Monday, December 1, 2014

From the Land of the Extremes to the Land of a Nearly Singular Season. (CHI-->OAK)

Adventure persists: I've moved again! Now in Oakland, CA, I am taking up residence with old friends. I live with a PT and a consultant who lead extremely physically and intellectually active and intentional lives. It's challenging me to do the same, and I feel intermittently successful. :)

My primary motivation for moving is professional growth and development. I am working for Amy Selinger at Back to Life (more about ME!) part time in San Francisco and will soon work one day/week in Oakland. I am also working on marketing our business as well as my own--I'm also working part time out of my home as a PT/fitness instructor/health coach. I have joined Twitter and I'm still trying to understand its most useful capacity. You can follow me @DrJManley. I plan to start a blog to talk about things that might be helpful for others. Any specific ideas?

My secondary motivation for the move was to entice myself to continue growth in other areas: respectful, intentional relationships; nurturing my nature-loving side; conserving (CA is in a drought after all) to preserve what nature has given; basically, as I become an adult (since I'm 30 now), I'm structuring my life around my passion (my career) while also giving myself the best opportunities to explore the other ends of life.

I love life as I reacquaint myself with new surroundings, yet again. Will I ever find my home?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random Thoughts of the Day

A few things:

1. I had the most lovely morning reading my book (The Golem and the Jinni) on the beach with my coffee (cream and cardamom, thanks).

2. I sent in an application (well, my "baking resume" and cover letter) for a gluten-free bakery called Defloured. (!!!!!!)

3. I am finally in the process of getting my PT license in Illinois.

4. Did I mention I set a COMPLETELY arbitrary goal of having a job by the time my toilet paper runs out? Well, I set it when I moved in with 6 rolls. Now I have approximately 2.75. Fingers crossed that my goal is met, please.

5. I get to have a lovely cheese tasting evening chez moi avec Mon Coeur because I was given some awesome Wisconsin cheese by a recent passer by through Chicago! Thank you!

It really is the small things in life, eh?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Revitalization: to imbue (something) with new life and vitality

Progress. Slow and steady progress.

I have contacted some very wonderful friends of mine that are also colleagues. Despite some of my anxiety around doing so, it actually made me feel more supported and more self confident than I have been able to feel in a long time. A couple of these friends contacted me some time ago and I ignored their calls or promised to call when I felt ready. I didn't necessarily feel totally ready, but who really is totally ready? After a recent friend/colleague reached out, I silenced the call and then phoned my lovely partner and I asked her, essentially, for a pep talk. I might not have used those words, but I think I actually knew, deep down, that I was ready to talk to them. I just needed to be given the final nudge.

Then, this brings up a sticking point. Does this make me dependent on others to feel fulfilled? Do I need the affirmation of others in order to gain (re-gain) my own self respect? I know that I need outside affirmation. (Isn't that, in a way, why Facebook exists?) Am I just making my way, slowly but surely, in a way that requires me to ask for what I need right now? My situation in Iowa was one that left me feeling like I had nothing. I was injured, A of all, and then, B of all, I got fired without discussion of any kind. And I was made to feel like I was in the wrong. I felt so helpless...

I'm beginning to think that moving on from helplessness is something like extricating yourself from sweaty clothes after an 8 mile bike ride in 90 degree Chicago heat with 75% humidity. (Yes, I did this recently.) The clothes are no longer providing a service that is complimentary to your figure, they stink, and they refuse to slide easily off your body; they insist on being carefully peeled off in layers. I'm only on the outer layer, but I know that I'm making progress.

I've even made a playlist on Spotify--which you should join if you haven't already because it's awesome--called Revitalization. Sometimes, I guess every person does need their own theme music.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Into The Woods

Despite the fact that some days are great, some days are not so great. Monday, I experienced a BURST of productivity. I revamped my LinkedIn account. I organized my baking résumé. I reorganized my PT CV. Then, on Tuesday, I realized, I like taking photographs--art?! And I have this account through søciety6, which is an awesome website where artists are able to post their art, and the company, søciety6, produces and ships the art to the buyer. It's lovely. So I added a considerable amount of photographs. THEN, I socially networked myself to connect myself to myself in all of my myriad of online identities. Whew, that was weird. And exhausting.


Despite the productivity and what I see as progress--since facing my or résumé has not been something I could do--I have not recovered. I am not yet "out of The Woods."

After my last blog post, there was an out-pouring of support. That last blog post was after about a week where I finally felt like I recognized myself. Have you ever had a time where you don't know what happened? I think It Happened for about a month for me, and I think that's relatively short. I looked It up. I meet/met most of the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder according to the DSM IV. Whoops, cat's out of the bag now. I thought I had said it before, but now, I've truly said it.

Still, I feel I've made progress. Besides, my therapist suggested I write, so I wrote, and it felt so good. I wanted to reconnect.

--Did you know that when you are depressed, reconnecting sounds like someone asking you to climb Everest in flip flops? Well, it did to me. So when I wrote that blog post and I had so much support--it was only then that I realized how dark of a place I had been in. I had shut out just about everyone (except for a select few), and I was in a place where I couldn't even receive positive feedback about myself--I couldn't hear something that sounded so very foreign. I couldn't hear about someone believing in me, because I couldn't believe in myself.

There was no insight even, until recently--until that week before the post. Then I posted. Then there was The Outpouring. And I loved every email, every Facebook message, every text. Then I tried to process it with My Partner. And I couldn't. It was too much.

The other thing when you are depressed is that EVERYTHING feels overwhelming. I mean, doing the dishes is nap-worthy.

And so, we had a glass of wine, and we tried to have dinner--we managed to have dinner. Then we were discussing and I was processing and then I was crying and I couldn't stop. I was so embarrassed, I left her my credit card, and I ran out of the restaurant and I walked home tears flowing for the entire mile-long walk. And it didn't feel good. I got home and I felt hopeless. I sobbed. My Partner called, we tried to talk on the phone, but I was in The Dark Place. Eventually, we both realized I needed company. I cried so hard for so long that the next day was a blur: puffy eyes barely willing to open, stiffened snot on most things, and the worst hangover-like headache. It wasn't a very productive day.

Since then, I have become afraid of crying.

I am slowly trying to break the pattern that crying is now something to fear. How did it get to this? I usually relish a good cry--so cathartic during and after. However, starting the night that I first realized that my physical injury was serious and that it had the potential to change my life--career ending--that was the night I started The Uncontrollable Crying. It took me by surprise. It takes me by surprise every time. It took me by surprise at the restaurant. It took My Partner by surprise. Yikes! Who the f*ck removed the warning system? Who pulled out the breaks?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Hello out there to All of You!

I feel like I need to make up for lost time or say something amazing, but I'm truly just here to start posting again following my 1+ year dry spell...whoops! It turns out that Iowa, beautiful though it can be, at times, sucked me a little dry and sent me sprinting for The Big City aka Chi-Town (pronounced "Shy-town") aka Chicago, Illinois. This fine city is one of the largest cities in the US. You know how I know it's one of the largest cities in the US? I know that because I recently found out that only the largest cities in the US have more than one professional baseball or basketball team associated with them. Interesting, huh? You probably already knew that. Me being who I am, I

What happened in Iowa? Well, I moved my WHOLE LIFE there for a job and residency for physical therapy. It was very very busy and I felt that I was doing my best dealing with my new job and new boss and new coworkers and new patients and mounds of responsibilities. And then, after 10 months, it all came crashing down after I injured myself--outside of work, though likely due to the physical demands of work. Then there was a communication break down, and BAM: fired.

If you want to know the nitty gritty details, I can discuss them, but I'd prefer not to write about them. It has now been 6 weeks, and I'm finally able to find the words to talk about how I feel without my emotions falling out of my face--in tear form, of course.

I write now as a person who is a little different from the one who wrote before. I'm not claiming that this situation has made me older and wiser but it might. I think it has served to give me a dose of reality while also setting me up for a little character building. All the old tricks I had up my sleeve for dealing with "life" and "loss" and "stress" failed me in this new situation. To be perfectly honest, I was/am depressed. I thought my tear ducts would grow mold or something from the amount of water that seemed to constantly flow with any mention of "Keep Calm and Carry On" or "physical therapy" or "career." Before this event, I felt I could deal with anything. Afterwards, I found that my response to nearly every task was to shrink away and read my escapist novel or watch my addictive TV show or sleep. Any time I finally felt up to the task of discussing my situation, I lasted approximately 2.5 minutes before tears choked me up and stopped me in my tracks, voice cracking. And those tears didn't linger briefly.

I write now as if I have finally been able to turn my pillow over to the cleaner side, the cooler side. I'm sure this side will also succumb to tear permeation. I am--I think--wise enough to know that this situation will continue to have ups and downs, but it's nice to be able to smile again without wondering when the next smile will come.

I know I've been quiet on the blog front. I know I have shut several of you out of my life or kept this situation from you--not entirely on purpose, but simply because I didn't know how to interact. I have this problem where I am perpetually honest. I really don't know how to talk to someone without being honest, completely. Therefore, being as sad and angry as I have been has been hard to share. It's not really the kind of thing that people line up for, you know?

So, there you have it, the most recent update.

Where to from here? I'm so glad you asked, because I've been doing some pondering, and I've realized some things about myself.

1. I respect and like myself.
2. I self-destruct when I don't feel respected by others in my environment.
3. I need intellectual stimulation.
4. I need to create.
5. I love baking; it's a form of creation, after all!
6. I like to help people and to give.
7. I still love physical therapy.
8. I am very stubborn.
9. Sometimes I give too much.
10. I am definitely still learning about myself.

What do these things mean? Well, I'm trying to figure that out myself. I'm recruiting YOU to help me. Here are some things I'm considering doing with my time (and in an effort to meet my financial needs):

1. A baking internship/apprenticeship
2. Teaching English or teaching/coaching people prior to taking the US citizenship exam
3. Physical Therapy consulting via phone, email, and video
4. Physical Therapy in a hospital setting
5. Your brilliant idea here!

Ok, so, let me know your thoughts! It doesn't have to be a comment on this blog, email me! I'm just reaching out for some positive reinforcements here--or new ideas! The idea of the PT consulting business will likely happen--already happens, but I might start it into a business in order to actually be able to pay some bills. If you have specific comments or thoughts about how to go about doing so, I'm all ears.

You are the reason I am who I am. And, I'm guessing, I might be part of the reason you are who you are as well. Let's make this world go 'round!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I love biking.

This is a post about a bike trip I took recently. It is also going to be a plug for a little something I'm going to participate in called The AIDS/Lifecycle.

First Story:
Once upon a time, I bought a bike off of a lovely friend that I know through ultimate frisbee. Her name is Anna Nazarov. She sold me Fly--and Fly introduced me to the love of riding distances. Anna had two stipulations for my collection of her old bike: 1) The name Fly was to stick 2) I needed to complete the AIDS ride with Fly. The name Fly has certainly stuck, and now I'm committing to do this AIDS ride thing! It turns out, this is a HUGE commitment. I will be riding from SF to LA. What that means is that I will be BIKING 545 MILES in 7 days. WOOT! I will be completing this journey with two other people: Brianna and Kyle. Bri and I ride together quite a bit, and Kyle is new to us. She is a friend of Anna's who also has been wanting to do the AIDS ride. Together, we are The Cyclopaths. There will be more mentioning of this as well as (hopefully) more amazing bike trips like the one I had over the past couple of days.

Biking Story:

Out of necessity for training, Bri and I recently planned and executed a brief but packed biking trip. Based on a recommendation from a friend in Steamboat Springs, Kelly Johnson, I decided that Bri and I should go to Point Reyes since it wouldn't be too far and yet it would also be an opportunity to check out a cool CA foodie city that I had yet to visit! Thus, planning began. However, Bri and I had a big grad school presentation a few days before leaving, which put a dampener on planning. So, Sunday evening we were discussing things:
Jessica: "Bri, I know we have hammocks from Bryan, but where are we going to set them up? Do we have a campground in mind?"
Bri: "What? We have hammocks!"
Jessica: "Yes, but where are we going to set them up?"
Bri: "Between two trees...?"

That was never fully resolved, which leads me to the true adventure that Bri and I undertook this past Monday.

We left Monday around 1pm from Golden Gate Park. We rode to the bridge in about 15 mins, then it took us another 20 mins to cross the bridge as the weather was gorgeous, so we were dodging distracted onlookers. This was annoying but tolerable.
The ride through Sausalito was uneventful. We were taking the Sir Francis Drake route to Point Reyes. Somewhere when we were navigating through some neighborhoods we encountered a dead end of sorts: we had to walk our bikes through a muddy path. Both of us are stubborn enough to not ever make U-turns, and it was entertaining anyway--did I
mention how difficult it is to steer a bike that is back-weighted over uneven terrain? Bri and I considered videoing it, but then we lost interest because steering a bike while also videoing is even more impossible.

From there we made some more complex turns that finally led us to Sir Francis Drake, which was then more heavily trafficked than we were anticipating. In Fairfax, we had to stop for some food--as you can tell that Bri was starting to lose it from this photo.

Weirdest situation inside this cafe: they
were showing a TV program about very large and disgusting food items (largest hotdog, as big as 11 regular hotdogs together) that could be purchased across the US. Needless to say, it no longer felt like SF...because it wasn't, it was Fairfax.

When we packed up and left the cafe, we finally got into a serious stride where we got into some redwood forests that were completely gorgeous with slow rolling hills including some lengthy downhills that made us very grateful in our choice to take this route TO Point Reyes and to have Hwy 1 as our intended route back. Sigh of relief. It was in the midst of the woods that we also recognized the ability of our bikes--Fly and Balto--to become a Lean-To! How amazing! The weight is good for something. :)

It seems like shortly after that stop we were coming to a turn to choose to go towards a campground that

Bri had found. We followed the directions there and tried to figure out how to pay to stay the night there. No one was around. An older gentlemen in a truck pulled up, and he asked if we were lost. We explained our situation. He explained that all the campsites were 6 miles farther (3 miles of uphill) plus required a 2 mile hike-in. At that point, he dir
ected us to another campground with hot showers. So, we got back in the saddle to check it out. Again, there was no one present at this RV park ( trees!). We scored some hot showers, and then decided food was necessary and sleeping would occur somehow, somewhere.

A wonderful meal occurred at Point Reyes Station Cafe: clam chowder, cauliflower chowder, salad, mac n cheese and homemade linguine all with local SF wit beer from Almanac!
We had to finish off the meal with a cappuccino in order to stay awake enough to find a sleeping location. In the end we were some of the last people there and we were sent away with a bag of pop-overs. Bri had a potential sleeping spot in mind: a nearby playground. We checked that out first. It was a VERY public space that raised every flag for me. I vetoed it. This is where the adventure truly started. Luckily, it was a gorgeous night: perfect temperature, no precipitation--yet. I strapped my headlamp on and we rode off into the night. We checked out different spots in the residential area where we were met with beady eyes and a dirt road. Bri then suggested checking out the church in town. We ventured there and found, much to our surprise and happiness, the perfect location. The church provided some coverage from the road and the street lights as well as a tree for me to string up my hammock and a soft bed of needles for Bri to make her bed on the ground under our tarp. Here is a hard to see photo of our situation. At the end of the day: we traveled roughly 41 miles in 3 hours and 28 mins averaging 12 mph with a max speed of 34 mph.

We set up camp at 10pm and got up and broke camp at 6am so as to not be seen in the light. It was very sneaky and highly adventuresome and we loved Every Minute. Though, in the night around 1am we both awoke to a drastic change in weather: the wind was so strong I was being swung in my hammock! By 4:30am it had begun to rain. At 6am when we got up, my sleeping bag had become decently wet. Our decision to rise at 6am had everything to do with the light AND the fact that a local bakery opened at 6:30am. Right around 6:30am we were packed and back on our bikes in full rain regalia.

Bovine Bakery was spectacular and offered warm coffee and warm, fresh croissants. AMAZING. This was a great start to our day especially since the first few pedals strokes were uphill, against a strong headwind and rain where both of us were off our saddles and pedaling hard and yet hardly moving. It was degrading. After 40 mins of hard work we had traveled 7 miles. Finally, the rain ceased to some degree. We finally had reached the more normal rolling hills of Hwy 1 and I hit my stride. I felt great, if wet and with frozen toes. We sailed along with Stinson Beach as a stopping point (in my mind, at least). However, before we made it there, I suddenly heard a yell behind me and turned to find Bri had clipped the edge of the pavement and wiped out. Though her Easter egg outfit was festive, the yellow pants offered no protection against the pavement--in fact, bits of yellow were spread across the pavement where she had made contact. She rolled on the ground for a few minutes before pulling it together. I knew we both needed food.

Within the next mile, we came upon Stinson Beach. We located a coffee shop and pulled in. We ended up staying for a while next to the fire--until our feet stopped aching from cold and returned to their usual pink color. I also changed into dry socks. Back on the road, it was an uphill start. For most of the rest of the trip we battled some pretty serious hills but also enjoyed some spectacular downhills (though these must be taken more cautiously when the roads are wet). There is a photo of one of our last stops overlooking the ocean. We were also stoked because we had just seen a view of SF.

From here we lost a little steam. Somewhere in the last big hill we also realized, to our dismay, that we were going to have to climb out of Sausalito. This fact hit Bri particularly hard, and the hill climb out of Sausalito up to the Golden Gate Bridge was not a shining moment. I mustered up the courage for that climb, but then I did not anticipate the awful trek across the bridge. It was raining again and the headwind was intense. Once across the bridge, I think we both felt that we should be home, but we weren't. We had 40 mins to make it to a destination in under 4 hours. I totally thought we could make it, but the city won the time war. Our final stats: 44 miles home in 4 hours and 19 mins averaging 10.2 mph this time with a max speed of 31 mph.

All in all: 85 miles, 7 hours and 47 mins of biking in 24 hours. Since we pushed off at 7:30am on Tuesday, we arrived back in the city around 12:30 making it to my house around 1:30 or so, which was when we met up on Monday. CRAZY. Bri was bonking (needing food) when we got to my house. I put her in the shower and went to get a huge burger. I came home and we split it. Then I showered. I took Bri and Balto home in a car. I came home and managed to read a few pages of my book before I passed out around 6:30pm. My roommate accidentally woke me up around 8pm, and I got up and got ready for bed. The next thing I knew, it was 8:45am. WHAT!? I have got to continue training.

It was such a fun trip, and I am stoked to do more training! But now, this is the part where I have to point out that in order to participate in the AIDS ride, I have to raise $3000. Please consider any amount to help fund my efforts to do extreme sporting events whilst raising money for a good cause! Here is my AIDS/Lifecycle page where you can donate! Just click on the box that says "Donate to support Jessica." Thank you!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 2

Well, we got the blizzard and it resulted in some snow, but then it most melted. Every local has been disappointed since. Here is one picture of the snow out my window.

It has been quite the first week. I have thoroughly enjoyed my clinic, and I am looking forward to this coming week! I should start treating some patients independently, which will feel good and boost my confidence. I have realized that I really enjoy this method of treating, and I think I need to consider that I may want to become even more immersed and trained in this Institute of Physical Art (IPA) style of treatment. If you are interested in learning more about it, please feel free to read more on their website. I think I have mentioned it before, but this treatment style looks at treating the whole person: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While we are mostly focused on the physical portions, we take into account the other two components, which can easily manifest physically. When emotions manifest physically as pain, they often will not resolve completely unless the underlying emotional piece is confronted. This can be dealt with by us somewhat, but there is also the recognition that there are other individuals more trained to help patients work through some of their emotions. As for the physical treatment: it is a system that makes a ton of sense to me--and it gets great results!

All of this is to say that I am now considering a residency guided by an IPA therapist, who is also known as a Certified Functional Manual Therapist (CFMT). The residency will not make me a CFMT, but it will certainly put me on that path. Instead, the residency will offer a year of mentorship while I treat patients and continue learning more--mostly through hands-on practice. In my opinion, this is the best way to learn. (Part of that is just my preference). The residencies are set up all over the United States, and I am considering applying for a residency in the Washington DC area. This comes with some excitement for the rents because it would mean a return to the East Coast for this lady! It's still in the contemplation stages, but I will likely make my contemplations known to the powers-that-be that will match me with a mentor for the residency year. It is also important to consider that the residency locations may or may not have space for me at the moment. We shall see!

Finally, an update for what I am doing with myself on the weekend: yesterday I ventured from my house by foot to a trail to Fish Creek Falls. It was about 2.5 miles to get to the trailhead--an invigorating, mostly uphill walk. Once I reached the trailhead, it was only a short 10 min walk to the falls. As you can see in the photo of me, the falls are currently frozen, but it was quite a scenic area despite that. I did the hike alone, but I ran into some friendly ladies at the overlook who took this photo of me. :)