I don’t know how to settle. I got my heart broken too early and it was a wake up call to everything else that might be out there. Seventeen and before that I vaguely had a plan. Then, this is what being with someone who is depressed is like. This is what being depressed is like. This is not knowing. This is having your plan chewed up and spit out. This is being alone. This is being unhappy. This is being in a relationship and being unhappy. This is being alone and being somewhat happy. This is getting crushed. This is leaving. This is endings. This is being pissed off or apathetic. This is driving across country away from what I know and hating most every minute. This is driving into a thunderstorm miles away in the distance with no hills around to protect and no phone signal to comfort while my windshield is pounded with water. This is finding a routine and finding a calm. This is climbing peaks and exploring alone, enjoying the pain, the dirt, the quiet and the space. This is being alone but knowing there are those that love me. This is driving back and not knowing, not knowing if I’ll regret it leaving, but looking forward across this country that really isn’t that big and yet huge, so how can I settle?
Let me become obsessed with something
so intrigued that I can’t let it go,
so compelled by curiosity that I won’t stop searching
and learning until I feel complete.
Let me know what it is like to be overwhelmed
with an idea, a subject, a field or a method;
not overwhelmed in the sense of feeling like giving up
but so overwhelmed by the expanse of a thing
that I don’t know where to start delving in.
Let me find some goal, some passion
that I can’t for the life of me overcome or release.
World, I’m begging here,
just throw something at me.
These feet I’ve run into the ground over and over.
As I child, my bare feet were rough against the scratching hay
and the dirt and rock driveway.
These feet today carry me the miles I force them to go,
even blistered and sore;
the tips of my narrow toes have become tougher with the miles
and have taught me that strength doesn’t always result in beauty.
If I were to love a man again
I would want him to not care that my hands were cracked and rough
and for him to pretend that kissing the evolving scars would
somehow make them disappear and take away the pain.
I would want him to want to run with me,
or if not run, to at least walk through some trail without words
or with words, but with no rush, no competition,
unless out of pure sport and laughter.
If I were to love a man again
I hope that my humor, sarcasm and occasional cynical optimism
(if there is such a thing) would be countered with his own
because goddammit, life’s a bitch so why not make fun of it.
I would want his passion for life or
at least his passion about something
to be greater than my own because if my own enthusiasm
bit me in the ass I probably still wouldn’t notice.
If I were to love a man again
I hope that he would know that my love is not easy to come by
after years of distrust, but once he’s got it he should know that
I would give him the world and despite my feminist ways,
I would probably make him a sandwich if he asked for it.
What running (a lot) has taught me
- To forget. At least for a little while. To shut off the part of my brain that feels the need to be concerned, to be ever present, to be in the library for hours or to be interacting with people, to be worried about things I should be doing, need to be doing, could be doing… Running has enabled me to shut down my stress and escape for a time, be it 30 minutes to three hours, albeit out of necessity during my training.
- To sacrifice. Be it sleep, energy, studying, time with friends, or food.
- To not think about anything and to think about everything. If asked what consumes my mind while running, I couldn’t really tell you. Sometimes it’s nothing but figuring out what my body is feeling, or listening to the song or book on my iPod, or absorbing what I’m seeing. Sometimes I’m thinking about how much people can suck, granted, this is usually brought on by men who think it is fun to honk at running women. Sometimes I’ll get lost in thought thinking about people I love, places I’d like to go, sex I’d like to have…those types of things.
- To listen to and understand my body. During training I woke up days and didn’t want to run and I didn’t have the energy. So I didn’t go. Some days all those muscles and bones don’t work right or don’t want to work and there was no sense in stressing out about a run and hurting myself. For three weeks before the marathon I was nursing a sore knee and some days could not run as far as I needed. I let it go. Listening to my body wasn’t always about pain either. Some days I felt really good, and worked off of that.
- To sometimes say “fuck you body” and go run anyways. In other words, to push yourself over some limit. Pain does go away. In the hopes of not sounding like one of those really intense athletes (which I’m not), I won’t go too much into this. It’s something I’ve done. And in the end, it feels better to have gone running and feel sore than to have not gone and feel shitty.
- To appreciate those that support me. I started training in Kalamazoo, through Ohio, in Connecticut, and back to Kalamazoo. Marathon training was one of the few things I did this summer, so really, I talked about it a bit. Having the support of friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances enabled me to get through some of the shittier moments.
- To have faith in the capability of my body. Though I worked off of a training program for the marathon in October, I was not always that great at following it. When I went back home for two weeks at the end of the summer, I didn’t really run. The week before my SIP draft was due, I ran six miles out of the 40 planned. My knee gave me issues; my last long run was painful and slow. But I also I woke up one morning, should have been hungover (though maybe beer is really a great carb), went on a test run, and ended up running 20 miles and felt great afterwards. The night preceding the marathon I probably had 5 hours of sleep, was anxious about my knee, worried that my training hadn’t been enough, but came to the conclusion “to hell with everything, I’m finishing this damn thing no matter how I feel.” Race day came and my knee held itself together, my mind didn’t fail me, my bladder didn’t out due me, I casually pushed myself ahead of the pacer to which I had assigned myself, and just went with it all. So I suppose in some ways the faith I had in my body was founded on a backwards sort of motivation.
I can write my words into musical notes
with a lack of creativity
gimme the words, I’ll draw the notes
Simple, without a tune, I’ll give you rhythm.
I’d like to play with your instrumentation,
though really we could just skip that.
Let’s write some music.
More words on a page.
Rhythms not like heartbeats
because that’s too old fashioned.
I don’t want romantic slow beats,
I like punctuated sounds with rests and holds,
Like catching your breath in the middle of a song;
even pianists forget to breath.
Hands move over keys; hands move over bodies.
Mistakes are made and notes are dropped.
The music sometimes stops short.
Redos don’t really work outside of the practice room.
I can play one bar twenty times til my head spins but at least,
my fingers got it.
People don’t work that way.
There is no replay, no practice session alone,
with love there is no pause long enough, there is no coda.
What’s played is played.
Everyone is listening.
They can hear you skip a note in love more
than they can hear it in the music
(I’ve played enough horrible pieces that have ended in applause
to know that).
When playing with love,
you’re always on the stage.
And sometimes there is no applause.
There is no encore.
You leave your music behind.