Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A weird, “out-of-sorts” weekend

I don’t really like posting entries like this one. I enjoy posting the fun, adventurous stories… but I suppose not every day can be perfect, right? So I’m going to get it off my chest -- I have been in a serious “funk” lately. I have some leads on what might be bothering me, and I’m going over and over all of the possibilities and trying to come up with ways to test them and fix them. I’m struggling with it, though. I’ve woken up to a headache and tears a few times in the past couple of weeks, and had a really hard time last weekend that was sort of a breaking point for me. But the good news is that my experience from last weekend has pushed me to ask God for help, and He showed up stronger than I think I’ve ever felt Him. It was a very personal, emotional time. I wish I was more comfortable sharing my spiritual experiences in more detail, but I’m not there yet. This alone is a big step for me. One day I’ll openly and confidently talk about it. But that experience is one that I try to remember when I fall into a slump, and it always picks me up a little bit.

“Break me down and build me back up.”

I think I’m still a little bit in the “break me down” part, but I need to remember this is a process. I have some mind-clearing and soul-fixing to do. It’s actually a little exciting to think about potential progress, and I think I’m going in the right direction with it. I pray that I am, anyway.

So, about last weekend -- it was a very strange time for me. This was one of those situations where if I told my parents about it, they would feel my forehead and say, “are you feeling okay?” Well, I wasn’t and that was the problem. I didn’t know why, but I just wasn’t.

The “plan” was to head to Mauthe Lake Campground Friday night after work and camp. I was going to get up at 3:30 AM, have breakfast and coffee, hydrate myself, get dressed, throw on my day pack and hit the trail by 5:00 AM and hike 50 miles. Then I started to think about the ½ marathon coming up, and I was nervous about pushing 50 miles at this point in my training, so I backed it off to 32 miles. I just wasn’t mentally prepared to hike 50 miles. By Friday I was already backing the 32 off to 20 miles, and I realized that I just wasn’t at all excited about it. That was the first sign that something was “off.” I normally get overly giddy with excitement about camping, hiking, hitting the trail – whatever the adventure may be. That was missing and it not only concerned me, it made me sad. I missed it!

I left work early Friday, and got to my campsite at about 5:30 PM. I set up my tent and got my gear ready for the hike Saturday morning. Then I left my site for a little bit and went down the road to a little store for some batteries, Jiffy Pop and an ice cream cone. When I got back I started a little campfire, made myself some tortellini mixed with a chicken noodle side in my Jetboil and thought about making my Jiffy Pop. Then I started to hear some rumbling in the distance. I gave Adam a quick call to check the weather. When I checked it earlier that day, it looked like it was only going to be partly cloudy. Adam confirmed that a line of red on the radar screen was headed right for me. I decided to wait on the Jiffy Pop.

I got my toothbrush and head towards the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and washed my hands, and when I stepped out the door, I noticed the clouds in the dark sky were looking pretty mean, and it was just starting to rain a little. I hurried back to my site, grabbed a few things from my car and got into the tent. I set my watch alarm for 3:30 and laid there listening to the thunder and the rain on my tent until it lulled me right to sleep.

My alarm woke me up at 3:30. I quickly turned it off. I noticed it wasn’t raining any more, but I didn’t care. I laid there feeling no energy in me whatsoever. I felt as dark inside as it was outside. I curled back up in my sleeping bag and fell asleep. I woke up again at about 4:30, rolled over and fell asleep again. Then at 5:30 I did the same… and 6:30. Finally at 7:00 AM I heard other campers rumbling around. I started to get up, but my clothing-in-a-stuffsack pillow was so perfectly comfortable that I laid my head back down and slept until 7:30. I finally got up and crawled out of my tent – but I think that was only because I felt the need to stroll down to the bathroom.

I will brush over a lot of the details here, but I got back to my site, started my Jetboil, made coffee and oatmeal and just wasn’t feeling right. I didn’t feel like hiking. The trail was RIGHT there and I didn’t want it. This was the point where I KNEW something wasn’t right with me. I started to cry. I was this pathetic shell of a being, all by myself, sitting at a picnic table at a campsite in a huge, overcrowded public campground, balling my eyes out. I texted Adam and told him I was thinking about coming home. Shortly later, I texted him again and told him I was surely coming home. I finished my breakfast, packed up and left. I drove straight home, crying the whole way.

You can ask, “What was wrong?” and I couldn’t tell you. I still can’t. That’s where I’m struggling. I’m trying to figure it out. I felt this coming on during the whole week and held it back even ignoring it pretty well. I can still feel it this week, but that morning at that picnic table and the drive home gave me a lot of time to settle down and be with my thoughts. So I think that was rock-bottom – I can only really go up from there!

So… I’m including this in my blog to get it off my chest and give myself something to reflect on when I need to remind myself that I am not invincible. I’ve got my flaws, and they are okay. I need my imperfections as much as I need motivation. I need to embrace them and love them and be okay with them. I just need to learn how to let them be what they are naturally. I’d like to actually wear them with confidence. I need to work on this. That is a hard thing to teach oneself to do. This probably sounds like a bunch of rambling… and it probably is. :)

I’m not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me or to worry about me. I’m perfectly okay, and I’m actually at a really good stage as I’m writing this – even though it’s difficult – I’m starting to think it’s really good for me. It’s bringing me back to the basics. What do I need and what do I not need? What is surface and what is real? Why do I want the things I want? Do I need them? I’ve got a lot of very broad questions that I’m analyzing the answers of until I’m physically tired of thinking. This might sound crazy, but I feel like I’m emptying myself out from my very core so I can start over with a better foundation. Will I be successful? Probably not fully, but it can’t hurt to try. There’s some work to do.

“Break me down and build me back up.”

Oh, and it turns out that the weekend wasn’t a total flop... When I got home I cleaned like a madwoman, organized some areas in our apartment I’d been neglecting, enjoyed watching UFC with Adam and friends Saturday night, went to church Sunday and shared on a nice pot luck after the service for our Vicar, got home, rearranged and cleaned the bedroom and read a little of my homework. It’s not what I had planned, but it was certainly productive, anyway.

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