Sunday, December 21, 2014
Count them where you can
I can't stay here. Sad and lonely in a world full of joy, beauty, support and love. I've never planned on it. I've been fighting in surges to climb my way out. I promise. I have never intended on quitting. Believe me, every excuse as to why I have been down this many times and this long has scores of possible solutions and adjustments that I'll never stop trying. It doesn't have to be big and dramatic. But sometimes it is. In my life, a little drama comes attached to big passion.
I went out yesterday. Aaron was out running a new peak with friends. I "let" him go again. He always asks me before he plans adventures. As if I would draw the line and say no, and sentence him to live within my physical limitations. I appreciate his sensitivity, but I know what it's like to wither in the absence of things you are passionate about and I'd never ask that of anyone else. Lest I wallow too drearily in jealousy, I made my kids breakfast and then put on my luggiest running shoes and some layers. Then I ventured out in the drenching rain that played on the verge of snow. Simple. Park at Davis Creek, hop on the BST North and run or walk, or whatever my body will let me do 'til I feel like turning around. Old stomping grounds. So familiar I could almost do them blindfolded. My ankle hurt from the first few steps. I kept hearing Brian's voice in my head, "Know when to shut it down. Know when to pull the plug." But I needed this so badly. Nothing was so severe that I'd do damage. Run to Steed Creek. Cross the stream and up the hill. I stepped wrong and my ankle rolled. Walk it off. Nothing serious. It rolled again. It's weak. Just be more careful. My face screwed up in anger and the tears began to fall. I'm so tired of crying. "Please!" I called aloud. "Please! I need this! I need a good one. Please!!" Walk it off. My entire foot ached with every step. It's so familiar now, the pain. The bully in my head began to pick on me. "Idiot. Drama queen. Wimp. People do this crap all the time, and you're gonna cry about it? What makes you so special that you're aloud to whine about it? Why do you even try? What is the point?" I hiked over the rise to a flat spot and picked up the pace, careful to land just right. "Stop it. Just stop it." I spoke aloud. "You would never be this mean to anyone else. You'd never stand for anyone else to be this mean to someone, let alone yourself. This is not okay, and it has to stop, now. " Bah-pah-pah. Bah-pah-pah. One elephant. Two elephant. I fell into my hard-trained 180 running tempo that Brian was so impressed with when I'd run on the Alter G. The pain faded as I settled into the groove and let my mind drift. "You are amazing, Kristyan Williams. Do you know what you are doing? You are winning. Everyday. Give yourself a little credit. You are amazing." I gave myself the pep talk that everyone else has tried to give me for months. The one I couldn't hear through the muffled cloud of depression and anxiety. Up the hills, down the hills, One elephant, Two elephant. I've never been able to run up the hills consistently, but there I was, running. My hat brim was dripping. I could taste fresh winter on my lips as the rain and snow collaborated in their drenching, driving slush. Sweat on my flushed skin beneath all the layers. The cold stung my face even as my body core radiated heat, and I was alive. My nose caught the startling scent of wild sage on the trail side, and I smiled softly in pleasant surprise. I was vaguely aware of the watch beneath my layers, ticking away the miles, until suddenly I was at Farmington Canyon. I tagged the gate posts on either side of the road with my flushed fingers and turned South. One elephant, two elephant. The rain was coming faster and harder, steadily drenching and re-drenching my clothing. I began to be able to pick out individual ice clumps against the mountain backdrop ahead of me as the misty snowline danced on the mountain just above. "Do it. Do it. Do it!" I called to the raindrops, daring and cheering them to turn to snow. I reached Steed Creek again. Cross the stream, up the hill. Half a mile to go. The ache in my ankle was nothing compared to the searing in my glutes, thighs and calves. It burned so good! It was strength, it was growth, it was the feeling of non-surrender. I crested the hill to see my mom-van waiting below, just as the slush finally made the transition to actual snow. As I trotted down the slope, I mentally licked a finger and made a tally mark in the victory column.
I have to count my victories where I can. In the swampy mire of this struggle, I need these little beacons. Gold stars. I'm a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, a fair athlete, a fighter, a lover, a passionate soul. I cannot and will not let this snuff me out.