The nice thing about having a blog is that — if you actually update it regularly — it allows you to look back on the past and quite vividly remember what you were going through or how you were feeling on any given day.
I needed a brain break the other day, so I pulled up a post of mine from May 2013, almost exactly one year ago.
And, as I was reading it, I started to cry.
I don’t know what to make of that reaction. It surprised me. (I made myself cry — as if having a blog didn’t make me feel narcissistic enough to begin with. Yikes.)
I look back on where I was last year at this time, though, and it does break my heart a little bit. I was in so much physical pain and was in the midst of a major emotional struggle. I felt lost and alone and scared and, mostly, sad.
I had to abandon my much-anticipated trip to Hawaii and instead went home to New Hampshire because I was too sick to take care of myself and, well, I needed my mom.
I was, simply put, at rock bottom.
Fast forward one year.
Today, I don’t feel lost.
I don’t feel alone.
I’m not scared.
And, best of all, I am not sad.
It may have taken way too long, but I have finally, authentically returned to my “old self.”
There were times when I really thought “Happy Ali” was gone for good; that she had died with my immune system.
But eventually, I started to get better.
I don’t know if it was the methotrexate, or the study drug, or hell, even the placebo, if that’s what I got initially. Maybe it was a combination of all those things.
Or maybe it’s because I made some changes. I have a new job, and with that comes new responsibilities, new coworkers, a new location, a new commute and little things, like new lunch options.
Those little things add up to very big things.
I can hardly believe I’ve already been at my new job for one month.
More dramatically, I can’t believe how much has changed in the past month, on both the physical and emotional spectrums.
I do little things every day that used to be so monumental, like taking the subway. I don’t even think twice before getting on the subway before and after work now. I’m not scared of getting trapped underground without a bathroom anymore.
And I can do those yoga poses I avoided for so long because the twisting sent me straight to the bathroom. Now, when Bethany tells us to “flip our dog,” I’m flipping with the rest of the class instead of coming down to Child’s Pose or, ya know, bolting out of the room and making that mad dash for the bathroom.
I’m also able to travel!
Last year, Brian and I had so many weddings to attend, most of which were outside NYC and required a flight or a roadtrip somewhere. I so vividly remember driving up to Stowe, VT, to watch my friends Tom and Sarah get married. I was a complete wreck on that long drive. I hardly moved in my seat because I was so afraid of disrupting my very sensitive stomach, and I was on the constant lookout for roadside bathrooms. Pretty sure I had also stashed some rolls of toilet paper in the car “just in case.” Cute!
I spent the majority of Tom and Sarah’s awesome wedding reception in the bathroom. Always a top-notch wedding guest! I’m either stealing everyone’s cake while they’re on the dance floor, or I’m hogging all the bathroom stalls. There’s not much in between there.
But fast forward again, and I’m currently fresh out of the van from a trip to Vermont. Brian and I spent the long weekend up there for a bike race (well, he raced — I ran my cowbell with vigor and visited with a very special little someone).
I never thought twice about the drive up to Killington. I wasn’t worried about what I ate before we hit the road, I wasn’t on the prowl for rest stops and I certainly got comfortable with my feet up on the dashboard. (Sorry, mom — she never used to let me do that because “What if we get in an accident and the air bags go off? They’ll blow off your legs and you’ll never dance again.”) It was so fantastically stress-free.
Last year, Brian and I were supposed to “celebrate” our two-year anniversary together while we were on vacation in Hawaii. Buuuut he ended up taking that trip alone while I was sick and loathing in New Hampshire.
This year, we rung in three years together with a fabulous dinner and separate desserts (I do not share, except that I will always let my mom have a bite of my Blizzard if she wants).
I do big things every day, too.
Running is a very big thing to me right now. Running wasn’t part of my life for many months, and now it’s back in a big way.
I ran a little race…
…and I ran a bigger race…
…and two weekends ago, just because I finally could, I ran 15 miles.
I run a few days a week now, usually in the morning, and while my runs are rarely stop-free, I appreciate being out there and, frankly, I fucking love it. (I really do try not to swear on here, because my parents read this blog, and my mom hates it when I curse. The family rule is that I’m allowed to swear only to my dad, and only if I’m very very sick and sad about Crohn’s. I try to abide, but I sometimes slip. I can’t help it. I’m so enthusiastic.)
While most of my local runs are planned around bathrooms, just in case, I’ve branched out quite a bit lately, too. During this weekend’s Vermont excursion, I went for a few runs having no idea where I was. I just bopped around, hauling my husky legs up and over those massive Vermont “hills” (mountains) and practically skipping around the state. I was always aware of where a bathroom may or may not be, but it wasn’t an all-consuming mindset.
Is life perfect?
It never is.
But I’m floating around so high on Cloud 9 these days that I can’t even see rock bottom. I’m really digging this view.
Someday soon I will write a post that isn’t just reflective and sappy and overly grateful. Today’s just not that day.
Fuckin’ wonderful! Love this and I’m so happy for you internet guuurlfriend!
This post (as well as the other more recent ones) made me so SO happy. Glad that life is great in Ali-land, and glad that you’ve been posting. However, how does 16 handles feel about you cheating on them for DQ??!?
Forget Katie Couric – you’re so lucky you got to meet that SUPER adorable baby!!!
And you know what would make life perfect? You moving to Vermont. Satisfaction guaranteed*.
*From May 1 – October 31st. After that, all bets are off.
Ali, this post makes me so happy!! I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now and have seen the highs and lows. Your blog is actually one of the reasons I started running again, and more, when I stumbled across it. You’re such an inspiring person and I’m so happy you can give rock bottom the big F you right now 🙂
This comment made my night. Thank you so much, Jess — both for reading and for saying such nice things. I appreciate you sticking around!
YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the explanation marks in the world should be posted in response to this. SO happy for you!
I LOVE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!
You can and should keep writing these posts. I love ’em.
I am sincerely happy for you, Ali. Take it all in! 🙂
Pharrell’s “Happy” should be playing in the background of this post. Hurray!!!
Re: baby/ripped arms, I nanny for an almost 2 year old who is in the 101st percentile for weight and 98th percentile for height. OOF. While I’ve adjusted and can lift her easier than I could in January, my arms are still not Jennifer Aniston level 🙁 (probably has something to do with my all-cheese diet)
Cheese > Jennifer Aniston arms.
Love this! Do you have the timehop app? It will show you random things you posted on that same day 1, 2, 5, 7 years ago — its fun to see how much has happened!
I don’t have that app — I probably should, considering my obsession with creeping on my own past.
such an upbeat, optimistic post and i’m so glad to hear of all the positives in your lately life!
Dude…bask in that reflective, sappy, overly grateful talk! You certainly earned it! Plus, in my opinion, seeing how happy other people are with things that I sometimes take for granted, makes me stop and be happy too! Rock on girl, cheers from my blizzard to yours (omgomgomgomg where does the line form, I need one n.o.w.)! xo
LET’S MAKE A BLIZZARD DATE. We can wear our twinsies outfits.
Yay!!!!! Life is challenging enough without having to scope out all the nearby bathrooms. I’m so glad your body is cooperating and you are getting to enjoy life a little more. 🙂
DQ — I’ve never had it. Are the lines crazy? Should I try to go soon or wait until the lines possibly die down?
The lines were crazy today, because it was the grand opening, but I imagine they’ll die down quite a bit. I’ll do my best to keep scoping it out for ya!
YAY!!! Also, thanks for sharing the poem, I really needed that today.
Good for you! I needed this post this morning. Things do get better.
They do. Sometimes it just takes a really f-ing long time. But time goes by, and you’ll get there.
Gah, this makes me SO HAPPY to read. What a turnaround year. And that swear was most definitely well placed. Because you f*king love it. Absolutely. Congrats on getting through such a difficult phase.
Your comments make me SO happy, you have no idea. I can’t even explain how much it means to you that you still read my blog. I feel like you’ve been here since the beginning and you’ve always been able to offer up incredible words of wisdom and support when I’ve needed them. Thanks for letting me feel like a part of the sisterhood <3 (Translation: Thanks for letting me super creepily attempt to be a part of your family even though we've never met in real life.)
I’m SOOOO freakin’ happy that things are going so great for you! I know what it’s like to “come back” from IBD issues and appreciate EVERY moment and every LITTLE thing!!
PS Sooo jealous your met Katie! One of my inspirations for becoming a journalist too! 🙂
Come hang out with Katie and me! I’m obviously going to stalk that spot where I saw her every day now…
Congrats on life!!! I love these reflective posts and think all of your happiness is reason to celebrate and reflect on how far you’ve come. Ps – I’m a casual runner and envy ur ability to run 15 miles!!
YAY!! Love this. Also amazing you’re able to just RUN 15 miles sans training!!!? You are a super hero. Tell me your secrets!
Well, I’ve slowly worked my mileage back up since I started running again, and those 15 miles weren’t nonstop start to finish. I stopped for a few minutes to watch Brian’s bike race, and I made a handful of bathroom stops. So not quite superhero status yet, but stay tuned! 😉
I love your reflective and sappy and overly grateful posts. Don’t stop. 🙂 Also, my favorite blizzard is chocolate chip cookie dough, holding babies ALWAYS make my arms hurt, and I’m insanely jealous you met Katie Couric. Love her. <3
I’VE NEVER HAD THE COOKIE DOUGH. I know what’s up next. Great tip.
We LOVE reflective and sappy and grateful! Keep it up. Also, DQ coming to NYC is just about the greatest news ever. Blizzards were solely to blame for my freshman 15.
Blizzards were my main motivation for going to the Mall of New Hampshire in faraway Manchester growing up. Forget Abercrombie, gimme that Blizzard!
I am so happy things are going so well for you, Ali! I would say yes, all moms have REALLY strong arms. Until about 6 months ago my arms were really toned, but now that my baby is not a baby anymore, she hardly ever needs to be carried.
Also, DQ is now selling a S’mores Blizzard. I need this in my life. Pleas try it out and let me know how delicious it is!
Yes, fine, I will try that Blizzard JUST FOR YOU. I am on it.
YOU GO GIRL!!!
So glad to hear you’re feeling better and I love that you “cannot even see rock bottom”. What a great feeling! I’ve been there and I too am feeling much better and feel like my bowels don’t rule my life (most days). PS-I love the score bit blizzard best…Mmmm! Do they do the same thing in the US as they do here @ DQ where they have to turn the blizard upside down before handing it to you and if it falls out you get a free one?
YES they turn it upside-down, only sometimes though, and I did NOT know that was a little trick where you could get a free one. OMGGGG I am learning so much about DQ.
It’s been great reading your happier posts lately. Keep them coming! They ring sincere and genuinely happy. It’s contagious and it makes me realize how many things in my life I should be grateful for in return. All that to say… I’m just so glad you’re still blogging and that you’re doing well these days. 🙂
Thank you for such a wonderfully nice comment. You can’t see me (can you?), but I am smiiiiling!
So happy you are feeling better. Good that you are running again also. Great picture of you and Katie!!
SO happy for you! Love the picture of you and Brian working together. I’m really glad things are finally looking up.
<3 Thank you <3 (Those are sideways hearts. They are vintage. I don't emoji.)
What a great post to read. It is so nice to see happy Ali again and that things are going so well for you. Hopefully this will be a the start of a wonderful summer 🙂
Remember when you wrote that post about how your blogging days might have been coming to an end? These were the posts I was scared we wouldn’t get to read if you did quit. I say write as many reflective posts as you want! I think we’re all grateful for them 🙂
I remember! This kind of blogging is waaaay more fun!
love this post ali 🙂 so happy for you!
and to answer your question- my go to blizzard is the same as your except vanilla ice cream!
love this so much 🙂 pumped for you!
in other news, looks like i have to go visit vermont soon. holy beautiful
SO BEAUTIFUL. Go immediately. Everything is so wickedly green, and the contrast against the bright blue sky is downright stunning.
I love this post! Love that you’re feeling better and doing all these amazing things!
Blizzard Tip: Ask whoever’s working at DQ to make you THEIR favourite blizzard. They always have amazing combinations that aren’t on the menu and that you might not think of. Same goes for Starbucks Frappuccinos – the best ones aren’t on the menu!
Ohhhh great tip.
I’m glad you’re feeling better! And how cool meeting Katie couric
Oh this makes me so flipping happy for you. Soak up every last inch of happiness, it’s about time!
Ref babies…they start out REALLY small and light and get heavier until you’re super-strong without noticing it, like frogs in a pan of water. But I always had bingo wings despite the heftiness of my child. So unfair!
I just have to say, I love it when you comment because I always read them with an accent and it’s so fun (for me at least, in my head). So today, always and forever, thank you for commenting. I love it so much.
Fantastic Ali! So much happiness and good news.
Love you met her! Love you are feeling awesome!
My wife’s standard is chocolate ice cream snickers with peanut butter sauce blizzard. She highly recommends it.
So happy for you! You went through hell and back, so you get to curse and write all the sappy posts you want!