A Come to Jesus Moment or What Have You

Choice #1

Two nights ago, after a minor “discussion” with my husband. We decided it would be in our best interest, if we went to get some food…meaning fast food.

Choice #2

We saw Lexi and Lauryn (our two oldest) on the way out. Lexi had picked Lauryn up from work. Lauryn works at Wendy’s. She said they were out of fries. We were going to get fries for Brooklyn. I said, “Let’s go to Taco Bell!” Anthony says, “Yes, that sounds most excellent.” He didn’t say that, but he agreed that it was a good idea.

Choices #3

Insignificant choice, but let’s talk consider the time it took to go through the drive thru. I ordered 2 spicy tacos and he got the Grilled something box. Thankful we spent under $15. We headed home.

Choice #4

There are two routes home. One that takes less time than the other. It was foggy…like unusually foggy, so we took the short way home. We were nearly 5 minutes away from home when….

We heard honking, but couldn’t figure out why.

Choice #5

Headlights appeared out of nowhere, because the driver from the oncoming lane turned on his headlights at the last second, but he was in our lane.

Choice #6

Swerved left and the only thing that ran through my head was a clear male voice that said, “Hold on tight and brace for impact.”

Choice #7

Anthony hopped out of the car and ran to the other driver and asked him what the eff he was doing driving on the wrong side of the road. He scared the man so bad, he kneeled in front of his vehicle and put his hands behind his head and promised he wouldn’t move and asked if we were okay. He thought my husband was a cop.

Choice #8

I had to reign in my husband’s wrath, because he was about to beat the living crap out of that man. Not only that, my husband was going to get ran over by oncoming traffic because he was wearing all black. Meanwhile, the clearly inebriated man repeatedly called out, “Penny!!!” A little black and white puppy came running out towards him.

Choice #9

We made our way back to the curb once the police started showing up.

Choice #10

We called Lexi to come and pick us up.

Choice #11

The man pleaded with the cops to not take away his dog. Thankfully, he had someone pick up his animal. It was either that or they were going to take her to the pound. (disclaimer: the shelter is currently filled to capacity and there is a two week waiting list, one day I’ll explain how I know that.) My husband and Lexi said we couldn’t take the dog home. I made a momentary sad face.

Choice #12

After 1.5 hours we were able to go home. We sustained no life-threatening injuries and Lexi asked if we had any Taco Bell left because she was hungry.

Choice #13

We arrived home, tired, exhausted and incredibly grateful that our family was still intact.

Choice #14

Meanwhile, my mother confused her 81mg Aspirin for allergy pills. She took 4 Benadryl and slept until I woke her up the next morning to tell her about the accident. She is usually awake just as much as I am, but more on that later.

The Lesson Learned

We should have gone to Wendy’s.

I’m kidding. The lesson we learned was that life is too short to have “discussions” that last more than 10 minutes. We promised not to get petty as long as we both shall live, but because we said that we happened to get into another “discussion” yesterday. Not even 24 hours later we were “discussing” petty things once again. I thought he was being petty and he thought I was being petty. It turns out we were both being petty. Do you see how choices lead us to where we are today. We can play the blame game all day long, but where does that get us? Stuck on a hamster wheel.

We apologized for our behavior and I begged my daughter to not one day put me in a nursing home. I also apologized to the Universe for being petty.

The Blessing

Anthony went outside and finished fixing our van which has been out of commission for about a month-ish.

He put in the last part that needed to be replaced and we now have a working vehicle again. Our 2016 Nissan Altima is totalled, but we have a working vehicle and we are still alive.

The Conclusion

See the blessings in disguise and recognize when you are not being a very nice human. The sooner you straighten out, the quicker the Universe will work in your favor.

What ever you want to call the higher power, it is there and listening. I believe those who have passed on before us, meaning our ancestors are our guardian angels. That voice I heard in my head was perfectly calm. I listened. The question I have for you is, “Will you?”

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Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate your support and hope you will take the opportunity to like and send me a comment or drop me an email. You can even buy this mama a cup of coffee so that I can continue to make you laugh, cry and jump for joy all at the same time with my clever wordsmithing. Remember to tell your loved ones how much they matter to you, because you don’t know when or if you’ll see them again.

Depression: The Big “D” Word

Let’s make that a double. This is Desiree on Depression.

I have talked about this sort of thing before, but not at this level. You can say “I’m leveling up.” -The Blue Shirt Guy, Free Guy.

I have been in a dark place mentally, which came with having my two little additions. They are 11 months apart! Once upon a time on the tiny isle of Desiree, I thought having babies 16 months was close. Life showed me what was up. Four months after Brooklyn was born, I was pregnant…again.

*Side note: So, you can get pregnant while nursing. Talk about one of thee worst myths created!!!!!

I have faced this issue time and time again throughout motherhood, but I didn’t realize that I was suffering from postpartum depression also known as baby blues.

The Dark Place

There was little motivation I could summon except the minimal which included writing, blogging, and finally finishing up my Master’s which was only supposed to take two years, but turned into five. I had TWO classes left when I stopped running and schooling in 2018. I am proud to say that this past year I finished up those classes because I have an ever-supportive husband.

Since I didn’t feel the drive to run anymore I just didn’t see why I was alive. Hey runners, I know you know what I’m talking about. A f*cking IDENTITY CRISIS Ya’ll. If I wasn’t a runner, who was I?

If I was mentally checked out on my children, how could I call myself their mother?

And if I couldn’t love myself how could I love my husband like I said I did? How could I be there for them and him?

My toilet bowl flush of thinking went on to believe that my children would probably do much better in life without me.

Depression made me feel like I wasn’t worth anything to anyone.

This was the worst stinkin’ thinkin’ that I had ever come up with.

I will not go into the rabbit hole of “normal” today. My family knows that terrible truth. Do you know that song by Taylor Swift called “Blank Space”? I can relate… a little too well I didn’t recognize the “dark place” for what it was. Depression clung to me like a noose, so much so that it came with my husband calling a mental health facility.

I wanted to kill myself…what I didn’t care to understand at the time was that during my rant, my two oldest daughters heard my yelling through their bedroom wall. They cried, while I screamed, yelled, and ranted. My husband hid all the sharp objects. while I screamed, yelled, and ranted.

Suicide isn’t the answer and because of my husband I got through the night and then the days slowly turned into weeks. I apologized for saying those things and thinking those thoughts, but I didn’t realize it hurt them. There are a lot of things I don’t realize when I end up in the wrong head space.

I spoke to my daughters individually and apologized for my behavior.

It’s difficult to put my thought process into words, let’s just say I was in the wrong head space. I didn’t give a f*ck and I’m not talking about Mark Manson’s version.

I could only see the worst in myself.

The Conclusion

I realize not everyone faces depression, but there are many people that do. I know I’m not alone when I say that I like to pretend everything is okay when it’s not, mostly because I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems.

Unfortunately, there are far too many women and men that don’t talk about the mental pain they are experiencing.

I can’t say this enough…TALK TO SOMEONE!!!! Real friends will listen. The Universe needs you. Please remember that you are not the only person suffering, your immediate family members will feel the pain of your loss every day and for generations to come.

We All Have a Purpose

I urge you to take some time for yourself and do some soul-searching. Bite the bullet and be alone with your thoughts. Turn off the music and stop trying to drown out whatever you are trying not to feel. Your soul is trying to tell you something. Now is not the time to be comfortable in the sadness. We are not meant to dwell there. Do yourself a favor and free your mind. What would you do right now, if you didn’t have the constraints of your j-o-b?

Find your PASSION and chase it down HARD. Think of yourself as a lion/lioness chasing its prey like it hasn’t eaten in a week.You can recognize it when it strikes a chord in your being. It makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Do not confuse a person for that feeling. Remember that post I wrote about creating your own sunshine? Do that. You are your choices. Accept the good and the bad and as my husband says, “Keep it movin’.”

Everyone experiences those lows. Depression can strike the happiest of people. The key is to catch it before you hit what feels like the bottomless pit. Life is better among the living. Remember that YOU have a purpose.

Once you figure out what that is, write it out. Tattoo it on your forehead. Do whatever you need to do, so you can see it every day.

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Thanks for dropping by. I know and understand the value of time, so thank you for taking the time to read my post. I would love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment.

So I can keep bringing you the best version of myself through my wordsmithing, go ahead and buy this mama a coffee.

My Faith Crisis and How the Universe Stepped In

While I was prepping this post, I was surprised that more people weren’t willing to discuss religion. I heard from a few of you and I understand where you come from. I see both sides of it, but like I’ve told a friend, for reasons I won’t discuss here once you have seen what the LDS people/Mormons are warned against viewing (and I’m not talking about pornography), you can never go back to the Faith. This is where I find myself these days.

I’m just here to share with you my experience. I have no ill will for the church or its members and have the utmost respect for many of my friends who count themselves as firm believers. I am what you call a Post-Mormon. I was not ex-communicated, I wrote the the church headquarters and had my records officially removed. I have no regrets of leaving and my husband and I have even discussed moving back to Utah.

The Structure

Honestly, I miss the structure. Being LDS encouraged me to do what I needed to do everyday (read my scriptures, have individual and family prayers, and to teach my children to live the Gospel). My religion dictated where I needed to be on certain days and who I was to spend that time with. I’m sure some of the names have changed, but the activities remain the same. I am glad to hear that for the my devout friends that church is now only two hours long instead of the three hour block, I was accustomed to.

My days were filled with Family Home Evenings, Ministering (Visiting Teaching), Temple Nights, Enrichment Activities (Relief Society) and/or attending Young Women’s (Youth activities) as a leader. If I had a calling, I was busy fulfilling that calling. Preparing to give a well researched lesson filled references from past general auhorities or prophets, hoping my lesson would touch the hearts and minds of those participating in that class.

Living in an underpopulated LDS metropolis like Citrus County (tongue in cheek) members of the ward carry more than one calling. On the West Coast, I had one. Here I had three. If I wasn’t willing to accept the calling, I was told, “But don’t you want to follow the will of the Lord? And you know Sister Sant, the Lord never gives you more than you can handle.”

I accepted the callings, this was in 2012. Little did I know 2013 would bring more trials, literally and figuratively. I thought I was strong, but like all things our mental strengths are tested. We climb our metaphorical Mt. Everest time and time again.

# # #

Summer of 1996

I was leaving the only thing I thought I believed in since I bore my testimony on the beach at the “Res” (reservoir) in Delta, Utah during a youth activity for Hinckley 1st Ward. The sun was setting against the water. Brother Larson was leading the testimony meeting. I was 16 at the time. The feelings were there. I choked back my tears. I remember that evening clearly. We had all gone to middle school together and were in high school all attending Seminary. I felt a closeness to the teenagers I had grown up with like I had never experienced.

I bore my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. So this was what it was like to really feel the Holy Spirit. I felt an all encompassing love that evening, from the seen and the unseen.

Imperfect Me

I’m not going to say I was the perfect LDS girl, but I came pretty damn close when I was married to my first husband. I didn’t swear, drink coffee, alcohol or black tea or smoke.

I was very much into nutrition and wouldn’t dare give my children fast food. Heaven forbid they allow that garbage to enter their delicate systems. Lauryn and Lexi were 11 and 12 years old before I decided that we would no longer attend church.

Coincidentally, since my soon to be ex husband was no longer around and spending his days in a
Federal Prison Camp, I had to get a job and my children had to attend public school. Up until that point, I had homeschooled them from Kindergarten to Fifth grade. My girls had lived a sheltered life for sure. They attended gymnastics twice a week and went to all church functions, but they didn’t know what it was like to attend public school.

I didn’t allow them to watch Sponge Bob because I felt it was like bubble gum for the brain. They played educational games on the computer and watched shows that were church appropriate and not anything morally degrading.

When I ran ,I listened to ungodly music. Mainstream pop music (edited) was my act of rebellion. My husband hated it, but music and running was non-negotiable. I did my best to pick races held on Saturdays and only listened to my music through my headphones or in the car when my kids were not in it.

Life After the Church

When I left the church aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a couple people told me that it was a brave thing I was doing. Brave? I was scared shitless. Terrified. It felt like I was slipping out into the great unknown. I asked my former sister-in-law how she had felt after leaving the church, she said it took a couple of years to not feel guilty for leaving.

I suppose what I expected was hellfire and brimstone to cloud my life path. Or maybe God believed I deserved nothing but misery because of the choices I made in choosing to take my children from the only religion they ever knew.

While I wasn’t officially off church records, I was on my way to living a life of a non-Mormon.

I took off my temple garments, I had worn since I was 19. I imagined only bad things happening from here on out. When I had my first cup of coffee, that I drank black. Since then I have come to appreciate my French press, a good flavored creamer with a little bit of sugar. Lightening did not strike me.

After the Ragnar Relay in 2014 that took place from Key Biscayne to Key West, I got drunk with my boyfriend sharing a couple of fishbowls. I didn’t know my tolerance level, but quickly found out that evening. It didn’t and still doesn’t take much to feel tipsy.

That same night, I had the Ragnar logo affixed to my arm permanently. I realized now that there are far worse things I could have tattooed to my arm that night, I’m glad it was what it was. When I arrived home, my kids were shocked. Lexi said, “Mom?! You got a tattoo?!”

“Yes, I did. One day I’ll explain what happened.”

Mind you, this was coming from a mother who once wouldn’t let her children put on fake tattoos, because the mere appearance of it would make them want to get one later. I did not tell them about the fishbowls, they would have thought I was drinking water from fishbowls with fish still in them. I was in my mid-thirties experiencing what 20 year olds were doing.

While I struggled with leaving the church behind, I would look into the mirror staring into my eyes, searching into the deep recesses of my soul. Saying to myself, “Des, what are you doing? You can’t leave the church. What will happen to your eternal family? How will you be able to see your children again once you pass through the veil of death?”

Honestly, the one question that looped through my head had come from another runner. “Excommunication? Why would your church abandon your husband during this time? Isn’t this the time when he needs God the most?

That was a good question. Why would Heavenly Father do that during a time of need? All blessings revoked? These thoughts made my head spin. None of it made sense, until I reconciled it within myself. It wasn’t finding justification for my “rebellion” it was a realization.

Like I said in a previous post, the last time I would set foot in the church besides one other time, I was asked by one of the counselors in the bishophric, requesting that I meet with the bishop. He wished to talk to me.

I went to this impromptu meeting. The bishop was all smiles, until he looked down at his legal pad and adjusted his pen just right before looking up at me.

“Sister Sant, you might want to consider running less and taking the time to be with your children.”

My world had flipped upside down. A couple months prior, at the insistence of my future ex husband and father of my three daughters, he strongly suggested I remain at a dead end receptionist job making $8.50 an hour working eight hours a day, five days a week, while the church took care of the remainder of mine and the needs of my children. I refused because our ward members were suffering more than my own family. We would get through it. Somehow.

I quit the receptionist job and decided to sell skirts through a brand new company called LulaRoe. I would later substitute teach for Citrus County Schools and eventually found a soul sucking job working full time with a title search company. We made it. I survived. Somehow. And it had nothing to do with God.

2021

My best friend since high school recently said, “You cannot deny those feelings you had as a member of the church.

“You’re right. I can’t.”

She wished me the best on my faith journey and we talked about other things. I am incredibly grateful for friends like her. Thankfully, I have been blessed to have many friends that still love me as I am.

The best way I can explain those feelings of the Spirit match those I have heard on a podcast I listen to off and on. It has been a great help during this time. If you’re interested, let me know. I am more than happy to share with you what I have learned.

It’s a Vibe

There is no doubt that there is higher power, but I no longer believe that it belongs to one Supreme Being. I believe that we are all interconnected in this vast universe, so much so that I can feel those vibrations through my entirety. The vibrations you give off are as real as the air you breathe, be it positive or negative that is exactly what you’ll attract.

I have seen it in my own life without attending a church or paying a tithe. I belonged to a non-denominational where I met wonderful people, but I couldn’t reconcile some things. I hope this resonates with you in some way as you grow and flourish in this life. I’m sorry if you think less of me because I no longer share your faith, but just know I am still the same Desiree at my core. In fact, I feel more like Desiree 2.0. I am more comfortable with myself than I have ever been. I suppose that comes with age and life experience.

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As always, thanks for taking the time to read my post, and I hope to “see” you again. If you are interested, please don’t hesitate to “Buy Me Coffee.” Your donations help this mama out more than you know.

Today is a Good Day

I’m not having an Ice Cube kind of day, but you know what I’m getting at. I apologize if you have already read this on FB, but for those of you who are not my “friends,” here I have some lovely news I had to share. I woke up with a low-grade fever that somehow broke, probably because as I was writing this, my two little ones were crawling up and down my my chair and fighting over juice drinks and those hair ties made out of telephone coil.

This was an exceptionally hard essay to write, but I needed to tell it. It couldn’t go left unsaid.

Only one of my daughters has heard it from my lips. She is the most mature out of all of them (too grown for her own good sometimes). I speak so highly of her, that it moves me to tears as I write this.

*Side Note: She is the kind of woman I wished I had grown up to be, confident, independent, organized, and full of love and just the right amount of life experience that she knows exactly what she wants and to never settle. Her voice also moves me to tears. I don’t hug her enough or tell her how much I love her everyday, but I hope this makes up for what I lack as a parent. I love you, daughter of mine. I am so proud of you. You were a happy little accident and a little slice of heaven.

As a mother, you can only teach your children from your own life experience and not make the same mistakes our own parents did. I do not claim to know it all. My kids know that I’m a fallible human, but I have enough experience to show them a thing or two. They also understand I will get on their case if they are not living up to their full potential. I have been blessed beyond measure.

I totally jumped off track, but again some things just need to be said.

In other news, my story has gone live and is officially published. Check out the link below. Thank you for taking the time to read it. And a special thank you to @herstryblg for taking an interest in my story.

Link: https://herstryblg.com/true/2021/11/16/not-me

A Partial Tale of Two Valleys: Part 2

Photo Credits: Laura Hanson (follow her @phoenyx1313)

Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to Part 2.

I grew up with no religious background. My father was raised Roman Catholic and referred to God as “The Man upstairs.” My mother believed in God but said it didn’t matter if we went to church or not.

“If you are a good person, you don’t need to worry,” she said.

What I learned about God, I learned from attending church with my friends. In West Valley, New York, I went to the protestant church with Erin, the Jehovah’s Witnesses with my neighbor Jon, and then to the Catholic Church, with Emily.

We occasionally attend Catholic mass, listen to the priest at the pulpit recite words in Latin, sit in wooden pews, and then on the kneeler. Back on the pew and a couple more times on the kneeler. I follow the rest of the family’s lead. I wonder how those circular wafers taste. I’m not interested in the wine. Emily says I can’t have a wafer because I am not Catholic, so I remain seated while the members go to the altar to partake of the wafer and wine. 

The experience I had at Emily’s church was unique. It filled me with a spiritual sense of wanting. I needed to learn more about God, but there wasn’t much I could go on. At the age of 10, I wanted to believe there was someone looking out for me, someone I could talk to when I was having a hard time, but none of the churches I attended made me feel like God was listening. When I think back on this time period in my life, it’s strange that I was that interested in finding a place to worship.

Here’s the continuation of the previous post.

I become friends with Dana, a girl with dark brown eyes, long lashes, thick chestnut hair, and a contagious smile. I meet her family. I see the same smile when I meet her mother and her mother’s mother, and her siblings. She has a younger brother and three younger sisters, one of which is a newborn. Her mother has just finished nursing the baby, and I turn my head in mortification while she covers herself up and adjusts her shirt. I have never been around a nursing mother. She places the baby on the sofa cushion and asks if I wouldn’t mind changing her outfit. I have never changed a baby, let alone been around one. I struggle with putting her tiny arms in the onesie. She begins to fuss. Dana’s mother sees the challenge I’m facing and says not to do it like that. She puts the baby’s arm through the armholes gently. I am embarrassed that I can’t fulfill a simple task. Dana’s sisters run through the house, chasing each other and laughing as they run into their room. Dana turns into the second mom and tells them to stop it.  

“Go outside!” she tells them. She shakes her head at them, annoyed, but I think about how fun it would be to have other siblings to interact with. I find myself coming over to her house after school when we have papers to type and print out, using her dad’s computer. My parents have never been interested in owning a computer and think the new technology is a waste of money. They provide me with a typewriter instead. It is not until I am moved out and in college when they decide to purchase one.   

Dana is the same girl who was assigned by the woman at the front desk at the start of the school year to show me around to my classes. We are provided a locker, and I struggle the first week with getting the thing to open. I spend my rides home on the bus memorizing how to open the lock. Turn the dial right to the first number, turn the dial left, skip the second number the first time, turn the dial right again, and go to the last number.  

The subject of religion comes up when we talk, and she tells me she is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They are LDS for short, but their religion is commonly referred to as Mormonism. Many of the families in the Delta area come from the pioneers that settled in the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young. She comes from one of those families. In school, I learn that only a handful of kids are not Mormons (referred to as non-Mormons). In my grade, there’s Billy, Gretchen, and Carlos, who are Catholic. My mother was raised Protestant, and my father grew up Catholic, but I am without a religion. There is an invisible wall that divides us non-Mormons from the Mormons, but it’s there. Mormon kids talk about their ward or how their parent is in the stake presidency. They speak about scripture study and Patriarchal Blessings. They laugh about what happened during Sunday school.   

This is how things are around here, and nothing will change that, so I decide to learn about the church that discourages the use of “God” in everyday language. Dana tells me that I must take discussions presented by the Mormon missionaries to become a member. The missionaries are young men between the ages of 19-21 who sacrifice two years of their life in service to the church. The missionaries called to this area, and other parts of Utah know that it is oversaturated with Mormons. Rather than convert people to the religion, they are given the task of bringing inactive members back into the fold. They must convince people who stop going to church to return. They are the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ shepherding His members back into total activity and in charge of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to unbelievers so they too can have eternal life. When they find out I am interested in learning more about the church, they are thrilled to be teaching a non-believer. I am their eager student. They call me the golden child.  

# # # 

The missionaries meet with me at my house each Thursday afternoon, right before dinner. We sit in the living room while my father stays in the kitchen reading the local paper. I can hear him rustling the pages now and then. During the first discussion, they provide me with a copy of The Book of Mormon. It is to be used in conjunction with the King James Version of the Holy Bible because this version is the most correct translation. I stare at the book with its soft blue cover and gold foil writing. I open it to the introduction. There is a section already highlighted in yellow for me that reads, 

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Book of Mormon, vii) 

This book is an ancient work from inhabitants of North America, translated from a set of engraved gold plates by the church’s first prophet, Joseph Smith using the Urim and Thummim. I turn the words over in my head. I don’t know what the Urim and Thummim is, and I don’t ask. I file it away in my brain. Maybe I’ll ask Bart. The Book of Mormon and the story about Joseph Smith seem so extraordinary that I believe it must be true. It has to be. How could a boy of 14 create such a grandiose tale? I take their word for it. Why would anyone waste two years of their life volunteering for something that isn’t true? I continue to justify my reasoning because there are so many members. They all can’t all be wrong. 

The missionaries tell me that these scriptures will help me throughout my life. They say it is important to read this book each night before I sleep and when I finish it; I have to go back and read it again and again because they say certain verses will have a deeper meaning depending on where I’m at in life. They reiterate the power of prayer and promise that I can receive a confirmation of the truthfulness of what they teach me. I am neither skeptical nor a believer, but I take to the task of reading the pamphlets they provide me each week answering the questions in a notebook. I learn that there is a lot of praying. I need to pray over every meal, when I rise, before I go to sleep and when I make important decisions.

They talk about the Word of Wisdom, a law of health prohibiting the use of alcohol, coffee, teas, and any substance that is habit-forming or destructive. I know I won’t have a problem with the Word of Wisdom and I doubt this will ever be a challenge from where I live. Besides, I’m twelve, and none of these things are issues for me at my age.  

At the end of the last discussion, they ask me if I am ready to be baptized. I tell them I believe that the church is true, and I accept the invitation to be baptized, but first, I have to get my parents’ approval since I’m not of legal age to make that decision on my own. A year ago, I didn’t know anything about the Mormons, and now there is nothing more important to me than becoming one. I have limited knowledge about the church and haven’t really received any answer about the truthfulness, but I am tired of being an outsider. 

My father tells me he’ll talk to my mother about it. When he does, she asks to speak to me. The last time I spoke to her was at the airport in New York.  

“Hi, Mom.” It’s the first time I’ve called her that. I find it juvenile calling her Mommy at this age.  

“So, you want to get baptized?” She asks. 

Without a hint of hesitation, I say, “Yes, I do.” A flashback from another time comes back to me. These are the exact words I uttered to the dean in the Philippines, four years ago. I don’t want to tell her that I’m doing this to fill in a missing piece in my life. All I have ever wanted is to feel like I belong somewhere. I want to wear nice dresses with my hair perfectly brushed and attend church meetings each Sunday. I want to join in school talk about going to my youth activity at the church, like the other kids in school.  

“It is okay with me if that’s what you want to do,” I call the missionaries with approval. 

# # # 

My father and I drive out to San Francisco to pick her up from the airport. She has lost so much weight. She looks happy and healthy. I squeeze her tight and cannot believe she is here. She takes one look at me and asks my father what happened to me? When she left, my hair was longer, and I didn’t have any acne. She asks my father to stop at the closest drugstore where she purchases acne cream and barrettes for my hair. When we arrive home, I allow her to brush my hair and apply the cream to my face. She shows me the things she has brought home for me, a thin gold necklace with matching earrings and jogging pants sets that I will never wear out of the house because they are childish. I thank her. It is strange having her home again. I have missed this interaction with her. I didn’t realize how much I needed her here with me. Thankfully, after a few weeks, my hair is no longer a helmety mess, and my acne has cleared up considerably.

On the day of my baptism, I have a photo taken of me sandwiched between my parents in the white jumpsuit that I will be baptized in. Dana is also in attendance, and we take a picture together. Moments later, I am baptized as an official member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This significant event occurs less than a month after my 12th birthday. Dena presents me with another copy of the Book of Mormon. The cover is black with gold foil lettering. The edges are gilded with gold, and the pages are made from rice paper. They make a pleasant crinkling sound when I turn the pages.  

Each Sunday, the family that lives around the corner takes me to church. The Larsen’s are a family I wish I had been born into. Dave and Marge are like my church parents. The Larsen’s have six children. Melanie is away at college. Cory is on a mission in the Philippines. Robyn is a sophomore in high school. Layne is my age, Becky is a couple of years younger, and Katie is three. They have a shaggy dog named Peanut. They try to befriend my parents by bringing over homemade bread that Dave makes or desserts from Marge. My parents continue to keep their distance from the Mormons because they have no desire to join the church, and I wonder if they will ever accept the invitation to learn more about it. 

# # # 

There are nights when I can’t stand indoors, so I come out to look up at the stars. The nights are clear, and I embrace the solitude that I once despised. Life isn’t so terrible in the middle of nowhere. I look down from the sky and over to the Larsen’s. They live in a two-story house with lots of rooms. It’s a Monday night. Since 1915, the church has designated Monday nights as Family Home Evening to strengthen family ties. I can see the blare of their television bouncing off the walls in their family room, knowing they are all together, most likely watching a wholesome family show.  

The closest my family comes to time together is watching whatever show my father wants to watch. It’s usually a western with John Wayne or a crass comedy like The Bundy’s. I become more judgmental of my parents as time goes on. They drink coffee and tea. I decline to drink Oolong tea when we go to Chinese restaurants. My parents tell me there’s nothing wrong with tea, and I stop myself short from reciting the scripture about what the church thinks about it. My father likes to drink Guinness with his spaghetti. He has no problems swearing. Every other word is filled with expletives, and I worry about what my friend’s parents might say if they knew. I am taught in the church that swearing is not acceptable. Some of my friend’s parents don’t like it when they say, “What the freak!” because the intent to say the f-word is there. 

# # #

On one particular Sunday, I get into an argument with my parents when I came home from church.“Hey Dais, can you run down to the gas station and pick up a gallon of milk?” My father asks smiling ready to hand me the keys. It was an innocent enough request, but for me, it was challenging my belief system. The church strongly discourages shopping on Sundays. If any grocery shopping needed to be done, there were six other days in the week to satisfy that need. 

“No,” I replied. 

“Because the church doesn’t allow shopping on Sundays,” I say. It was the first time I stood up to my father and I wasn’t backing down. want to keep it that way.

“Well, I’m your father. I thought you were supposed to obey your parents.” He says. I know the commandment, but correcting him right now would make me sound like a smart aleck. I have learned in church that I should honor my parents when the way is correct. In this instance, I know what I should do.

“Dais, just go to the gas station.” My mother pleads. He has a temper and she doesn’t want to hear about it later. 

“I’m not going.” My heart is pounding.  He looks like he’s going to yell, but stops himself. 

“I’ll go my own goddamn self then.” He grabs his keys and he’s out the door. My mother disappears into the kitchen and I retreat to my room. My parents never asked me to run out to the store on a Sunday ever again. I am torn between obeying my parents and obeying the church, but it appears I have chosen to follow the way of the church. 

# # # 

As I get older, I will learn about the many other things the church leaders encourage the youth to do and what they prohibit. They discourage tattoos and body piercings. Dating is permissible after the age of 16. There is no swearing, and I am to remain chaste until I get married. Some of these things seem trivial. I thought God only looks in our hearts, but the leaders say we have an image to uphold. A clean appearance is what matters most.

I will begin going to the temple and participate in baptisms for the dead. I become a full tithe payer and attend Seminary. I earn my Young Women’s Medallion, equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award for a young man in Boy Scouts. My picture and the year I receive it are added to the plaque in the church’s foyer. It is strongly instilled each Sunday that we abide by church guidelines so that we can one day enter the Temple to receive our endowments (promises made to God, represented by special garments worn underneath everyday clothing) and then to one day be sealed to our significant other for all time and eternity, preferably to a young man who served an honorable two-year mission proselyting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the non-believers. I wonder what future challenges I will face. Will I be blessed enough to have a family like the Larsen’s? Only time will tell. 

A Partial Tale of Two Valleys: Part 1

The title of this post reflects the small town I moved from and the small town I moved to. They both were located in the valley.

With the exception of starting my life in Huntington Beach, CA, and one year in Carson City, NV, by three years of age, my parents decided they didn’t want their daughter growing up in the city.

“We moved out of the city because we were worried that you might join a gang,” my father used to say.

I used to roll my eyes at the thought. I still do.

Through their parental lens, they were sheltering me from the dangers of city living and as a result, I have lived in nothing but rural towns since then.

What is it like moving to a town far from the people you know?

I was 11 years old when I moved from West Valley, New York to Delta, Utah.

Delta was one of the larger towns in Millard County making it the hub for the public school system. Delda, as the locals call it, had everything from grocery stores, banks, restaurants, and one clothing department store.

I lived in one of those smaller towns. Hinckley is located 5 miles east of Delta. There were no traffic lights. During the holidays, the town’s Christmas tree was set up in the middle of the only four-way stop sign on Main. We had a gas station, an LDS Church, post office, a park, and the remains of the Hinckley Academy.

Here’s an excerpt from my memoir Belonging:

My father knows that moving to the West Coast will bring my mother back. She prefers the drier weather. He speaks to an old family friend we knew from Hawthorne. Dena and Greg have moved to a small town in Utah. My father tells me that if he doesn’t like it after a few months, we will move, but for the time being, Delta is our destination. At the end of the school year, my father packs up what little we have left into his 1975 Ford truck. We head West.

### 

The move from West Valley, New York is not the most challenging part––the people in Utah are different.  It’s hot outside, but people in town aren’t wearing tank tops or short shorts. Women and girls are wearing short-sleeved shirts and shorts that go below the knee. 

Bart, Greg’s son, says I can’t say, “Oh my God” anymore. 

“Why?” I ask.

His little sister pipes in and says, “Because you can’t take the Lord’s name in vain.”

“What does that mean?”

“Because it’s like cussing. You can say, ‘Gosh’ or ‘Goodness’ instead,” says Bart.

I don’t want to be a cusser and adopt these new words into my speech.

Dena asks if I want to come to church with them on Sunday. It’s not what I want to do, but it’s better than sitting in their house by myself. I no longer own any dresses. My mother had stopped making my dresses after the fourth grade because I wanted to wear jeans like the rest of the girls in my class. She says that since I don’t own any appropriate church clothes, Dena takes me to a thrift shop and buys me a denim skirt and a short-sleeved salmon button-up top with a collar. The fabric is heavily starched, and the sleeves dwarf my skinny arms. Dena says that it will work. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to complain. That would be rude. 

We arrive at the church with fifteen minutes to spare, but it appears that people have come earlier. We walk through the foyer and are immediately greeted by church members who provide us with a program. We pass through a set of double doors and enter the back of the chapel and follow other members beyond accordion-style partitions that reveal the overflow where there are rows of metal folding chairs. The dusty rose cushioned pews in the chapel are all taken. Flowery perfumes mixed with fruity lotions evoke a feeling of walking through a department store as people pass me in the aisles to get to their seats.

A woman sitting behind us leans over and gently touches Dena’s shoulder. She says, “Hello, Sister Hawkins. How are you doing?” I have never heard her addressed in this manner. 

Greg turns around and nods hello, and Dena says, “I’m doing great, Sister Anderson.” Someone at the podium begins to speak, and the woman leans back in her chair. She eyes me with curiosity, adding a warm smile before turning her attention to the man in the stand who goes over the program. 

Dena hands me a hard-backed forest green hymn book opened to the song. I push up my big plastic-framed glasses and sing a high note when I should go low. I continue to follow the words but my voice catches and enters into an accidental falsetto far from the tune everyone else is singing.  My throat goes dry, so I mouth the words instead.  The boys are dressed in slacks or khaki pants and wear long or short-sleeved white button-ups with a tie; they look like miniature versions of their fathers. Another hymn is played, and two teenage boys between the ages of 16-18 sit behind the sacrament table where they silently break the bread and divide it among several trays, covering the trays with white linen cloth when they finish. 

Younger boys ages 12-15 wait for their queue to stand up and distribute the trays of bread to the congregation. After they pass their tray between the rows, they wait for the tray to return into their possession. Their hands are respectfully held together in front of them. Dena tells me  before the service starts that I cannot have the bread or water because I am not a member. I pass the tray to the person next to me. They follow the same routine with the water. Families fill entire rows. Older couples and widows sit together. Girls my age wear cap-sleeved dresses in floral prints with ruffles and wear pantyhose with their kitten heels. I notice their light brown or blonde hair is either braided or curled with their bangs perfectly teased and sprayed into place. 

I touch my hair, and my cheeks grow warm. The dry air makes my hair frizzy and unmanageable. My headband has somewhat contained my wild uneven hair and my bangs swoop down in an awkward chunk of a wave, leaving my forehead exposed slightly, accentuating my acne-covered skin. Before we moved from West Valley, I had cut my hair with a pair of household scissors. My hair that once sat in the middle of my back is now just above my shoulders. I tug at my skirt, hating the way it bunches up when I sit down. I look down at my white canvas shoes that aren’t so white. There is no one in the chapel a shade darker than cream.  

The church service is hard to follow. They use words that are unfamiliar. The man standing at the pulpit is saying something about the power of the Priesthood and blessings. I stop listening to him and watch the families. Each family sits together, with at least three children by their side. Most of the fathers wear a three-piece suit. Mothers glare or hush their children to sit still and be quiet. They end the meeting with the hymn Families Can be Together Forever. A woman from the congregation comes to the pulpit to pray. She mixes modern words with thees and thous and blesses those that couldn’t make it this Sunday will be able to come next time. She closes with, “We pray that thou might bless us with a good rest of the Sabbath.” I look around and realize that I’m the only one that hasn’t bowed my head, crossed my arms, and closed my eyes. I say my own silent prayer that I will remember not to have the urge to accept the invitation to come back here again.

I am here in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from my friends and a mother across the Pacific. The closest city is an hour and a half away. A typical one-liner in any small town is that if you blink, you’ll miss it. Heading North on Highway 6 at the end of Main Street takes you right past the cheese plant and restaurant to Provo and on through to Salt Lake City. Going straight on Highway 50 East takes you South to St. George, and if you continue to follow the road West, you will end up in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

My father takes a liking to the area. “It’s a great place to raise kids.” He says this to people he meets around town. 

“I like that they care about family so much.” He says to me. Over the years, I have learned to nod in agreement. He’s not asking for my opinion. Besides, I don’t have much to say about raising families. I feel like I’m barely in one. He decides that this is where we will live. He finds a job with an electrician. Three days later, he rents out a three-bedroom ranch-style home five miles West of Delta. We now live in the town of Hinckley, even more, remote than Delta. If you continue to follow Highway 50 West, it will take you over the state border to Nevada. Hinckley’s population is just under 700. There is a gas station, a church, and a post office. If you want to buy groceries, you’ll have to head into Delta. 

# # #

Those who live in the towns surrounding Delta attend school there. I begin my seventh-grade year at Delta Middle School. The locals call it Delda. My English teacher Mrs. Tuttle asks me to introduce myself. I stand up next to my desk. I don’t know what to do with my hands, so I hold them behind my back. My heart is pounding in my chest, “I’m Desiree Bania. I moved here from West Valley, New York, and I live in H-Hinckley, Utah.” Mrs. Tuttle gives me a cursory nod and smiles. I sit down feeling foolish. I could have said other things, but my mind draws a blank.  Of course, I live in Utah. Why did I say that? I feel the blood rush to my cheeks, and my ears redden. My armpits grow damp. I want to melt into my seat. I hate it here. I go home and cry for hours. In my darkened room, my father asks what’s wrong. I tell him I don’t want to go back.

He tells me that isn’t possible.

###

First of all, thanks for reading my work. This concludes the excerpt from my memoir, Belonging. Stayed tuned for more. Thanks for stopping by!

But Are You Happy?

Photo Credits: Dawn Sullivan (follow her @dawnruns100k)

April 5, 2008

The weather was perfect. No stomach issues. No cramping. There was nothing but blue skies and a tail wind. Could it get any better than this? The adrenaline that coursed through my veins was unlike anything I had yet experienced.

Me and the Universe were vibin’ on all the cylinders.

I had been running alongside a pair of brothers since the race began. They became my unofficial pacers telling me when I was going too fast and reminding me to take small steps on the ascents using the balls of my feet.

“Time?” I asked

“3 hours and 35 minutes,”You got this. We’ll see you at the finish,” one of them replied.

I had 1/2 mile to the finish. My goal time? 3 hours and 40 minutes. The Yakima River Marathon was a Boston Qualifier.

I didn’t have a fancy Garmin like the other runners. I relied on the steady beat of my heart to guide me.When my heart felt like it was ready to burst, I knew I was running 7:30 minute mile pace. I let my legs loose and ran hard to the finish.

3 hours and 37 minutes and 40 seconds. Pace. 8:18 minutes per mile. I was going to freaking Boston!!!! I lived in that happy place during the entire marathon and then some.

My thought process when I began running went as follows.

If I can run a 10k, I can run a marathon.

If I run a marathon, I can run a 50k.

If I can run a 50k, I can run a 50 mile race.

If I can run a 100k, I can run a 100 mile.

Did it make me happy?

Hell ya it did. I was very happy come into a race…

until I crossed the finish line.

I used to think of happiness as a destination. I was searching for the elusive “happy” like it was an island where I could set up my treehouse and never leave.

Happy Is…

What is your happy?

Ready? Set? Go.

I’ll give you 30 seconds.

What did you write down? Here’s my 30 second list: sunrises, sunsets, walking on the beach, a cup of coffee in the am, making a recipe because I have all the ingredients, comfy shoes (like Sanuks or Bob’s), listening to Imagine Dragons, not smelling a stinky diaper in the air or reading a book. I know I could have written more, but my mind loves to wander and wonder.

What else makes you happy?

I’ll give you a minute.

On this second round of my happy list, it turns towards moments with my husband and children. Number one is talking at my husband. You read that right. I talk at him and he indulges me by listening to me yammer about everything and nothing.

The deeper I look at what it means to be happy, I realize there is no pattern. Happy is a montage of insignificant and significant events and moments that have occurred, is occurring or will occur. You just have to be more aware of them or you’ll miss out.

The definition of happy is showing pleasure or contentment.

It seems like happy times are intermingled with the sad, the ho-hum, and the no good rotten ones. Think of happy like rainbow sprinkles. They are the highlights of our day-to-day grind.

It is woven into the past, present and gently tied into my hopes for the future. When I see my one year old smothering her daddy with wet open mouth slobbery kisses, my happy meter lights up. My second daughter, Lexi loves to sing, when I hear her singing in the morning. Her happy makes my happy meter light up.

Follow her YouTube channel @ Alexis Sant

Happy is found in the momentary blips that occur everyday. I see it on my Instagram feed. Friends who I met along the way through running have shown me when their happy meter lights up. Some of us have branched off into other passions and interests. Although I no longer take part in races, I’m grateful for the moments I shared with them.

In 2014, I met Sue at a 50 mile race out at Ft. Clinch State Park, Florida. She exuded a certain joie de vivre that was full of fire and spunk. She went on to complete her first 50 mile race and would later complete her first 100 mile race on the same course.

She is full of light from within. Enter Sue’s happy…

Photo Credits: Sue Edwards (follow her @suebehonee)
From left to right: Sue’s fur babies- Juliet and Romeo
Vegan Cake made by the talented Sue
Photo Credits: Sue Edwards (follow her on Instagram @suebeehonee)

While I was putting this post together, it gave me an excuse to catch up with her. I learned that she has Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There is no cure for this type of cancer. She has left an indelible impression on me and all the other people she has met throughout her life. I pray that her health will allow her to continue to share her light with others.

Sue is a true example of living life well. Her beautiful smile says it all. Life is too short to get stuck on the petty and insignificant. Find your happy everyday.

The Secret to Happy

What is the secret to happy?

There is no secret.

Happy exists all around us and when we aren’t feeling it, like I used to tell my kids, “Sometimes you need to make your own sunshine.”

You are happiness.

Take a look at the list you made. Your happy has always existed. Sometimes you just need a little nudge to remind you where to look.

Atacama Extreme 100: Part One

Atacama Desert

May 20-21, 2017

Races in the United States typically begin in the early morning hours and other than getting to the race for pre-race check-in, I had little thought on what time the race was starting. It started at 4pm. I was not ready…mentally.

My hydration pack was filled with the list of required items: red flashers, flashlight, reflective tape, mylar blanket, whistle, compass, rain poncho, hat, neck cover, sunglasses, gloves, batteries, blister kit, mirror, and sunscreen.

I had half the list dangling from my pack and the rest stuffed into my windbreaker that was tied around my waist.

The race begins.

It was still in the 70’s, when the race began. Within the next couple of hours, I slipped the windbreaker on and a pair of gloves.

As the sun went down, the highway appeared like we were in the Twilight Zone. Statues of Virgin Mary kept a vigil over memorials that lined the highway, with most of them giving off a faint blue glow from the lights provided by the living.

Sometime in the middle of the night a light snow coated the ground. I followed another runner, a doctor of psychiatry from Mexico bragging about knowing the race director and his girlfriend. I don’t now where she was going with that. Then again things seem more annoying as a race wears on.

All I was thinking was, “Lady, you still have to finish the race!” Were they going to help her buckle up?

I distanced myself from her. I was in no mood for her antics.

I had a very limited grasp on the language and the aid station volunteers didn’t speak English. After pointing at my aid station fair, they would in turn repeat back, “Patatas fritas?”.

“Si, si…patatas fritas,” I replied. They gave me an understanding smile and a snack sized version of Pringles so I could continue on my merry way.

I had been running for more than 12 hours. I made it to the 50 mile checkpoint and felt like there was little else that could deter me from finishing.

Coming up on the 50-mile checkpoint

But of course there are obstacles.

It occurred with a sand dune, which looks small and unseemly, but If you look really close you’ll see a couple of specks…those are people.

# # #

. Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for Part Two.

Hey Jealousy

Can you see the forest through the trees? In my sane mindset, the concept is simple. But like any beautiful mind it can switch real quick. Forget the effing forest.

Here I was blogging about the dangers of FB messenger, when I was confronted with a different situation. My husband is the coach of my stepson’s baseball team and there is a certain someone who will not back down on speaking to my husband through text. I won’t disclose much more, but let’s just say I’ll be glad when baseball season is over. I could say none of this trite stuff matters, but I would be lying. Little things can add up and turn into one big shit show and I was not going to standby and watch.

Jealousy is blinding and when it goes unchecked it can turn into something uglier. I have anger issues that I’m continually working through, so unfortunately with jealousy comes my emotional tidal wave of anger.I shared a little bit of my pettiness in my Red Light, Green Light post, but didn’t realize how bad I had it. Short fuse? I definitely have one of those.

Like all other emotions we get to experience, jealousy can drive you bananas if you allow it to consume you. I didn’t know I had it in me to feel this type of way. So, what did I do? I tried ignoring it, but that was short-lived, then I got angry while voicing my concerns. I knew I shouldn’t waste a second on jealously, but I did. I indulged hard. Love, trust, and loyalty all came into question. I expressed my concern and my husband listened. I was able talk it out and adjustments have been implemented.

Quiet Place

I was raised an only child. My mom shot down any attempt of having an imaginary friend. She would say, “Dais, don’t do that, people will think you’re crazy!” I had quiet all day every day and I hated it. Learning to read and write opened a new world to me. Writing was a therapy I didn’t know I had.

I didn’t mean to have a big family, it just slowly turned into one. My household contains me, my husband, three daughters from my first marriage, our two daughters, sometimes my stepson comes over on the weekends and then there’s my mother. Coexisting with my family can be hell on earth, but there’s no place I’d rather be….yet this mama needs her mind right to be there for her family.

How do you find quiet amid chaos? I close my eyes and breathe, then I take my journal out and write furiously.

Reflection

As I continue to work through my emotions, journal writing helps me find that calm in the storm. I become more self aware of what is causing me to feel and act a certain way.

I have learned that this sort of reflection is beneficial in creating an avenue for communicating my feelings, especially when I’m not sure how to broach the topic. My journal is a place where I get to speak truth about the truth. In this simple act, I can recover my senses and calm the expletives down. Reflection is a powerful thing,

Take a moment to ask yourself these questions in your journal when you start feeling your emotions running away from you.

Why am I feeling this way?

What am I afraid of?

Make sure you chase them down to get the answers you need to keep moving forward in life. Our human minds can get stuck on a loop, but we have a choice to stop it.

Be Honest

Be honest with yourself. If you spend enough time tending your mind, you will be able to see the forest from the trees. Give it a try and let me know how it’s working for you.

The Addiction: Part 1

The Addiction: I'm not addicted to running. I'm addicted to the way it makes me feel.

For those of you who knew me as Desiree “The Runner,” I started in 2006. I became addicted to running in a short span of time. It began with an easy 3 miles, but of course, like any good addiction, it spiraled out of control into 6 miles and then 9 miles within a month of starting. Not long after, I started running run twice a day, 6 miles in the am and 6 miles in the pm, for months on end. I pushed my limits until those limits broke me physically and mentally.

Yes, it is mind over matter, but only to a certain degree. I have run through the pain, but the numbing effect of the mind cannot fully anesthetize the physical pain I still experienced.

I have been plagued by foot pain on the bridge of my right foot ever since I ran my first marathon, and I have the occasional throbbing pain in my right knee from my first 50-mile race. Those injuries occurred over 10 years ago!

Leaving My Faith

This may come across as trite to my more devout Mormon friends, but I left the church because of my addiction. There are other reasons I left the Mormon church, but I’ll explain that in another post.

In late January 2014, I met with my bishop who told me I was running too much. He told me that my time was better with my children. Innocent statement, right? I didn’t feel that way at the time. I left his office with a deep anger I couldn’t shake and decided I wasn’t coming back.

I should have told him that I felt like running was the only thing holding me together. I was grappling from the fall out of my first husband going to Federal prison for the next six years. I was so angry at him and angry at God for allowing it to happen. My faith was rocked, and with it, I decided to end our 14-year marriage as soon as possible. If I didn’t run, I felt like I would cease to exist altogether.

I left the Mormon Faith in September of 2014. And my 14-year marriage was dissolved a couple of months afterward. After 22 years of living and breathing Mormonism, I was going through something called a faith crisis. I lost some of my Mormon “friends” along the way. It crushed my soul in a way I never could imagine.

A New Tribe

But I found another community that accepted me for who I was. My ultra-running tribe became my crazy running family. Thank you to those with who I remained friends and those I shared time on the trails. You may not have known it, but you helped me through one of the darkest hours of my life. But like any tribe, they can turn on you. They didn’t judge me, but that would come later.

I ran further. Add hip pain after The Keys 100 in 2015. I could run for 6 months solid, but then the depression would set in. I couldn’t understand why? I couldn’t accept that the addiction was diminishing my mental capacity to handle my emotional turmoil. The stuff I didn’t deal with in 2014.

But I kept running in a blind fury. I ran long and blasted the pain away with my favorite 90’s hits. Guess what? It doesn’t work long-term. Well, “Duh,” Desiree, of course, it doesn’t work long term. I was putting a band-aid on my problems. Little did I know, but that band-aid was going to be ripped off.

The End and a New Beginning

In 2018, the Universe hurled someone into my life. I was working at a dead-end job for a title company. I was married for the second time in my life, but the only thing in common between us was ultra running. Our love was centered around the sport of running and weightlifting, not on each other. You can’t build much off of that type of foundation. On top of that, when I wasn’t working, I was running, which meant I hardly saw my children. My husband and I were living a superficial marriage. Our photos gave the impression on FB and Instagram that we were doing effing awesome.

At the end of July of 2018 I ended things with my husband. I started a new life with the man I would eventually marry in January 2019. Yes, for someone like me 3x is a charm and  we would go on to have two babies within 11 mths of each other. I was met with some serious judgements from my FB friends. Sadly, I lost many of my running “friends” because of it. The backlash devastated me. I felt completely abandoned by my so called friends.

The Unrunning

What did I do with my tribe issues? I stopped running races and then I stopped running.

But then came the question, “Who was Desiree if she was no longer a runner? Runner Des was my identity. I deleted FB, I needed a hard reset. I needed to reassess who I would allow my FB friends to be.

I needed to readjust my priorities. Even though I’m no longer Mormon, I learned a lot from that religion, mainly the importance of family.

# # #

This concludes The Addiction: Part 1. Tune in next week, I’ll be sharing Part 2. How my life after ultra running has changed and the lessons I learned along the way. I hope to see you back here soon!