Fear is Our Biggest Impediment

For many of us, fear is our biggest impediment!

Fear grips us, cripples us, and enslaves us!being different

 

We are afraid of the dark
We are afraid of heights
We are afraid of adventure
We are afraid of the unknown

We are afraid of criticism
We are afraid of failure
We are afraid of trying
We are afraid of dreaming

We are afraid of loneliness
We are afraid of attention
We are afraid of loving
We are afraid of affection

We are afraid of being talked about
We are afraid of not being talked to
We are afraid of being ignored
We are afraid of not being priority

We are afraid of dependence
We are afraid of begging
We are afraid of giving
We are afraid sharing

We are afraid of disappointment
We are afraid of embarrassment
We are afraid of getting hurt
We are afraid of pain

We are afraid of helpers
We are afraid of solicitation
We are afraid of donations
We are afraid of alms

But, let us not be afraid of reaching out
Asking for worthy help
Love regardless

Let us embrace loneliness
Live endlessly
Life with all its uncertainties

Let us give unconditionally
Against all odds,

Let us break the encumbrance of fear!

2014 in a Wrap

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Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving America and the World! Wherever you are!

I have not witness a very warm Thanksgiving Day in a long while! It was 55F degrees mid-afternoon today, and I was out in my bikers! And the sun was out, no wind; beautiful! Perfect day for a run, jog, anything outdoors! weather thanksgiving_Fotor

I couple of days back, Child Of Mine (COM) suggested that on Thanksgiving Day, we write down all the things were are thankful for. I readily agreed, and promised to obliged when the day comes – today, Thursday, November 26, 2015.
On his part, he had had an entire day of Thanksgiving celebration – making applesauce and crafts and tasting apple butter at school, and exploring Thanksgiving at home at school.

This Thanksgiving morning, I waited for him to wake up, served him breakfast, brushed our teeth, then we sat down to compile out lists.

Here is his list:
Thanksgiving Day_Fotor_Collage

Thankful for:

  1. Food (Me: makes sense, since we are talking after breakfast 🙂)
  2. Oxygen
  3. Water
  4. Shelter
  5. Blood – without blood we cannot live
  6. Heart – I would not be alive, if I did not have a hear
  7. My brain —it is the control system. It controls every part of my body.
  8. Bones —Bones connect the body together.
  9. Muscles —If I knew how to fight but did not have muscles, I would not be much stronger.

[Mental note to self: Uhm! Everything seems to be about him. Oh well! Just be happy he is compiling a list!]

I started my list

  1. COM —Because he has helped me understand life better. Plus, he allows me push him out of his comfort zone, ‘experiment’ on him and co-op him into my adventurous life. At his age, he is already Scouting for Food as a Cub Scout, caring for therapy dogs with Paws and Pages and donating to Toys for Totsscouting and community service_Collage
  2. My mother – She brought me into this world, and is always there for me, even when I am sad and do not feel like talking. She surprises me.
  3. For the gift of life —It is full of challenges, but it makes me stronger and optimistic.
  4. All the friends and family who give me laughter, shelter, surprises, reassurance and social support.
  5. Challenges – that teach me a lot about myself and my potentialities
  6. For the United States – it gave me Biko, my adult life, exposure to a larger world or learning and education, connectivity of humanity, and retracing my blackness through my ancestors who were shipped off as slaves many years ago.
  7. Uganda – my birthplace that nurtured me from childhood. The most fun, free and safest place I have ever lived.
  8. Social networks – the Cub Scout, Paws n Pages, where I meet new friends, learn about opportunities to participate in community activities, and my son gets to learn about life and serve his community at a young age.
  9. Running and exercise – center me….and lift me up….
  10. Single parenting – I am stronger than I give myself credit. I fall, crumble and bounce back. I can risk it all…and start building it anew. I can give no matter whether I get the same. Single parenting makes it easier to make decisions, spontaneous actions and planning, and allows me to ‘dictate’ child’s diet and menu most of the time. IMG_2936

I think COM noticed that I was giving credit to people, while he did not. So, he added his #10

  1. My teachers that help me learn.

Still, no mention of me, anywhere!  But I am straight —-No! I am not….but hey

It is Thanksgiving Day! Not Mourning and Pouting Day.

We have watched the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, which is always a pleasure….We Skyped internationally; we are making business connections; we are blogging, and COM is writing down all the books he has read this month. He has already surpassed his set monthly goal of 30 to 53 books! And he still has four more days before the end of month —whoopee-do!

IMG_3049I am making a very veggie Thanksgiving lunch of Eggplant aka aubergine, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and asparagus [didn’t I tell you, there is joy in single parenting!]. And we are watching the National Dog Show!

Happy Turkey, Tofurky, Cranberry sauce [we might just have some cranberry jelly], the pies and all. We will have Sparkling Cider, our special treat!

Whatever you do! Wherever you are! Whatever you eat! Be Thankful!

The Trials and Tribulations of Extroverts

IMG_2934You think Introverts have it tough? Pity Extroverts!

True, Introverts are often ridiculed as bad communicators, lone souls, poor social buddies and individualist. While Extroverts are [perceived as] jovial, positive, friendly, giving, sociable, with an infinite joie de vivre!

Extroverts are expected to light up the room at a party and mingle, offer a free hand to the stumblers, a shoulder to the criers and bright lamp to broken spirits. Extroverts are to smile, laugh and cater to everybody’s happiness and pleasure, it is presumed and expected.

Me-time” is not [acceptably] synonymous with extrovert. How can the light of the party fold into oneself to deal with own issues? But that is seemingly not considered unfair!

True story!

I know an extrovert in my social circles. She loves life, she is spontaneous, adventurous, athletic and earthy. She loves everything natural, loves entertaining, and volunteering a helping hand to others, solicited or not. She is full of vigor, smiles and laughs out loud, and a pretty funny jokester

She will pick up the slack with no prompts. She will be the one cleaning up the mess, while everyone in the room is sitting watching TV or fingering their phones. She will feed the children, entertain them, play with them, read with them, put on an impromptu picnic for them and support their childhood dreams unsolicited.

Even if none of the children’s parents returns the favor for her own kids, she is never swayed from cooking up a storm, cleaning and caring for the sick or bereaved. Because giving a helping hand is the humane thing to do, that no religion, politics or economics can indoctrinate. It is also a key tenet of her social upbringing, which impressed on her the importance of service to others.

But what happens when she needs her “Me-time”? What if she does not want to sit around and laugh or play with anybody? Is she being rude, mean, nasty, causing tension? Is she entitled to claim her space, amidst others? Is she allowed to have “Me-time”? For the same reasons we give our children “time out”, to recover, to recuperate, to reflect and come back with positive energy and relaxed.

From what I know about her, she has come a long way, in controlling how much and how long she “zones out” and “shuts the world away”, and takes her time-out. She confessed to me that, she never used to stretch her tolerance and patience a lot like she does now.

For instance, she was never a “morning person”, until she became obliged to take care of another person — her own child. Correct, she had had experience taking care of children, but with the option of bailing out, at will, because they were not her own responsibility.

Before becoming a mother, she did not enjoy talking to anyone in the morning. No small talk, unless it was urgent and very important life concerns, morning transcontinental conference calls or checking in at airport gates on early morning flights!

IMG_2974
To reload her to morning ‘sugar’, she started going on morning running to wake her up to lift her spirits up. To her, running is not simply for “weight loss” —it has never been—but to pump her blood up. When others grabbed a coffee to jumpstart them in the morning, she goes for a run.

Since becoming a mother, her child has supplemented the morning run. He wakes up every morning with a smile and a positive attitude, that are so contagious! That alone, lifts her spirits up, though she goes crazy sometimes, when his happiness slows down, his on getting out of bed and getting dressed.

Reading and social media also keep her busy, and revives her energies. They give her new perspective about life, and give her the umph to keep going amid turmoil. So, blogging, reading online news, tweeting, FB, Instagram, and sharing with her online crowd is a joy to her!

Some might say it “escapism” from her immediate surroundings, but it is positive escapism. It allows her to spare others her agony and misery, until she can bounce back with renewed vigor and positive energy. It stirs joy in her, and helps her regain her stamina. It clears her thoughts, and allows her mould and transform herself strategically.

What bewilders, though, is when others take her quiet and “down-time” personal? Why they perceive her “hibernation” as directed at them, and causing tension around them, when she does not take their availability or lack thereof for granted?

If she can find the peace and joy within herself, why can’t others do the same? If she can still offer a helping hand even when her social circles do not return the favor, why is it hard to accept her without judgement, those times she is not an “Upbeat Extrovert”?

I wonder, why we should expect extroverts to carry other people’s 100th problem, when they have their 99 problems! Why can’t we accepted that everyone is a lot like the British weather; it fluctuates at from time to time, not permanently, and still brings us happy memories!

IMG_3021

Perhaps, we should all learn to accept that nobody is in a permanent state of bliss or misery. Nobody, in my imagination wants to be surrounded by people or be the entertainment for others all the time. Nobody wants to be the fortress for others all the time, or the last man/woman standing, when others are tucked in their loneliness, sorrow or “me-time”.

Nor does anybody want to be lonely and gloomy all the time, tucked away from others, without friends to laugh, play and talk to. We all enjoy to love, support and surround ourselves with others. But can we understand that Extroverts do not have an elasticity of happiness, and just show some love when they do not wanna be disturbed!

Happy Turkey-giving Y’all!

‘Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.’
- Melodie Beattie

 

An article in Chicago Tribune profiles former Stanford Dean Lythcott-Haims, among other writers like Jessica Lahey (“The Gift of Failure”) and Jennifer Senior (“All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood”), speaking to “Helicopter Parents” to Let It Go! Let the children be, children! Have a life of your own! You can also call them “Socca moms” or Drill Surgeons, they are in the face of their children, and anyone involved with their children.

Lythcott-Halms cites statistics on the rise of depression and other mental and emotional health problems among the nation’s young people, as justification that, perhaps Helicopter Parents are doing more harm than good, by micromanaging their children’s lives, trying to churn them into super-high achievers. Points to the growing concern that many young people are “adultscents” stuck in “waithood”!

I wrote recently about Parenting on a Shoe-String of Hope, that, regardless of how much we invest into our kids, there is no guarantee that they will turn out with the discipline, commitment, self-drive, kindness and love, we so strive to impart in them and desire! Parenting is not a game, yet it is a “Hit and Miss”!

Now, we have more parents, parent psychologists and scholars sharing their experiences and views on how we, as a society of parents, are fairing in grooming our children, the critical thinkers, national builders and leaders of after years. Or could it be “now years,” since children no longer waiting till adulthood to woo their societies as inventors, leaders, scholars, business gurus, artists, and employers.

At least children are gaining some recognition, that they are not just diaper-clad, video game, Minecrafters, demanding their “me-time” and “me-decide,” while expecting for papa and mama to make their bed, provide a food and monthly allowances, after-college rent, and plane tickets to global vacation destinations! Perhaps, here, we could boast that our “Helicopter parenting” has paid off, or are the ‘mature’ ones not products of helicopter parenting?

But, are we “Helicopter Parenting” out of unfounded paranoia, or are we justified?
Fear of the “known unknown” — rapists, kidnappers, murderers, has driven us to safeguard our children much more. I would argue that they rise of the known-unknowns could be an outcrop of the diminishing family size, progressively excluding aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and grandparents [referred to in Western Culture as “Extended Family”], and collapsing into a nuclear family of mom, dad, plus one or two children. Additionally family is increasingly “private and estranged from community relationships and neighborhood watch.

Back in the days, a child belonged to the community, which kept a watchful eye, disciplined, freely interacted and played with one another. Today, our children need [in]formal permission, an invitation and scheduled playdate with the neighbor’s child. We are scared of our neighbor(s), do not always know our neighbor, and have replaced innocent trust with restraint. The neighbor [though not all neighbors] is no longer looking out to protect but harm our children and restrict our children’s play.

Ironically, the “fear of thy neighbor,” has undermined our much celebrated “neighborhood watch,” diminished social responsibility to protect our kids, instead churning out more predators with harmful and malicious intent and practices in our neighborhoods. We as neighbors are distancing ourselves further away from each another, with a diminishing obligation to commit and love one other.

Nothing speaks to the shrinking “modern family” size, values and protection than the ‘disappearance’ of blood relatives in raising our children. Not even the unconditional support of family in raising our children, can be taken for granted anymore! Grandparents and younger siblings are no longer “automatic babysitters” for our children; they have lives to live! Growing up, I babysat my nieces and nephews, supported my older siblings households without question, protest or bitterness.

Today, the true meaning of family is not a social network you can take for granted, or a social guarantor of love and support, unconditionally. Family is now a site of wary, each on collision course of survival for the fittest. Parents are struggling to stay afloat on their own, as the main guardians of their children, sometimes separately.

The expectation that every parent contributes to parenting, regardless and with no emphasis on how much overt love was expressed toward the children. Now, the phenomenon of absentee father is a huge blight on parenting, and the survival and proper functioning of families, The absentee father is not only non-custodial, but also pops in and out of his child’s life at own convenience, or lives-in with both child and child’s mother, but is more focused on his own life than family welfare.

Thus, the rise of the “Helicopter Parent(s),” not primarily to outpace others children in a survival for the fittest, but also to compensate for the burden and responsibility of raising children as single parent and/or without the additional support of relatives and society. Helicopter parents are as much concerned about the future success of our children and ability to stay afloat in a cut-throat world.

Yet, we are constant bombarded with parenting practices, suggestive but guilt-tripping us, national laws and policies to adhere to, ‘concerned neighbors’ and ‘social watchers’ quick to condemn our parenting skills, and tell on us to the authorities, because in their view, we are not good parents.

Homeroom Teacher Knows Best!

While I pride myself in running an efficient and persistent Mommy School, I have also made peace with the notion that, “Homeroom Teacher Knows Best,” in Child of Mine’s word. No, he has not said that to me directly; he has made me aware, just about each time I labor to teach and work with him on academic learning.

I understand that Child of Mine [who I prefer to call COM] is not unique in his thinking.

My mother says, “What goes around, comes around.”

OR, as I would say, “The apple” and “the tree,” are geographical neighbors.”

Put more crudely, Every dog has its own day!

Karma is, indeed, a female dog!

Very often, while helping out with school assignments, it is not uncommon for COM to tell me, “But my teacher said….” OR “My teacher does…” I have learned not to fight it outright, but try to influence and expand his thinking and conceptualization beyond what and how he learned from his homeroom teacher.

It does not help that I did not obtain my early schooling here in the United States, but in a totally different education system in far-flung places across the big pond. Uganda, my country of origin and a former colony of Her Majesty, imitated the British education system. The formalized national education system was initiated by European missionaries, predominantly British missionaries, later supported by the British colonial government in pre-independence Uganda. Everything, including phonics and phonetics, mathematical problems and sounds, are taught and conceptualized differently from the American education system.

So, I signed up to become a Substitute Teacher in the K-12 school system, to gain a deeper practical insight into the US education system. Hitherto, my teaching experience in the US was limited to college and graduate schools. I had vehemently sworn off teaching “children,” from Pre-K to 12. I was comfortable to appear in such classrooms as a guest parent or guest instructor, but not command an entire classroom as the sole teacher.

That all changed, when COM became of school-going age, and returned to America, after three years living and studying abroad. Well, he still went to school in all three locations we lived: Norway, South Africa and Uganda, and I enthusiastically participated in his learning and academic schooling.

Perhaps not too actively, but I participated in “guest parent programs,” to read to his classmates, fundraised for donation of books and medical instruments, and never missed a parent-teacher conference, or an opportunity to share my opinions on the school curriculum or learning environment.

And just in case he forgets, “All your other teachers come and go, but mommy will always be your main teacher,” so I tell him. Yes, COM has heard me telling him a couple of times, that I was his first teacher, and will always be his most consistent teacher. Evidentially, since we part ways with teachers, whenever he moves geographically, or up another grade.

Moreover, I would like him to accept my engagement in his learning, and understand that schooling does not only belong to “structured classroom buildings”. He now knows that, Mommy School does not close, even on snow days, when there are security concerns in the school district, or on national holidays. Most importantly, Mommy School exists to reinforce what he learns at his general school, and because mommy went through elementary school.

Fortunately, signing up as a Substitute Teacher in the school district has proven strategically empowering to myself, and reassuring to COM. He realizes now that, perhaps mommy knows something about my classroom activities and assignments.

“My mom is a teacher, too,” he often boasts to his homeroom teachers.

I am cautioned, by fellow moms and friends that, he is still at that age, where he is not ashamed of his mommy teaching at his school, hugging mommy in the school lobbies or kissing mommy as he gets on and off the school bus. And I am loving it! Until the day it unravels!

Still, mommy is yet to win the battle of Who is Smarter than the Homeroom Teacher? Not that we are actively fighting to overtake the ‘super-know-it-all’ homeroom teacher(s); I am in full support and enhance the homeroom teacher(s), in true PTO spirit – Parent Teachers Organizations.

Teachers appreciate parents who are supportive, participate in their classroom activities, and engaged with their children’s homework. Not so sure whether COM feels me like his homeroom teacher(s); sometime — maybe; all the time — mommy don’t know it all!

Take for instance yesterday, when COM was doing his ELA assignment on  “Vowel Team”. The instructions required to, “Write words: sweet, sleep, meet, sheep and more — breaking them up into syllables, then underlining the phonic pattern.” COM on First in Math

He said he had to “syllable loop,” by breaking the sounds independently. I explained that the assignment required him to break words into syllables….and to me…they were all single syllable words. He got frustrated that I was using the word “break,” not “loop”,his choice word. I told him, I was reading the words, per teacher’s written instructions. Him and I went back and forth, asking him to say out the words and hear the syllables. He insisted there were more than one syllable, three in some cases!

I suggested to him, to write his way, then hand in his homework, and wait for the teacher’s feedback tomorrow. I told [bribed] him that, if I had to do his assignment, I would ‘loop’ each words into a single syllable! He became more frustrated. I suggested that we consult the online syllable dictionary. Each word had “one syllable”. Still, not fully convinced!

Thankfully, he and I come from families of teachers; both his grandmothers — my mom and his dad’s mom are teachers. Thankfully, daddy-grandma was listening in. She suggested, similar to what I had read online, “Clap the word and make out the syllable(s).” That he did, and it was “one syllable.” I asked him to clap the word “Purple”; that was two syllables. Phew!

At last, mommy seems to be getting somewhere! Maybe she knows something about homeroom teacher’s assignments; and can be respected and trusted to help out! We still working on it. Until then, surely the Homeroom Teacher Knows Best!

More Birthday Celebrations – There is Only One Boston…..Marathon

On the eve of celebrating yet 21st Birthday….For-ever 21, get’t….To Boston 2015

I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, for all the support I received toward accomplishing my dream of running the Boston Marathon!

Indeed, There is Only One Boston — Marathon!

From the start of mooting the idea of running Boston, I received love and support from friends, colleagues and family, till I finally accomplished my goal on Monday, April 20! What a feat! Do you worry, if you’re yet to declare your support for me; you can still donate to my fundraiser for Tufts Medical Center, my charity of choice for the marathon. I still have until end of May 2015 to accept your donation. Here is the link: https://www.crowdrise.com/TuftsBoston2015/fundraiser/doreenlwanga

Thank you so much, for the many people who expressed their love and support for me, verbally, monetarily, emotionally, physically and communally! Lost for words! You are truly unprecedented!

What a marathon! As I said, this is the first marathon that I went in fatter, financially challenged and socially isolated. Just look at pictures from all previous marathons I ran sleek, slender and swift.

This time, I had no income to afford a running watTufts Teamch, after the strap on my Garmin watch broke. I could not afford to pay a couple of gym hours for strength training, or pay my registration fees for Boston 2015, or a hotel in Boston during marathon weekend. I had no pace-mate/pacemaker/pacesetter/running mate, and had to train alone in the Mt. Poconos. My fundraiser did not yield much, either, in terms of financial contributions, as much as I sent out an email every week.

Yet, the volume of support, directly and indirectly, solicited and unsolicited, declared and undeclared enabled me accomplish Boston Marathon with no glitch and plenty of satisfaction. While I trained alone in my Poconos neighborhood, I had plenty of ‘unseen’ and undeclared support from the watchful eyes of motorists, pedestrians and onlookers, who saw me pounding the area main streets, back roads and sports fields. No doubt, they were cheering me on, in sleet, snow, rain and below freezing temperatures, even though they did not know my mission was Boston.Coach Megerle

It all started with Coach Don Megerle giving me a spot on the Tufts Marathon Team. Thereon, I knew I had to get to Boston and run, and run damn good! How that would happen? I would worry later. Once the registration process with BAA opened, I innocently broke the news to Coach that I was frantically trying to mobilize the US$300+ registration fees. Surprise! He asked me to give him a call, and instantaneously find it! Fully registered and paid up, I did my happy dance, as news, updates and reminders started flowing in from BAA.org. With registration finally confirmed, I upped my training and preparation for Boston 2015.

Plus, Coach Megerle sent near daily running updates, schedule, motivational articles, advice on staying physically fit and focused, eating well and staying connected with the TMT and other freebies to the team. Just connecting with us, and making me feel a part of a team, from far away was super-good!

GoMebTo keep track of my mileage and stats, my phone came in handy on my runs, with three running apps, plus two other apps for tracking daily strides and activity. Two of the running apps had pre-scheduled marathon training plans, perhaps more than necessary, but each served a purpose.

My running shoes were really wanting of immediate replacement, both pairs were not eligible to run Boston. Along came my brother with magical ideas on how to obtain new shoes. Viola! I got myself two new pairs – my first choice of Newtons Distance to run the marathon, and an additional Brooks for training. Add to that, a sweat scarf, which served as a mouth mask, face mask, and head scarf, and two good running tights. I was all set.

Still, I had to find a place to stay during marathon weekend, and a ticket to Boston. I planned to take my son with me, so he could watch me run and cheer me on. Sadly, friends, who had hosted me the last time I was in Boston were having guests over during Marathon Weekend. So, I posted a message on FB, seeking for alternatives. Problem solved, in an instant of posting a message, and a couch readily available at the Mwosa Girls and Boys. They happily welcomed my extra-baggage aka child, giving me joyous relief!We can do this

We traveled to Boston two days before the marathon, taking two buses -The Poconos to NYC, then, from NYC to Boston. Got to Boston safe, picked up our Bibs and run package, took a couple of pictures, toured the expo, did a little bit of freebie hunting, made posters, and enjoy a coffee at Boston South Station, and shared an ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery until our host returned into town.

The entire Mwosa house was ready for us. The young boys, eagerly awaited this child of mine, and indeed enjoyed each other. For the entire four-day weekend in Boston, I do not think I saw him for a full hour. He did not care that he was sharing a room with ’new friends’, away from his mother! Nor did I have to worry about feeding him breakfast, lunch or dinner because the Mwosa parents had all that covered! They pampered me V.I.P. -style the entire visit, allowing me to rest before and after the marathon. They chauffeured me back and forth to the “T” aka “Boston Train”, when I could not find a cab, and they accepted my invitation to the Tufts pre-marathon dinner.

I gat thisOn the eve of the Sunday, Marathon, April 19, I did only 15:42 minutes of running, rested most of the day, until I went to dinner with my hosts. Typically, I don’t like eating the night before the run, for fear of shocking my stomach during the run. Since Tufts, was hosting us – the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT) and family to a pre-marathon dinner, I went with child and our hosts. I felt compelled to eat something in keeping with “carb loading” advice, even though I don’t do “carb loading”; quite frankly, I don’t know what it entails. Dinner was good in taste, time of day and duration.

Marathon Day, April 20! Of course, in my typical style, I barely slept the entire night. Once again, my body clock woke me up close to two the morning, before my alarm clock went off. Plus, the jitters I have every night before  any big event did not allow me to sleep soundly throughout the night. I was wide awake way before scheduled time to leave the house for the “T”.

After two cups of tea and warm water, I set off to catch the T downtown. The T gate would not take my ticket! Another train rider gave me a ‘nod’ to go through without paying. Heard, there was some kind of “Boston Marathoners ride Free T Ride Day”. A woman on the T asked to take my picture – my short celebrity moment. She said, she too wanted to run the Boston Marathon, and wished me good luck! I got a few more “Good Luck Today” cheers, but most of the commuters were absorbed in themselves. Surprising, since the Boston Marathon is a Big Deal on Patriots Monday. Perhaps, they have had enough with their city being swarmed by ’26.2 miles Zombies’ from the world over! Don’t blame you Boston, I still love you!

On oN to Marathon Bus Loading Zone, with no problem. First, into the “porta-potties” line. While standing in line for the bus to Athletes Village, I saw a friend from Kampala Hash House Harriers. Yeah! What a joy! We boarded the bus together, and stayed together until our marathon wave started, then planned to hook up again post-marathon.Medals with friends

Everyone was allowed to board the buses to Hopkinton, MA, regardless of the Wave number. The ride was too long; felt like going to another country! Got there, and made another dash for the porta-potties! Yes! A woman gotta empty her bowels before hitting the marathon route. I don’t believe in stopping for the porta-potties along the course, even though I drink at each water refueling station. I say, nobody will know if you pee on yourself while running. Particularly on rainy Marathon Monday; who would even care? Except for that guy with a sign, “Smile if you peed on yourself”. So naughty!

I must say, the love and support along the route was phenomenon! No way I would have finished the marathon, the crowd support. Please believe me, because I am not a quitter, never thought of being one. Yet, the hills and hills and more undulating hills along the BM course gave me lots of temptations in my head, to quit. See, I run in the Mt. Poconos, with plenty of hills and steep climbs. I run below freezing, in temperatures before what we had on BM, I run in rain, wind and everything. Yet the hills burned me so damn good! Unfathomable!

I guess even more reason to celebrate my 3:49:02 finish. I know I was aiming for more, but that was much better than any pace during my training. Remember, I am fatter in size than all other previous marathons. I was amazed by the runners, outdoing themselves, like each was a professional! Folks were running, no jokes! Sweating it nice and each staying calm. I guess that’s the true meaning of being among the crème de la crème. The best there at this game of marathons.

The crowds gave us all the love, not just water and gatorade, but also oranges, water mellow, more water…And I heard, but sadly missed, the “Beer Stop” of the Boston Hash House Harriers. That beer would have given me wings! On consolation, there was plenty of Jumbo-Love especially at Mile 9, at the water points, and different points along the route, with plenty of “Kisses from the Wesley Girls, music and more cheers all the way to the finish line.

How gratifying to catch sight of the finish line! I always say, I have very high respect for anyone who can run a marathon in five Family celebrationshours! Don’t mean to sound obnoxious or condescending, but by three hours and a half, my legs are ready to give in! But that excruciating agony, is positively boosted by the exhilaration seeing the finish line. Every minute thereon counts, you push yourself to achieve better. Especially when crowds cheer on your like a champ!

My son’s grandparents drove all the way into Boston, bless their kindest souls, to watch and support me run.The grandparents deserve a big shout-out! All those times you were in the battle alone, training in the snow, freezing rain, while all others are tucked cozily undercover, it is so gratifying witnessing the love of anyone taking off their time to support you!  They traveling at night to Boston, came out in the rain and chilly weather, stood at Mile 9, waiving the poster they made with my name up high, waiting to see me run by. Then, unexpectedly, to finish line to welcome me with flowers, though I missed them, as I dashed off. Even grandpa who stayed in the hotel room, because the weather was conducive for his health, was glued to the TV the entire time, hoping to catch a glimpse of me run amidst the crowd. Then they stayed, until I was all done with the post-marathon reception on Tuesday, to drive us back to PA! Priceless!

I am so grateful for all who contributed to my run – as financial donors, cheerleaders, hosts, and admirers. MWith grandma Anitay friends and family in Boston, who I was not able to meet in person due to a tight schedule, but gave me a call or sent me messages. My son, who does not understand why I did not win, perhaps a manifestation of his ‘grandiose’ respect and confidence of me. I love my son, very much! I love to see his glow, whenever he sees me. I love everything he says. I am so glad he’s very flexible in different circumstances and different places. I run for him.

Running the Boston Marathon is not just about being part of phenomenon history. As I ran those streets, I thought of my best friend Phina, who would have lived the streets of Boston outskirts, along the marathon route, cheered me on, and waited for me at the finish with her contagiously perfect smile. I dedicate this run to Phina. We met in Boston and last saw each other in Boston. She like me was a beneficiary of the care at Tufts Medical Center.

Please join Phina (RIP) and I in celebrating Tufts Nutrition, Fitness and Health Programs by donating to my Charity the Tufts Medical Center. It would be a great honor to me, as I celebrate another 21st Birthday, tomorrow April 28, 2015. https://www.crowdrise.com/TuftsBoston2015/fundraiser/doreenlwanga

Thank you for all your love! Thank you!IMG_7416

In the Middle of Everywhere!

Have you ever felt stuck in the Middle of Everywhere?

In the Middle of Everywhere

In the Middle of Everywhere

Imagine for a minute that you are stuck in “space”. Let’s call that space, a basement. There is limited natural light, it is really cold in the Winter, floods with melting snow when Spring comes, hot in the Summer. For most part of the year, you cannot tell day or night, except by the hourly talk of your alarm clock or when your TV announces the news. Since you are in constant fear of missing your daybreak due to lack of sunlight, you have to keep some kind of artificial light on 24-hours. You decide, the lead light will be the cheapest.

Though, none of the solutions seems to work because you still feel stuck in a basement. You are losing yourself. You are losing your creativity, your energy, your imagination and your umph! Every idea you come up with, seems to evaporate right before you put it on paper. You really don’t know where you are headed. You go to bed everyday, with a promise to wake up and accomplish at least one goal per day. Yet, the energy dwindles from you half way into your goal of the day!

Stuck in the basement, you are losing your sense of direction. You are losing your confidence. You are losing your trust in miracles. You begin feeling that  life has given up on you, and connived against your flourishing and success. Yet, you cannot get back any time, minute or second that has gone by you.

The basement is swallowing your pride, as much as it is enhancing your bitterness. The basement is stimulating your delusion and destabilization more than your boosting your determination. The basement is where dreams no longer come true, where dreams die, dreams become confused, and entangled in mourning, regret, bouts of sadness and soul searching.

You want to get out of the basement. You vow to get out of the basement. You give yourself a timeframe to quit the basement. Yet you no longer seem to know how the paths to tread. Or perhaps you know, but the basement has eaten up your courage to get out. The only time you step out of the basement is for a cup of tea upstairs, or go for a run outside or to the bus stop. Or perhaps you are embarrassed to show your face to the world that has held you up, expecting a lot of you and from you. You would rather shut your face away from the world that expects high performance from you.

You are in the middle of everywhere, yet you are alone and lonely. You do not wanna be alone, yet alone is when you feel the most relaxed and humanized. What else is there to live for? The basement reminds you of all the responsibilities you have incurred in life. The knowledge you have and continue to amass, which needs to be put to use for yourself and those in your life. The basement reminds you to show it appreciation for shielding you from the wrath of the world, and give back to the world. The basement is where it all unfolds-folds-unfolds again. Yet, you cannot fold yourself up forever.

There is no noise in the basement, except for the occasional rotation of the extra fan, turned on when it is really cold, or the TV or clock at the top of the hour. The basement offers a huge place to breath ideas, recapture them before they disappear from your imagination, escaping your little fingers. Put them on paper, transport them into virtual reality, into other people’s spaces.

In the Middle of Everywhere is where your creativity should come back to life. Move out of the basement, hit the streets and never look back into the basement. You will be a giant, again, In the Middle of Everywhere….Everywhere but the basement!