Training for the Hunger Games

This week has been full of some high highs and some low lows. We’ll start with the lows. Stomach flu has been wildly raging through our house, and today poor little Ollie Hoot had his first round with it. In retrospect, it was hilarious though because he puked out a waterfall in one solid gag. We were amazed as vomit gushed down me, himself, the chair, the floor, and basically all over the living room in one foul swoop. We didn’t know he had it in him. Poor guy. We’re hoping he recovers soon.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetThe highs? Well it doesn’t get much higher than this! We picked out our new puppy on Tuesday! This little polar bear will be joining our family! Oliver and I are stoked. He’s a Miniature American Eskimo, only three and a half weeks old right now. He’ll be able to come home with us when he’s 10 weeks old. But we’re planning on going over to visit him every week or so to bond and watch him progess. I’ve had a poll running on my Facebook for what his name should be, and I’ve narrowed it down to my two favorite choices: Grimm, or Nox. Since he is registered, I’ll probably officially name him Grimmauld Nox. I’m a bit nervous because I’ve never had a puppy that was completely my own before and only a handful of male dogs. But I’m mostly excited.

Of course, I’ll be putting pictures of him on here from time to time, but I’ve decided to go full blown and give this ball of cuteness his own Instagram account. You’ll be able to follow him shortly @PetPatronus.

Taylor and I did one other cool thing this week. We decided we needed a hobby that we could do together besides reading, watching tv, and playing video games. Preferably something that would help get us off our butts, especially during the winter when we can’t go hiking. So what did we decide to do? We decided to get on our chi and try karate!

“To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.”

-Bruce Lee

IMG_1821It was something cool but still appropriately geeky enough to peak our interests. So we had our first lesson yesterday to test it out, where they gave us these cool uniforms. Well, they look cool on Taylor at least. On me, not so much. These clothes were definitely designed for males or 10 year old girls, not for curvy, postpartum women. So if we continue taking lessons, I’ll definitely need to invest in some new gear. But seriously, I loved it.

I admit though, in order to enjoy most forms of exercise, I have to imagine that I’m either training to be a special agent (and I think I’d be fabulous agent), or preparing for a Hunger Games scenario. Particularly when it comes to running. I spend my run listening to music from the Hunger Games soundtrack and pretending I’m being chased by a fellow tribute through the arena.

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Me brooding with my hero whilst I sit in this awesome chair

Anyone who knows me, knows that The Hunger Games is my favorite. I don’t know how to describe it beyond that. I love the books, I love the films, I love the characters, I love playing in that category on Quiz Up. I believe it’s one of the most poignant and realistic YA series out there. I also connect better with Katniss than I ever have to any other literary character. I can honestly say that the story has impacted me deeply and influenced my life in ways I can’t even describe.

But most recently, it helped me see how much I’ve developed as an adult and as a mother.

 

Unsurprisingly, we bought tickets to see Mockingjay, Part II on opening night. I didn’t expect how much this movie would affect me, but boy, did it. At the time, I had given birth to Oliver two months ago. I was struggling after the traumatic experience of delivery, the adjustment of motherhood in general, and the deep depression I felt from PPD and the sense of entrapment it gave me. I guess you could say that I was a little like Katniss after the Hunger Games: someone who had been content with their life and then suddenly everything had changed and I felt a responsibility that I didn’t know how to bear but one that I had to shoulder nevertheless.

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We went into the theater, and I found myself seated next to a pack of teenage girls. Oh boy, here we go, I thought. I wasn’t wrong either. Within minutes, they were talking about how hot Gale was and how Katniss should’ve picked him. I just rolled my eyes. But after the movie, as I sat there wiping away the tears I’d been trying to discreetly shed over the course of the last hour, they said something that really made my blood boil.

“The saddest part was when Finnick died!” one girl cried.

What?! Did my ears deceive me? The saddest part was when Finnick died? Are you freaking kidding me? The saddest part wasn’t when the children were all blown up? Or when that little girl was crying over her mother’s dead body?

I could barely contain my outrage. It truly disturbed me that somehow these girls thought that Finnick’s noble, warrior death somehow trumped the bombing of hundreds of innocent children. What will become of this world when this generation takes over, I wondered in despair.

And then I realized, once upon a time, I had been these girls.

Katniss_peeta_winnersAfter my initial reading of the books, I also thought what the hell is wrong with Katniss? She should’ve ended up with Gale! It’s so much more romantic and they understand each other! But since then, I’ve come to realize that love and marriage is not all about romance and having similar personalities. If anything, you need a partner, someone who balances you out, and brings hope into your life. Brooding Gale and brooding Katniss would never have worked out. Katniss needed Peeta.

Taylor is my Peeta.  He’s the kindest, gentlest soul I’ve ever known. But he’s also strong, dependable, and funny. He is my partner in all things. We don’t even like competing against each other, but prefer to be on the same team. He brings so much light and hope into my life. I couldn’t have made it through this last year without him. I’m truly so grateful for him. I’m also grateful that I was able to gain this perspective with time and experience. As I thought about it, the more hope I had that if I had managed to figure it out, then these girls would as well.

I then reflected on what would’ve been the saddest part to me when I was sixteen. Probably when a favorite character, perhaps even Finnick, had died, or something like that. I don’t know that I would have been selfless or thoughtful enough to consider the children as a teenager. As a mother though, suddenly I put myself in Panem and thought about what it would be like if I was there. If my family was there. If that was Oliver reaching up for the parachutes or wailing over my body. I could barely stand the thought. In fact, it made me cry the whole rest of the night. It strengthened my resolve that despite my troubles I had right now that I would go on because this sweet little baby needed me to care for and protect him.

The scene at the end touched my heart as Katniss held her baby. Katniss may not be real. But watching her overcome her struggles, her trauma, her anxiety, her depression, and her paranoia made me feel that somehow I could overcome all of mine too.

“I’ll tell them how I survive it. I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in things because I’m afraid it could be taken away. That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years.
But there are much worse games to play.”

-Katniss Everdeen, Mockingjay

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