content warning: domestic violence, weapons I’m charging down the American Tobacco Trail when the apprehension hits. My mind is swirling with the stories of women I’ve seen posted to social media as a rash of abortion bans has inflamed the nation. A procession of small children approaches on the trail. I move around them into the … Continue reading A Barrage of Flashbacks–and Pendulation
My clothes hang over a hook on the door. The room is sunny and decorated in pale blue with images of the buddha and a picture of Rev. Dr. King. I climb onto the table and cover up with a thick blanket. There's a table heater; it is comforting. Anna comes in and asks if … Continue reading Light Pours In: The Healing Power Of Loving Touch
It won't make a difference, I thought--why bother to change my name back? It won't undo anything that has happened. It will be a massive, expensive pain in my ass. I thought about it--repeatedly. Once in a while I'd see my old last name on something and wish I could undo everything. But I can't … Continue reading A New Name: Rising Up and Moving Forward
Trow is out of town. It’s taken some time to get out of the house for my run; I had nightmares about Kevin and my abuser and being lost on the subway in New York, trying to get home with no home to go to. I woke up panicking and soaked in sweat and then … Continue reading Where Love Comes From and Who Will Be There At The Finish Line
I don't want to go to the first rehearsal after therapy; I'm exhausted. Still, I said I would sing with the small ensemble. I go to rehearsal. The 11 of us sit at the front of the sanctuary. He talks us through the section divisions in the music, which we flip through until the end. … Continue reading Music and Fear; When The Earth Stands Still
I love to cook. I love taking what's in season, particularly if I have grown it myself, and combining things just right with my practiced hands to highlight the flavors of summer's first tomatoes or handfuls of rainbow chard. I love finding out what my loved ones' favorite foods are and studying recipes in painstaking … Continue reading Displaced Delight and a Daffodil Yellow Kitchen
I’ve barely danced since my wedding. When my spouse came back from deployment I found this salsa night I really wanted to go to. I asked over and over again, couldn't we go salsa dancing? He never would--though he'd later leave while I was sleeping to dance at Legends. I don't care so much about … Continue reading The Allure and Danger of Following; Finally, I Danced
content warning: suicidal ideation First I don't want to get out of bed at all--again, and I lay there for a long while, willing my breath to slow. Eventually I get my running clothes on, make it to the track and struggle through my workout; 8 1 km repeats at threshold pace. Long speedwork takes … Continue reading 1 Km Repeats and What Made Me Choose Life
I'm near the end of a six mile easy run. The sun has set and I'm trusting the ground I can't see as I run through Durham. I wondered days ago with a friend if my abuser had left town. It would be a big relief to know I was unlikely to encounter that person … Continue reading A Changing Mien, Conflicting Emotions and Flashbacks
It's an unusual training session that includes marathon pace work and then five 400m hill repeats. Where the hell am I going to find a 400m hill? I decide to run the marathon pace work on Duke track; my amped up anxiety and troubled sleep lately have made for some disappointing runs. I need a … Continue reading Hill Repeats and a Big Damned Bucket of Grief
I come home from class in Raleigh. I'm tired, and when I walk in the door there is my spouse holding my bathrobe. "Put this on." It isn't a request. I ask what's happening. Apparently I am being recruited into one of his childhood Christmas memories, no matter that we haven't discussed it or that … Continue reading Holiday Flashbacks and Panic Attacks
When I ran Spartan Race World Championships in 2017, it was vicious. The altitude, the double ascent course and the sheer insanity of the amply amped-up obstacles for the occasion all contributed to the very worst performance of any race I've ever run. Lately I keep thinking of this one moment during the race. The … Continue reading The Searing Pain Of Failure; Interpersonal Dysfunction and Burpees
I wake in the early morning and see it right away; a heavy dusting of snow outside through the small window where I didn't draw the shade. I shrink as though seeing a ghost, my heart pounds. My breath catches and I am afraid. I cover my head with a pillow and pull my weighted … Continue reading First Snowfall Flashbacks and the Warmth of Belonging
I sit huddled into the corner of the couch at home, surrounded by pillows, wearing my oldest ugliest yoga pants and a mismatched flannel. My eyes are twitching so hard I can hear it, my head throbs and every so often I break into great, gasping sobs. I try working; I have to fix my … Continue reading A Bad Day, Kindness and Grace
I go to morning service at ERUUF. Arriving late, I don't see my friends so I sit alone and it is brutal. Afterward my friends hold me while I cry and they try to reassure me. One of them tells me she knows I love him and that she's sorry, but that shutting me out … Continue reading Morning Struggle, Afternoon Loneliness and Night Terror
It's Saturday morning. I've turned my alarm off because I'm sad and tired and don't care. I lie in bed and note that it's raining--hard--and think how maybe I've slept enough to actually do sort of a long run. I go open the shades and scowl at the rain pouring down. I think about runners … Continue reading A Remarkable Day; Long Run and Flip Turns
Before he stopped responding to me, I had one last good phone conversation with Kevin*. We talked about my housing situation. I have been without a permanent home ever since leaving my abuser--it's coming up on two years. My mailing address is with one friend, most of my things are in storage, and what I … Continue reading The Comfort of Home and the Fundamental Truth Of Love
I'd be pissed that it's Thanksgiving morning, but I'm too tired and and defeated to be pissed. I'm foregoing one of my most beloved and gratifying personal traditions this year because I'm simply too depressed and exhausted; I can't. I'm really sad about it and I've gotten another night of terrible, fragmented sleep so basically … Continue reading Training Failure and Small Comforts
content warning: suicidal ideation I sit with my therapist and tell her how I came to end what felt like the healthiest relationship of my life in a way that was so out of character. I tell her about the paralyzing grief and anxiety, the confusion, my inability to focus on anything else. She digs … Continue reading The Decidedly-Not-A-Miracle Power Of Therapy
I send a volley of emails back and forth with the concussion specialist that amounts to; "I can't do this anymore. Please prescribe all the drugs, I am desperate." He doubles the Prozosin that's supposed to help with the nightmares. I take my new dose--and Advil for the headache I have most of the time … Continue reading Disappointing Pharmaceuticals, Nightmares and Another Missed Run
Last year around this time I was at the tail end of a brief relationship with my old favorite training partner. I wasn't even a year out from leaving my abuser, I hadn't been dating; I was terrified of male attention. Scott and I had known each other for years. We ran together all the … Continue reading Repetition Compulsion and the Heart’s Quest for Home
It's Saturday night and I am alone. All I can think of is how much I miss him. I don't feel well. I do the only thing that will keep my attention; I write for hours. Finally I've filled some ten plus pages of paper and it's just late enough for sleep and I want … Continue reading Psych Meds, Sleeplessness and Existential Dread
I am on the phone with a local radio host for an interview about yoga and wellness for entrepreneurs. She tells me she always prays before the show to center herself, so I am silent as she thanks the almighty for the opportunity to help people, humbly asking that others be moved toward healing. Finally … Continue reading Emotional Triage and My Own Emerging Wisdom
We talked on Friday and didn’t begin speaking for a long time. As he held me in his arms, as I took in his heartbeat and the scent of his skin and my own sense of homecoming, I let go of so many words I’d thought of to say. I finally offered simply, “I was … Continue reading Sprinting, Self-Care and the Myth of Mara
All I have with me are my purse and the clothes I'm wearing. I open the Prazosin and take one, then crawl into bed beneath a tapestry of woodland creatures. When I wake it is early morning, before my alarm. There is a sense of increased well-being waking up in Margy's home. I have indeed … Continue reading An Unusual Apology from Darth Vader
It's Friday afternoon. I have one more class to teach and Kevin* said he'd call me. My head hurts, both eyes are twitching. I'm exhausted, anxious and nauseous, unable to think about anything else. I tried to look at some emails; I didn't care and my eyes twitched harder. I barely kept it together to … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (1/3)
It's Tuesday. I'm finally going to talk with Kevin* an entire week after this started. I can think of nothing else all day. Though I do work at the computer, I stop and cry several times. I keep getting confused mid-task, and I'm terrified I'm going to make a mistake. Finally I finish the time-sensitive … Continue reading Getting To Yes/Hold Me Tight
It's pitch dark again when I wake in the middle of the night. After a good day full of support and love from friends, I'm disappointed to find my thoughts racing and breathing shallow--again. But I'm not surprised. I place my hand over my heart and try to breathe more deeply, which takes a great … Continue reading Birthday Gifts and the Simple Power of Human Connection
I wake up in the middle of the night, anxious again. Remnants of nightmares swirl through my head--something about my abuser and something about my boyfriend. Sleeping on a park bench. I don’t remember. My brain starts in on pointless one-sided conversations. I turn onto my side and try to calm down--I'm not breathing right … Continue reading Deflated Determination and the Edge of a Panic Attack
Exhausted, frightened and overwhelmed, I walk up to Christian's door lugging a bag of groceries, a plant, and the suitcase I'm still living out of. I open the door with my key and he looks surprised to see me; after not sleeping last night I guess I forgot to tell him. I explain that we … Continue reading DUSA Progression Run as Emotional Support
A few days after I rediscover my handstand, Kevin* sits working with his morning coffee at the kitchen table while I meet the morning sunshine with Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations). I feel safe and confident. Later I drive to a meeting with other healers. These women are kindred spirits. Nobody in this room talks credentials … Continue reading Accidental Exposure Therapy and Breakthrough Moments
I sleep fitfully on the cot at my friend's house. I dream that I am lying in bed with Kevin*, relaxed, my hand on his chest. Except rather than his solid, muscular body I'm feeling the thin frame of my abuser. Somehow I wake up annoyed--but unusually unruffled. I roll my eyes. Not today, motherfucker. … Continue reading Sunrise With Steadiness and the Promise of Flight
The week of the Kavanaugh hearings I have flashbacks. I'm lying on my yoga mat in my boyfriend's bedroom while he works downstairs. I'm driving as I catch sight of my abuser strolling toward me near the courthouse. Bile rises in my throat, my knuckles turn white, and my heart is pounding so loudly it … Continue reading Bad Memories and The Power Of Secure Attachment
I remember vividly how it felt after my car accident when I was finally cleared to drive. I got in my new car, turned the key in the ignition, and shook violently with fear. There was no choice but to drive on busy roadways. I was terrified, but drove myself to my friend's house. Since … Continue reading Fear and Attachment, Signaling a Lane Change
My abuser used to joke about me being a shitty kisser. He'd needle me about how he put up with it on our first date. We met for coffee, which turned into hours of talking and then dinner. He wore a leather jacket and gave me his arm when we walked. He made sure to … Continue reading Sticks, Stones and Perspective on First Date Kisses
I deliberated over the prescription question with a few trusted friends. When I sat down with Marty, who is a nurse, we brainstormed about alternatives to psych drugs over brunch. I reminded her that I already meditate daily, that my anxiety is beyond what I can slow down with mindfulness practices an alarming amount of … Continue reading Remarkable New Friends, A Sleepover, And Cannabinoids
I remember how I felt as a child after I was lucky enough to have a friend over to play. I would say goodbye at the door. Invariably, the moment I was alone would feel like all the air had left the room. Though I was a bright, articulate little girl I'm quite sure I … Continue reading The Truth About Anxiety: I’m Afraid of Everything
It's Friday night, and I walk away from my evening class alone, with no plans. I am exhausted and frustrated to need to drive before I can rest. I don't want to cook for myself; I'm too tired. I don't want to drive; it's stressful. I walk across Greensboro St and get pizza from the … Continue reading Friday Night: Bath Time and Benzodiazepines
Maddie arrives well after nightfall--after work and grocery shopping and the long drive to spend a night in the woods with me. Maddie, my old favorite sparring partner from Muay Thai, is full of adventure and hope. She's stood by me, though I know she doesn't always understand and I'm afraid of asking too much … Continue reading Friendship and Nature: A Beautiful Morning
content warning: domestic violence "Do you want an order of protection?" asks my advocate at the Compass Center after I spend some time ranting about how a year should be enough time for my abuser to calm down and leave me alone. Of course I want an order of protection. Of course, after everything I've … Continue reading Do you want an order of protection?
I'm in the studio with friends, colleagues, and a photographer for a photo shoot. When I walk to the front of the room to teach my segment, it feels odd transitioning from student to teacher. Before long I settle into my own teaching rhythm and get everyone rolling around on the floor, preparing to rest. … Continue reading PTSD, Yoga, and Why I Hate the F*cking Gong
As I prepare to leave in the semi-dark, my friend continues to sleep in the other room. I strap on my running watch and consider whether to conceal my stun gun, just in case. He doesn't even wake up this early, I remind myself. He doesn't know where I'm staying now or which trail I'm … Continue reading Approaching peril, do I trust my feet?
In the morning, I startle out of a dead sleep and feel immediate dread. I arm myself before leaving with a pair of scissors. He has guns, I have scissors. Still, I hold them inverted, poised like a dagger, livid as I...
I told my husband our marriage was over last night. I lope back toward the house, and daffodils line the roadside. It is the first time I've seen them. The daffodils mean...
Coming back to teaching after the accident is a little like taking a sea kayak out beyond the breakers. First, I have to...
Sitting down in the room, I felt sick and anxious. My heart was pounding. I stared intently at my right quadricep covered in brightly colored yoga pants, reminding myself to breathe. I told them...
That's not an unusual morning--some ugly dream and then I wake up feeling awful. Naturally, I want to go back to sleep and try again--maybe I won't feel so tired and desperate. I understand that each choice I make will either take me deeper into that black pit of despair--or out of it. The coming out won't be fast, it won't be painless...
Running is like breathing to me--as natural, as simple, and as necessary. Without it I often feel like I can't breathe--a great deal of my best coping happens as my feet beat a steady rhythm on the trails. In the woods, I feel powerful and fast--that pushes back against the anxiety and fear. I've let out a lot of anguish in the shelter of the trees. I've passed so much joyful time...
I ran my marathon in November--and my community helped me exceed my fundraising goal well ahead of schedule. It was really moving for me. The thing is, I wanted that to be the end of my lesson in asking for help and trusting the universe. Asking for that money was uncomfortable, and vulnerable--but initially, I couldn't even admit...