the mileage of an out of shape runner

Holding on to hope is hard. And forgetting it is far too easy.

Life is full of ups & downs, relieving endings & frightening beginnings. Each day plays into a bigger part of a story we usually barely stop to notice we are responsible for writing. We're so caught up in downloading the latest version of whatever we think the world expects us to be that we forget to pick up a pen & write it for ourselves. And as a result, we live behind a mask--a version of ourselves that we've compromised for.

It is then, with a face painted on, that hope seems the farthest away.

It is then, when that face can't handle the pressure anymore that it runs. Far.

It is then, when her lungs give out from running so long that she realizes it's time. Time to remove the mask.

Because she's known it's been a problem for a long time. And she's also not a very fast runner. The masquerade always catches up.

For too long I've tried to escape reality by running from it. I ran by closing myself off from people. That hurt. A lot. It still does.

I ran away to Italy. The best race I've had yet. But it was temporary. I had to come back--and face myself again.

So I ran by becoming so involved in other people's lives that I could forget about my own. And that worked. For a while I thought I was cured--I had crossed the finish line! Oh, just kidding, there was a hill just up ahead that'd be the hardest yet.

I nearly gave up. The hill was too hard. I had been pushed beyond my limits, tripped too many times. But somehow, & not by my own strength, I made it to the top.

Currently I'm resting somewhere on the top of that hill. I guess this is the phase of life I'm calling limbo. I'm surviving, but not thriving. But you know, that's ok. For now. I'm learning to be content with just sitting on a grassy hill instead of sprinting full force toward something I know can't be achieved. There is no finish line in this race. Because running from myself isn't a success.

The past few months, my life has been pretty boring. Pathetic, if you will. I've struggled with getting out of bed each morning, painting on my mask & lacing up my running shoes. I didn't want to do it anymore. But it seemed like I had no choice.

I know now that I do have a choice. I'm the one holding the pen to my story, the one responsible for tying the laces on my shoes. All those dreams I aspire toward are disappearing into a far too distant future because I'm much too busy watching my footsteps on a path into a forest of fear. A path I'm creating for myself.

I'm done. I so badly want to stop. But a race can't be quit that easily. So I'm starting to slow down my pace a bit--a jog may not be a bad idea. At that speed I'll at least be able to go off the path & explore things I couldn't [and wouldn't] during the sprint.

I wish I could have things figured out, could be comfortable with a peaceful skip through the fields but I've never been one to take the easy path, obviously. More adventures to be had, I guess. But for now I'll be found sitting on the couch writing blog posts about sitting on the couch writing blog posts, reading & singing. Boring? Maybe. Frightening? Oh yes. But it's a chance I'm willing to take. And it just might be one of the last times I'll be putting on my running shoes. On your mark, get set, go.

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