Thursday, April 27, 2006

settling in

I feel more settled now.

It's been a rough week and my sleep pattern is definitely off, but I am starting to settle into the reality of what's happening and my situation. The sense of calm is back, at least for now.

As promised, here's pictures from my hill repeats yesterday. This is the view from the bottom of the hill:

And here is my view from the top:

Pretty cool, huh?

Growing up in a city that was the butt of many jokes was interesting. You grow up and can't wait to leave, because you hear how bad it is. But you can't really figure it out, because you see things like the above pictures every day. And something draws you back eventually after you wander around for a while looking for something better.

What's so bad about it?

Yeah, there's snow. Everyone complains about that and stuff.

But I like snow.

Hmmm. Cross that off the list.

Well, there's that river that caught on fire in 1969.

Okay, I wasn't even alive then, so I take no responsibility for that. And that river's actually kinda cool now--still lots of work to be done, but the area around it has changed and cleaned up quite a bit.

It's not as cool as NY/LA/Chi-Town/insert-cool-and-sexy-city-here.

Agreed. But at least I can afford a house and a nice little yard.

There's poverty. Lots of it.

Yeah, that sucks. But what city isn't dealing with that right now? But, more importantly, how can I change that? I volunteer. I educate. I get kids to volunteer. I do whatever possible to try and make the situation better. Think globally, act locally, you know?

I guess I bristle a bit at the criticism. Which is weird. It's a freaking city. Why should I care if people rip on it?

Well, I guess the answer is that it's a part of who I am. So right or not, I guess I do take it a little personally. I know it sounds strange, but hear me out.

I was...I am...not the kind of person who stops traffic with their unbelievable good looks. It's just not me. I do have a good friend from college like that though--she knows who she is so I will spare her name:)--I'm not kidding...guys LINE UP to hit on her at bars. It's quite entertaining. She's absolutely drop-dead-gorgeous, and totally cool to boot.

That's not me. In fact, I got made fun of quite a bit when I was a kid. You name it.

"You're fat." "You're too smart." (I never could understand that one) "You don't have the right coca-cola shirt on--your's is generic from Sears." "You're freckles are ugly."

In middle school (aka. hell on earth), I didn't really have many friends. See, this is the age when girls that say they are your friend do weird things like lock you in a closet at a sleepover. ? But you're supposed to be cool with that. Or they just follow one girl who makes fun of everyone.

But I refused to follow that girl. So I just kinda kept to myself. I said I'd rather be alone than following some dumb mean girl. I'd cry a little at home, but my mom would tell me I was doing the right thing. Peer pressure didn't really work with me. If it was cool to make fun of someone, I was still like, "But that's mean and I don't want to do it, and for that matter, I don't want to be around you, either."

So the bottom line is, I guess for a while I felt like I was a pretty strong person, but a bit of an ugly duckling.

My mom always told me I was pretty, but that's her job because she's my mom. For a long time, I never really believed it. But I knew there was a lot to me people didn't know. I really felt that there was some beauty on the inside if people would take the time to notice.

So I was the butt of many jokes. But I knew I had potential. I just wasn't really sure how to tap into it.

This, of course, is the ongoing life process. I've always been relatively secure in who I am. But trying to tap into the potential is hard, and sometimes scary.

Case in point: this little thing called Ironman I'm doing. I really feel like I've changed so much and it's only been 5 months. It really blows my mind. This training, this schedule, this life that's going on has been affected by it and totally changed who I am. I'm seeing things in myself that I hadn't really seen before. I'm starting to understand the power of this potential thing. I don't know the end of the story, of course. It's up in the air and subject to change, because it's changing every day. But it's getting stronger.

So, to make a long story short, I sympathize with the city. It's not perfect. It's not really that cool. It's used to being an outsider and the butt of many jokes. It doesn't turn that many heads--yet at least. But there's a quiet beauty here, if you look for it. There's a history of strength through time. And for some reason, it draws me in. I see the endless potential. I see people helping, things changing, and unlimited growth.

Kinda like me.


nancytoby said...

Great essay! You GO, city! Er, I mean, TriSara!

E-Speed said...

I think you are gorgeous! I would line up at a bar to hit on you!

And I LOVE Cleveland! (Of course I did grow up in Detroit ;)) We have one of the best park systems I have ever encountered.

The towpath and Buckeye trail are just absolutely fantastic.

Glad someone else out there enjoys this city we call home.

bunnygirl said...

What a great post! IMO, the beauty you grow into often lasts a lot longer and is much more interesting than whatever beauty you might be born with.

Just something to think about.

Just12Finish said...

I agree with the last post. Your beauty inside is showing through in more ways than one, Sara, and will serve you longer in life too.

Lana said...

I wonder how many of those girls who followed the "one girl who makes fun of everyone" are in training for an IM...probably none. You go girl!

qcmier said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Cleveland Rocks, so do you!!!

Batman said...'re gonna rock.

BuckeyeRunner said...

Great post, and great pics!!! I am familiar with those city jokes (remember I am from Pittsburgh, and I have a rabid Pittsburgh-loyal older brother,) but I love it here in Cleveland!! It is a great little city, and I feel totally comfortable even in a way I didn't back home. And I can relate to your middle school stories - being the only Asian kid in the class does not do wonders for your self-esteem. No wonder I sometimes still wish I was willowy and blond like Gwenyth Paltrow!
You rock, Sara!!

Kurt said...

Good post! Keep at those hills!

DaisyDuc said...

Cleveland Rocks on so many levels...the Tribe, (cough, cough)the Browns, Lebron, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Lake, the parks, my guy Drew Carry :-), etc!

Sweetie, you are one hot chica both inside and out! I think the vast majority of peeople have all felt insecure & left out over the course of our lives at some point!

Chris said...

And I'm sure you'll change just as much if not more in the next 5 months! Very well said.

greyhound said...

I was born in 1969. I remember 1969. Middle school is cruel and unusual as a matter of law. Take it from me, band geek loner turned flabby lawyer turned lawyer marathoner.

And by the way, the mean girl is in a shallow and unsatisfying marriage to the former football star turned salesman and they're both fat. I saw them at the reunion.

Cliff said...

butt of many jokes...

hmm that brings back a lot. That use to be me too. I mean, sometimes I still am. The biggest change is my attitude towards it.

By highschool, coming out I was coming out from someone who doesn't know anyone to some friends that i have to act different to fit in. I never really thought about it. But i know deep inside, there is a part of me that don't feel comfortable with them.

Until universtiy...or coming out of university, it started to don on me that just b/c someone had an opinion about me, it doesn't mean he/she is right. It is just an opinion. And it is up to me to react or even act at all about it.

As I start into this ironman training, it become increasing clear the difference between someone the supports and encourages you and someone that doesn't. I make sure of myself that I am encouraging to all of my it triathlon or not.

Great sharing....

I would line up to see Elizabeth hit on you at a bar :D...

Scott said...

From the pics you've posted, you are very attractive (it would be too weird for a gay man to gush all over you and tell you that you are a hot babe... lol). Perhaps the pics don't tell the whole story about you but I imagine that, in real life, you look like Huff's wife on my new fave show, Huff... and I defy anyone to say that she is not totally hot stuff!

P.S. I think somebody raised you so right. I love your values.

Scott said...

P.S. I realize that the reference to 'Huff's wife' sounds terrible.
The character's name is Beth. I am posting a pic on my blog.

RunBubbaRun said...

Great, insightful post..Just remember you will always be an athelete no matter what happens at IMWI..not a bad title I must say, and for me a long stretch from a person who used to be a band geek in high school..

TryAthlete said...

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I have to scroll down to read your posts because there's a blank space where they normally are.

Try altering the height and width of your Webrats html to about 120 and see what happens.

Thanks for your comments on my blog!

Rae said...

Cleveland rocks, Cleveland rocks, Cleveland rocks!! I've only been there once but we had a blast. And you guys def have some fast women runners!!!

Great pics!