Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

800 miles under the sea

I am going to be a little melodramatic. I feel 800 miles under the sea. I feel like my life is something like “Journey to the center of the earth” but really it’s just me trying to drown me in stress and life and stress and more stress. And it sucks. It sucks because my brain knows a lot of things. My brain knows that I”m in an amazing place in life. I’m in the place that I’ve dreamed of being in for so long in my life. I’m in pharmacy school. I’m learning how to take care of patients. I have amazing friends who are supportive and give me the most important thing – their time. I’m blessed beyond belief. I have a million opportunities at my fingertips. And then there’s the other part of my brain. The part that gets too easily overwhelmed. The part that sees that it’s in a busy time of life and freaks tf out and makes me feel dyspneic and tachypnic and my mind races and it goes places I wish it wouldn’t go and yes I have “reasons” for being stressed but my logical brain thinks I should be able to handle it. And my illogical brain can’t handle it. And it frustrates both logical and illogical me. Because I want to be on top of the world. I know I kind of am already on top of the world. But I can’t see it. I can’t stay present and in the moment. And it ruins me and makes me who I don’t want to be and I become irresponsible and unresponsive and uncaring and lacking in the character and integrity and trustworthiness and industriousness that I wish I had. And I don’t know what to do. And I don’t have time to find someone to help me. And I feel stupid for not being able to appropriately handle my life. If I can’t handle this, how am I supposed to handle anything else ever? And I want to find my satisfaction in life in Jesus. But I’m wanting more. And then I feel guilty of wanting more. And I feel like I’ve let Him down in my life. I want presence. And I need His presence. And I need Him to pull me out of this ocean that I’m floundering in by myself.

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I am angry.

You know how when you’re a little kid, and you find yourself in a kind of sticky situation and your immediate response is “It’s not my fault”? And sometimes it is your fault, and sometimes it’s not, but you’re kind of sad when the blame falls on you and it really was your fault, but even more pissed off when you’re really truly not to blame? Yeah. I’m pissed. My sexual assault was NOT my fault. And any sort of comparisons of feelings are always going to be entirely incorrect. And that is not my fault either.

Today, I had an eye doctor’s appointment back home, and my parents drove me back to school after dinner. So we’re driving, and I’m telling them about the date that I have tomorrow. I am in no way yet committed to this man, nor am I inappropriately involved with him either emotionally or physically. We have a very healthy friendship with plenty of potential. I made a list a while ago of all of the things I want in a man and I have been able to check off quite a few requirements, and the ones that I can’t either I don’t know him well enough to know yet or they’re not super hard core requirements (“Is not a pharmacist” for example, is not a hard and fast no-go). I met a guy. I’ve been running with him just about every day for about a week now, and he’s been treating me well, we have lots in common, lots to talk about, and it’s been fun getting to know him. And there’s some sparks. And due to the fact that he’s been so charming, I’ve decided that yes, I will get dinner with him tomorrow night. If anything, it will be fun to spend time with him as a friend and plus how could I ever say no to sushi?!

So my parents (mainly my mom) tells me that she doesn’t think I should be getting myself romantically involved right now, and to wait until I’m all healed up from the horrible things that have happened to me. To which I responded that I don’t want what’s happened in my past to keep me from putting myself out there. I don’t want the unspeakable acts of one person to dictate how I live my life and how I relate to men in the future and how I live my life. Of course I want to learn and grow from my experience, and I have learned so much already about myself and other people and about what I want in life. And so yes, in that regard, it will shape how I live. But I do not want it to hold me back from going on a casual “first date.”

And then my mom says that she suggests that I wait to date people again. I say that I think I’m ready to date again. And then she says that I should wait for her sake. Because of how “hard” my last relationship was on her and my dad. And “I don’t even know what she’s gone through” and how I’ve only had to deal with these issues since August, but apparently, she’s been dealing with them since I started dating him until now. AS IF SHE’S THE ONE WHO’S HAD SHIT TO “GO THROUGH.” AS IF SHE WAS THE ONE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. AS IF SHE’S THE ONE WHO’S HAD TO FEEL THIS WAY EVER BEFORE IN HER ENTIRE LIFE. AS IF NOT LIKING MY BOYFRIEND IS THE EQUIVALENT, IF NOT WORSE, OF HAVING MY BODY USED AGAINST MY EXPLICIT WISHES. And she says that she just wants what’s best for me and that I take it slow and don’t “make the same mistakes rushing into relationships” and that I “choose wisely” AS IF I HAVEN’T LEARNED THAT THE HARD WAY. AS IF IT IS MY FAULT FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME FOR PICKING HIM. AS IF I HAD ANY SAY IN THE MATTER.







And, Mom, wouldn’t you think that after going through nearly two horrible, regrettable years of dating a controlling, manipulative, condescending, judgmental, abusive relationship, that maybe now I would hope that I can recognize the difference between an asshole and someone that might be worth getting to know? I would certainly hope so. And honestly, sometimes I do struggle. I struggle trusting myself again. I struggle trusting myself to make the right decisions when it comes to romantic relationships. I’m scared of getting manipulated again into believing that someone is something that they’re not. I’m scared of letting someone in too close. I’m scared of letting someone really know my heart and what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m scared of people letting me down, I’m scared of getting used, I’m scared that I’m going to let the anxiety/depression/PTSD get in the way and keep me from being a functional enough human being to be a good friend or partner. But at the same time, I kind of recognize these fears as being the result of my sexual assault. And I refuse to let my sexual assault run my life. I refuse to be captive to these fears. I believe that there are good people in the world. I believe that deep down, I know what kind of person that I want to end up with some day, to father my children and be my partner for life. I believe that I am worthy of love and respect.

So, Mom, I am going to go on a date tomorrow. And I will probably go on dates after tomorrow too. Maybe they will be with Matt. Maybe they will be with someone else. But I damn well am going, not because I feel like I have to or because I feel like I need a man to complete me. But because I WANT to. And because I am trying to continue growing and healing. And because it makes me happy. Even if it ends up that I’ve just made a new friend. It makes me happy. I am not rushing inappropriately into bad relationships. I am not practicing unsafe, unrestrained sex. I am not hurting myself or anyone else by getting sushi with an eligible man. If I were pursuing self-harming behaviors, then yes, please help me see that. In a non-demeaning way. A way that does not involve your personal feeling that you’ve gone through more than I have. Because you don’t. Even. Know.

That’s why I am angry.

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My mind is rambly, so I thought I’d use numbered bullet points to help with the confusion.

I got my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. My face is swollen up like a chipmunk, I’m mood swinging from high on hydrocodone to low in the lows. Right now I’m sitting in the pits, feeling bloated and gross and generally incredibly down for reasons I can’t put a finger on. My mind is feeling rambley and irritable. Lots of things have happened in my life lately: here’s just a quick rundown…

  1. I finished my first semester and first round of finals for pharmacy school this past Wednesday! 12.5% done, already! Not all of our grades are in yet, but I think I’m sitting somewhere around a 3.6 GPA from this semester. It is NOT the 4.0 I’d been hoping and shooting for from the beginning, but all things considered I suppose it’s not too shabby.
  2. My school has a policy where anytime someone is convicted of any crime, they investigate it. So, since my ex had violated the civil protective order I have against him, they naturally reached out to me to do a university-run investigation as well.
  3. They reached out to me about two weeks ago, and with finals in the headlights, I asked them to wait until after I was done. So this past Thursday morning was the day we decided on, and I did a whole heck of a lot better keeping it out of mind until Wednesday night, so I don’t think it really interfered with my testing much at all!
  4. I’d successfully gone about a whole week (last Wednesday to this past Wednesday) without a bad panic attack! SCORE!!! Sure I felt some anxiety last weekend, but no super-bad-totally-dysfunctional anxiety.
  5. But then of course, the panic hit at an incredibly inconvenient time, mid-makeout with a friend-with-potential of mine. So here we are in my bed kissing, and all of a sudden my mind starts racing. I first started thinking about how my nose tends to get congested around 2am lately. Then I thought about how it was around 2am when my ex came over the night that I was assaulted. Then I started thinking about how close it was to 2am (it really was like midnight). Then I started thinking about how it had happened in that same bed. And how disrespected I felt. And the hurt. And the self-doubt that I was making bad decisions again. And by this time I really wasn’t much in the mood for kissing, my heart was racing out of . So I rolled over, and my friend asks how I’m doing, and I just ask if I can tell him really serious things about my life. And he’s like yeah, sure, of course. And so I tell him that really bad things happened to me and that I have really bad anxiety and that I had a protective order against the perpetrator and that he violated the order and that I had to meet with the school people about it in the morning and that I was having a panic attack. And he was like wow I’m so sorry, what do you need, how can I help? And so I just got out of bed and I was sweating so badly and I couldn’t breathe and I felt like I was going to throw up and my heart was racing and my mind was going a million directions and so I went and pulled out my contacts and changed into shorts and a t-shirt so maybe I would stop sweating so badly. And then I was like I just need to go to bed, and he asked if he should leave and I said no, so I curled up beside him but really I was just silently crying, with tears streaming down my face, and he was gentle and rubbed my arm and I got up and went to the bathroom and came back to bed with him and just laid there. For a long time. And then eventually he was like, do you think you’re gonna be able to get to sleep anytime soon? And I was like no. So then we started talking. And he was like, have you ever been to counseling? and I was like yeah. And he was like do you go to UCS (University Counseling Services)? And I was like yeah. And he was like, if you don’t mind me asking, who do you see there? And I told him who it was. And he was like, no way me too. And so it turns out that we’d both been seeing the same person all semester. And we had so much to talk about, about the different things that we’d learned from her, about what a great person she was in general, we just cuddled and talked and it turned into being so hot and so deep and so intimate, opening up to each other about our mental health struggles while lying there cuddling so close. It was exactly what I needed. On so many levels. Thank you Jesus. I am so thankful to have found exactly what I needed when I was in such a bad place. Like what are the chances that of all the people, that we’d had a connection like that. I felt validated, and free to open up, even though I suck so much at sharing my feelings. And of course it feels good to feel like maybe you’re helping someone else too, as he opened up to me about his struggles. It was amazing.
  6. So we sat up until like 4:30am talking and cuddling and kissing and whatnot, and then finally we decided we should call it a night because he had a final on thursday at noon. I felt kinda bad for keeping him up so late but oh-so-thankful for his company and the reassurance it brought me.
  7. And we slept in the next day until like 9:30 when I finally got my ass out of bed, and he waited for me so he could walk with me to my appointment with the idk-her-title academic affairs investigator lady.
  8. I met with the lady, along with an advocate from the local rape victim advocacy place for moral support. And she explained the university’s code of conduct violation policy, and then asked for a statement from me. And I told her everything from the beginning and the traumatic event that happened to me, and how emotionally scarring it was, and how I dealt with the aftermath, and how I got a protective order, and how he violated it once and was charged, and how he violated it again and they didn’t have enough evidence to do anything about it.
  9. And she says that what he did to me could get him suspended or expelled from the university.
  10. And that makes me a bit relieved and a bit nervous because I want him gone and I want him out of my city and I want to know that I’m not going to just run into him out of the blue on the street in passing or at the library when I’m trying to study or at the bars when I want to hang out and destress with my friends. I want him as far away from me as possible. But at the same time, if it gets to that level, he gets to dispute it, which means I have to intentionally be in the same place as him so we can have a hearing and from all the times I’ve had to go to court, those suck ass. So much. Emotionally, mentally, absolutely draining.
  11. And then I went to work after that on Thursday and had no mental breakdowns.
  12. And then I went to dinner with a friend that I love but I can’t tell her everything, idk why, but I feel like she doesn’t get the anxiety that I go through.
  13. And then we had a P1 class party and it was fun but I wasn’t feeling uber-social so instead of being in the dirty crowded basement, I just stayed upstairs dangerously close to a stash of jello shots and talked to two good friends of mine and whoever else happened to pass by us. And then the people would often suggest more jello shots. Which led to some time spent puking in the bathroom of the bar we went to post-party. And then we stayed out almost to bar-close and ended the night finally at Pancheros.
  14. And then my friend who I’d previously lost my 3rd virginity to asked if I wanted to go home with him. Or vice versa. And I made up excuses about going home early in the morning to get my wisdom teeth out and I ended up not going home with him or vice versa and I am very proud of myself.
  15. And then I got my wisdom teeth out on Friday and afterwards, when my mom asked for directions on how to take my meds, I decided it would be a great time to butt in and go on and on and on and tell him how to take them all. And I gave the nurse who brought me out in a wheelchair a huge hug after she helped me to the car. And then I went on and on the whole way home about how I wanted mashed potatoes from a bag. And then I texted my friend about how ice cream was one of my “3 main food groups – along with water, rice, pasta, and chocolate.” and then I slept.
  16. Today I went to the gym and did 5 miles on a stationary bike at a pretty relaxed pace and also confirmed my fears of having gained weight – I’m at 122.8lbs as of this morning. It makes me feel like such a fat piece of shit. I’ve felt like a fat ass piece of shit all day.
  17. I haven’t run since Monday (when I did 2 measly miles) and I’ve been eating like shit and in general, I just feel like shit all around. shit. shit. shit.. more shit. fat. shit. Finals week plus nasty cold weather have gotten the best of me lately. Shit.
  18. I finished my christmas shopping today.
  19. I am going from hydrocodone-high and dancing to fat-ass-shit shittiness and I’m just not feeling it today.
  20. I think I need to go to bed.
  21. Thanks for putting up with these bullet points, I don’t really know why I did them or whether or not they helped put anything in order or if they were of any benefit at all to anyone. But they seemed appropriate when I started using them so here we are. My parents have been fighting as of late tonight, my family’s amount of chaos and yelling at each other and making unnecessary annoying noises for just the sake of noisiness is really starting to get to me and I’ve only been home for just over 24 hours at this point, and I really don’t know how I’m ever going to make it all the way til Jan.3 with them before I get to leave for my fav city of Indianapolis.
  22. Speaking of Indianapolis, my doctor friend hasn’t talked to me in days and it makes me feel sad and unworthy and wondering if he’s just busy or doesn’t want to be friends any more or is regretting how friendly he was being during the week of Thanksgiving, which is the last time we really talked.
  23. It’s stressing me out. Everything is stressing me out.
  24. Goodnight, blogger world. It’s been real.
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You win some, you lose some

Hello blogger world,

It is after 2am. I am laying awake in bed after the 3 cups of varied coffee drinks that I consumed today in a useless attempt to do better on my Foundations of Pharmaceutical Sciences exam this afternoon. They didn’t work, by the way. I do not think that my test performance was improved in the slightest. But let me just give you a quick overview of the three cups that I drank today, they do say a lot about my life.

Cup 1: Dark chocolate mocha, skim milk, whipped cream. Approximately 9am. This is my go-to every Monday morning at about this time, when I stop by the cafe after my first class of the day. Mocha Mondays are pretty great, and oh-so-necessary to get my day going. I drank it at the health sciences library where all of the med, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and other similar students tend to go to study. My studying was unfortunately not nearly as productive as I felt that it was. But then again, I did a pretty good job at getting distracted and starting conversions with my fellow classmates to distract them too. Only difference was that they probably got some actual studying done in the past week and weekend, unlike myself who spent a the majority of my weekend sleeping, running, and drinking alcohol – Friday night with some friends from high school, and Saturday night with the running club.

My weekend: My nights were fun. I got a super quality run in on Saturday. I ran out to the local high school track (1.5 miles there), then did 4x800m @ 3:15 on average, with 2 minutes rest; then 6x400m @ 1:31 each, with 1:30 rest; then 8x200m @ 41 seconds each (last one at 38 seconds! gotta finish strong!) with 1 min rest between each, and 1.5 miles back home to cool down. And I ran such even splits, I’m so proud of myself! I wasn’t more than a second faster or slower than those times! And then Sunday it snowed for the first time this year, but I still headed out for an easy 6 miles. There’s part of me that feels like a piece of shit for how unproductive I was this weekend in terms of studying and other such things that real people do. But the other part knows how incredibly anxious and subsequently dysfunctional I was last week and knows that I needed a break. I can feel the anxiety rebuilding just thinking about this past weekend.

Cup 2: Straight black cup of Joe. Approximately 12:13pm. I recently was initiated into Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity. My pledge mom was manning the table for Kappa Psi’s fundraiser brunch, and offered me a free cup as they were bringing it to a close. Straight black is how I typically drink my coffee. They said I was only the second person all morning to refuse sugar or creamer. I guess my fellow P1’s, P2’s, and P3’s were all needing a little bit of a cushion from this rough Monday morning.

Cup 3: Tall carmel brulee frappuccino at Starbucks. Approximately 7:17pm. It was half-price frap day, I knew at this point that I shouldn’t or I’d be up right now, but how could I pass it up? It’s pretty much tradition for my friend Kelly and I to partake whenever it happens (like twice a year), we’ve been going since we met freshman year. I went to a Zumba class at the CRWC with some running club friends, and then met up with Kelly after at Starbs. Classic white girl. It felt good to be social. Often social is what keeps me sane. Both by going to Zumba and getting to catch up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in probably two months, although both of us have been so busy that we hardly noticed that it’s been so long since we’ve hung out.

Consequences include: lack of sleep tonight. Loss. The courage to email my pharmacist/boss who I had yet to tell about this terrible anxiety that I’ve been going through, and its subsequent hindrance that it’s put on my performance at work. I didn’t tell him this, but I sometimes wonder if my CVS is a trigger for my anxiety in and of itself, just because of how many things have happened there or remind me of the trauma or perpetrator in some way. Anyways, his so unbelievably encouraging and understanding response literally brought me to tears. I was bawling. Win. Also the fact that I’m currently blogging. Win. I’m hoping that I can shake this feeling that I keep getting where I can feel myself trying to fight with the anxiety. My therapist said I shouldn’t fight it and instead embrace it, but it’s incredibly difficult. She says I need to show myself more love. We’ve been learning about empathy in one of my classes, and it’s made me realize that I like to show myself very little empathy. I like judging myself. I’m good at it. I know it doesn’t help my anxiety but it sometimes makes me a better person. But I know I need to show myself some kindness sometimes, and make a conscious effort to care for myself. So I’ve been trying to tune into what it is that I feel and desire. Besides my anxious desire to physically up and relocate to another city, or another state, I also find myself desiring any kind of artistic expression. Writing is one of my attempts at finding that creative expression. I have been craving music lately as well, and I’m thinking I need to hurry up and get on the Spotify Premium bandwagon. Too bad I’m broke! I’m thinking of exploring the new music building for some practice pianos to maybe let a little more of that out.

Anyways, tonight’s thoughts were a bit of a ramble. Loss. But also incredibly therapeutic. Win. I suppose that’s just what you get when you try to write at this hour. Goodnight, blogger world.

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It’s been a while, friends

Hi blogger world,

It’s been a while since we’ve talked last. A lot has happened in my life. I ran my first TWO marathons, the Des Moines Marathon last year, and the Chicago marathon this year (at which I qualified for Boston 2017!! WHAT?! SO PUMPED!). I started pharmacy school this year. I’d say I’ve grown up quite a bit in the past few years since this blog was originally started as an assignment for an English class my junior year of high school. Now here I am, grad student and all, trying to make my way in this scary world full of so many great and wonderful and terrible things. This blog is going to take a bit of a turn from what it was, because just as I am growing, so are the things that I will write about. Some of the things I am going to say will probably not be as pretty as they once were. My life is not as pretty as it once was. I was sexually assaulted in the second week of this semester, and it turned my life upside down. I am still passionate about life and running and food and fitness and many of the things that I once was, but not every day. Some days, like today, it takes everything inside of me to just roll out of bed, after skipping all of my classes, and drag my sorry ass to work, just to break down in tears in front of all of my coworkers, and then drag my even sorrier ass back home once someone came to fill in for me. I struggle with anxiety more days than not. On days like today, I feel dysfunctional, worthless, and weak. I’m just trying to do my best in this big, scary world, but some days, my mind and my body play tricks on me and make it hard to breathe, hard to be social, hard to do my homework, hard to be a “normal” person, hard to do much of anything at all but stay curled into the fetal position and sleep. Some days I just feel trapped in this unknown anxiety, and the littlest of triggers can set me off. More days than not, I just want to run away from everything, or turn the clock back in time, to start over somewhere or sometime new. But I can’t, so here I am.

More is to come, folks. But for now, I’m headed back to bed.


Guess who’s back (…….hint……me!)

Wow, I’ve been on quite the hiatus from my blogging life, but worry not, I haven’t strayed away from my running! They say time flies when you’re having fun, and my gosh they’re right. I’ve just been looking back for the first time in a long time at my running goals, ambitions, and ramblings from three years ago, and I’ve realized that much has changed, but so much has definitely stayed the same. I’m into my second year of college already, with midterms, lab papers, and my first full marathon staring me right in the face. Add a pharmacy school application, pharmacy tech certification test, volunteering, working, and some resemblance of a social life and other college-y things, and you could say I’m one busy bee. Running has been one of those few necessary constant things in my life that never fails to help keep me sane when the going gets rough, the stress of life seems overwhelming, or soothe any other wide range emotions.

Since entering college last year, the first student organization I joined was a running club. What I love about our running club here is the diversity among our members. We have three official routes each day we meet, where one goes about 2-3 miles, one runs about 4-6, and a third ambitious team treks 6-8 miles. We have people of all backgrounds come to our bi-weekly meetings, whether they’re freshmen looking for a place to continue running after high school cross country, to graduate students looking for a running buddy, from those who’ve never had a foot on the starting line of a race in their lives, to the ones who’ve already run more marathons and half marathons than I could count on both hands. Regardless of your past in running, anyone is sure to find someone who will fit their ideal pace and strike up an intriguing conversation while they’re at it. Especially with my first marathon around the corner in a few short weeks, it’s great to have a whole group of people who’ve been there and have advice for me and don’t think I’m crazy when I ask if anyone wants to join me on a 20-miler! I’m truly blessed to have such a great community of runners around me here who support me and break up the monotony of solo runs, along with simply being a blast to run with.

Well that’s all for now folks, but keep in touch, there’s definitely more to come!

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mandela running quote

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I know I haven’t been blogging lately…but it’s summer and this girl is busy! During the school year, blogging is almost my excuse for not doing my homework, but during the summer I’m a free bird and I haven’t been nearly as consistent as I had been.

But here’s one of my new favorite songs, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles! Besides the fact that I love the dance moves in the video because it reminds me of myself sometimes, I love the words and the message, and the beat is great to run or workout to! It’s so positive and uplifting! Be brave to say what you wanna say, take chances, step out of your comfort zone, dance in the middle of the gym or the street or wherever you are! Be BRAVE today! 🙂

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Fat Week :)

Two weekends ago was the state track meet…which means that the following week was my FAT WEEK 🙂
Fat Week is the week immediately following State in which I 1.) am required by my coach to NOT RUN and 2.) can eat whatever I want…to a certain extent. So this being my fat week, I’ve followed my instructions well. It’s kinda hard and kinda weird to not be running every day like usual, but since I only get two fat weeks per year (one after cross country and one after track) I figure I’d better take advantage of it.

My only problem is that while it feels kinda funny to be completely free to eat whatever I want and not burn it off during my fat week, by the end of the week, I don’t want to stop. During my fat week, the only exercise I did was bike a few miles. I went to grad parties and ate plenty of cupcakes and cookies and barbecue pork sandwiches. I ate Oreos and M&Ms and a delicious chocolate cake my middle school running coach made for me:) And I made slutty brownies with some girls on my team. YUM:)

So this week I tried to start up running again and am very sad at how out of shape I feel already. I ran a mile on Memorial Day, two miles on Tuesday (all of which were slow, like 9-minute miles but I still was dying anyways) and three miles today (with my friend’s super fast friend who ran way too fast for this poor girl). I feel so out of shape! I felt like I couldn’t go any faster today and we were only running three miles at slightly under 8 minutes per mile! And then I realized that I didn’t just take a week off, it was more like three. Since I’d been trying to deal with my plantar fasciitis, I’d scaled back on my running a lot more than usual in the last two weeks of track. So now I have the lovely task of getting myself re-motivated and getting back into shape. I gotta start getting ready for cross country in August and for cross country camp in two weeks. I want to stand out this year in cross country, in a good way. Not in the “Oh wow, what happened to her that made her so slow this year” kind of standing out. I want us to have an amazingly successful season again this year like we did last year. And it all starts now. Because if I can get my aerobic base as high as possible over the summer, I’ll be that much ahead of the game when the real season starts, and I can just keep going uphill from there! I’m getting so excited!

And here’s an inspirational video to remind us all to eat our salad… and to give us an ab workout! GO CORE!!

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Julie Yip-Williams

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