Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Irrational Fears After Emotional Abuse

New experiences over old ones mean you get to remember forgotten details, while learning new things. Hiking with my more athletic friend to Mt. Hollywood was awesome.  She slowed down when I needed to and she was very in tune with my pacing needs.  I had to remind myself it's okay to take a break.  It's important to stay hydrated.  Her wisdom kept me from trying to drink for thirst when I felt full because puking would have sucked.  I wanted to keep up with her, forgetting that she runs marathons for fun, and the trail from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round that was challenging yesterday was one she did while holding a toddler.

The sweat and my awareness of how badly I smelled was new to me.  I mean seriously, I was walking and then the sweat happened. Everywhere.  I could smell myself and it was pretty gross. Hiking as a teenager meant I got sweaty, but that was uncomfortable.  Something about that first childbirth changes a woman's body.  Sweat is no longer cute.  It reeks and the changes in my sense of smell paired with body smells make exercise so not attractive to me. When you start to smell like you're more in tune with nature than with beauty products, the rest of nature begins to accept you as part of their landscape. (Hunters know this trick.) That moment taught me to either get comfortable with bug spray or get comfortable with bug carcasses all over your skin.

My friend taught me how to step like a duck when we were going down the hard way.  I'm used to squatting and staying low to get down somewhere steep, but she taught me to turn around and climb down.  One of those falls that has me in pain right now taught me that you still need to look for places to stick your feet when you're climbing down backward, even if you're probably only going to slide down.

I've hiked before.  I told Kid1 that I planned to take them to Chantry Flats to hike to Sturtevant Falls but it would be in the spring when there would hopefully be snow melt making it to the waterfall.  He was surprised that I would consider the time of year, but I've done that hike before and overthink everything.  There may have also been an impromptu trip to Big Bear for the snow in July one year after high school.  Being young and fairly drunk all the time, we wanted to escape the heat in L.A.  We did, but clearly, snow wasn't happening.  It was cooler.  We caught a summer storm.  But no snow. Sometime after that, I started overthinking things.  It might have been my friends that made senseless adventure exciting.  This was the same group that decided we could go clubbing in Mexico after partying until 2 in Sherman Oaks.  We got there in time for the sunrise, but the clubs were closed.  Common sense wasn't so common, but we had a great laugh over the adventure.

In my teens, a hard workout would have started with hydration, protein and stretching.  Post workout meant a hot soak in the tub, serious hydration afterward, sleeping with both Ben Gay and Motrin, and forcing a day of rest that included light stretching in between . . . Not two fierce hikes in a row.  As an adult this weekend, there was hydration during the hikes.  That was it. My teenage self has been yelling at me all night.

Hiking and my aching body are probably not what has me up before the sun, typing without my glasses in the dark.   Hiking two days in a row took it's toll and exhaustion looked like adopting  a toddler's bedtime, but I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about boundaries.

I'm finding myself in a familiar, yet new place.  I had gotten so comfortable in being single that being who I was years ago is coming back to me.  I'm friendly.  I have always been comfortable with guy friends.  I didn't worry about boundaries because I was comfortable with them.  But then my marriage happened and things changed. I'm in a place where I'm thinking about how my actions might affect a man I care about.

Friday at lunch I ran into a male co-worker at Subway and we ate lunch together, but I wondered if I was doing something wrong.  It was lunch and nothing else.  Clearly, it was fine, but I doubted myself.  I was with friends on Saturday and felt like I needed to let this new man know where I was so he wouldn't have to worry.  I told him because even though I was visiting with friends, and being a responsible adult that acts like a Mom in all situations, I felt guilt.  I felt like the old lady in a group of younger people and didn't even flirt with anyone, but I felt like being out was enough to have to explain myself.  I gave my Dad a hug last night and smelled his cologne when I left, lingering on my skin, and wondered if there would be a problem with that if I were going home to this man.

I know this is all in my head.  This new man has done nothing to encourage these fears but matter to me. It's my past experience shadowing my present.  It's the first time since my ex that someone really matters and the first time I've had to face the scars of his jealousy.

I saw a friend at my high school reunion with his new girlfriend.  Before her, his social media was full of his topless exercise routines.  He fully understood the public service he was offering, but with the new woman in his life, these moments stopped.  It looks normal.  It looks appropriate.  I don't know if it is, because my reference points are skewed.

I get to learn what normal is.  Like all new things there's excitement and fear but I'm adaptable.  I can learn to walk like a duck.  I can learn that someone else's sense of security isn't my full responsibility and as I was told on a call yesterday, I am so worthy of so much.  I just have to step into understanding that in my skin, and no longer just as a sometime reminder in my head.

There should be simpler moments to concern myself with . . . Like do I aim for more sleep, or do I get moving so I can chase the sun?

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