Things I Want to Tell You

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called My Reverse Bucket List. I got the idea from Angela, and it was a lot of fun to reminisce on some of the “bucket list” type things that I have already accomplished in my life.  Without intending to, though, I felt that it kind of sounded like bragging or building myself up. Like I’m so good, look at what I’ve done.

I think it is quite common for those of us who write about our lives to focus on the good stuff. There are a couples reasons for this, generally quite innocent. In my case, I feel like the purpose of my blog is to project the positive benefits of fitness and a healthy, cruelty free lifestyle. I also feel the need to protect the privacy of the other people in my life, the ones who don’t choose to share it all on the internet.

But life has its downs as well as its ups, so to get a full picture of me, the runner, athlete, vegan, dog mom (to quote from my About Me page), you should see how that person evolved. Since it’s easier to talk one on one, let’s sit down for a cup of iced coffee. These are things I want to tell you.



I was bullied as a teenager. When I was in high school, there was a guy who picked on me. Everyone pretty much thought of him as a jerk anyway so I didn’t even realize I was being bullied. The worse thing that happened was once after a heavy rainfall, he picked me up and dumped me in a puddle of water. It is strange looking back on it with adult eyes, but at the time, I was the one who was embarrassed. I was already quite a loner, the shy girl who stayed in her shell, and that really sealed it. We moved the next year, but I still sometimes wonder if he is still a jerk, or if he reached some level of maturity in adulthood and now realizes that it was he who should have been embarrassed.

I smoked cigarettes for about 20 years. Yep, I was that teenager sneaking smokes in the bathroom in high school (probably in a misguided effort to be part of the popular crowd). I was smart enough to quit through my two pregnancies, but the addiction was so strong I was soon back at it shortly after childbirth. At my worst, I smoked two packs a day! In a strange way, though, cigarettes led me to the life I lead now. After I finally quit (which was almost 25 years ago), I started to gain weight. That led me to learn about exercise and eating right, which eventually led me to where I am today.

It took me a few tries before I got this marriage thing right. You may have figured this out already, since I speak frequently about my husband Alan and our wedding, which was in 1999, and also mention my two 30-something sons. I was married for the first time when I was 17. No, I wasn’t pregnant. Looking back, as an adult and mother, I wonder what the heck my parents were thinking. Maybe they thought I needed to learn from my own mistakes? Apparently I didn’t because after I divorced my oldest son’s father, I made another bad choice. Yet I have two wonderful sons out of it all, so I do believe it was all worth it. Plus I finally learned what I wanted and deserved in a husband.

During an especially tough part of my life, my oldest son lived with my mom for several years. This is still difficult for me to talk about. As mothers, we are supposed to be there for our children, not abandon them to our own parents, whatever the reason. As my finger hovers over the delete key, let me just tell you quickly. I was in a bad place, both literally and figuratively. My mother was there, as she always was, to help me out. Even though it was long ago and my son and I have worked through it all, to the point where he understands and forgives me, I still have a hard time forgiving myself.

That’s about all the soul-baring I can take in one sitting. As I was writing this, I realized that another one of the reasons I write mostly about the good stuff, is because I am a positive person. I always see the glass half full. I realize that everything that happened to me before in this life is responsible for the person I am today. And I believe that I am a better person because I was able to survive and overcome all the bad stuff.

How about you? Glass half full or half empty?

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  1. says

    You’re a pretty darn fantastic gal, Debbie. No skeleton in your closet scares me. I smoked for four years, by the way. I’ve never been married because I’m selfish and like the bed all to myself and I never had any children (I can barely care for one little dragon, for God’s sake!). I was also bullied in high school up until I beat the hell out of one of the bullies. Rather enjoyed it, although I’ve never been violent like that again (and have no desire to be). See? We’re actually kind of alike in some ways. 😉
    MErider recently posted..complacently saneMy Profile

  2. says

    You know how much I adore you, and I know for a fact, that even though you went through a hard time, your son still really does love you. You might not have thought so during that part in your life, but children definitely forgive their parents, there is a bond there that just can NEVER be broken, REGARDLESS of what life might bring.

    I am thrilled that you no longer smoke, THRILLED! Every person I meet who smokes, I try so very hard to help them quit! My grandfather smoked his entire life and while he has NO problems – it’s nuts – my grandmother suffered 🙁

    As for your marriages, hey… We all make “mistakes” – even if you got something wonderful out them. In my mind, everything happens for a reason! And your sons were those reasons!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..You’ll Frittata Over This Heart-y Dish!My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Gigi. You are so sweet, and make me feel so special. Yes, I think my son has forgiven me, and I’ve kind of forgiven myself. After all, he has become a wonderful man and father, so somewhere along the way he got the right upbringing, and that is what counts.
      Debbie Woodruff recently posted..Things I Want to Tell YouMy Profile

  3. says

    You did not mention how brave and strong you are–for being so vulnerable. I can relate to and have experienced many of the same things. I don’t ever feel like you are bragging–you are such a wonderful human being. I find you inspirational and incredibly strong. I don’t think I could relate to someone who has a seamless life, and has made no mistakes. How can someone take advise or look up to individuals who have not experienced much of anything. These are the things that make us wise, humble and empathic- these are the things that make us human. You are loved.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Quick and Easy Low Carb Cream of Mushroom SoupMy Profile

  4. says

    You definitely need to add Brave, Truthful Woman to your Reverse Bucket List! Like you, I try to be a glass half full type of person. To be more positive on my blog. However, I think bringing forward obstacles that you faced in your life and how you overcame is a hugely positive thing to share. It shows that it can be done, we all aren’t perfect. Thank you for sharing!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Fitness Trends + Functional Fitness WorkoutMy Profile

  5. says

    Debbie–rather than look down my nose at any of this, I quite admire your ability to overcome all of it and share it. We ALL have things in life that embarrass us (rightly or wrongly so) and the difference in character is what we do with adversity. I’d say you’ve done quite a lot and are extremely impressive with how you have handled life. Thanks for opening up to us and for showing us true character.

  6. says

    This is a great post. I think so many of us have paths and journeys that nobody would guess based on our current lives. But perhaps that’s why we are where we are in our current lives, because of these paths. I have one that’s for sure (including smoking for over 20 years, up to 2 1/2 packs a day at one point).
    Robin recently posted..I Need Some SunMy Profile

  7. says

    I really really appreciate honest posts like these. It’s not easy to admit we’re simply human. It can be so easy to just talk about the good things, especially when that’s a focus of yours/ours. But I think the past, how we react to it, shapes who we become and how we choose to see our lives.

  8. says

    Glass half full for sure! Kudos to you for learning and growing and moving forward to be the beautiful person you are today, No doubt we all have our own skeletons. Far be it from me or any of us to judge another.

  9. says

    Such a great post Debbie!! I remember reading some of this before but I do think it is important to know that we all have other issues & life is far from perfect. Some people don’t want to hear it but I think it is important… I struggle with writing my own because I have had issues in the past & current “unhappy” stuff going on.. Many say just buck up or always look at the positive but the thing is that nobody ever knows the raw truth behind anyone’s issues & what can & can’t be done at the moment.

    Thank you for this amazing post!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Are you Defined or Developed by Social MediaMy Profile

  10. says

    I really love this post and appreciate your honestly Debbie. I know that there’s benefit in looking at all the highlights and having a positive attitude but reflecting on experiences like you’ve shared here really is a testament to your strength, more than any highlight can.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Favorites LatelyMy Profile

  11. says

    It’s so weird when I want to say thank you for sharing because I agree I tend to write about the positive and feel weird sharing the negative, though I have a health update coming next week which is that for me. Yet..thank you for sharing!! I guess maybe it just allows us all to better understand each other and consistently learn how to come out the other side better
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Sitting Disease snuck up on me – Polar Loop ReviewMy Profile

  12. says

    That’s the tough stuff in life. That no one really wants to talk about. Good for you for coming through tough stuff and standing on the other side, stronger and better for it!

  13. says

    Those must have been difficult topics to talk about, and kudos to you for bringing them up. I love your honesty, Debbie, and that’s why I enjoy your blog; it’s real. Also, you’re one of the few runner/bloggers that I’ve found that’s my age! 🙂

    I’m sure your past experience with smoking, weight gain after giving it up, etc. has made you a better trainer. I know that my age, has made me a much better trainer for my older clients because I now understand injuries, recovery time, and things that you know about as a younger trainer, but just don’t understand fully.

    As many other comments above express, you never come across as bragging, just telling your readers about your experiences! Keep up the good work! I love your blog!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted..Being Realistic When Setting GoalsMy Profile

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