Jogging the streets of my community is a hobby I picked up a few years ago after successfully completing the master cleanse also known as the lemonade diet, for two weeks straight. I was always a writer, never an athletic kid and never had even the smallest desire to play a sport. Well, there was a brief moment when I wanted to play football while in high school because I had a lot of male friends I grew up with that were a member of their high school’s football team. Their passion for the sport and the brotherhood that accompanied it appealed to me. I wanted to experience the same level of competitiveness, stress- relieving hits found in every tackle and build my physical stamina and strength but my high school did not have a football team and even if they did, it surly would not have been co-ed or even all girls and because of that, my dream was short lived. It died out after my freshman year in college while my love for writing surged forward.
So how did I get into running? Boredom. I don’t like the gym but my new found energy that I acquired while doing the master cleanse made me a bit restless while craving physical fitness activities. One of my sisters had a pair of rollerblades that she hardly used so one day I dusted them off (we wear the same size shoes) and took them for a spin around the block. I hadn’t rollerbladed since eighth grade so it is safe to paint a visual picture of my 20something year old self stiff bodied and wobbly feet trying to rollerblade to the nearest park. I made it two blocks and did a u-turn, swapped out the rollerblades for my sneakers and went running instead.
My first run was a struggle but I kept at it for a few weeks after the first jog, I ran every other day after work for a half an hour or so and enjoyed the feeling of my body getting comfortable with running while exploring parts of my community I’ve overlooked because of bus speed or having no affairs to tend to in certain areas. While running, I also learned the importance of self-motivation and basked in the words of encouragement I’d give myself when I felt tired as I tried to push past my comfort distance or faced a hill that I knew would be a challenge if I allowed myself to feel defeated for a split second. For the first time in my entire life I felt proud of myself for doing something I enjoyed —outside of writing of course— on my time and terms and although I don’t run often, especially when the weather is bad, oppressively hot and humid or in the winter time (remember, I dislike the gym), but when I do, it is as if no time has passed with an smooth resume.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I went on a run today on my usual route and could not complete it. And you know what? I don’t feel as bad as I should. Here’s why:
The run started out kind of difficult. I increased my usual starting speed just a bit because I want to shave some minuted off of my time. By the fourth block I wanted to turn back around and go home. But, I didn’t. I kept going and started my motivational speech to myself that’s typically reserved for the last five minutes or so of the run. It didn’t work. I kept stopping to speed walk and shout to myself “what the fuck is happening!?” I did not understand why I couldn’t push past whatever was blocking me from doing something I do fairly often and then, out of the blue at my halfway mark, I felt a cry forming in my chest.
Crying was the last thing I needed in that moment of trying to get my body to obey my brain but the more I fought the feeling, the more it fought back and eventually won. I kept running with tears in my eyes until my vision became too blurry to keep going safely. I stopped, leaned against a wall and cried. “Why the fuck am I crying? It’s not that serious” I repeated to myself while wiping my eyes and willing myself to keep going. I had a new time to clock and this unexpected show of emotions was getting in the way worse that a random group of people walking the sidewalks up ahead of me.
I ran and ran and ran and then..BOOM! I started crying again after just five blocks. This time I sat down on a bench, placed my head in my hands and sobbed uncontrollably silent. The more I cried, the more I comforted myself with words about the importance of allowing my tears to flow. There was a lightness in my chest presenting itself the more I gave in to the emotion without reservation. Every time I mentally patted my own head and shoulders, the connections between life outside my run and the real blocks I’ve experienced started to reveal themselves.
Presently I am going through a major life transition that got its jump start a little over a year ago. I am forcing myself to dig through roots and clutter that I’ve either avoided for years or never realized were there. I have watched people and things fall apart and out of my grasp in order to allow myself to grow into my next chapters in life as the woman I desire myself to be. This massive shift in consciousness and behavior is both rewarding and scary as hell but, I welcome it even when most of the work required is so powerful, I’m almost afraid to go near it. What am I afraid of, though? Change? Whatever it is, it has begun to interfere with my creative side and THAT, I don’t like.
The battle to push past multiple levels of “writers block” has crippled my passion to create stories, poems and everything else in written form. It is so bad that each time I open my laptop after being hit with a great story idea and the desire to type it out either here on my blog or in MS Word to be added to the saved content I’m building for my upcoming book, I get frustrated with simple things such as how slowly the programs I use to type load up or discouraged with how long it may take me to hand write it all in my notebook. These thoughts usually end in my shutting down the computer shortly after MS word finally decides to respond or putting away my notebook and fill my time do something completely unrelated to writing. I don’t process the frustration nor do I revisit the attempt before the night ends and the next evening after work, I do it all over again.
This is something I need to stop doing NOW because manuscripts don’t write themselves nor do grad school applications and blog posts but there is a hump I can’t seem to pull myself up and over. I think my cry during my run was a sign for me to start allowing myself to acknowledge every positive and negative feeling that presents itself while I try to be proactive with my productivity, sit with it and break it down unapologetically. What exactly is keeping me from doing something I am damn well good at and why is it winning? I think I know the answers to this question but I’ll need more self-care time focused specifically on this subject to be sure I have the light shone on the right “bug” before I proceed with kill tactics. While getting it together, though, I’ll try my hands, or should I say feet, at that run again.