I’ve been reading Born to Run (you should read it too, seriously), and it’s surprisingly poignant. Really, I just expected a well-written narrative, and instead I’m having my heart broken daily with prose like this:

Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone.

Where the fuck did that come from, running book?? That shit hit me so hard, you might as well have done a mic drop.

I’ve been mulling this over in my head the past couple of days, and the more I sit with it, the more I like it. Pain is something we try to fix; we see it as a bad thing that must be dealt with right away. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case. Now, I’m not saying if you have a broken leg that you should just walk it off and embrace the pain. However, the kind of pain I’ve been living with lately might serve a purpose. I previously mentioned that I have seasonal depression with a side of anxiety, and while there have been more good days than bad days lately (thanks to therapy, a SAD light, and a fuckton of supplements), there are still days when I wake up in the depths of despair or events that make me tailspin into panic central. My first instinct is to get it to stoprightnow, through whatever means necessary (the easiest: Netflix binge, although that’s a temporary solution).

Louis C.K. has an amazing bit about how sadness can be beautiful, and we’re using technology/stuff to mute those feelings. It made the rounds a few months ago (and brought me to tears), but if you haven’t seen it, you should watch it now:

He’s right. We are so terrified of feeling that discomfort that we do anything we can to push it away. But take away that discomfort, and we also don’t get to feel true joy, and we’re all just wandering around fine all the time. Is fine really enough?

So back to the running. I was alternately sad, irritated, and finally frustrated (read: ragey) last night over some boy stuff. At first, I just really wanted those feelings to go away, because they are hard and I am tired. Instead, I talked to a friend, and ended up lacing up and hitting the track at 10pm. I had a really great ‘frun’ (frustration + run) and I just let the feelings wash over me. I actually ended up pushing myself harder than I thought possible, and although my hamstrings hate me today, it was worth it. I worked through the pain (physical and mental) instead of just jamming it down and pretending it wasn’t there.

I’ll leave you with this final gem from Born to Run, which is very well-timed for the chaos in my life/heart/brain right now:

…his gut kept telling him that there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me?


8 responses to “Runaway”

  1. […] changing in my life right now, so it makes perfect sense. I’ve been doing that thing where I avoid mental silence to avoid dealing with emotions, but it’s hard to keep up long term. I realized I had a problem when just the thought of […]

  2. Love this! Someone once brought to my attention how fast we tend to shove tissue in the faces of people who are crying rather. It’s as though we’re encouraging them to stop crying/stop being upset rather than holding space for them to express these feelings and validating them. I’m not sure if that’s similar, but it’s what came up for me when I read this. Do you think the exercise is helping your mood?

  3. That book sounds awesome!!! I’d heard of it before, but not read it. Just goes to show what a profound activity running is, right?
    My favourite running book is “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”. It really inspires me, and is about far more than the act of leaning forwards and putting one foot ahead of the other. I think you’d like it 🙂
    There was a great Australian marathon runner, Robert De Castella. He won silver in a Commonwealth Games marathon, and the runner who pipped him at the post (Ethiopian, I think) gave him his gold medal after the race, and said something like: “You ran that race, and I just ran behind you.” De Castella now helps indigenous Australian athletes train for international events. Another great human being, in my books.
    I’m glad to have stumbled across your blog, and look forward to reading more. Take care!

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