He told me he could tell the minute I walked onto the gym floor; I was calm. He was right.
The long run saved me.
Coach’s face-reading skills are impressive. I left my worries and my upset out there on the trail, and today I feel like I can face the world again. Nothing has changed, of course, as Coach reminded me, but certainly my thoughts have. For today, I am dependent on no person or event or thing outside of myself to provide my happiness – it’s an inside job, and it’s completely within my control. My joy waits for nothing but my command.
Coach seemed to identify a pattern – is it hormonal, I wonder? I dip into that ugly world for a couple of days every so often, and then I snap out of it again. At least I don’t live there anymore. God, it sucked so much when I lived there. Every single fucking day was filled with tears and despair and misery. My children kept me alive.
Today is a different story. Today I am not that pitiful girl. Today I am a strong, determined, badass ultra-runner and weight-lifter, and no one can hold me back from that which I was born to do. Today, I feel my heart beating and the dust has settled from the storm.
When I was little, I was terrified of thunderstorms – maybe they reminded me too much of my emotions. It was the only time I remember going into my parents’ bedroom and asking to sleep with them, as if they could protect me. I can feel the anxiety that passed through me like an electric current, and I remember lying there, in my yellow room, thinking I would die before the storm would finally pass.
After one such night that seemed to last forever, I was outside admiring our tulips, and the only trace of the horror I had experienced just hours before was a drop of water on a tulip leaf. The sun was shining brightly and the world was safe again. I went inside, sat in my yellow bean-bag chair, and wrote this poem about that experience – I was about 12 or 13 years old.