This afternoon I stopped at the grocery store to pick up dinner for work. Muddling through the same familiar thoughts in my head, I push the cart with purpose. Indignant, my bad attitude apparent, lost in the cycle. Some asshole guy took away my ability to communicate with him and left me to sort it all out on my own, and it’s consuming me. I try to corral my thoughts and consciously guide them in a happier direction. Mostly, I fail. Sick of that internal battle in my brain, yet unable to shut it off, I round the corner to another aisle.
Immediately I stop. I try and understand what I’m looking at as I watch a person carefully make his way around. Trying not to stare, completely overwhelmed, I can’t grasp what I’m seeing, the impact of it immediate and profound. My throat is tight.
This person is shaped like an S. One shoulder large and curving, one stooped, his right arm tucked up like he’s a wounded animal. His calves and ankles are tied; twine around thick dingy cotton. Holding him up? Making him comfortable? Keeping him warm? There was so much I didn’t understand. One leg was significantly shorter, so the with each step, his body would heave downwards, the only thing keeping him standing was the cart in front of him. It wasn’t a cart from the store.
I flush with emotion. First horror; second, a surge to rush to comfort this broken creature who suffered with every movement, his body so cruelly misshapen it hurt to look at him. I hastily grabbed a stack of paper plates and threw them in my cart, and I turned the other way suddenly mentally and physically aware of my body and the ease at which it moved. 10 fingers clasped around the cart, 10 toes leading my feet effortlessly. Had I ever been so aware of my movements? When was the last time I appreciated my body? What are these stupid problems I think I have?
I didn’t recognize myself suddenly, when had I given up on me? I’ve racked up a severe sleep deficiency, and developed the habit of going out every night with friends, indulging in excess like a lush because the thought of sitting home alone with myself is unbearable. Mentally, I feel like shit. Emotionally drained, hands shaking I’m so tired. I feel so torn up and unsettled. The end of this romance has me completely undone.
I had given up the things I loved trying to stifle the things that hurt. I love to run. But instead of going on a long run to clear my thoughts, now I usually open another bottle wine and pretend to be happy. I half assed the quarter marathon I’d run back in December. Recently, I’d all but stopped running despite the fact that I had set a goal a year ago and registered for the ING Half marathon. Which happens to be tomorrow.
I had no intention of running the ING. Although, I can’t shake the feeling that I need to be there. I’d argued back and forth, the truth being that I have already thrown away any chance to run this race responsibly. When I woke up this morning, I had given up the idea that I would even try to attempt it. Months ago I had given up on training well, weeks ago I had given up on running consistently, and days ago I threw in the towel and decided to partake in an epic Miami weekend with the girls instead.
Paralyzed by these thoughts, I stopped for a second, tears making my vision blurry. I had no right to question whether I needed to run a race. The fact that I could run the race if I wanted to was the point. I can run. I can walk. I can see. I can feel. I am alive. I can type these words, pour them onto a page. Everything is suddenly such a miracle. I have every advantage, and every attribute needed to achieve complete happiness and success. I am so incredibly, deeply blessed. Not everyone is.
This romance wasn’t a tragedy. I have loved, deeply and honestly. Whether or not he was cruel is of no matter to me. Being cruel is his problem. I am not cruel. I feel things deeply, and even though it makes me hurt, I let it. I can reach the happiest of heights just as easily. I am most grateful that whatever it is that I feel, I embrace it with every bit of passion and honesty one can give. I’ve allowed myself that.
I realize I need to run this race. I need to physically break down to hit the bottom. I need to exhaust every last muscle, tissue, thought, memory, urge, and fight. I want to extinguish this anger. I need to kick my own ass. I am not even close to being prepared to run a marathon. But I’m going to do it anyways. If I’m going to come completely undone, shouldn’t it be at the finish line, and not at a bar with a negroni in hand having another conversation I won’t remember?
I leave and head to the convention center to pick up my number and T shirt. And for the first time in months, I know I’m doing the right thing. I am ready to suffer. I am ready for the physical manifestation of the mental battle I’ve been waging for months. I want to lie on the bottom. I want to let it all go. I will run it because I can. Because I am hard headed and physically blessed to be able to move freely and with passion. I hope I’m crawling to the finish line, totally broken and brilliant and new.
Bringing myself to me knees is how I will get up again. I am ready. Set? Go.