A Year Ago This Week, Week Four

Continuing the weekly arguments that 2016 was not all bad, I’ve created a series of posts designed to exonerate the year. This is the fourth installment in that series.

A year ago this week I renamed this blog. I think it used to be called Wellness For The Road. For a while I think I called it Wellness for Protagonists. It wouldn’t be given its current name until later in 2016, after my heart issues surfaced. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be happy with the name of the blog until after the heart issues; nothing I previously named it felt like a good fit. I kept working at it. I was deliberate in 2016.

A year ago this week Danielle asked me to name the things I wish people knew about me.  I wrote:


A year ago this week I wanted to revolutionize:

  • My conversation. Transform the small talk.
    • Edit out the complaining and the comparisons.
    • Offer something meaningful instead of mindless blabber.
    • Edit out the auto-responses and justifications.
  • Enabling behavior that sullies my work.
    • Stop playing into that hand.

I was candid in 2016.

A year ago this week I ran the One Hour Track Run for the last time. This was always the first official race to kick off the racing season. Usually cold and windy. Always a long drive (around 80 miles) to run laps around a high school track for an hour. The runner with the most laps always wins. That was never me but for close to ten years I ran it either for fun or as an opening bid for race age group points (usually both).

It was always a long day because the race is divided into two hour-long heats; one for slow pokes and one for speed demons. I usually ended up carpooling with a speed demon so I got to enjoy both. I didn’t know at the time that the 2016 running would be my last time to participate or I might have watched more of the fast heat. I opted instead to get some extra miles by running the country roads to prep for another race. I got back just in time to see the end of the second heat and catch the carpool home for the last time.

A select group of my running buddies would help me break up the boredom of running in circles for an hour by fanny-slapping whenever we lapped each other. More than once I mistook a fanny that looked familiar and accidentally slapped a stranger. Fortunately we were all running slow enough for me to explain and apologize. Now that I’m retired from racing I will miss those customs among my brethren and sistren. I did bump into a running buddy at the gym last night. I guess I could start fanny-slapping whenever that happens. It would have been a difficult (dangerous) task from the treadmill though; so maybe next time. This week the race will kick off the new season again without me but I will be grateful that I was a part of it for so long. I helped sustain community in 2016.

A year ago this week the self-portrait project was formally introduced. The first post to establish it as an endeavor of 366 days was called Photographic Phlebotomy. I was audacious in 2016.

A year ago this week I bought and gave away my last Ugly Doll. For my newer readers, I am the Mother of the Ugly Doll Movement. Obviously I didn’t create Ugly Dolls but I did move them. A few years ago The Chef gave me an Ugly Doll for Valentine’s Day. I took this doll on all my travel adventures and posted pictures on social media until my doll had his own fan following. It was so much fun I started giving Ugly Dolls away to my friends, followers, and readers. They all did the same — taking their dolls are adventures and sharing the photos. Soon those friends started giving away dolls and those friends starting giving away dolls and on the movement grew.

I sent dolls all across the U.S. and overseas, always free of charge, and always with the stipulation that all I wanted in return was to see PLAY and FUN from the adoptive families. This went on for years. I lost count of how many I sent out in to the world after I reached over 250 dolls. A year ago this week I sent one to a virtual running buddy from book club and called the initial phase of the movement complete. Since I’m no longer using social media I don’t get to see the dolls in action anymore unless someone texts or emails me some ugly pics (which I still love). I’ve stopped sending them out but I hope I never stop receiving images of adults having fun and being adventurous with their little lovely uglies. I created whimsy in 2016.

A year ago this week I made a gratitude list:

Free access to artists who inspire and challenge.   ~   Freedom of expression.   ~   Second chances.   ~   Third and fourth chances.

A year ago this week I made list of all my January expenditures to track how I spent my money in alignment with my core desires. I bought the Ugly Doll and box of votive candles. Both cost than ten bucks. The rest I spent on running. I still considered the cost of road racing to be essential spending back then. It would take me months to reconcile this but at the time I rationalized that it kept me strong and connected. I wrote that it made me feel splendid. I wrote that I deserved it. I wrote that I was entitled to these pleasures.

New blinky lights for running after dark:  $34.30

New running skirt:  $50

iTunes songs for running playlist:  $2.58

Grand Prix racing series registration:  $17.50

Three race registration fees:  $90

Chipping in for gas and meals on the road: $36

That’s $230.38 spent on running just for the month of January. A year ago this week this was reasonable. It would take me the better part of 2016 to understand that I could feel strong, connected, and splendid without spending $230.38. Yes, I deserve those feelings. Yes, I am entitled to pleasures. I don’t have to pay for them. I was confrontational in 2016.

Yes, 2016 was a tough year. No doubt about it. But it wasn’t all bad.

— Mehl Yogurt

(ugly mother)

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