As I've expressed here before, I lived a lot of my life feeling trapped. Accompanied by that trapped feeling is a strong desire to flee running and screaming. Whether it was from my classroom, the jw kingdom hall, my marriage, my job or my life, the angst would well up so high in my soul that there seemed no other option but to flee. Flee I did. Scream I did not. And definitely not run. Usually I would leave quietly, hoping no one would notice me. But today, today was different.
I woke up with that trapped feeling. I could feel it sitting in my throat. So I figured I'd just play with it. Coax it out a little. So I took my pillow and screamed into it really loud. I started coughing. I screamed some more. I screamed for about two minutes. My belly was full with screaming. I kept going until it felt complete.
I was hoping that this would be enough to let me go back to sleep. I had a shitty night and really wanted some more rest, but my legs began asking for attention. They said, "Run." I said, "No way." They said, "Run." I said, "No way." They said, "Run." Hmmm...
Anyone who knows me knows that I don't run. I walk really fast but I don't run. I was always the slowest runner in grade school and always felt like people were watching me. I also have these awful memories of daily gym class runs. The last part of the run was through a forest back to the school. Although we were running in groups, my mom was still very afraid of me being snatched by some stranger as I went through the forest so she wrote my teacher a note stating that I was not to run through the forest but run along side it...alone. I remember my heart beating so fast as I split off from the rest of the class. I knew very well that my isolation put me in much more harm's way than staying with the crowd. But that's my mom for ya. So running for me has always been this mental block.
As I attempted to lull myself back to sleep, my legs became restless. I offered them a nice walk. But once again they insisted, "Run!" Damn that Forrest Gump--I watched the film before bed last night and it must have entered my subconscious as I slept. I knew I wasn't going to get any rest until my legs had been satisfied, so I got up, put on my running shoes and headed out onto the street. I laughed out loud. I felt completely ridiculous.
I started out walking. I was sure that the minute I started to run, people would stream out of their houses and begin to point and laugh. It took me some mental haggling to get up my nerve to begin to run. As my feet touched down on the pavement, I could feel my whole body resisting. I could feel years of shame swirling their way up through my chest. Who was I to run? Who was I to leave? Who was I to speak up for not wanting to be where I was? I ran as far as my breath would take me. And then stopped. I looked around to see if anyone was watching. No one was. Phew.
I did a couple of more rounds of runs--each time allowing myself to breathe my way through the discomfort, both physically and emotionally. I didn't get very far distance-wise, but I think I made leaps and bounds mentally. Each day I face a little more of the past, a little more of myself, a little more of what holds me back from being who I really am. I can't say it's easy. It brings me to the depths of all the dark places within my soul. But underneath the darkness there is light. And hope.
Edited to add: I finally got my nap. When I woke up there was this wondering: How would my life have been different if I'd known how to speak up for myself or voice my feelings, wants, desires to someone I felt safe with? I doubt I would've felt like running and screaming so much. Glad I'm getting to learn those tools now.