the 100 day project – 54-56

A few things this week:

1) This month was my first month hosting CMTO where I did not have a panic attack all week the week before. I owned it. I feel like I’m finally starting to hit my stride, and also dispel this horrible underlying feeling of impostor syndrome. I am starting to feel like Kyle made the right decision by handing over the chapter to me. And it feels really good.

2) This week, run days were really hot days. Part way through my runs, my shirt felt heavy and gross and sticky, and instead of enduring it, I took it off. Why? BECAUSE FUCK IT. Dudes take their shirts off all the god damn time, and I refuse to feel uncomfortable and too hot all summer long because as a woman I worry about my abs and love handles. Not that men don’t worry about those things too, but SO many of the dudes that I run with will take off their shirt on hot nights in the summer, and none of the women do. This summer, I am owning it. Instead of investing in whatever sports bras PLUS some technical tanks, it’s just cute sports bras all the way. It’s TITS OUT running this summer. (Not actually tits out, but you know what I mean).

3) I FINALLY got around to taking care of most of the little details that were making my room still feel un put together and look shabby. I made it out to IKEA for more curtains, got my copper curtain rods cut to proper length, and found some bench storage for my bay window. PHEW. Now I just need to set up my desk in one of the house office areas, and I’ll be good. We also had our housewarming this weekend, which was super fun and lovely. Hurray!

Vancouver pals would hate to hear me say this, but Toronto is really feeling like home these days. The kitties are settled. I love my house and roommates. I have a few amazing communities that I’m really a part of. And I’m getting to know my new neighbourhood. Once this job situation is tackled, I’m golden.

<3 <3

The end.

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the 100 day project – days 12 &13 – blog slacker

Blog slacker.

This is the message that I received from a writer friend this morning. And he was right. Just over a week in, and I have already been slacking and letting doubt get the better of me. Uggggggggh.

But that’s what the best kind of friends are for, right? Pushing you when you need pushing, and telling you that you are being a lazy dummy when you’re being a lazy dummy.

Most of my friendships are like this now – a fine balance between support and gentle pushing, or sometimes rather abrupt pushing, that let’s you know that someone is there for you, but also that they not going to take your shit. And I wouldn’t want them to. Take it. We can all be shitty at times, and the difference between a good friend and a bad one, is that good ones will let you get away with things when you really need their support and will give you a stern talking to when you’re stepping out of line; bad ones will let you get away with shit when you’re just being lazy, and will give you a stern talking to during the times that you actually need them for real support. Does that make sense? Did I articulate that correctly?

I feel like the best true friends that I’ve had are OK with me at my core, and will slap me back into place when I’m not being true to that core. But the ones that have not been the best have made me feel ashamed of my core, and would be encouraging only when I was easy breezy about all aspects of my life – good or bad. The bad ones wouldn’t have messaged me to give me a hard time for not writing; they wouldn’t have even noticed that I’d been writing in the first place.

This year, I’m working hard on being more vulnerable. I’ve been so in the past, but with entirely the wrong people, and it has not led to good things. I have had a lot of heartache in my life. Not particularly any more than your average joe, but as a person who is incredibly sensitive, it’s important to be even more discerning as to who you share your heart with. In friendship, or otherwise.

If you’ve been reading along, you might have noticed that all of the posts that I’ve done this month have been highly self-reflective, and I feel like they will continue to be so for the next while. I’m working really hard this year on being a better and better version of myself, and if that doesn’t require reflection, I don’t know what does.

Less blog slacking in the future. Thanks, friend.

High Anxiety

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Two weeks ago I had the worst panic attack of my life. THE WORST. IN LIFE.

I woke up early, because unlike my usual lazy Sunday, today I was pulling a volunteer shift for Doors Open Toronto. I was a teeny tiny bit hungover, but this would not normally be a problem. It should not have been a problem.

Today though, the combination of tiny hangover, the lack of sleep and mild social anxiety, and the added minor stress of dealing with the public were apparently too much for my little heart to take.

Over the course of the day, the gap in my chest deepened. It filled with adrenaline and insecurity and doubt.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced an anxiety attack before, or if you’ve ever been an anxious person. I am currently a mildly anxious person, who used to be an exceedingly anxious person. When I was in my early 20s, I went through a few years there where I was borderline agoraphobic, and it would take me about an hour of getting dressed and re-dressed before leaving the house just because I was so sure that if I wasn’t wearing the perfect thing that everyone I ran into on the street, and all of my friends would judge me and hate me forever. I would cry in public because I was terrified of life. It’s ridiculous, yes. But everything about anxiety is ridiculous. It is not a rational beast.  At one point, I checked myself into therapy, because I knew that living life as I had been would just not do. It was too exhausting. I later took up smoking (and quit), and then yoga, and running and writing help. It’s mostly under control, but whenever the anxiety rears its head, I become momentarily terrified that it’s back for good. And this time was horrifying.

I went home after my Doors Open shift, and slinked into my couch. I put on Netflix and ate snacks and texted friends, and still the panic attack lingered. I lay there, wide-eyed, hoping with each passing hour of mindless programming that the panic would subside. But instead it grew. At 3 am, despite my open chest, I forced myself to bed and lay there in the dark taking deep breaths and reminding myself that “this too shall pass”. I downloaded a “chakra tuner”. Eventually I fell asleep at least being comforted that in the morning, this feeling would be gone.

I woke up Monday morning, and to my horror, the pit in my chest remained. It did not subside while I stood under the stream of hot water in the shower, or while I ate breakfast on my back deck, or on my bike ride to work. It stayed while I sat in meetings, and answered emails, and biked home, and made dinner. The panic set up shop in my heart, and pumped through my veins, and pulsed through my muscles and into every ounce of my being.

Eventually. EVENTUALLY. Sometime Tuesday afternoon, it was gone. And thank THE LORD (disclaimer – I like to talk like a grandma sometime, but I am not for reals religious) it has not returned.

ANYWAYS. The reason that I am writing this post today is not actually to talk about horrible raging anxiety. This post today was inspired by having the loveliest, nicest day, and by encouraging words from a kind friend.

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On Tuesday, I broke a couple of personal bests on my crew run, and received so many supportive kind words of encouragement from some truly inspiring women on my running crew. Then today was the first day of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association conference, and was also a day where I got a lot done, had a coffee shop date with a friend, rode my bike, sublet my apartment, and one of my best best BEST friends in the world and his incredible wife went into labour (I should mention that she is also now one of my closest friends; these people are basically my family).

And on top of all of these lovely things, a friend who I have not seen in so very long sent me some really lovely messages:

“I’ve been following your move and I have to say: go you lady pants. You’re an inspiration.”; and “But in all seriousness – you look fantastic. And I’m jealous of your drive and ability to jump into running and the social scene and know I’m cheering for you.”

As someone who often judges myself, and feels like a failure, and worries too much, this reminder sometimes that how I see myself is not how others see me is such an incredible comfort to my heart, and I wish that there was a way to express how much it means to me.

So the message I am trying to give here is not about how horrible anxiety is,  but rather that even on your worst days, it’s important to remember that it really will get better. But even more importantly, never ever ever be afraid to tell someone how wonderful you think they are, and never underestimate the power of a kind word. It might be just what a tired heart needs. <3