Where the Fans Are… Part 2

Editor’s Note: Recently I posted the first in what I’ve decided to make a series of posts about Cardinals fans and where they reside. If you didn’t get a change to read that post it can be found right here. Though the lofty goal in my head originally was to get one of these written and posted each week, life keeps getting in the way. As my writing will likely always remain a hobby, it gets pushed to the back burner more often than I would like. Moving forward I hope to post one monthly, with the possibility of taking more submissions once I’ve exhausted the current pool.

Sheila (@sheila_sheiley) is a lovely lady from New York whom I had the pleasure of meeting this summer when she came into town with her daughter for a week of Cardinals games. Yes, you read that right. New York, home to both the Yankees and that one Pond Scum team we Cardinals fans still love to hate. (Do you think Beltran still has nightmares about that nasty curveball from Wainwright to close out the 7 game NLCS in 2006?) You might be asking how a woman born and raised on the Eastern Coast became a Cardinals fan. I know I certainly did, knowing she wasn’t a transplant like many of the Cardinals fans that I’ve connected with through social media. As she explained it to me in her email, her dad told her around the age of 13 that she needed to choose a team. His only other words of advice were, ‘Don’t just choose a team because they are a winning team.’

So, in very girly fashion, she chose the Minnesota Vikings for her football team since they had purple uniforms. Purple is of course her favorite color. When it came to choosing a baseball team, however, Sheila ran into a problem. There wasn’t a team with purple uniforms then. Again, using girl logic, she chose the Cardinals since the football team that she was a cheerleader for was the Cardinals. Now before you jump to any conclusions about her fandom you should know that once she chose her team she found as many opportunities as possible to catch games, which wasn’t an easy feat living so far away. The technology that’s available today that allows fans to catch games all over the world didn’t exist in the 80s. Something else that she mentioned that was especially cool in my eyes was that as she has gotten older she’s sought out books and information on the early years of the team, how it came to be, and the history of some of the biggest wins and losses over the years.

img_7238

 

Clint Hymes (@ClintHymes) grew up near Effingham, Illinois in the town of Neoga. He became a Cardinals fan around the age of 12. He spent his summer listening to games on KMOX. Even though his new radio barely picked up KMOX, Clint can still remember Jack Buck yelling, “Go Crazy folks! Go Crazy!” after Ozzie Smith’s dramatic home run against the Dodgers in game 5 of the 1985 NLCS. He was jumping up and down on his bed and screaming so loudly his father had to yell upstairs to him to keep it down. That moment cemented his fandom, and he has continued to follow the Cardinals wherever his life has taken him, including overseas while he was with the military. He even saves most games on his DVR so that he can re-watch the more memorable ones during the offseason.

Like many of the people who have reached out to me, Clint has a Cardinals cave in his home adorned with banners, pennants, bobble heads, and other Cardinal memorabilia. A unique item that he has is a Cardinals pool table. He also recently got a Cardinals tattoo. He plans to have his ashes spread around Busch stadium when he is gone in order to always be close to his favorite team. He says the players and managers have given him many memories to ensure that he will always be a Cardinals fan.

image1

 

Aaron (@keppka) grew up in the greater St. Louis area attending many games each season. He has many fond memories of games at Busch Stadium as a kid especially series’ against the Chicago Cubs. Once upon a time MLB actually scheduled double headers and he remembers going to many of these with his family as well. The sea of red downtown left an impression on him. He credits his family with passing the culture and history of being a fan on to him at a young age.

Though he moved to the Washington, D.C. area during his junior year of high school, Aaron has remained a Cardinals and Blues fan through and through. He met his future wife, an Orioles fan, his senior year of high school. Over the years they moved often during his time in the Air Force. He’s retired now from the Air Force and working in the D.C. area, but he still catches Cardinals games on Sirius radio whenever they are playing. After many road trips to St. Louis and other locales to catch Cardinals games, his wife though still an Orioles fan, has found a place in her heart for the team as well.

He and his wife have gotten to watch the Cardinals play in several stadiums although one of his favorite memories was watching them play in Mile High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos, while Coors Stadium was being built. He remembers being impressed at the amount of red among the 60,000 – 65,000+ fans watching the game. Aaron also included a personal story in his email, which I’ve included below. Anecdotes like these have been my favorite part of doing this series so far.

As a side note, I met Jim Edmonds parents on a flight from Seattle to Anaheim years ago. They were such nice people that they introduced themselves to me (wearing a Cards shirt) on the flight. His mother wanted to let me know how much they enjoyed St Louis and the Cards fans everywhere. She said Jim just fell in love with the fans and loved playing in St Louis. The funniest part was when his mother asked if I had heard of her son, as if he was some sort of utility player who saw little playing time. This was during Jim’s peak years with the team. I just smiled and said yes I know who your son is.

Jeff (@Gerb3x) is a slightly unique Cardinals fan on twitter. By unique, I mean that in the nicest way. Though he’s a fan of the team you won’t often see him ranting and raving about a bungled defensive play at first base or the god awful double switch Matheny made taking our best hitter out of the game in the process. Most of the time, you won’t see a ton of tweets about the Cardinals at all. Honestly, you’re more likely to see silly tweets or yelling in general about his Colts, which makes sense given he lives in Indiana. Just because he’s not constantly yelling or cheering about the team doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know what’s going on. His email to me made me laugh in addition to the talk about the players from years past so I’ve included it below:

Haaaiii Kristi 🙂

Here goes nothing…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, wait, that’s not right. Many years ago when I was a young lad, I became a fan of both the Cardinals and the Minnesota Twins at pretty much the same time. It must seem strange now in today’s world of instant information and communication, but back then cable television was relatively new nationally. ESPN existed, but had no baseball contract. They showed things like tractor pulls and rugby. There was no Fox Sports. USA Network occasionally aired games, which seems really funny now. You had WGN which showed the Cubs (gross) and WTBS which showed the Braves (eww), and that was about it for national coverage (given this, it’s no coincidence these are the two teams I hate the most). If you lived outside of a major league market, you’d get a regional game during the week and one on Saturday. Since I live roughly halfway between St. Louis and Cincinnati, this meant I’d get a lot of Cardinals and Reds games (related: I hate the Reds now). Since I know someone out there is wondering how in the hell I also became a Twins fan, I’ll explain. That year I played on an awful little league team. We went 2-19 and finished 7th in an 8th team league, beating only the 8th place team for our two wins. One night I saw a baseball game on USA Network. It was the Twins. They were the worst team in baseball, and that night set a record by starting a rookie at every position. Just like my team, they were young and bad. Easy connection for a kid. The Cardinals have always maintained my #1 spot, though liking both teams really made the 1987 World Series suck for me.

What really sealed my Cardinals fandom were the additions of Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee. There were already players I liked. There was Keith Hernandez, Tommy Herr, and Bob Forsch. Darrell Porter, who had a connection to my city. George Hendrick. Hendrick was a terrific player who also looked like he was 78 years old. They were all fine, but bringing in Ozzie and Willie brought a sense of excitement to the team that just wasn’t there before. When you’re a kid, I don’t think being a fan of a team is enough. You have to have a reason to keep coming back, and that reason was the excitement those two guys brought. Until Ozzie, I’d never seen anyone do a back flip on a baseball field before. It was the coolest thing ever. I’d also never seen a player make such ridiculously difficult plays look so routine. McGee brought a different kind of excitement. With him it was more the thrill of the stolen base, or the anticipation of a hit to the gap that he’d leg out for a triple. There are many reasons the Cardinals won the World Series that year, but it absolutely doesn’t happen without Ozzie and probably not without Willie either.

What little me discovered back then that still maintains today is Cardinal baseball on the radio. If I couldn’t watch many games, I could always listen on the radio. Like they were for so many others, Jack Buck and Mike Shannon were gods to me, and I hung on every word. Times have changed so much. I can now watch every game as part of my standard cable TV package. Sometimes I get a bonus and a game will be on ESPN but I won’t have to suffer through it because it will air on Fox Sports Midwest as well. A lot of times though, I’ll eschew the TV and sit outside listening to the radio broadcast instead. There’s something about food on the grill, a cold beer in the hand, and Cardinal baseball on the radio that just does it for me. It’s been three years since I’ve been to Busch Stadium, and although I love the place, I’m totally fine with watching or listening to a game within the confines of my own place (at least until Kristi invites me to a game).

One of the cool things about the passage of time has been the advent of social media, specifically Twitter. You would not be reading this if Twitter didn’t exist. It has allowed me to get to know so many awesome Cardinal fans, people I’d probably never meet even if I lived in St. Louis and went to a bunch of games. Whether I’m watching or listening to a game, I can always count on the Twitter feed to keep it lively. It might be people complaining about Matheny’s lineups, it might be a $99.99 tweet, whatever, I’m there, and I appreciate those who put up with my craziness. You’re why I keep coming back.

Still a fan from 3 hours away.

wainogrill

Jeff’s pictures of Waino doing stuff rival my collection of Ozzie pictures on a trip to Wyoming and Colorado two summers ago. 

wainoreading

Waino reads it for the articles obviously…

Karen L (@ishadow1) became a Cardinals fan thanks to a friend that was born in Missouri introducing her to the team. Like a few other fans that I’ve come to know through the wonders of Twitter, she resides in sunny Orlando, Florida. Her husband encourages her baseball habit with the gift of MLB TV, which he’s been giving her for Valentine’s Day for the last 7 or so years. It allows her to watch 3 or 4 games a week, where she’d otherwise not be able to watch any unless they are part of a national broadcast given she lives in an area where the Rays or Marlins are more likely to be shown. She’s fortunate to be able to attend Spring Training games, and she has gone to Cardinal’s games in Miami, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore. Attending a game at Busch Stadium is a bucket list item she hopes to make a reality one of these days.

Something she mentioned in her messages to me is how much she loves the online Cardinals community. I think with the constant dogging of the BFIB’s by some that this fact is often overlooked when outsiders if you will, write about our fan base. Karen has encountered Cardinals fans at Spring Training games and regular season games and it’s always been a positive experience. For as much as some of the fans fight amongst themselves, it’s really one big perhaps slightly dysfunctional family when you get right down to it.

As sometimes happen when two women converse our conversation quickly veered from the Cardinals to the Orioles to Tampa Bay teams (my adopted 2nd city when it comes to baseball and hockey) to soccer and something about men’s thighs. Soccer players that is. As you can tell, Karen is a pretty well-rounded sports fan, herself a former soccer player. Karen is also different from your typical Cardinals fan in that she has a love in her heart for more than one team. Her other team is the Orioles in case you were wondering. (Ed. I can’t believe I left this out.) I’ve gone round and round with fans in our own fan base on this very topic. For the record, I think having more than one team is just fine. For myself though, my hometown St. Louis teams, excluding football, will always come first no matter what city I may find myself living in down the road.

Stay tuned for future installments…

Kristi Lynn

October 12, 2016

9:13 a.m.

 

Where the Fans Are… Part 1

So I was having a conversation with someone recently who said that roughly 90% of people attending Cardinals home games at Busch Stadium are from out-of-town. 90%. While that number seems a tad high to me perhaps it’s not so implausible after all. Cards fans travel well. Audible chants of, “Let’s go, Cardinals!” can frequently be heard over the air at away games all across the country, whether it’s at Nationals Park, Dodger Stadium, or a closer venues such as the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. KMOX and its affiliate stations have an impressive reach allowing fans to listen in across several states.

I am fortunate that I personally live around 10-15 minutes away from Busch Stadium depending on traffic on a given day. The Greater St. Louis area is rather large if you’ve never had the chance to visit. It’s comprised of the City of St. Louis and several outlying counties. I have many friends that drive an hour or more to come into town for games on a semi regular basis. Then there is an extended group of friends that I’ve met through Twitter. Some are locals that I hang out with in real life. Others I’ve met when they’ve made the trip to St. Louis from places near and far to catch a game. And others still live too far to make the trip in very often but have become rather close friends in some cases. I hope one day our worlds will collide and I’ll be able to meet some of them as well.

It’s some of those people who I’d like to talk about through their own words and my own interpretations in some cases. I’ve chosen to include their twitter handles because these people are a small sampling of the reason I come back to chat during games, when Matheny mismanages the bullpen, or something else equally ridiculous or miraculous happens. In many cases we chat even when it’s not about sports. Though this is not an all-inclusive list by any means (if you’ve been left out you probably missed the flood of posts asking for input or have been living under a rock), but it represents some of my favorite people to interact with whatever the reason. Also, at the wise suggestion of a few of my followers I’m going to break this post up into more of a series of posts to alleviate the complaints of it being too long. I received quite a few responses so I’m going to break it up to five or so people at a time. I’ll conclude the final post with a little bit about me and my perspective as a fan born and raised in Cardinal Nation.

The first in this list is the first person that responded to my calls for local and non-local fans of the Cardinals, Mitchell Scott (@ScottsOriole). He lives in Western Canada and became a Cardinals and Blues fan while living in Winnipeg and the Twin Cities. KMOX came in crystal clear at night and he came to learn about many St. Louis traditions while listening to none other than Jack Buck himself. Something I didn’t know was that he took it one step further choosing to do research and learn about St. Louis and its surrounding cities. I have lived in one part or another of St. Louis my entire life and I learned some things about the history of my city as I read Mitchell’s email. Though I knew of the strong Catholic presence, I didn’t realize that much of the architecture here is similar to that found on the East Coast.  Besides chatting about sports or our exercise routines, Mitchell shares the loveliest scenic pictures from Canada. If you’re having a bad day he will share an animal vine or gif that would make even Oscar the Grouch smile. They really break up the monotony of political rants and other vitriol.

Chris Foster (@mrbigblue1) currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a Cardinals fan practically since birth. The Cardinals minor league team the Redbirds was located in Louisville until 1997 so Chris was able to attend 25-30 games a year with his Grandpa. He was in a position to see many of the players who would later go on to play for Whitey Herzog before they made the big league roster. How many of us can say that? As a kid it was a rare treat to be able to watch a Cardinals game on TV unless it was a nationally broadcasted game or against a local division rival such as the Reds or the Cubs. Of course now it is much easier to watch your favorite teams no matter where you live. If he’s not watching the game on TV he’s listening on the radio or following with updates on his cell phone. Technology really can be a wonderful thing at times.

If you’re not following Daniel Shoptaw (@C70) you really should be. The resume at the bottom of his email to me is impressive enough alone. He writes, does podcasts, and hosts a radio show along with a rotation on another. Here is a personal favorite article from his blog guaranteed to make you smile, The St. Louis Cardinals Frustration Level Index. Daniel began to follow the Cardinals during the 1987 season though he has memories of his father listening to the 1985 World Series against the Kansas City Royals on the radio. He follows the Cardinals from afar, representing Cardinal Nation from Arkansas.  After running rotisserie leagues for years his focus shifted primarily to the Cardinals around 1999 when he started chatting on Internet forums. Of the many bloggers that I follow, Daniel has a new post daily, which is inspiring for a writer trying to get back into a similar routine with their own writing.

Cigar Mike (@cigarmike) currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee. He’s well read and loves to throw .50 words into everyday conversation. He attends Memphis Redbirds games giving him a unique perspective on some of our up and coming players that those of us living in St.  Louis and elsewhere might not have otherwise. What follows are his own words from his email to me. I loved the nostalgic touches and didn’t want to lose any of that in translation:

I was probably five or so when my Dad let me hang out on the front porch with him at night. He sat out there, smoking a cigar, and listened to KMOX broadcast the Cardinals. I was raised in Little Rock and we couldn’t pick it up in the house. The AA team for the Cardinals was also in Little Rock, so we spent many nights out at Ray Winder Field watching the youngsters. Ray Winder Field was an old park and had honeysuckle all around the outside. To this day, when I smell honeysuckle, it reminds me of those days. These days, I watch the games every night. Even if I have something to do, I record them and just stay off Twitter until it’s over. I never miss a game. My Dad still watches them all too. When we visit, we always talk about them and how they’re doing. Both my daughters, Lyndsey and Jessie, were raised Cardinal fans as well. It’s a family affair!

Steven Mercure (@Redbirdsfan82) is another awesome Cardinals fan who resides in Arkansas. He’s been involved in broadcasting at both the high school and college level for more than 25 years. The story from his email is presented below, with the only changes being a word or two that was misspelled (fout instead of four for example):

This would have been in 1987 at Busch Stadium II one Hot Sunday afternoon in August.  At the time I worked for a radio station in Arkansas but kept tracks with a former employer in Lebanon, Missouri who carried the Cardinals.  This same station had an excellent working relationship with the Anheuser Busch Distributor for the area, and they would order Cardinals Tickets for us.  Because of the Distributor’s contacts my travel friend and I had seats along the first base line, field boxes, almost dead even to first base and about 10 rows off the field.  Even with the Cardinals in a pennant race, the good folks at Charles E. Brown distributors could get us in the game. My Friend and I always arrived very early to the ball park because we had a place on Clark Street where we were able to park for free and yet not have a long walk to the game.  This same back street lot also gave us easy access to Highway 40 and out of downtown.

On this particular Sunday we arrived downtown around 11:00 am for the 1:15 game and were taking our own sweet time walking to the park.  On a back street, a street name I cannot remember, we spotted a man trying to unload some water skies from his car.  There was a ski shop on the street, and apparently he was having work done on his skies.  He was struggling to get the skies unloaded.  My friend and I said hello and asked if we could help.  At first he looked at us quizzically, then decided we were not trying to rob him.  Perhaps the Cardinals gear we wore told him we were just going to the game, and honestly wanted to help.  Between the three of us we were able to wrestle his skies and a little bit of other gear into the shop.  It was a little closer to game time now and we were eager to get on our way to the stadium.  However, before we left the gentleman we had just helped asked us if we already had tickets to the game.  We said yes, but were always looking for better seats.  He had two that he was not going to use which he offered to us. The seat numbers told us they were better seats than we had already, and the price was right, face value so we bought them.  Our new Friend told us, “you won’t believe this but you will be sitting next to Whitey’s wife.”  Yea sure, I’ll bet, we thought, but they were good seats.

Arriving at the walkway between the parking garage and the stadium we were able to quickly sell our tickets along the first baseline.  Since we had some good fortune we also sold our first set at face value.  The buyer gave us $20 more than we priced the seats for and said, “Keep it.”  Even in the 80’s ballpark food was expensive but we did have our drinks covered for the game.  Time to enter the stadium.

Both Randy, my friend, and I were veterans of the Stadium and knew our way around pretty well.  From the numbers we could tell the seats were near home plate, and were row four.  We kept marking the sections in our mind’s eye and how close we were getting to home plate.  At the old stadium the field boxes were down from the main entrance and ushers checked your tickets to assure access.  We have been through this before.  When we found the right section to go to field level, the user tipped his cap to us as he allowed us to pass.  Tipped cap, seriously, who does this guy thing we are here??   Then we started to locate row four, down we went, closer to the field than we ever sat.  In fact we were only four rows off the field and right behind the catcher.  These seats were close enough that we could hear the discussion between umpire and catcher.  Behind us one row sat Cardinals pitcher Pat Perry who was on the disable list at the time.  We found him to be charming to visit with, especially when we were happy to listen to his baseball stories.  As he was talking a very statuesque woman in a pretty dress sat next to me, and she introduced herself to me and my friend.  “Hi, I’m Mary Lou Herzog, but please call me Mary Lou.”  I was shocked.  She was a fantastic fan to sit by and to share a baseball afternoon with and around.  It is likely that I will never experience major league baseball like that again.  To this day I would love to know who the gentleman was we helped with his skies.  I assume he was an employee of the Cardinals but he never introduced himself.

Stay tuned for future segments of Where the Fans Are…

Kristi Lynn

August 18, 2016

7:37 p.m.

On PEDs…

When the St. Louis Cardinals drafted the once highly touted Puerto Rican SS Delvin Perez with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft outrage was not far behind. The right-handed hitting 17-year-old tested positive for an unnamed PED, which surely kept him from being chosen in the top five picks as had been projected. Perez had been projected to be picked as high as 3rd until the week leading up to the draft when the reports began to surface of the failed test. It’s interesting to note that although the MLB tests the top 200 draft prospects for evidence of use of PEDs that a failed test does not affect their eligibility for the draft. Results of the tests remain confidential so which PED he tested positive for is still an unknown variable at this time.

Perez is not the first player to be drafted who tested positive for a PED. Colorado Rockies pitcher, Jonathan Gray, was drafted third overall by Colorado even though he tested positive for Adderall in 2013 as an example. What caused the uproar over the Cardinals selecting Perez then? Jose de Jesus Ortiz, relative newcomer to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, might have added fuel to the fire with several tweets that ruffled the feathers of Cardinals Nation. Was the furor warranted though?  As a reporter his job is not to placate the fans, it is to report the facts. Below is one of his tweets from the evening of the draft. 

Fans were justly or unjustly upset at his opinion, which is what that tweet represents. His article on the matter, found here, didn’t mince words in the slightest. Whether you agreed with his thoughts or not, you have to give the man credit for having the Chutzpah to question team management and indirectly the “best fans in baseball” who were quick to fire right back. There was amicable discussion, and then there were outright hateful things said to Mr. Ortiz. The block and mute features on Twitter are a life saver in some cases.

You can find a list of the substances currently banned by the MLB here. It is much more detailed than a casual fan might think and you will likely need a dictionary of pharmaceutical terms on hand when reading it. While it is not known what specific substance Perez took Cardinals General Manager, John Mozeliak, admitted that it was a steroid in this June 10th Post-Dispatch article by Rick Hummel. The Cardinals organization felt that it was worth it to give the 17-year-old Perez a shot. Did he know what he was taking and that it was a banned substance? We’ll likely never know the answer. Perez has admitted that he took something. That isn’t in question like it is in the case of others such as Cody Stanley, who is still denying the truth after 5, yes 5 failed tests.

The question that’s been bothering me personally ever since Perez was drafted is this: Should he have been given a chance at all given he knowingly or unknowingly took a banned substance? My knee jerk reaction of course is NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT. A player should not be rewarded for cheating in my opinion. For further frame of reference once it became clear that Mark McGwire along with others were under the influence of PEDs when they were routinely launching rockets out of ball parks across the country they were dead to me. They left an indelible stain on what had been an entertaining era of baseball. I was vocal in my displeasure when McGwire signed on with the Cardinals to be a hitting coach back in 2009. And yes, before someone gets their panties in a twist, I was vocal in my displeasure when they acquired Jhonny Peralta. (I’m fairly certain someone argued with me on Twitter over this, shocking I know.)

Like it or not celebrities have the ability to influence the world’s youth. The greatest or worst parental influences at home may temper that influence slightly, but you can’t deny that it exists. Sure, every human being has the ability to make their own life choices. Unfortunately when you’re in the public spotlight like athletes, musicians, and movie stars you tend to be held to a different standard. It comes with the territory. Some relish the opportunity and go on to do great things. Others fold under the pressure and their fall from grace ends up on the cover of every sleazy tabloid magazine on the market for anyone to see.

So say a young child views Mark McGwire as their idol. They try to emulate his batting stance at little league practices and the countless hours spent playing at home with their friends or perhaps their dad. They choose to be a first baseman because that’s the position Mark plays. Then one day they see a news story alleging that McGwire was taking a PED, which aided his performance. A grown adult has the ability to make an informed decision on how they react to that news. A young impressionable child likely hasn’t developed that ability yet. Perhaps they also see that player go on to keep playing with little to no repercussions being imposed upon them for their actions. As a result in that young child’s mind they begin to confuse the issue and think that it’s ok to take those banned substances. The decision is based on rather faulty logic, but they also are too young to know any better.

So what’s the right answer here? Do you give these players another chance as the Cardinals are doing with Perez? Or do you sever ties completely? My gut says no, but admittedly a lot of that comes from my personal life experiences. If you go the route of giving them a second chance any further failed tests should most certainly be the end of the line. Even the MLB doesn’t appear to take a clear stance on it as evidenced in the article regarding the lifetime ban for Jenrry Mejia of the New York Mets. According to the article, a lifetime ban might not really mean that at all. That’s disappointing when the league says it is actively working to eliminate PEDs from the game. Well, which is it, MLB? Honestly, if there isn’t a way to eliminate them from the game why bother banning them at all? I won’t apologize for that stance. There are too many people out there doing things the right way who fall just short of making the cut, while those taking shortcuts reap all the rewards.

Kristi Lynn

July 11, 2016

7:34 p.m.

On Writer’s Block, Reading, and WIP…

(Editor’s Note: Getting to WiFi can be the devil with my schedule as noted with the time stamp. One of these days I may actually get home Internet again…

Image via http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6ba2tL1d21qb4a07o1_500.jpg)

Writing has always been an escape for me. Whether it’s because I’m recounting something that happened in my life or creating a world of my own I have always found great solace in shutting the world out while I get my ideas down on paper or typed up on my laptop. My first short story was written in 1993, a whimsical though very childish attempt at a fairytale romance entitled Princess Krissy’s Quest. Once I hit junior high school I could  always be found jotting down ideas and collaborating with friends on a series of books in addition to my own individual endeavors. I imagine my copies of those are still amongst all the notebooks in the bottom of my desk at home. We wrote “Friends” well before it was ever a popular sitcom. Of course in hindsight that was a really terrible title for a book, but hey, we were in seventh grade for crying out loud.

I’ve always had dry spells as it were, times when the ideas just weren’t there though I desperately wanted to be writing. I’m afraid I’m currently in one now though I have easily a dozen subject ideas jotted down in my notebook. I’ve started one on PEDs, but am having the worst time finishing it. I’ve also started another about Cardinals fans far and near. Some of that has been held up while I’m waiting for fan contributions so the delay there isn’t entirely my fault. I had this amazing A-ha moment during the Urge concert that tied in with the recent tragedy in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub even. That one may be too difficult to put out there, however. Perhaps I have too many ideas churning in my head at the same time? Either way, I’ve stepped away from my laptop for the most part over the past week or so other than work related things and job hunting. I did read two real books with real books being defined as not having to do with Microsoft Excel and or job search related things. I’m not sure I’ve had time to sit down and read a real book since the holidays so this was a rare treat.

The first book, “Silver Bay,” written by Jojo Moyes was a heartfelt romance that spanned the globe from London to Australia. The male character in it reminded me of someone important in my life from the first moment he was introduced. Characters like this make books come alive for me. Watching his transformation from well dressed English businessman, to jeans and scuffed shoes wearing “Whalechaser” was a pure delight. He was the hero the heroine was in search of even though she wasn’t searching at all. It was a nice easy read that at times made me laugh and alternately bawl like a baby. It’s one of Moyes’ earlier novels of which I have read several. It did the job of holding me over while I am on an eternally long waiting list to check out, “Me Before You,” which I cannot wait to read.

The other, “Women,” by Charles Bukowski couldn’t have been more different. This is an author that I’ve wanted to read for quite some time now. I finished it last night, and the ending still has me fuming mad to be honest. 291 pages of a man in his late 50s fucking anything that moves and it ends with two paragraphs about a stray cat. “I opened him up a can of Star-Kist solid white tuna. Packed in spring water. Net wt. 7 oz.” That and the preceding paragraph where he discovers the portly stray tom cat on his porch at first seem anticlimactic because the entire book you’re wondering if Chinaski is ever going to figure things out and settle down with one woman. I turned the page expecting another chapter to begin, but nothing. I probably reread the last page of the book a dozen or more times trying to make sense of the ending. Chinaski had appeared to have a brief epiphany during the phone call he’d received while waiting for Sara to show up for dinner. Perhaps Bukowski described it as a black cat because it was meant to be a symbol of bad luck, indicating that there hadn’t been an epiphany after all? It left me perplexed and still curious a day later. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more of his novels along with his poetry.

With any luck, my next post will be a bit more substantial…

Kristi Lynn

7/3/16

10:23 p.m.

Strange Encounters of the Creepy Kind…

If you follow my twitter account (@comeroundfullO) then you’ve likely caught a tweet or two about the odd overnight security guard that is working at our store temporarily while we undergo a remodel. My first impression of the man was that I didn’t feel very safe with him “protecting” our store. The construction guys say he’s frequently asleep on the job. I was told he couldn’t even remember anyone’s name. Unfortunately that was not the case with me, even though I never have my name badge on me when I come in as I leave it in my locker. Probably the second week he was there I was told by the other two overnight guys that he was asking if I would be working that morning. We all kind of laughed it off, but it sealed the deal for me on the weird vibe I had gotten the first time I met him.

As is my custom, when he lets me in the door at 3 a.m. on tag day I nod and say a polite hello, (a small miracle given I usually get less than three hours of sleep) before hurrying off to put on my headphones and tune out with my favorite playlist or podcast until the store opens and I have to deal with the overhead music. Also customers, but I digress. On Thursdays when I have to work the café at 6:30 he’d hang out chatting with me. Again, I’d engage in polite conversation but kept working, just waiting for him to leave at 8:00 a.m. As luck would have it the company realized there was no need for him to be there that long, and he now leaves at 6:00 a.m. So things settled down some, although I still would tell anyone that brought it up I got a bad vibe from him even if I couldn’t put a finger on just what it was triggering it.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago. I finish a day of stocking and head to the gym. I’m not working the second job that night so I’m able to go to the location by my house, which is also my favorite location. Club Fitness is my happy place. If I’m not meeting with my trainer for our monthly check in you’ll find me with tattered headphones on and not really paying attention to anything around me except the weights I’m about to lift. I get in a zone, and for the hour or two I’m there I can mostly succeed in shutting off my brain.

So anyhow, about three weeks ago I’m dancing at the squat rack in between sets when I catch a glimpse of someone out of the corner of my eye. ‘Man that guy looks familiar,’ I say to myself as I prepare for my next set. I finish another set of squats, and the guy is still down there in my line of sight again. ‘Where do I know this guy from?’ I’m thinking now. I’m staring trying to place where or how I might know this person I’ve never seen at my gym before. I’m turning back to the squat rack and I catch sight of his glasses. Suddenly I realize it’s him, the overnight security guard. Of course like the completely rational 34-year-old that I am I immediately want to hide so as not to be noticed and drawn into what will likely be an awkward conversation. And for the remainder of my time in the basement of the gym I manage to keep my back to whatever direction he is in while finishing my exercises. I quickly head upstairs to finish up my minor accessory work. He’s nowhere to be seen. Feeling pretty confident that I’ve managed to avoid him I retrieve my purse and things from the locker room.

Foolish girl that I am I should have known better. The minute I walk out of the locker room, still blasting my Pink Floyd mix, I see him. What’s worse is that there’s no way to avoid him because he’s in the direct path to the exit. I tuck my head down and hope for the best. I’m almost past him when I know he’s recognized me. He calls my name rather loudly and actually reaches out and grabs hold of my arm. Somehow I don’t recoil from such a brazen move from a stranger. The eye roll, however, is involuntary.  He asks if I’m trying to lose weight and goes into how he’s been working out for months and hasn’t lost a single pound. I explain I’m trying to tone up more than anything else neglecting to mention that I could probably tell him why he’s not losing weight. I’m desperate to get to my car now, but he’s still talking. He’s asking if I’ll be there again on Thursday. Or Wednesday. When will I be back? In my mind I’m thinking, ‘Never because I’m cancelling my gym membership immediately.’ Fortunately I don’t have to lie because I’m working both jobs that Thursday so I’ll go to the location that’s closer to my jobs. I tell him I usually run outside on Wednesdays weather permitting and make a quick bolt for the door.

Of course I tell people at work about it the next day. They’re all asking when I’m switching gyms, while I’m determined to forget about the whole thing and just stay as far away as possible from the guy whether it’s at work or at my gym. I manage to avoid him for the most part although I see him at the gym more times than I’m comfortable with over the next three weeks.

That brings us to this week. On Monday, I see him at the gym and though he never comes over to talk to me he easily walked past me a good seven times and didn’t appear to be working out at all. One of the times I was refilling my water bottle and he nearly bumped into me he was so close. It put me into a funk for my entire workout that day. Though I know it’s not MY gym, it does feel like my own personal space in a way, one that I’m very protective of as with anything that I deem to be mine.

Tuesday. Leg day. I’d already determined that I was going to push my limits since I didn’t end up getting my second leg day in the previous week. Deadlifts go well. I’m pulling 195 pounds on my final set, normally reserved for my heavy day. My timing is perfect as I’m able to jump in on an available squat rack right away. My warm up sets go well, 10 reps at 115 pounds, nothing crazy. I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve chosen to skip my iPod for some reason so I’m giggling and singing along with the Oldies hybrid station that’s playing a song from Grease. My heavier sets I usually only do five or six reps and that’s what I do with the first of those at 155 pounds. I’ve been building towards a mini goal of 200 pounds for squats with a max so far of 175 pounds. So my thinking is that I’ll knock out a set at 165 pounds and then either go for 175 or 180 pounds depending on how that set feels. As I’m adding the ten pound weights to each side of the barbell I see that’s he there again. I’m beginning to regret my choice of outfit because I suddenly feel naked in my yoga shorts and t-shirt.

I turn my back to him and get into position for my next set. With the bar nestled in that little notch on my back I take a deep breath, lift up and take those awkward three or four steps backwards that anyone familiar with weighted squats knows so well. One rep down. As I’m going down for the second rep I’m horrified to see him standing near the front of the rack I’m using. He’s talking to me.

“Can I use those clips?” He’s referring to the clips dangerously close to my feet. “Kristi!” I swear this last part was screamed it was so loud in my ears.

“Please,” is all I can manage to say as I finish the second rep. I’m standing there with 165 pounds on my back not sure if he’s going to get out of my fucking way or not. Like a deer in headlights I’m frozen and irrationally afraid of failing on my set. He said something else, but I couldn’t hear him. A guttural growl escaped my lips as panic really began to set in.

It seemed I stood there for ages, but it was probably not nearly that long before I heard someone say, “Get out of her way!”

I can only assume it was the trainer who was working with a client next to me who spoke up. He moved. More determined than ever to bang out those last 3 reps I braced myself and went for it. One. Two. Three. I’ve never slammed the barbell back down on the rack as hard as I did after completing that third rep. By then I was shaking from head to toe and trying not to cry I was so angry. One of the first rules of gym etiquette is not getting in the way of someone using the equipment. In the one place I should have felt the safest I suddenly felt trapped and incredibly vulnerable.

With my heart pounding at an alarming rate I leaned against the rack, shaking as I sent someone a message about what had just happened. I knew they might not be able to see it just then, but sending it was enough to help me start to calm down. I already know there is no way I’m going to add weight for my next set so I’m just trying to steady myself for another round with 165 pounds when he walks back over to me. He’s fingering the weights on the barbell trying to add up what’s there.

“165 pounds.” I say staring through him still having trouble regulating my breathing. His reply is lost on me, but I continue anyway. “165 pounds. Yeah. It’s a lot of weight.” You could’ve cut glass with the sharpness of my words. Finally he wandered off and I finished my last set of squats in relative peace save for my wildly beating heart. I was able to finish the rest of my workout without further incident although I did skip the ab work I’d intended to do at the end just to be safe.

So what exactly is the point of throwing this out there you might be asking if you’re even still reading at this point? My take from yesterday once I was able to calm myself down was that no matter how much I lift or how fast I can run there will always be someone out there that can make me feel vulnerable and scared if the circumstances line up just so. It’s an unfortunate reality for women especially though I suppose it could apply to men in more rare cases.

Just this past weekend while I was at my mom’s house for a barbecue she slyly brought up the topic of making sure to carry my phone and my gun when I go running. She’s well aware that I rarely carry my phone and have not found an affordable option to make carrying while running comfortable. I’ve had my CCW for a few years now, and I feel comfortable with my gun even though I don’t make it to the range for practice nearly as often as I would like. I will admit that I definitely pushed myself even harder the rest of that workout after the strange encounter with the security guard though. Sure, it’s completely illogical, but perhaps those extra few reps here or extra five pounds there will make a difference and the next time I’m in a situation like that I won’t panic.

                                                                                                                                                       Kristi Lynn

June 1, 2016

5:47 p.m.

On Success

While in search of a poem I wrote for a class during my undergrad days recently I started rereading some of the papers I wrote for my classes. One stuck out, however, the final paper I wrote at the conclusion of my internship with The Current, UMSL’s student run newspaper. Although the paper was written nearly 10 years ago (December 2006), much of the sentiments expressed still hold true today.

I went into that internship hoping I would find the answers on the direction that I wanted to take in my life after college. I’d hoped somewhere in the middle of writing articles, Sunday deadline marathons in the newsroom, and bonding over games of catch outside the Millennium Student Center that the proverbial bell would go off shouting the answer in my ear. While I found that for the first time during my time at UMSL I didn’t feel like I was just a commuter student anymore the bell never went off. I graduated later that month with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my Bachelor’s degree in Communication.

You may be asking yourself why does something that happened nearly a decade ago matter. Perhaps it was a bit serendipitous that I was looking at those old papers when I did. A few days after this incident I was asking my Twitter followers for suggestions on the subject of my next blog. My only requirement was that I wanted to try writing about a subject on which I’m not familiar. While soccer and Bulgarian politics (yes, really) were given as suggestions, I ultimately chose success for my topic. This was a suggestion given to me by someone who takes great pleasure in making me do things I’d otherwise be too afraid to attempt. Stranger still, I listen every time. (Editor’s Note: This post was supposed to be finished by March 31st.)

So, success. What is it exactly? A quick Google search of the definition of success lists it as follows: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the attainment of popularity or profit, or a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity. That seems simple enough at a glance. But what does success really mean? More specifically, what does it mean for me personally? How can anyone achieve it regardless of their circumstances? If someone makes six figures per year but they aren’t happy in their life are they still considered successful? On the flip side, if someone makes 25K per year but they are deliriously happy does that mean they are not successful?

From early childhood it’s implied that success in life is achieving the “American Dream.” Typically this is defined as having a great job, being married, having 2.5 kids, a few pets, and a fantastic house in the suburbs. In today’s social media driven world it’s easy to find yourself feeling defeated when the achievements of your friends, family, and colleagues are thrown in your face advertently or inadvertently 24/7. This is especially true if you don’t have any or even all of those things in your own life. It’s taken me awhile to realize this, but it is OK not to have those things. More than OK actually. Some people have no desire to have children for example. However, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t frustrate me at times especially since I am not where I’d like to be in terms of career goals for example.

As a child I wanted to be a lot of things when I grew up. I loved arguing with an old family friend whether I was right or wrong in my opinion. For a time I thought perhaps I’d someday go to law school, and get paid to argue. Of course the years leading up to the ‘96 Summer Olympics in Atlanta had me convinced that I wanted to be the next Shannon Miller. Unfortunately I’d have needed to start taking gymnastics classes practically as a newborn to ever get to that elite level. Hey, a girl can dream though, right? Somewhere around the end of grade school my love of writing really began to intensify. Through my advanced level courses in junior high school and beyond I’d often be found writing scraps of poetry, short stories, and things I ultimately hoped would one day become the great American novel. Yes, I sometimes dream very big indeed. Of course how many people really grow up and get paid handsomely to write? Spoiler alert, they don’t.

As I’ve already mentioned I struggled through college trying to figure out where I was supposed to go upon obtaining my degree. Perhaps the biggest strikes against me would be where my strengths lie. I love creative writing, the arts, and history. I’ve always excelled in these subjects. The problem is the jobs just aren’t there. Basic science I do alright with, though I never took any of the more advanced type classes to know if I would excel or not. Then there is math. I have a love hate relationship with math. I muddled through two stats classes in the pursuit of my MBA even improving from a high B to a low A on the second of the two classes. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to earn an A in my life. That being said, I prefer to avoid math wherever possible. Oddly enough bookkeeping and basic accounting makes perfect sense to me. Though I did horribly on an accounting skills assessment test recently if you put me in front of the computer at work the red and black and plusses and minuses make perfect sense. I’m still called upon to answer bookkeeping problems at work and I stepped down from that position in the store nearly 4 years ago.

Something you may not realize about me is that I have worked for the same company for nearly 17 years now. It started out as something that was supposed to get me through high school and my undergrad degree. It’s turned into my own personal hell from which I can’t find a way to escape. The few times I had a possible way out I passed up on the opportunity because of school. My store manager at the time failed to communicate clearly what it was he was trying to steer me toward I realize now in hindsight. On the flip side had I went in that direction it’s highly likely I may never have finished my Bachelor’s degree or eventually gone back to school to obtain my MBA either. Was one choice better than the other? No one can say for sure.

I’ve always been a people watcher. I’ve joked that someday I’ll write a book about the crazy people that shop where I work full-time. As I’ve grown older I realize that they are all just stereotypes and that those same types of people frequent any establishment in existence. Just the same, I wish I had the courage to ask some of the ones that I have deemed to be ‘normal,’ whatever that really means, how they got to be where they are today.

When I was initially tasked with this subject matter, my knee jerk reaction was that success to me meant being happy. The definition of happy can go a whole lot of different ways too. In some facets of my life I’m ridiculously happy. The accomplishments and goals I’ve achieved where my fitness and health are concerned have been more than I could have ever dreamed of when I dusted off my membership card nearly 2 ½ years ago. I have some wonderful friends in my life, both far and near whom I’d be lost without most of the time. Though I don’t have near enough time to devote as I would like writing makes me happy.

It’s no secret that I’m not happy where I am in my life career wise. With two college degrees I find myself embarrassed when the topic of what I do for a living comes up. Some of that surely stems from the constant barrage of updates from friends and family announcing new jobs, fancy houses, kids, etc. Yet here I am in the same place I’ve been since high school with no clue where the next step should be. If money weren’t an issue I’d have walked away from my full-time job years ago. The stress of money and never ending student loan payments takes a toll as much as I try to keep it between myself and my money guy. He’s changed my life in ways I could have never imagined these past 7 or 8 months. Of course I’m generally my insufferable self and though he says he is never patient with me the fact that he hasn’t run screaming speaks volumes.

Maybe in the end success is really an ongoing tangible that you constantly work toward achieving? Most days I feel successful if I’ve remembered to grab my keys before walking out the back door that automatically locks behind me or remembered to throw a bra in my gym bag for work. Those little things matter too as I continue to search for answers. In the end I just want to be happy with the choices I’ve made and perhaps that I’ve somehow made a difference with the things that I do.

 

Kristi Lynn

May 20, 2016

4:46 p.m.

On Being a Girl

Editor’s Note: That time stamp thing applies to this piece as well. It’s one of my writing quirks.

So if you’ve read my most recent piece (if not, what are you waiting for, Click here already) then you know that I’ve undergone quite the transformation over the last 2 years or so. The thing that I find I still have the most trouble with is being comfortable with this thinner, healthier me. This is an underlying reason for why you’ll often hear me say that I fail at being a girl. I never learned how to accept compliments. My gut instinct is that there is an ulterior motive or that the person is flat-out lying. I imagine that feeling may never go away even once I reach my ultimate fitness goals. My trust issues are complicated, but I’m certain Dr. Freud would put the blame squarely on my father. Sadly, he’d likely be right.

I’ve had a lot of time for self-reflection as I’ve gone through this transformation. My beliefs on what’s really important in life have changed dramatically. There’s been a lot of regret to sort out since my grandfather passed. I’d hoped he would be the one to walk me down the aisle if the time came. Even as he lay in his hospital bed dying he was giving me advice on the kind of man not to marry. (If you’re interested he said stay away from doctors because they would never have any time to give to me.) I’ve felt that I somehow let him down with my failures where men and relationships are concerned. The men of the Greatest Generation were built much differently than most men today. I know now that I’m looking for one of those rare, almost mythical men. It took many years of trial and error with the wrong type of men to finally realize what it is I’m looking for in a partner. I’m sure my grandfather would be horrified to know that I likely will never get married even if I do find that modern-day white knight. For me, being happy with someone is more than enough.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned I really don’t conform to the typical girl stereotype. I don’t care very much for makeup, designer handbags, or $675 pairs of Louboutins. Most of the time I’m happiest in comfy clothes, bare feet, and my hair up in my always messy attempt at the messy updo that every other girl executes so flawlessly. As a child I played with Barbie dolls at home like most little girls. Unlike most other little girls I was comfortable playing with the G.I. Joe and Mask action figures that the son of my babysitter had at their house. In the neighborhood growing up I rode on the pegs of the boy’s Dynos (no helmet, oh the horror), played baseball and street hockey, and could run faster than most of them. The thing about all of this is no one judged me or teased me for it as a kid.

I’ll be forever grateful that I grew up in a time where social media didn’t dominate my childhood. I got a pager at 16 and a cell phone at 17. The only reason I had it was because I was driving, and my mother wanted me to be able to call her in case something ever happened. My twin nieces, who will be 9 this coming July, got cell phones for Christmas. They are pre paid phones, and my sister is vigilant about how much they can be used. Even with precautions such as these in place there are constantly headlines about young kids getting into trouble for sharing nude photos and things with classmates. At such a young age what they don’t understand is that these photos have the potential to follow them for the rest of their lives. We didn’t grow up with that kind of pressure. Sure we did some really stupid things, but we were allowed to be kids.

I have a feeling that it might be very different if I was a young girl today as opposed to growing up in the late 80s early 90s. The big question is why is that so? I feel that the media (televisions, print, and social platforms alike) has played a huge role in this shift. The boundaries of what’s socially acceptable are constantly changing whether it’s the latest trashy reality show, risqué costumes on awards shows, or the easily accessible plethora of videos available on YouTube to highlight a few examples. Magazines aren’t exempt. A typical cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine will tell you they’ve discovered the sex tips to end all sex tips. Of course this only works if you don’t realize that they have a similar headline every single month. Most of the clothes and accessories they advertise aren’t readily affordable for the average reader further confusing just what it means to be a girl. Once I finally woke up and realized this I stopped buying their magazine and any other number of others covering similar topics. There’s an inherent desire to feel pretty even while you are under a constant barrage of conflicting portraits of what makes that hold true. Where is the happy medium? I often find that I feel as if I fail at being a girl because I’m not obsessed with makeup, clothes, and other superficial things. You find yourself torn between wanting to be Kelly Kapowski or Carrie Bradshaw.

Kelly Kapowski is your typical All-American girl. She’s the girl that everyone wants to be growing up. She’s the head cheerleader dating the most handsome boy in the school, Zack Morris. Even while she comes across as the girl you want to hate but also secretly wish you could be there is something else about her. She’s a damn likable character. You get the sense that she doesn’t even realize the power that she could have if she knew how to unleash it. Discussing this show recently with someone my age that grew up with it, you realize how very hokey and family friendly the show was in retrospect. It’s a reminder of simpler times before the chaos of adulthood swallowed us all whole.

Carrie Bradshaw is the polar opposite. She knows she’s an attractive woman, and she’s not afraid to use that knowledge to her advantage. Her sexual exploits keep New Yorkers coming back for more with each new column. Her brownstone walk up is the quintessential single girl’s dream home overflowing with books, Macbook, and all the latest haute couture if you’re into that sort of thing. Most anyone can totally relate to Carrie getting broken up with via Post It Note, the first time Big cheated on her, and the heartbreak when she realizes the reality of Paris doesn’t live up to the lifelong dream of Paris.

Newsflash: Characters like Carrie Bradshaw don’t end up coming home to their Mr. Big at the end of the day. What’s more likely is that they continue to have short-lived attempts at relationships with an endless parade of less than stellar men. While I loved that television show, I would imagine the way that the book ended is a much more likely ending than the gift wrapped ending that everyone wanted and received. Yes, the television show is based on a book with the same title. The reason the show resonated is because you were presented with four strong female characters that were not afraid to be sexually confident women in a world where that behavior is typically frowned upon.

But if we’re really honest here girls should want to be someone in between. At least I do. I miss the innocence of my youth, before my heart began to harden from repeatedly being let down by those I trusted the most, I discovered life doesn’t always take you where you thought it would, and sometimes hard work doesn’t pay off. I miss the confidence of my youth too. From the earliest age I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind even when I was talking out of my ass. I’ve changed as I’ve grown and watched the world around me change. I keep my opinions to myself more nowadays unless you’re one of the few people I’ve chosen to let in. And once in a while, without warning, I’ll catch myself getting excited about the possibility of having a reason to dress up or wear my hair down. Or when I wake from a dream with the stupidest grin on my face as I replay every detail until I’ve committed them to memory, giggling all the while. It’s in those moments that I start to believe I don’t completely fail at being a girl after all.

Kristi Lynn

March 22, 2016

7:53 p.m.

A Better Version of Me

Editor’s Note: I always time stamp my writing upon completion, hence the March 14, 2016 date at the end even though it’s being posted on March 31, 2016.

207 lbs. Yes, you read that right. 207 lbs. When I read the number on my bathroom scale sometime during the fall of 2013 I didn’t think I’d ever set foot on a scale again. My exact reaction is a bit of a blur now, but I’m fairly certain there was a great deal of tears. You see, I’d always been a petite girl. When I walked across the football field for my high school graduation in June of 2000 I weighed around 118 lbs. I left in the fall for my first year of college at Southeast Missouri State University. The ‘freshman fifteen’ eluded me. I transferred back home my sophomore year and slipped back into a routine of partying with friends while working 40–48 hours a week in addition to a full course load of 15 credit hours per semester. For almost 3 years I kept up this lifestyle. I frequently complained of being exhausted, but still maintained a fairly consistent weight.

Of course no human can keep up with the life I was living forever. The bottom fell out the second semester of my junior year of undergrad. I started skipping classes until eventually I just stopped going altogether. I was so close to a Bachelor’s degree in Communications along with a Writing Certificate and for some reason I just bailed. If I’d been smart I’d have gone through the proper channels to drop the classes. At that point I figured that I’d never finish my degree anyhow and like so many other things in my life I just let it go. We’ll save the story of how I did end up obtaining my Bachelor’s degree minus the Writing Certificate and later a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis on Small Business Management for another day. Suffice to say I did eventually finish.

It was somewhere in early 2004 that I might have realized that I had begun to put on some weight if I’d been paying closer attention. I was set to be one of the bridesmaids in the wedding of two of my oldest friends. We’d bought the dresses probably a year ahead of time. With the wedding quickly approaching it was time for the fitting. We’d known when I bought the dress that it would need to be shortened substantially to not drag on the floor since I’m only 5’2”. What I didn’t count on was that the dress would no longer fit me. The day of the fitting I was horrified to realize that the dress would no longer zip all the way up like it had when I bought it. The fear that I’d be ruining the wedding was real as a sympathetic salesperson at David’s Bridal hunted through the company database trying to locate a larger dress that could be shipped to that store in time for a fitting and also get back in time for Kristy and Billy’s big day. (Don’t worry, folks, everything went smoothly.) The oddity, because what else could it possibly be, of the dress no longer fitting was quickly forgotten, shoved to the far reaches of my mind where it would stay until 2009.

In hindsight I wish I’d been paying closer attention back in 2004. There could have been any number of reasons why I’d gained so much weight. Some people pointed to the birth control that I’d been using as the culprit. Stress was another possible reason. I wasn’t the happiest girl even if I’d mastered the art of hiding it for the most part. I’d tried any number of antidepressants my doctor had prescribed, many with possibilities of weight gain as a side effect. This in turn only made me more depressed, and I promptly stopped taking the pills. I was still frequently tired. I did go back to school, obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in December 2006 after taking a year off. By the spring of 2007 I still hadn’t found a real job. So yeah, take your pick. Though I don’t know the answer it was likely a combination of these and perhaps other factors.

I’d never really exercised other than the gym classes I took in high school. I’d never had time for sports other than my stint as a cheerleader for our freshman football and basketball teams because I got a job once I turned 16 in order to buy a car. I’d run around all through high school in my size 0 or 2 clothes, and not given it a second thought. I had no idea that I was tiny or that this was something others might have envied. I ate pretty much whatever junk was easily accessible. My finicky palate was one of the few things I’d inherited from my father so fruits and vegetables were never high on the priority list.

Even with all of this I continued on ignoring all of the signs that things were very much out of control. Eventually, I hit a breaking point. In early 2009 I transferred to a different location within my company in order to finally be granted guaranteed full-time status. Shortly after the transfer I began dating a coworker. At first things were great. Of course there were signs there that I ignored too because I was happy for the first time in a long time.

Around the time that I was about to leave for my annual trip to Treasure Island, Florida that May things began to fall apart. I wasn’t gone for more than a day when I got a message that he’d cheated on me. Not with one woman, but two. I put on a happy face, and no one on my trip was the wiser that there was any sort of problem. I had gotten ridiculously good at hiding my feelings. I came home and had to deal with the mess that was waiting for me. I needed to get my things from his place that I’d basically been living at for the previous 3 or 4 months. Don’t ask me to explain it, but I stayed there that night, slept beside him in the bed we’d slept in together for months. There was nothing physical about it, just two humans in the same bed, one crying herself to sleep searching for some sense of closure, the ending of a chapter of their lives.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

May 2009, Treasure Island, Florida

I took this breakup especially hard, but not for the reasons that you might think. I’d been cheated on in the past. It wasn’t the first time nor would it be the last time. One of the reasons he gave me for things falling apart was that his step mother didn’t like me. His family had money; I’d spent the night in their home in Ladue built by some such famous architect or another once. For someone who’d grown up primarily in Jefferson County, this wasn’t the type of home I’d ever have been in otherwise. I’d only met his step mom on a few occasions while we were dating. She’d always been cordial giving no indication that she didn’t think I was good enough to be dating her stepson even if I hadn’t come from a privileged background. Perhaps it was a cop-out on his part, but he said that she had a problem with my weight. That. That was the part, which so devastated me.

Fat? When the hell had I gotten fat? This couldn’t possibly be a true statement. He had to be talking about some other woman. Fat? Inconceivable.

I spent the summer of 2009 mourning the loss of someone I’d come to love regardless of how badly he’d mistreated me. I’d finally realized there was a problem even if I had absolutely no idea how to go about fixing it. I got lost in my writing, which I always retreat to when I’ve no idea how to voice my feelings. Poetry, attempts at song writing, half assed attempts at new ideas for the novel I hope to publish someday.

Somewhere that fall I finally began to take steps to make a change. I began walking at Fenton City Park, where I’d played as a child. Slowly, those walks turned into intervals of walking and short bursts of jogging. Over time those short bursts of jogging became running until I couldn’t run anymore. Then one day I was able to run the entire 1.4 mile loop around the park without stopping or walking. With a bit more time and patience I was running the loop 3 times without stopping.

One of my friends, Niki, convinced me to sign up for a 5K with her that November. A love of running was born. Soon, I was running 5Ks at the park regularly. I ran in the Girl’s on the Run 5K in November of 2009 side by side with her. I’ll admit that at the end my competitive spirit kicked in, and I had to cross the finish line before her. My time wasn’t the greatest by any means, somewhere in the 45 minute range. But I had finished the race. We signed up for a Turkey Day Trot and the Frostbite Series in Forest Park among other races. I was regularly running at least 3 days a week.

Nov 13 2009 First 5K Before

First 5K, Girl’s on the Run, November 13, 2009

Lo and behold I lost weight. All told I lost around 70 pounds just by running. I hadn’t really changed my diet all that much other than cutting back on soda and ordering smaller portions when I did eat at a fast food place. I did try to make healthier choices when eating out such as salads or sandwiches rather than burgers and fries. And for about a year and a half I kept the weight off.

In the fall of 2010 I was dating my best friend whom I’d dated in the past. We’d been seeing each other again for quite some time, and I was finally ready to drop the big L word on him. I’ll just say that saying those words out loud made him run faster than I’d run in any of my races up to that point. The timing couldn’t have been worse as it was about 2 weeks before Christmas. I didn’t think I could sink any lower at this point.

With a sudden abundance of free time on my hands I began contemplating other areas of my life that were also a mess. I’d now had my Bachelor’s degree for 5 years and was still stuck in the job I’d had since high school. I didn’t have enough experience was the most common theme of rejection. Deciding that another degree would somehow help, I went back to school, beginning a 21 month program to obtain my MBA. From January 2011, until August 2012 when I finished the program I had a grand total of 3 weeks off of school. I continued to work full-time the entire time I was back in school. The stress of work and deadlines with 6 week courses took their toll. By the time I graduated with a 3.82 GPA I’d also gained back all of the weight that I had lost and then some for good measure.

Once again I was in a holding pattern of sorts. I now had two degrees, and if my money weren’t an issue I’d have been pursuing my doctorate like my grandmother had suggested. I still wasn’t able to find a new job. Someone during my job search actually told me to not list my master’s degree on my resume. After busting my ass to obtain it you can imagine my reaction to that was not pretty. It was rare to get an interview, and even more rare to get any indication of the inevitable rejection. As I had done so many times before I eventually gave up looking altogether. I settled for the awful retail job I hadn’t liked for years, feeling very much like I would be stuck there forever. I knew too that I wasn’t happy with how I looked, but had zero motivation to do anything about it. That’s where things stood until January 2014.

I was depressed and had been going through the motions of living since my Grandfather had passed back in January 2013. I’d actually joined a gym in November of 2012 and had been going regularly for about 3 months and had begun to see real results. The toll of work, the gym, and a month spent at the hospital watching him die had finally become too much to handle on my own. I quietly stopped going to the gym and retreated into myself. For the first time ever I didn’t fall back on my writing. I wrote scraps of random thoughts down in notebooks, but nothing of real substance. For someone who’d been writing in one form or another since grade school this too should have been a red flag.

IMG_20071364195801

CCW Training Class September 2013

I wish that I could pinpoint the moment of clarity that surely descended upon me sometime after that horrible moment on my scale during the fall of 2013, but I can’t. By November I’d decided to start watching what I was eating. I drank my last Mt. Dew. I began taking a weight loss supplement. I actually began trying and eating healthy foods, fruits, and vegetables. I was trying new foods and liking them! Over the holidays I actually managed to lose about 10 pounds. When I set foot back into Club Fitness (I’d never cancelled my membership) on January 20, 2014 I was down to 197 lbs.

The first few times I hit the treadmill I could barely make it 30 minutes. For someone who had been used to running 3 – 6 miles in a single run this was an awful feeling. I didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought of me in the gym though. I wore baggy t-shirts and pants and did my own thing. Sure, all of those ridiculously fit people were probably judging me, but I didn’t really notice any of them. I was on a mission even if I didn’t have a clearly defined idea of what I ultimately hoped to accomplish. I started back up with the weight lifting routine that a trainer from another location had started me on a year and a half before. Like most things in my life, I muddled through until June of 2014 when I happened to ask a trainer a question about how to do a specific movement correctly. This led to a member reassessment, which put me on the path to where I am today.

The first time I met with my trainer Tim Brennan, I weighed 167 lbs. By this time I was working two jobs and working out 3–4 days per week. I’ve been checking in with him once a month ever since. He took me from lifting weights 2 days a week to 3 days and then to 4-5 days a week. Cardio is more of an accessory for me now. In a typical week I lift weights 4 days and use my cardio day for a long outdoor run of 6 or more miles. I take at least 1 day for rest. Usually if I choose not to take 2 rest days in a week the 2nd day is used as another running day or a light lifting day with a bit of cardio thrown in. Last May I had gotten down to 121 lbs. I’ve put a little bit of weight back on though my pants size has remained the same. Muscle is a very awesome thing.

20150202_184200

February 2015, Huatulco, Mexico

I currently weigh between 127-130 lbs. My goals now are to trim the last bit of jiggle from my stomach. I want to get my body fat percentage below 20% with an ultimate goal of around 15-16%. I’m currently between 21–22%. I’ve come this far, and I want better defined abs. I recently hit a mini goal to deadlift 200 lbs. I’d like to hit that number on squats, which I know is achievable. On my heavy leg day this week I hit 165 lbs. for 5 reps, so it’s just a matter of time until I reach this goal too. I’d like to be able to do 5 unassisted chin ups in one set. So far my best is 3. Another goal is to bench my own weight, because I read somewhere that everyone should be able to do this. Challenge accepted. My personal best (PR) is 110 lbs. and I’m currently lifting 100–105 lbs. on my heavy sets. I’m only 20 lbs. or so away. I will achieve this goal too. Another goal on my list is to run a half marathon. The furthest distance that I’ve run so far was 9.38 miles.

People constantly ask me the exact things that I do that helped me get to the point that I’m at. The thing is what I do may not work for everyone. Though I only see my trainer once a month for my reassessment session I could text him with a question anytime. When I see him in the gym he’s always willing to listen or provide advice if I need it. If he’d told me the first time I worked with him that he’d eventually have me lifting 4–5 days a week I’d have probably quit right then. Instead he was sneaky about it gradually increasing the weight lifting days while decreasing my cardio days over the course of several months.

20151114_093359

Girl’s on the Run 5K, November 2015

Though I’ll be the first to admit that I do not strictly adhere to it, he’s given me macronutrient (macro) goals to hit for my caloric intake. When I say I do not strictly adhere to them I don’t mean that I go crazy eating whatever I’d like to eat. This also doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of your favorite “bad” foods either. Cheat meals are important so I can indulge once in a while. The key words there are once in awhile. I used to have a cheat meal once a week. Notice I said meal, and not day, however. For me this is something like Imo’s pizza or El Maguey, my favorite Mexican place. I don’t have those meals once a week anymore. I might have one of them once in a month. I do have little things here and there though such as a red velvet cake doughnut with cream cheese frosting or my favorite York Peppermint Patty. Again, I don’t go crazy and have 12 doughnuts. You have to maintain a balance.

I’ve had enough practice now that I know what I can eat to get close to or hit my goals for protein, fats, and carbohydrates for my low or high carb days. This is called carb cycling, which for me means I can eat more carbs on my weight lifting days and eat less carbs on my cardio days. I’m by no means qualified to give nutritional advice, so I’d recommend talking with a personal trainer or someone who is qualified to help you chart out the macros that work best for the weight loss goals that you want to achieve. My eyes always glaze over when my trainer gets too sciencey (my word) with me when explaining nutrition or muscle groups and such. In the past I have used the MyFitnessPal application to help track my macros. While it is a helpful tool, be sure to educate yourself and know what’s in the food that you’re consuming. As I get closer to my goals of a lower body fat percentage it will become more important to fine tune my macros to help achieve those goals.

Something I didn’t expect as a result of my weight loss journey would be the skinny shaming I now endure. Yes, this is as much of a thing as fat shaming. Casual acquaintances, coworkers, customers, and even friends have all been guilty of it. Comments like, “You need to eat a cheeseburger,” and “Stop losing weight, you’re too skinny,” are just a few examples. For as much as I have accomplished in the last 2 plus years comments like these still make me cry at times. Just imagine if even one of them had cared enough to say something encouraging when I was morbidly obese and depressed when I weighed over 200 lbs. Not one person ever did by the way. Not one. How different things might have been if someone had. What they don’t realize is that while I’ve lost 80+lbs. (I say + because I stopped looking at scales at 207 lbs. I likely weighed more than that.) I am working towards a goal of being strong, not skinny. At 127–130 lbs. I guarantee you that I’m healthier by leaps and bounds than I was when I weighed 118 lbs. when I graduated from high school.

IMG_20160108_140711

January 8, 2016, Flex Friday Progress Picture

I realize that many of them don’t realize that what they are saying can come across as hurtful. They are shocked when I tell them how much weight I’ve lost over the last two plus years. I was very good at hiding how large I’d gotten with baggy sweaters and jackets. The thing they might not be able to understand is that I’m terrified that I will wake up one morning and all of the weight will be back. I worry that if I get hurt while lifting and get sidelined for a while that I’ll just stop going altogether. When I’m running I worry about injuries. I mentioned that I was taking a weight loss supplement when I first began this journey. I’d stopped taking it before meeting with my trainer for the first time in June of 2014. For quite some time after I stopped taking it I worried that I’d only lost the weight I’d lost up to that point because of the supplement. You might look at it as irrational, but for me these are very real fears other than the last one, which I’ve since gotten over. Even with all that I have accomplished I find that I still lack self-confidence. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve never had any issues with your weight. I wouldn’t wish these fears on anyone.

20160212_193758

Flex Friday Progress Picture, February 12, 2016

Something else that they don’t understand is that I don’t care if I never lose another pound. I only weigh in on Mondays, and it’s more because it’s a routine I’ve developed than anything else. What I do care about is losing inches and replacing fat with muscle. Strong, not skinny. The beauty of this journey is that it has been for no one but me. Me. Myself. I. I still have other issues in my life that I have begun taking steps to work on, but in the gym I have found one place where I am truly happy. I hope to use those lessons to make 2016 the year I finally find my career. I’ve been writing again, which has set my mind whirling with delicious possibilities. More importantly, no one can take any of that away from me.

As you can see I’ve posted some of my before and after pictures to show just how far I have come. For a really long time I didn’t like to be in pictures at all. That I finally feel comfortable enough in my own skin to post them at all is a small miracle in itself. I typically post these to my Instagram account throughout the week. My only regret is that I wasn’t brave enough to post progress pictures from the very beginning when I started going back to the gym. The fact that I was there at all should be enough, but I wish I had documented it all more fully. The feedback and health tips I’ve gotten from other people there has been invaluable. I’ve had many people on my various social media accounts contact me privately to tell me that I’ve helped to inspire them to start health and fitness journeys of their own. I’d have never imagined that was possible when I awkwardly scanned my membership badge (upside down no less to add to my embarrassment) at my gym on January 20th, 2014. I think that the greatest complement of them all was an old friend who told me that although not everyone may be commenting on my progress to me directly that they had certainly taken notice of it. It’s helped me to be more encouraging to friends who may just be starting on their journey. On the days where I don’t feel like going to the gym (yes, I have them often as much as I love working out) I think of the comments like these, and am reminded why I power through anyway. I don’t ever want to be that other version of me ever again.

IMG_20160311_133159

Most recent Flex Friday Progress Picture, March 11, 2016

March 14, 2016

11:03 a.m.

KL

Feel free to follow along as I continue to work towards my fitness goals. You can find me on Instagram.

Why Your Baseball Stats Don’t Impress Me

“If you build it they will come.” Most people will recognize the classic quote from the movie “Field of Dreams” even if they have never watched the film. (Disclaimer: I am one of those people.) In today’s technology driven world you’ll find social media ‘gurus’ are quick to judge your fandom or loyalty to any given sport. These self proclaimed experts will judge you for the most obscure reasons. Stalwart fans will judge you for pledging allegiance to more than one team. For the record, I’ve lived in St. Louis my entire life and my allegiances lie in St. Louis with the exception of the Denver Broncos. Tampa Bay teams hold a special place in my heart as it’s a city I’ve travelled to often. However, St. Louis always comes first.

My personal favorites are the ones that say you can only be a fan of Team X if you reside in that team’s state. That argument is especially ludicrous given that life and jobs can precipitate moving from the city you were born in.  If you need further proof look no further than the banter about the Chicago Blackhawks sudden explosion of fans when they won the Stanley Cup during the 2009/2010 season after last winning it during the 1960/1961 season. In baseball terms think of the Chicago Cubs sudden success during the 2015 season. The same principal applies. Fans suddenly come out of the woodwork, thus overshadowing those who have been there through the good times and the awful times.

Wherever your loyalties lie, anyone can learn and appreciate the basic fundamentals of baseball. Hit the ball. Score more runs than the opposing team. Bingo bango. That’s a winner! Simple enough, yes? Sure. You can easily look up any player’s stats with a few clicks of your mouse or swipes on your smart phone. It wouldn’t take much effort to find out Troy Tulowitzki’s Batting Average (BA) or Adam Wainwright’s Earned Run Average (ERA). I will admit, some of those stats, Home Runs (HR) for instance, can be fun to keep track of over the course of a season. Then, someone with a clearly sick love of mathematics decided that these fairly straightforward statistics were not adequate to tell you everything you needed to know about a particular player. Bill James defined the term sabermetrics in 1980 as “the search for objective knowledge about baseball,” (sabr.org). If you need a jumping off point this website is a great place to start.

Now fans can argue about Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), and Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) just to throw a few examples out there. The site that was recommended to me early last season when I decided to learn all of these definitions in a failed effort to impress a boy was fangraphs.com. I quickly grew bored with the endeavor. I imagine that my strong dislike for math may have something to do with it. Extreme baseball stats nerds, however, will be in heaven. The stats spill over the pages. Offense, defense, pitching, basically enough mathematical equations to make one’s eyes glaze over unless you’re into that sort of thing.

Of course this blog entry is titled “Why Your Baseball Stats Don’t Impress Me.” Perhaps you’ve noticed that I have an aversion to math? If you don’t believe me, ask my money guy sometime. He can attest to my horrendous math skills. Even with all of that my reasoning is simple and very unscientific. Nostalgia. Memories. I’ll take those reasons over sabermetrics every time.

It’s safe to say that everyone has some personal memory they inevitably point to when explaining the origins of their love for baseball. Most men will recall playing catch with their fathers perhaps. Women, as with many things, are a bit more complicated. For me, I will always think of my grandfather when I think about baseball. Now that man loved the game. Though he was a Cardinals fan until the day he passed away in 2013, one of my favorite memories with him is watching the Red Sox vs. the Rockies during the 2007 World Series. There is no specific play that comes to mind or even which of the games in the series it was. The fact is for me it doesn’t matter. There’s just something about sitting on the couch drinking a beer with my grandfather that screams baseball.

The first of many Cardinals games that I attended during the 2015 season was on Jackie Robinson Day. Of course I had a good cry when I realized I was going on that day. You see one of my favorite stories about my grandfather, a WWII Army Air Force Veteran who passed away a few days before his 88th birthday, occurred on Jackie Robinson Day. My mom was watching the game with my grandfather at their house. I smile every time I think about her telling me that he kept saying, “Man that #42 is all over the field!” Granted he was in his mid 80s at the time. My mother was of course in tears telling the story to me. (If you aren’t aware all of the players wear the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day in his honor.) The night before he passed away I sat beside his hospital bed and together we watched the Blackhawks hold on to defeat the Blues. Lastly, something I learned from a few of my baseball twitter friends was that one of his favorite phrases, “Can of corn,” is a baseball phrase. I grew up hearing him say it since I was a little girl. He’d yell it during a game of dice or cards while we gathered around their beautiful dining room table that I hope someday is passed down to me from my mother who now owns it. It wasn’t until he’d been gone a year or more that I saw a random tweet during a ball game where someone said it. It never fails to make me smile wistfully, wishing he was still alive to watch another game with me. In case you were wondering, a can of corn is a high, easy-to-catch fly ball hit to the outfield. These are memories that I will take to my grave.

So judge me if you must, but this is why your baseball stats don’t impress me.

February 16, 2015 5:27 p.m. KL

Sketches of the Worst Year in Memory

Sketches of the Worst Year in Memory

1/2/13

Grandpa Spooker

I smooth your white hair

As if my hands were a comb

Wiry, yet still dark near its roots

Fond memories of my youth

resurface so easily

trips to the zoo

trying to teach me to dive

I never caught on –

But I remember

1/26/13 7:37 a.m.

Death sure is a funny thing. I can remember the perhaps odd fascination with it at a young age. At my great grandfather’s funeral I can remember it being almost game-like between the cousins to see who was brave enough to touch the body (hello, Stand By Me…). Years later, at my great grandmother’s funeral, that had greatly changed, although I couldn’t say just why.

3/17/13 8:17 a.m.

I am torn between desires. The desire to fit in. The desire to just by myself. The desire for money – validation for years of schooling and personal sacrifice. The desire to just. be. happy. Damn everything else. The desire to start writing again – the itch has been present, the energy not so much. The desire to be loved. I can be in a room full of people and still feel so totally ALONE.

3/20/13 9:07 a.m.

  • No more settling.
  • C…, I cannot be your option. I have too much to offer that is being wasted on you.
  • Really, R….!?!
  • I don’t need any of you.
  • BREATHE. REPEAT.

These dreams – Worthwhile? Healthy??

3/23/13 11:37 a.m.

What is it exactly about you all…always knowing I’m ready to start fresh…free from the spells that you cast, each holding me with one hand while your eyes are on anyone but me.

Exquisite torture…the pushing

4/4/13 9:23 a.m. KL

~ GET IT TOGETHER, GIRL!?!

Stretching —

ever so quietly

so no one will

notice

Easier when you are

invisible

like me

4/11/13 10:07 a.m.

When will the tight wire snap…

Shaky balance between a world of make-believe and harsh reality

Waiting for

the other foot to drop

(her) The Façade to crack

BIG REVEAL

Lost, Scared, Little Girl…

4/18/13

Every day is a struggle

between order and chaos

what I know but don’t

fully grasp is that the

beauty lies in the chaos.

4/20/13 2:37 p.m.

I am weak. I know this.

It’s only been a week,

but I can’t shake

the hope that you’ll call.

Stupid lonesome thoughts.

Need to kick *You* to the

curb too! Like yesterday!

4/24/13

Epiphany: I’m scared that I overeat in order to avoid becoming an alcoholic. The stigma of those who drink alone…??

5/2/13 2:17 p.m.

How do some people manage

to smile no matter what life

throws at them?

I can’t do it.

Sometimes I think I feel

too much – and sometimes

I’m scared I don’t feel

at all.

A puzzle to be sure

(Perhaps) NEVER TO BE SOLVED?

The pieces keep shifting,

Not quite sliding into place

5/16/13 2:53 p.m.

We have gotten so good at pushing unpleasant thoughts from the forefront of our minds. Television, radio, video games, the possibilities are endless. What happens when those things come to an end and we are left with all the stress & sadness we struggle to keep buried?

5/16/13 6:47 a.m.

Am I dead on the inside

Someone else pulling the strings

Perhaps I don’t march to my

own beat after all?

The struggle to be

my own person leaves much

to be desired

Exhaustion rules the day

‘Pieces of Us’ 5/16/13

What, if anything, was the turning point for Molly Alexander? They, whoever they are, say there’s always a moment where the fog lifts and clarity descends. Molly had grown certain that her moment had come and gone without even announcing its presence.

She’d watched her childhood friends find jobs, kids, and love in no particular order. And now, thanks to social media, she was watching what felt like the entire world finding themselves while she was stuck in the same spot.

Most days she was able to brush off the feelings of inadequacy aside. It was the days she took more than the average amount of abuse from both customers and co-workers at her dead end job that Molly felt useless and defeated. She was certain that being a cashier wasn’t supposed to be her career.

5/23/13

As I watch scandal after scandal unfold before my eyes and ears I am angry. More than that, it causes me to question my pride of being an American. Our nation is almost always at the front of the line to help other nations in their times of need. Why is it easier to adopt a child from say Russia, China, or Africa then it is from within in our own…

6/13/13 10:07 a.m.

Trapped,

drowning in my own

inabilities…

Wandering aimlessly

through my life

No sense of purpose

direction

Wish I could shake

myself

(WAKE THE FUCK UP ALREADY!!)

Snap my fingers

have all the answers

6/24/13 7:27 a.m.

So very very tired

of living vicariously

thru you and you

and most especially

You

Caught in the same

old faulty logic

‘This time it’s

gonna last and

last and last’

7/18/13 7:43 a.m.

Woman of contradictions

Grandpa is in heaven

but is god there too?

Bird on a wire – no shock

Why can’t I do the same

Do I even Really want to?

Crucify me for speaking up

but it’s just my thoughts

strung together in opinionated

sentences.

Remember before you

judge me

that I never asked you to feel the

same.

Turn around and look at

yourself.

7/25 9:07 a.m.

Saw a guy with friendship bracelets on! I rock! #Bringingitback

8/6/13

In tough times I always

turn to you –

Dark Lover

Stalker

9/9/13 11:03 p.m. KL

I reach for the telephone as easily as I used to reach across to touch you when we still shared a bed, old habits are so hard to break.

I know you – the one you keep hidden

And still I fall again and again

Expecting a different

outcome

The Happy Ending for which I’m

so desperate

9/17/13 1:27 p.m. KL

How do you explain this

feeling to someone else…

Trapped.

Drowning.

Can’t find a way back to

the surface…

Not sure I’m able to care.

Confidence couldn’t

get any lower –

Imagine a Never ending Boxing match

with your hands tied

behind your back

No chance in hell to

win

9/19/13 12:47 p.m.

Perhaps if she knew I had two options – adequately prepare or find a second hand interview outfit – she may have judged me differently?

*Hindsight is a bitch.*

10/1/13 1:27 p.m.

Sleep pictures

so life like

I wake and am startled

you’re not next to me

I yearn for the nights

when you stayed

waking up beside you

safe in your arms

*The best part of all…

when you stay*

Waking up with your scent branded upon my skin

Reminder of nights past

Something just beyond my ken

I miss you.

10/3/13 12:37 p.m.

What is the purpose of such cruel people in this world?

Spewing forth senseless bile w/out a care

who they infect

My brain hurts from fighting the urge to slap the stupid out of people

11/4/13

Is this all there is for me?

Perhaps putting the dreams to rest would be easier?

Hope’s chains won’t hold me back

12/1

Always you come back

Knowing (somehow) when I’ve almost

gotten over the last time

*Oil and water*

12/3

I need taller kitchen chairs…or a boyfriend.

Right.

New chairs it is.

12/12/13 (Late evening/early morning insomnia…)

I’m tired of always having to choose – Once in a while it would be nice to have it all. Party and the pay off. Love and the money. Happiness without the inevitable letdown.

Strange, the dead clock is working albeit in spurts of quickening & slowing 3:17 a.m. but it’s only 10:30 p.m. And now, as always, my muse. Exciting yet taunting me with its fleeting affection.

What’s changed from the days when the words came so easily, flowing from pen to paper effortlessly – TALES OF LOVE CONQUERING OVER ADVERSITY –

Even before truly experiencing it

STOP. SCENE SHIFTS. (Schizophrenic Bi-polar)

Always, Always Back To You

And Everything Else Simply

Stops. Moving. Slowing.

Fading. Ceasing. Drowning.

In. You.

In this.

Quicksand.

Won’t you please give me your hand, only this time don’t let me go.

It’s always been you –

the one I always go back to

12/15/13

I CAN’T KEEP LIVING THIS WAY

Drowning in this deep black

hole unable to save myself

losing hope of ever clawing my way back out

Fuck.