i used to be a runner

But I can’t right now.

Okay, I guess I could. I could wake up with my alarm, could lace up my sneakers, could trudge out the front door, could move my body intentionally, could feel something like pride at the exertion…

But I can’t right now.

Because, you see, everything still hurts. And I don’t feel like I’m allowed to do things that cultivate joy or pride in myself. Because I feel like trash. I feel like a bad person. I hurt people and I deserve to be in pain now, right? This is the story, these are the rules.

I used to run and (kind of) to cook and to read books and to watch The Mandalorian, and I can’t do any of those things right now.

(Okay, I guess I could.)

Instead I make deals all day. I bargain, I negotiate to survive. “If you go get a bagel, will you hang in there?” “If we read this next fic chapter, will you promise to drink some water?” “If we listen to Elton John while we do it, can we check our work e-mail?”

I am functioning, I guess. I am drinking tea and listening to music and asking for help and rubbing lavender lotion onto my soft, crackly elbows. I took a shower today, I ate some toast.

Gold fucking star, right?

It’s almost the end of the year and I feel like I am running out of Walt Whitman quotes, running out of Elton John lyrics, running out of all the platitudes I have tried to use this year to bandage over my own heart.

I spoke with a friend last night and my voice was low and rough and I didn’t recognize it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t recognize myself at all anymore. Who is this sad, chubby thing in the mirror? Because I used to run. I used to get medals, they are hanging on my wall.

I don’t really want to be here right now, but this feels like the way through, you know? Talking about it. Wrenching the horrible truths out from underneath my fingernails. Putting my guts on the table, asking you to see me, to hear me.

Maybe, yeah, be worried about me a little bit.

(I’m sorry.)

Writing here feels like a vow, sometimes, more than anything else. A promise.

“I promised me,” says Kermit, and maybe that’s what this is.

I will finish this hot chocolate (thank you, Lina), and I will pull some clothes on even if I hate the way they feel on my skin today, and I will listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and recall that I am capable of happiness.

I used to be a runner.

Published by Dani

I like breakfast, marine mammals, Star Wars, comedy, the song "Dead Man's Party," and Halloween musical revues at theme parks. Let's be friends!

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