Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Hey there, hi, hey! I’m Aurora.

I’ve been blogging for about 5 or so years. I started after I had open-heart surgery for a weird congenital heart defect. I did 52 half marathons in 52 weeks to kinda “get back to life and fitness and such.” It was lovely. I loved it. Then I won a car on The Price is Right (a childhood dream) and blogged all about that. After that, I wanted another project, so I did 52 volunteer activities in 52 weeks as a way to kind of give back.

Then I was on another game show (Let’s Make a Deal) and lost a trip to Mexico. But I am super hoping for a chance at redemption someday. After that, I wanted to do another project, and I wanted it to be closer to my career goals, so I did 52 performances of some kind in 52 weeks. (If I wanna be the next Tyler Perry/Oprah/Walt Disney/P. Diddy/Shonda Rhimes/Jon Stewart, I better start acting like it.) And in the midst of that a lot of my dreams came true. (I got to work for Jon Stewart (and Larry Wilmore :-))! I got into my dream school. Eeeee!)

And then I was sexually assaulted and I didn’t handle it suuuper well and my life started spiraling a bit. And it’s been a reeeeally messy year. [For now, you can read more about that on Project882.com]

I *did* write about it in real-time. But sometimes my writings were just bullet-points ’cause that’s all I could handle. And sometimes I was crying too much while writing to even hit “publish” ’cause I just felt I couldn’t even read or think or do anything and hardly even knew what I was saying. (Sometimes I still don’t know what I’m saying!)

The point is, I’m so so so so so so so much better now. (So much better!) (Yay!)

And I’m trying to catch up. And make that writing/my bullet points and such make a liiiittle more sense. So, basically I’m trying to clean up the last year of the blog and put it all in a place that’s clear and linkable and such. So, feel free to look around. But know I’m trying to make it look better/fill in everything. (I’m excited that I’m getting to the point where it feels like I’m about to leave the suuuper heavy posts behind.)

So, again, sorry for the mess. It’s been a REALLY tough year. I’m hoping to clean it all up soon. (I’m actively working on it every day.) But for now, thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you have questions. And please take a look at Project882.com! Your support would mean the world to me! 🙂 xoxoxoxo

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Okay, so I’m not doing the SF full marathon. But I am writing you from the plane on my way to do one of their events. (I’m doing the half.)

The SF Marathon is one of my favorite running events in the world. It is so fantastic. I adore it, and I have a mini-goal to do it as many years in a row as I can.

I had signed up to do it this year. I signed up last year – I’m pretty sure before I’d even decided on Project 882. It’s the SF Marathon. Of course I’m gonna sign up.

Originally, I had had a goal to do the 2nd half, then the following year do the 1st half (those went fine), then the following year do the full (that was last year), and then do the ultra.

Seemed simple enough. I saw a ton of improvement from the year I did the 2nd half to the one I did the 1st. I figured I’d keep improving to when I did the full.

So, last year, I did the full. And as you well know, my life had totally fallen apart. I was depressed. I was struggling. I was certainly not getting out and running and working out. I was pretty darn undertrained. And I *struggled* and it was a *mess*.

And I remember talking in therapy that week (something I’ve talked about here on this blog too) that it just feels like I’m not present, I’m not here, I’m not around.

I talked about how it wasn’t even until I was about halfway through when I heard someone say thank you to a volunteer that I even kind of realized “oh, I’m in the middle of a race. Wow, I have really not been paying attention to a lot of what’s going on around me.” 

And I talked about how painful it was to go through the motions of things I knew at one point to be my *favorite* things.

And then I thought, “I need to get back on the horse. I have to just do it again. I love the SF Marathon. I can’t let it become this thing that I’m too afraid to do, because I’m afraid it will never be the same.”

I wanted to sign up for the ultra (as that was in my original 4-year plan), but I knew for me that I didn’t think that kind of training was gonna be able to happen for me this year. I knew that no matter what kind of training year I could conceivably have, that having had *such* an iffy no-good marathon that I wasn’t going to feel confident upgrading. (How can I upgrade to the ultra if I can’t even get the full right, amIrite?)

So, I signed up for the full. Let’s do this again.

And then I started Project882.

And I think it’s good and important and to some degree at least somewhat helpful. But I also think I took on a *lot* on a body that wasn’t necessarily ready for so much (not just physically, but mentally too). And I’m surviving, but I’m not getting faster. I don’t have enough time to recover, *and* I am only *just* getting my personal life together enough to actually properly workout and eat and everything during the week. So, I’m just not ready to tackle the San Francisco full.

And I argued with myself. “That just can’t be true. I can do it, can’t I? Can’t I do it? The SF Marathon is my happy race! The best finish picture I have that I always use is from the SF 1st half. How can I be sliding so far backward?” 

But I am/was/hopefully will stop.

[Side note: I also don’t want to be *too* precious with myself, but I only *just* felt freed/healed from everything. I don’t want to have an awful race and feel like nothing is changing – when I *do* feel like things are changing, but they can’t overnight. So, back to what we were talking about…]

I embarrassingly wrote with my head down and metaphorical tail between my legs and asked if I could change to the second half.

And I was told I was past the change deadline. I could go to the expo and ask, and *maybe* they could help me if spots had opened up for the half. But it wasn’t guaranteed, and was a long shot.

Okay, well, I love adventure and I love San Francisco… But I don’t think I can fly out just for a chance – and a small chance at that. I’m already traveling so much for Project882. Something’s gotta give somewhere, or I have to learn how to print money. [I’m sure you know I’m joking, but juuuust in case – I’m not ever actually going to try to print money, friends.] Anyway…

I didn’t want to miss the cancellation deadline. I didn’t want my name ending up the results with an empty time or something. (I didn’t know what they did with people who just never showed… Maybe they don’t list them, but just to be on the same side….) About a month ago – just before the canceling deadline, I sent my email in to cancel my entry.


I never got a confirmation that my entry had been cancelled. I didn’t worry about it all that much. “Maybe they don’t confirm that, they just take you out.” “If I get in the results somehow with a blank time, I’ll just worry about it then.”

And then this weekend started and of course I saw everyone talking about The SF Marathon.

“Uuuuuugh, I can’t believe I’m gonna miss it. I know I have to do what I’m capable of and stuff, but this hurts. I’m gonna have to start over going toward my 5-year swag when I’m already 3 years in. That’ll be gone. (And this would be year 5 if I hadn’t taken 2013 off when I also was afraid I wasn’t fit enough, etc. (which seems kind of silly in hindsight). Also, the 40th anniversary! I’m gonna miss the 40th anniversary and the special medals and all that jazz. Guuuuuuuuuuh”

And then I looked just to see – “I know I tried to cancel my bib out, but do they still have me in there?” [Types in the confirmation page on the website.] Huh. Right now I am listed as a participant… My email must’ve slipped through the cracks, or not gone through or something. 

And then I posted to a running group asking if anyone at the expo could check if there was indeed a bib there for me, and if I could change to the half after all.

Thankfully, someone there *was* able to check for me, and they WERE INDEED able to get permission for me to run the 2nd half (what I think is the easier half and definitely the one with the longer time limit).

So, I immediately bought a flight, scurried to JFK, and got on this plane. Of course I wish I were doing the full, but I’m happy to be there at all. And while in a perfect world, I’d be doing the ultra this year; and in this world, I’m doing the half; hopefully I’ll be doing the ultra before you know it – in a year or two or even three, and hopefully then we can forget that all this ugh blugh guh not-goodness in my life happened (maybe not completely forget, but at least be so far away from it that it won’t seem to have mattered so much).

So, there you have it. I’m off to SF! 

Monday, July 17th, 2017

So, I know the whole schedule is all subject to change and everything. And I don’t think anyone is super invested in what my final race is for the year.

But for anyone who happens to be interested in the scheduling, I was going to end on not only the Dopey Challenge, but then also do the Castaway Cay 5k on that Tuesday.

So, like a bajillion race medals, ending on a cruise, on the beach, having a grand time. It sounded cool & fun & such to me.

But alas, then I got my job on The Daily Show [*triumphant trumpets sounds and such*] and you know, when you work at a long-running place that already has like 10 or whatever weeks it is of vacation a year, it feels weird to ask for an entire other week and a half. I just feel that it seems a little excessive. So, alas, I’m not gonna go for the big Disney ka-pow, ka-bang ending anymore…

On the one hand, maybe this is a good thing, because it will make it feel more different than my 52 half marathons in 52 weeks after open-heart surgery… I ended that by doing the Goofy Challenge. And, I always said I wanted to go back and do Dopey (since I happened to do it in the final year where Goofy was the largest offering – before the official Dopey Challenge existed). Also, I didn’t do the cruise last time. So, it was going to be “different.” But it also was going to be very similar…

BUT I also had the time of my life last time. So, why wouldn’t I want to do that again?

… But also, it was so awesome, why encroach on a great old memory.

So, alas… I’m gonna pick a different thing and end a different way… The latest day I’m allowed to finish is January 13, 2018 (but I’m leaning toward trying to finish everything out the weekend previous to that). It might be fun to finish on the Star Wars 5k in Disneyland on Friday the 12th… Fridays aren’t that hard to work around when I’m on a M-Th show. But getting to California and getting my packet and all that jazz in time… I dunno…

So, there’s a half marathon or 10k in Death Valley that seems pretty interesting to me. That would probably be fun. I’m leaning toward this Citrus Heritage Run. It definitely feels right to end at home or at home-ish at least in SoCal. After all, one of the charities I’m running for is SoCal specific. And National Parks are nice. So, my guess is, it’s gonna be the Citrus Heritage Run.

I’m taking suggestions and stuff if someone has other ideas. I’m also obviously not prohibited from running a bigger race as a “celebration race” or doing another project of any kind of the future. So, I really probably shouldn’t be too concerned about which race this project ends on. But there was something nice about ending the last one with a whole bunch of pomp & circumstance and fireworks and all that business that a cruise to the beach felt like the fun way to go… But not this time. *shrugs*

I guess we’ll see. I’m sure whatever happens is gonna be lovely! Anyway, onward, onward, here we go!

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I do still have catching up to do. And I do still have tough posts in drafts – where I just didn’t feel like I could write and I have the bullet points or whatever. And I *do* want to finish up posting them, because I tried so hard to document the struggle as it happened that I feel like I should at least do that – on the chance it helps anyone, and also in that it tells a complete story.

So, you will still be seeing a handful of back posts as I try to finish this chapter all up. But just know the amazing spoiler alert that even though I thought it wasn’t possible, it REALLY DOES GET BETTER. PEOPLE ARE NOT EVEN YANKING YOUR CHAIN WHEN THEY SAY THAT.
And I’m sorry you didn’t have this nice journey in super real-real-real time. But you will have it close-ish to real time haha. And I’ll lay it out in a logical way so people can read it in an arc that makes sense instead of this weird hodge podge that just happens as it happens 😬


Friday, July 14th, 2017

I haven’t talked all that much about therapy on here. For the most part, for me, it’s felt like one of the few things I’d prefer to keep private.
I can’t not tell you about today’s session!
There’s been an upswing in how I’m doing lately, and a couple of things (that sorry(!) I can’t talk about) have really solidified that upswing. And today’s therapy session was magical.
I’ve had good therapy sessions before. I’ve had “breakthroughs” and I’ve had days that have looked brighter. But this felt different – and even she thought so. She told me this didn’t feel like just one of the “good days,” but that I felt more grounded today. And I felt it too!
I talked about how the world was becoming clearer again.
And she had this great imagery. I’d said before that it was like this glass wall between me and the world. I felt just like I couldn’t touch anyone. And she floated the idea that it also kind of felt like there was a filter on that glass – so not only could I not get out to the world, I couldn’t even see it for what it really was.
And then there was a magical secret door.. and it kept cracking open just a little. Group therapy, it cracks open eeeeeeever so slightly. Even getting a long-term job in NY again (and one that lets me do BMI for that matter!) so that my base worries are taken care of… it cracks open a little more. Even my trip to Spain, I think help. All these tiny things, all these small victories, everything that cracked that door open more and more – sometimes even imperceptibly.
And then a few things happened over this past break that just blew the door open.
And it is just shocking. It’s like “what on earth?!” Oh my goodness gracious. I can breathe! Look how lovely it is out here. Holy goodness.
My therapist and I laughed and had a wonderful time in therapy today.
And that doesn’t mean I’m just *click* magically better immediately. I even had a nightmare just this week. And they are soooo few and far between now, but they happen. So, I still have *some* things to work out. And relationships that have felt strain don’t just get magically better in a hot second. We’ll see how the future goes. But by golly, we’ve hit a milestone.
Speaking of relationships and stuff, one of the things I said was that if I am stepping out of that class case I thought I was in, it feels like looking back that there’s all this trash along the bottom – like the relationship issues I had while being insufferable or just not ring able to handle people. And she said that’s the final part of trauma therapy – that mourning phase for that stuff, and the looking back at it and making sense of the last year. But that that is the final chapter! We’re making it to the end of the book!
I just thought I would never get better. And I even talked about that with my therapist today. I was like “I thought this day would never come. But you always thought it would, didn’t you?” And she said, “I didn’t think it. I knew it.”
She told me there’s this quote from The West Wing about trauma and how you feel like you’re in a hole and different people walk by. And someone throws a rope, but you still can’t get out. And someone says “just climb!” But there’s no easy way. And then someone jumps down into the hole with you and says “here, I know the way out. Let’s go together.” And she’s really been that for me.

And then I told her how incredibly hard that must be to always be rescuing people from holes. And she said it was such a privilege and then we cried a little. And I’m crying now.
I feel so happy. And I feel so very free! 👧🏻

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be dancing down the streets of NY – yes, out on the very streets that became scary – dancing to Kesha’s “Woman.”

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

[Spoiler alert about a few cute moments in The Big Sick. Just see the movie – not just so you can read this post unencumbered, but like, your life is a little bit better if you see it (in my opinion).]

One of the things I talked about over and over when I said The Big Sick is the best rom-com conceivably ever is that it seems SO REAL.

As a person who’s been sick, Emily’s reactions felt so real to what I experienced.

As a person who’s been around people in the comedy scene, all of that felt so real.

And dating in this movie felt SO real. It felt like it moved at a real pace. The chillness in the first interaction – her wanting to go home and him being cool with it. there wasn’t any weirdness or pressure. (I know I am super sensitive to that now. But some movies still pile it on and this one didn’t at all.) It all just grew naturally.

And even the quirky moments – the real quirky moments – (her changing under a blanket, him showing her that movie and her giving her little comments about him judging her tastes)… just, they talked to each other like real, real people.

Even their problems were real and valid and all made sense. The reason there were fractures and problems with their relationship wasn’t because either of them were giant jerks, or was abusive, or made GIANT mistakes. It was all kind of real issues of like, “Whoa, I didn’t see this coming and now there are all these other legitimate things to worry about.”

It just felt so real.

And I got the sense from a bunch of other rom-coms that they’re just sort of like this mess or this giant “whoopsie daisy!” There are people just making the most idiotic mistakes for plot devices, or all these things that don’t make sense. There’s people treating each other poorly (like really poorly) and accepting it anyway for the fairy tale. I mean, I’m starting to feel mean. I don’t wanna say all rom-coms have been awful. (They haven’t been. The Break-Up was such a great movie, and obviously there are more.)

But The Big Sick feels different. And I don’t know if it feels different because I’m just at a different point in my life and I feel differently, or if dating has changed. Like, this movie to me is basically exactly what dating is like. Did our parents’ generation date differently and that’s why older rom-coms don’t feel as right? Or was dating always this way and movies were an idealized version, and now people are like, “Forget it. Let’s show it as it is.”

(And then again, maybe I just don’t have the breadth of knowledge… Maybe there are 400 trillion fantastic perfect rom-coms out there that I just haven’t heard of, because I really am way way way way way more of a TV person than a movie one.)

I don’t know. But The Big Sick is definitely sticking with me. And I just love it. A lot.