by jumping onto them full force, rubbing my face in them, crawling through the mud of them, and swinging from the rope ladder that would eventually launch me forward on the path.  

These are the post divorce dating pitfalls to avoid:
1.    Thinking all guys are like your ex.  
2.   Getting involved in a rebound relationship.  
3.   Unintentionally holding onto baggage  
And this is how I decided to scale that tower…. 

I might have misread the directions, or missed the cones on the trail telling me which path to take.  I somehow avoided following any of the tips and made all the mistakes.  I didn’t follow any particular order and I combined a few, to be efficient. Quite frankly, I think this is the usual way to go, or there would not be websites, books, and therapists dedicated to creating tips that most of us…. choose to ignore.  It went sort of like this: throw yourself at a non-moving target and watch how fast it will move.  Throw yourself from a different angle.  Wait patiently.  For me, that meant ½ an hour.  30 long, torturous minutes.  It was pure hell.   No, really.  It was like 5 eternities and then some.  I launched again, harder, got some attention, just enough to latch on for dear life while carrying every bit of baggage up the tower and keeping a choke hold on Rebound Man.  This took place over a prolonged period of time, but mostly, and fortunately, from afar.    

Maybe I figured I was on this course anyway, and the weight training helps build stamina, and muscle, so I brought all my baggage.  It can also occasionally weigh you down and bury you.  Or you can use the baggage to protect, and even launch occasionally, just to be certain you get the most out of your obstacles and hurdles.  I like to go in full, make the most of my time, y’know?  When I decide to do something, I’m all in, and expecting the same from others.   I seriously don’t think all guys are like my ex2.  I don’t think any other guys are, as a matter of fact. I did veer off the path here and thought several things that were said had some type of deeper, weightier, meaning to them, that may have been triggered by something associated with someone else.   It turned out I was reacting to anything and everything from the point of PTSD.  I misinterpreted.  Maybe, just about everything. I was recovering from some incredibly intense provocations that had metastasized and I was in the process of amputating, sealing off and putting to rest.  If Rebound Man shared that he liked that I was free and adventurous, I would somehow associate that with being out of control.  Black became white.  Up became down.  And instead of moving up or around the tower, I got all twisted up trying to be 100% certain I was protected and hyper-prepared at all times, ready to pounce.  I fought every bit of adventure until I was anything but, and slowly made it step over step over the tower, down trodden and temporarily defeated and alone.  I did, however, let go of a great deal of baggage during this part of the course. 

The funniest thing is, while trying to rebound with one eye crossed, a single digit jean size, and my snarly disposition I actually thought I was ready to try this all out.  We engaged in some form of God only knows what at this point, maybe just two-sided crazy.  (He was also rebounding.)   I gave him an invitation to a duel so he could prove he was different, better, maybe everything I recognized in him but couldn't handle, nonetheless.  Anyone could see from miles away, he was different- physically, emotionally, and cognitively.  Big, strong, smart, and all sorts of sexy.  I went after this like a member of Lance Armstrong’s fleet: determined, steadfast and doped up out of my mind.  Only without any doping.  I made sure I was nothing like myself, or maybe just me times 100, to throw things off course a bit, and prove myself, right? Wrong? Crazy? Not yet over a divorce?  I succeeded and in the end learned a few profound lessons.  This week I sat with a friend and Rebound Man came up in the conversation. We laughed at how absolutely over the top I went about trying to catch and date and scale the Trifecta Tower.  For far too long I had such a hard time letting go of the idea that if only, if just, Rebound Man could see who I really was….    I was everything all at once and then some.  He came.  He saw.  He considered.  He saw again.  He ran.  I chased, screaming, “Come Back! Wait. I’m not really crazy!  Which, it turns out, is not the way to convince someone of you’re sanity.

My friend assured me, this was all part of the course.  “The first one is supposed to go this way, down in a spiraling flame of insanity.”  He reminded.  He’s watched from the start, he warned me long ago. "I would hate to be the first one, but the second one....he's going to be a very lucky man."  He said this a long while ago, as I mooned and salivated and googly-eyed stared at and tripped all over Rebound Man.  I have really good friends it turns out.   "Arghhhh….I wouldn’t have wished that phase of me on anyone" I grimace.  We were discussing a new potential date, and the reality that I didn't have to work at it.  Not even lift a finger, or bat an eye.  I’ve had a few sweet and happy moments of late, invitations, possibilities to consider.  Flirtations of the very best kind.  Light, enjoyable, at ease.  It’s really nice to not be in any rush to get to some starting point, or finish line, just to find out that I left behind a limb, or sprained something, or knocked someone out or broke a big part of that old organ that beats and keeps pace and gets to be all filled up again, and again, and maybe even another time after that. 
I recently came across a site that provides support and help during the divorce process.  There is even a course you can attend for a week.  It is actually called “The Rebuilding Your Life After Divorce Mountain Retreat”.  I’m going to pass on that for now, I don’t think they go for runners with Viking hats tearing through the place, chasing after hip, hirsute, horny guys while swinging through the trees.

On second thought, maybe I haven’t made it all the way through…..or maybe I am just that wild and crazy.

No comments: