Today was different.
As I laced up my running shoes and zipped up my tights, I pulled the laces extra snug and made sure that no sliver of skin was left exposed on my ankles. There was a feeling of stubborn determination in my preparations, my jaw set and eyes unwavering. Uncharacteristically, I began to run before the trailhead and well before I hit the park. Once running, I didn’t want to stop. I wasn’t seeing anything, I wasn’t paying attention at all. The woods around me registered only as hazy blurs of muted greens, browns, and greys. I didn’t want to see. There was no sense or desire to stay within the range of “comfortable discomfort” that I usually do. My mission was one of running pell-mell, head-first into full fledged, ugly discomfort. It was only when I stopped to walk, chest heaving, heart about to explode that I began to understand what I was doing.
I was running away.
Each time I was forced to slow down I began to feel a familiar bubble of emotion rise up into my chest, my throat, and flirt with stinging my eyes. I didn’t like it and I sure as hell didn’t want to be caught in park with tears streaming down my cheeks. So I walked less and ran faster. Determinedly running away from big, complicated, dangerous feelings that I had no intention of dealing with. Not today. I ran harder until my lungs hurt and my legs ached and I felt like I might throw up and only then did I feel like I was winning. Gaining an edge over heady emotion, pushing it down and away, not seeing, not feeling anything but legs and lungs.
Only then did I feel safe.
Yes, today was different. I surprised myself by running away and yet instinctively knew it was my only choice. For now anyway. Tomorrow, I will settle into my yoga mat and breathe into those big feelings and hope to find my safety net, that soft place to fall. Releasing what I need to let go of, dropping what I must, seeing clearly.
But today I ran away. So very far away.