Run : Surviving Charlie
Team Charlie Lives


by Elise Normile on 01/11/16

So I've been running lately.  A lot.  I don't get it.

I didn't run track or run for fitness growing up.
I never did 5ks.  I don't even like running I don't think.

But, tonight, for the 8th evening in 11 nights I ran.  In 37 degree weather that pierced my lungs like glass on the inhales.  Last week, I ran in the dark as it snowed lightly.

Tonight as I walked off the 30 minute run I wondered.  Why am I doing this?

Really.  Why the hell am i running?

Not for the company because I run alone.  Not for the accolades because I don't even care.  Not for cute gear- I run rugged.  Thick socks, two running shirts with thumb holes.  A hood, a hat. 

I dress to be comfortable and warm because I'm running my fastest and my farthest tonight.  Every time.

I don't run for attention because I run in the dark.  Nor, for weight loss because my scale needs a new battery.  I bought one for it a few days ago.  I never opened the battery package because while the scale does need a battery, I'm not sure that I need the scale.

So, tonight, I wondered as I walked the run off... Why am I running?  

It's so strange.  I hate to run still... I think... but, I can't wait to do it.  I hate when I don't run and I am excited when I can run.  And it's hard every time.

And its just so hard and so demanding.  

I think I know why I'm running.

I lost my two sons and that is a lot.  A lot of everything.  Emotions, decisions, considerations, feelings, grief, worry, exhaustion.  It's a lot.  And I am not a very emotional, fluffy person.  I have always gained and grown and felt my deepest satisfaction in the logic, in the sensibilities, and in the facts at hand.

Somehow, in the loss of my boys and the aftermath, I lost myself.

I became too lost in emotion, too easy on myself, too eager, too desperate, to anxious to delight others, or to be happy, or to be perfect, or to be everything, or to be loved....

I changed and became too soft.  

I felt sorry for myself and that's an unnecessary waste of time and emotion.  Truly.  People will assure me that I have every right to feel sorry for myself. Whatever. I want a little better. I'd like to forget the assurance that I have "every right to feel sorry for myself"... I want every right to be happy.  Self pity isn't the road map to happy.  It never is. 

I have worked for myself and on myself and by myself my entire life.  I like hard work and I like the satisfaction hard work brings me.

Tonight, I said to myself as I often do,  "Why am I running?"  and the answer finally came to me and it came quickly.

It dawned on me that I'm replicating some of the demands that were placed on me when I lost my boys.  I'm creating moments in my days that are painful, and that require endurance and discipline. I'm re-creating activities that I dread and can't face and... are tough.  And I'm doing it intentionally.  

Because I don't want to lose the purity.  

It was in these dark and painful moments that I saw most easily what really mattered, who mattered, and how much I valued these faces and moments.

When I run I picture the face of someone I loved and lost.  I imagine talking to them.  I picture sending them a text in the mornings just to say hello...  and I run and I run....  and I remember and I run.

I run to feel the pain. And I run to overcome it.    

In doing so, I get closer to the honesty and clarity that came to me in some of those darkest moments.  At these times you easily discover how strong you are and how much you can endure.  

Every run is a cleanse.  It is a resolution to honor and value those that I love.  Not to change them.  Not to overwhelm them. Overbuy them.  Over talk them.  Over praise them.  Not to demand of them... their time, their words, their attention.  Just to love them as they are.  To listen...  

Every run is a promise.  To love myself perfectly... 

And to hold high expectations for the relationship that I have with myself but, only myself.

And so I run... and I demand of myself.

I run and expect of myself and i am proud...  

 and in running I release my expectations of everyone else.

In releasing my expectations I am free to enjoy things and relationships for what they are instead of what I think they should be.

I suspect there is a quiet need that exists in us all to look quietly and silently.
 There is a reason why regardless of wealth or position, mankind is often drawn to self imposed cleanses, beginnings, sacrifices, and renewals.  Ramadan, New Year's Resolutions, Lent, Yom Kippur... 

Sometimes the only way we can experience abundance is to push ourselves to receive what we already have. 

I love to hate running.... It's true.  I beginning to realize that I secretly hate that I love it.  

Find your running.

Set a goal to achieve something that is so big, so exhilirating, that it excites and scares you at the same time.  

I don't pity myself for losing.  I am excited that I loved.  

One of the bravest things I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.

One of the toughest things I ever did was choosing to love and accepting the risk.

One of the smartest things I ever did was choosing to be happy.  

Happiness is a choice and never a result.

What my eyes show me of the outer world, my running does for the inner.

I run because tonight's struggle will be the strength I depend on tomorrow.

I run because I want to learn to love myself so that I can love others better.

It's not easy to love openly and easily when you have lost.  

But, health begins with heal for a reason.  It's time to work.  It's time to run.

One foot in front of the other and in the word of the very badass singer Pink,

"Its in the stars
Its been written in the scars on our hearts
We're not broken just bent
and we can learn to love again"

and we will....  

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