Life as an Extreme Sport

nightstand, mid-Sept 2007

My nightstand post was apparently such a hit, people have been asking again to see what is on my nightstand. Never say I didn’t bow to request…

If you were to guess I’m finishing a project, your guess would not be that far off. Although, in all honestly, the nightstand has, at this point, overflowed to the side of the bed I’m not using… (The stuffed animal is Bones. I’ll talk about him some time down the line,…)

in the zone

I zombie-drove home from Lake George last night, a drive I remember in fits and spurts, which is always a terrifying thing in retrospect. Likewise, my memory of getting into my apartment and bed has a dreamlike quality to it, and I know it’s not entirely accurate, if only because some details I remember are actually, by physical evidence, not true.

One of the cats has made me very aware of how unhappy he was I had been gone – although it’s excessive, even for him, and I’m beginning to wonder if I need to take him to the vet. He meowed almost nonstop for some 12 hours – or at least, that’s what I remember. Did it actually happen?

I woke up at some point, got out of my clothes, and noticed that I am literally a giant bruise over my torso, thighs, up and down my calves, and spotted on my arms like a leopard. My foot was bloody, as was my right hip – I assume the foot is from a blister that I wasn’t aware I had popping, but I can’t figure out where, when, or how I managed to slice my hip open.

The last 24 hours have been surreal, in a literal sense – I fall asleep but am unaware I am asleep, I wake up and wonder if I am still asleep, or really awake. I fell asleep mid-conversation twice, and apparently had one conversation entirely asleep.

To say I am exhausted is, in short, an understatement.

But I am also satisfied. I pulled off a difficult task with minimum problems, and those that existed were resolved quickly – or at least I hope they were both resolved, and quickly resolved. The general consensus appears to be that the retreat was well organized and just good, and although I didn’t have a chance to do everything I wanted to, or talk to everyone I was hoping to talk with, the time wasn’t about me, and the people it was about seemed happy.

But, five days of being “on” has apparently worn me to the bone; it’s been a long time since I’ve done theatre, and I’m out of practice. My stamina was fading rapidly by Sunday morning, and I was grateful that by packing up Sunday afternoon, I could move to autopilot and not worry about anything other than not crashing my car on the way home.

…in fact, as I notice the hypersaturation of colours in the room, and the clear sounds of birds chirping, and the disembodiedness in my hands, I’m not entirely convinced I am awake as I type,…

a conversation I have with myself far, far to often

Dear Kelly,
When you only have a small chocolate muffin and a small slice of coffee cake, coffee, and water, for close to nine hours, you’re going to get cranky towards the end of it. Really, really cranky. And then when you get home, and you eat like you should have done hours ago, and your blood sugar stabilizes, you will feel like an ass for being so cranky to other people.

Your body

gather ’round ye olde camp fire

Alright, kids. We need to sit down and have a chat, and rather right quick, apparently.

First, hi! Wow. Rather suddenly there are quite a lot of you reading this, eh? Mostly silent, but you’ve still got a way of making your impact. I especially like the links and trackbacks and such, thanks.

But see, here’s the thing. Y’all are sort of this vague and amorphous mass, and well, we don’t know each other. (At least, the last time I looked, I didn’t know any amorphous masses. There might be one in my fridge by now, I did forget to clean it out before I left.) Maybe more importantly, you don’t know me – not even those of you I talk with in other mediums. (Consider the fact that the vast majority of the people I talk to on a frequent basis, I have known less than a year.) That can make things kind of weird, because you attach more emphasis on things that are just casual toss-off’s on my part, and probably don’t know what to look for in things that are actually serious.

My dear friend Michael summed it up quite well when I was laughing to him about this earlier tonight.

That’s the problem with blogs. They’re so public and wide audienced that people assume anything posted in them is of critical import, when the purpose of them has simply been to chronicle life, something everyone knows about their own blog but never remember when reading others’.

This, of course, doesn’t mean we can’t and won’t get to know one another… it just means that maybe y’all need to take a couple deep breaths and not worry so much when I post about having emotions.

This post, this one right here, is my 721st post on this blog – I’ve been doing this for a while now, probably longer than most of you, and over the years, a lot of emotion has been captured. This is a chronicle of life. My life. My misadventures, as it was so aptly and recently named. For the last couple of years, that focus has been on academia and my journey through it. But I’ve made the conscious choice that I’m not going to hide in that ivory tower. I don’t want to be your stereotype of an academic, detached from the world and busy with abstracts. Let’s face it – academics, especially those who can put PhD after their name, don’t have the best reputation for being down to earth, or in touch with anything other than their work. Forgive me if I’m trying to avoid that.

Yes, I write about life in all its adventures, mis or otherwise. Sometimes it’s about school, sometimes about my family, cancer, life – even work. But give me some credit, people. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and everything you read is quite carefully filtered. I’m not going to say things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to anyone over coffee and a danish. I’m not going to violate confidences, I’m not going to say something and regret it later – half the time, you read something hours, if not days, after I’ve written it.

I have a silver cuff bracelet. I wear it every day, for reasons I’ll explain some other time. On the front, facing me, stamped in quirky lettering, it says “breathe”. A reminder, to myself, to stop when stress overwhelms me, to pause even when life is good, and center, be. Breathe.

It’s good advice. I heartily recommend you adopt it, especially as it seems to be needed. Just breathe, people. Just breathe.