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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well, well, well. Look who the cat dragged in. and by cat, I mean Caterpillar Bulldozer because I have gained back all the pounds.

Ha. Who's ready for a big old Front Street update??? Better get comfortable for this one. :-)

To see where I'm at, I had to look back at where I left off and I literally laughed out loud for a while and then almost peed my pants. My last blog update is this laughable post about how I was trying to eliminate all kinds of refined sugars and crap and well, I can't say that really lasted long at all. It was about right after that, that I lost my job in April. It's a long story but basically what it comes down to is that they had originally hired me to do a specific position that had to do with a new program they wanted to start. As soon as I was hired, one of the directors left abruptly for a new opportunity so my new program got put on hold. In the meantime, I was doing an interim job that wasn't totally my cup of tea, but I was doing it with the hope of the future. After all, I had moved out to one of the most remote parts of Vermont for the original job which was going to further my experience and career. If I wanted an entry-level job, I could have done it with less degrees and in a place with more people my age, but I digress. Anyway, it was coming on the new fiscal year and everyone was hoping/planning that that would be the time to start the new program. Meanwhile, I was sinking and sinking fast into depression. It's mortifying to say but there were days (lots of them) that I would DRAG myself to work, scary close to being late because I just couldn't get myself to move and I would come home and immediately crawl into bed and cry until I'd fall asleep. That was it. And McDonalds. (Told you I was gonna bare it all. And if you want to know the gruesome, it was the time of 2 for $3.33 Filet-o-Fish deal, which I got very into.) Well, I came upon an opportunity to apply for a grant for $20,000 which, long story short, would have given us a brilliant segue into starting up the new program. I wrote the grant myself and applied with my director's blessing and review of my application. It wasn't until I got the entire $20,000 award that I saw it in my director's eyes upon telling her that she hadn't truly thought we would get it. It was a mix of "oh sh!t" and "omg.... what are we going to do now...." As you might guess, in the coming weeks, she kept putting off meetings or rescheduling, stalling really. Finally, we were scheduled to meet and she came in and told me my job was over. That the new program wasn't going to be starting up (infrastructure issues) and that we couldn't accept the grant after all, and they didn't know when or if they'd be able to do the new program so they were letting me go. As miserable as I already was, holy sh!!!!!t was I miserable, my first thought was literally, "this is it. I'm moving to Chicago!" my second thought was about my integrity and the fact that now I had to go back to the grant people and tell them "oops, my agency made a mistake, they aren't really as ready as I made us sound." awesome for a young professional who just got her first 20K grant. Here's a bulletpoint list of what happened next:

- Job gets terminated on a Wednesday in mid-April. Negotiated one more week of work so I could ethically wrap up with my clients.
- Flew to Chicago that Friday - Sunday which I had already been planning, to see a friend from college. Decide I'm definitely moving.
- Work one last week at my job, tie up every loose end, let all the clients know. Go to Boston to talk to grant people, they tell me they read my application, they know i have what it takes to do the project I proposed anywhere with some tweaks, that there's no time limit and the money is earmarked for me when I'm ready to use it. SCORE.
- Give month's notice at apartment.
- Fly back to Chicago on one way ticket and end up staying two weeks with friends - look for jobs, apartments, etc. Start the hellish process to obtaining unemployment benefits. Get em. Score an apartment. Interview for some jobs. Ask friend of a friend who owns coffeeshop for part time job but they don't need any help at the moment. Couple days later get an email that they do actually need help and could i at least commit to the summer? Yeeehaw!
- Go back to Vermont, get rid of furniture via Craigslist so I have some money to move. Federal tax refund (thank God) covers security deposit and first month's rent in Chicago and all the flying that took place between late April and May. Pack up apartment into car. Drive to CT. Fly to North Carolina to see Bike & Build friend's wedding. Fly back to CT.
-Drive to Chicago.
-Move into new apartment on May 31, start working at the coffee shop 6/1. Slowly (and still in the process of) acquiring furniture from alleys, recycled places (couch cost $40 for instance).
- Listen to a lot of Stevie Nicks. Ride bike on Lakefront Trail. Get advice from people. Go to networking events. Explore. See free movies in the parks. See Natalie Merchant and cry. Go to the beaches of Lake Michigan at night. The early days of getting here, everyone was so nice to me, friends helped me out big time, people paid for my dinners sometimes. Made me feel welcomed. Threw surprise going away party for a friend who was going to work in Chile for the next 8 months. Discover a fantastic mixed drink and big party pleaser with my juicer. (juice fresh apples and fresh ginger and then add jameson and ice. wowwwww!!!) Apply apply applyyyy for jobs. Start volunteering at a homeless shelter.

And we're at present moment. I'm still working on finding a full-time job (anxiety city, unemployment's gonna run out soon and despite being fully qualified for some of these jobs, no one responds anymore. In the beginning people were interviewing me, telling me it was a hard decision and giving weak excuses like, "you haven't lived in Chicago long enough." Now I can't even get an interview and I'm not sure why. It's hard, hard for everyone, but I'm still working at the coffeeshop, praying I can get a full time job soon, too. Student loans are hounding me, ugh.

Anyway. Chicago marathon's in like two weeks. So I thought I should give you all an update on where I am since GOGOSHIRE will be here in a mere few days and I figured you should hear it from me first before the onslaught of marathon pics in which i will actually look like a human meatball.

The funny thing is... well it's not really funny at all, but I haven't really done sh!t since last summer - since Bike & Build!!! That was a little over ONE YEAR AGO!!! I was at the lowest weight of my life, 220 - I can't believe now looking at those pictures what a difference 30-40 pounds really makes. And mostly, just in the athletic conditioning. I went from physical activity, strenuous physical activity of average 10-13 hours a day to ZERO. And part of that is that what could really compare to bike & build? physically or emotionally. In ways, I still feel like i am recovering deep inside from that. The experience changed my life so deeply and I know it all sounds like an excuse when it comes down to it, but I dont really know how to articulate it anyway. I want to get back to that joie de vivre in so many ways. So here I am. Coming back. The good thing is that I've seen 220. I've seen what it feels like to be able to fit into my sister's clothes for the first time in my life, what it feels like to be able to wear smaller sizes, what my body looked like then. Which means I know it's possible now. It doesn't feel all that daunting that I have to re-lose the 30-40 pounds I packed back on. (That's a lot in one year though! wow. just now thinking about that.) Mostly what is startling to me about it all is that my body looks goopy in ways. Athletic conditioning is a serious thing!!!! Even if the scale doesnt move or moves really slowly, your body still gets firmer, fits into smaller spaces.... THAT'S WHAT I CARE ABOUT, WHAT I MISS. I miss walking down the street feeling like an athlete. I'm getting that back now.

As for Chicago, I am kind of amused because when I signed up I hadn't planned at all that I'd be living here when I ran it. I didn't think I was ready to actually run a marathon in the very place I lived (all my marathons have been destinations) for weird, inarticulable reasons, but now it's like well, the future is now. I'm doing it now, ready or not. And in someways, I kind of like this. Moving to the midwest, moving to a major U.S. city... having the guts to just do it all, well, I think this is perfect timing. This will be a way to feel a connection to my new home - to run a marathon in MY city, it's like an official ceremonial type thing now, a commitment, a fusion, a promise, a ribbon-cutting in a way.

Well this blog doesnt say everything I wanted it to say, but there's always tomorrow. And even though it's disorganized and kind of all over the place, I just wanted to give an update, and say that I'm bringing myself back and bringing up my self-expectations. I don't want to turn 30 in four years and still be living in this buried body. I want to experience the rest of my twenties in ways I haven't yet before all I have left is regrets.

Here's some pictures over the last couple months.

Besides me and Muriel (the dog) in the front seats, we could only take what we could fit in the car to Chicago. So we prioritized, naturally.

Cutie friends from Bike & Build got married in North Carolina.

I looked fat, yet sparkly. ha!

Flying back from the wedding, I got a free upgrade to First Class (first and only time in my life!) because the guy at the gate counter said to me, "A smile like that ain't gonna fit in coach anyway." I was beside myself. Life was in bloom.

The dog got a summer shavedown.

lolzzzz we'll call the first month and a half or two months, "urban camping."

We got our first piece of furniture in the midwest.

Spent time exploring via bike.

Rode on the anniversary of Christina's death "with" others from around the country. Took picture at the cloud gate (bean).

Got a public library card.

me, at the public library haha.

got a bed, and got creative with cheap photo decorating ideas.

Started an urban indoor garden.

Learned how to make fancy espresso drinks and all the ins and outs of coffee. We got a new machine at the shop, too. We call those steam wands "God's frothy lasers."

Got my sixth pair of running shoes in life (3.5 years and running!) wow!

the good thing is that i've eaten a lot of salads since being here.

but see what i mean about goopy? i joined a gym within weeks of moving here, and i've even run lakefront trail, gotten new running shoes, new tights (old ones had super big holes, it was sad, but more on that later.) i need to get consistent, get serious.

i leave you with my most motivating personal pics i have of myself, my body. I'm going back for this. Now's the time. I'll post an update tomorrow or this weekend with my ideas and a plan. Thanks for reading!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ok, so I know I'm about a THOUSAND years late but I'm so excited to see this update from you. And I completely understand what you mean about still trying to recover from an event that changed your life. It doesn't sound like an excuse to me at all, but I also know that there are a lot of people out there who won't get that. But I do!

    Chicago looks beautiful and it took a lot of guts to pick up your life and move. I have faith that things will work out for you there. Do you feel like it's where you're supposed to be?

    I miss your guts - let's chat soon!
    1964 days ago
    I'm so glad to see an update from you. Can't wait to see where your adventures lead, girlfriend!
    1967 days ago
    Yeah, just a *few* updates! :)
    1976 days ago
    Great to see you back. I am not running Chicago this yr. It just didn't work out as planned. Sometimes lives throws u a curve ball and it always seems like you make the best of it!
    1978 days ago
    Wow, that's quite a year! Hard to believe it's been that long.

    I have regained most/all of what I have lost as well. (sigh) Amazing what happens when life gets in the way, eh?

    Here's to wishing us both luck as we try to wind it back up!
    1978 days ago
    Welcome back! It sounds like you had quite the year, but it is good to see you blogging again. :)
    1980 days ago
  • MAGPIE17
    Welcome back, Dash. I've been wondering what you've been up to!
    1981 days ago
    Welcome back. Sounds like the only way for things to go is UP! Your insane spring and summer made my bad day seem less so. Thanks for that :)
    1981 days ago
  • -CORAL-
    I'm so glad to see you back here. Sounds like a whirlwind summer!! Welcome back, you can do it!!!!

    Oh, and I also wanted to say, my sister went through much the same experience as you with her hike along the PCT for 9 months.... she was quite depressed when it was over and didn't know what to do with herself as it was such an all-encompassing, life-changing experience, so I can relate in a small way to the way you feel about bike and build. Chin up, it sounds like you have found a great place to put your roots down.
    1982 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/20/2012 2:22:30 PM
    What an adventure. Good luck to you as you continue this exciting part of your life!

    (And I'm totally stealing that photo hanging idea. It's so cool!)
    1982 days ago
    Hey - welcome back! Sounds like life has been nothing short of an adventure!!
    1982 days ago
  • MOLLI15
    Oh Dash! I'm so glad you are back and blogging! What an amazing, gutsy move--way to go! Big risks are supposed to pay off big time, and it sounds like yours is doing that already in terms of mental/emotional health. I really look forward to hearing more about your adventures! Also, I stalk two Chicago blogs (KITHKINCAID is here on SP and running the Chicago marathon, and asmallloss.com is another one i stumbled on not on SP) in case you are interested. I guess that is kind of a random/weird thing to comment? Also, awesome on the grant! You are a rockstar and you WILL make it happen one way or another.

    1982 days ago
  • HEIDI-25
    Best of luck to you!! I hope that you find a permanent full time position that you like and that you can change around what you want to have happen...
    I live 4 hours to the north of Chicago in the middle of Wisconsin. If in time things don't work out for you job wise - you could explore looking for a career in some of the smaller but really nice towns that are here. The cost of living is considerable less as well. There are lots of universities in our smaller cities that make things feel culturally like you are in a bigger place. There are lots of friendly people too :)
    Have a great marathon! I will look for more updates and hope you continue to let us support you!
    1982 days ago
  • FREES1
    So aside from that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play? Wow! What a year you've had!
    Welcome back.. keep that positiveNess going. Ending that venture was a loss to be grieved just as any major loss and now you're moving forward.
    1982 days ago
  • ZOESMOM829
    Yay!!! Welcome back, Dash!! I missed your lovely face!
    1982 days ago
  • SHEILA1505
    I know you 2 are going to have a great pre and post Marathon time - going to be motivating each other right out of the park,etc.

    Good to see that you are working it and hope that everything comes up roses for you!
    1982 days ago
    OMG - I am SO excited to see you and hang out. We are going to have so much fun. My brother said I can borrow his bike. I'm mostly going to be out in the northern burbs (Libertyville), but I'm housesitting for him for a week in mid-October, too, and I can come down whenever you have time to hang as well. Can't wait to re-explore Rogers Park and get reacquainted with this town that changed my life - and that I ran away from, to some degrees. More on that for the f2f convos...
    1982 days ago
    OMG - I am SO excited to see you and hang out. We are going to have so much fun. My brother said I can borrow his bike. I'm mostly going to be out in the northern burbs (Libertyville), but I'm housesitting for him for a week in mid-October, too, and I can come down whenever you have time to hang as well. Can't wait to re-explore Rogers Park and get reacquainted with this town that changed my life - and that I ran away from, to some degrees. More on that for the f2f convos...
    1982 days ago
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