Friday, June 28, 2013

Running for a reason

Peter called my bluff with which I didn’t consciously realize I was faltering. 
“No you’re not,” he told me matter-of-factly, in the way one says the sky is blue and the grass is green.
I had just told him I was okay, was holding up fine. 
It’s a keen intuition unfortunately gifted only to those who have experienced tragic, piercing loss; the ability to calculate unnatural blinking patterns, a nod too many, a slight raise of the eyebrows used when trying to convince with conviction. 
Dumbfounded, I paused and reclined in the chair facing him, repeatedly capping and uncapping the red pen I was using to proof the newspaper. A nervous tick. My façade was faulty. Someone could see I was falling apart at the seams.
In the seven months since my Mum passed away, “How are you doing?” is the question I’m most often asked.
Everyone has taken my reply at face value. “I’m okay,” I’ve said. And so they believe just that. 
I like to think they don’t second-guess my answer because, well,  A) I’m a trustworthy woman and B) they can see I’m just as strong as she was. 
But what else am I supposed to say? That I feel lost without someone for whom to care? Entirely too angry I have to deal with this at 27? That every time I wake from dreaming of her I cry uncontrollably, inconsolably, when reality quickly comes crashing? 
I’m sure friends ask because they’re genuinely concerned. But I know they don’t want me to unload the whole of my emotions on them just as much as I don’t want to be a burden.
So I run from a real answer. I mean, I do work in public relations.
Until I had talked with Peter, I hadn’t considered it was okay to not be okay.  I assumed the racing of my mind was normal. That I would soon stop mentally running in circles from an emotional ebb and flow.
Initially, I ignored it, like most things I don’t want to deal with in life. But after chest pain, continual stomachaches and breakouts worse than the whole of my teens, I had to be honest with myself. I’m not okay. I have anxiety. 
Mum and I had a running joke when she would tell me to not lift something heavy or she’d ask someone for help. “Don’t you know who my mother is?” I’d reply back. “I can do anything.”
To realize I’m not invincible – and that’s okay - was kind of an “ah-ha” moment. Something needed to change. 
On a whim, I joined friends Trudy and Janet in May and ran the route of a local 5k. Every .5 miles I had to stop and catch my breath. But for the first time in months, I fell asleep without a case of the “What-Ifs?” I slept through the night. And I felt great the next morning.
Today, we run three times a week. I participated in my first official 5k Saturday. More importantly, I don’t feel so anxious and sad. I’ve learned to focus and channel my energy, nervous or excited, into a steady cadence.  
On the third of every month, I still have a hard time leaving my bed. I still ache for my Mum. And my mind will race every once in a while. 
But I’m keeping the running for the road. 


Coincidently enough, I'm obsessed with this song, called, "Time to Run," by Lord Huron

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