Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letter to Paul

Gosh, were you ever sweet. Sweet and funny and shy and outspoken and carefree all wrapped up in a cute packaging. And I didn't know what to do with you. You baffled me on a daily basis. I think it was mostly because you were not afraid to say what was on your mind. That baffled me. How is it possible that at 17 you knew how you felt? You were 17! You shouldn't have those emotions for another 10 years, if that.

At 19, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I certainly didn't know anything about feelings. I was 19. I felt fine. But love? How would I know what that's like at 19. Yes, I did believe I loved my boyfriend. Heck, I'd even planned the wedding and the 3.5 kids. But, that, that was easy. I thought I knew what I wanted at 19. Boy, did you ever mess that plan up.

I don't think I knew how a relationship was supposed to be until I met you. You were 'sincere' is the only word I can think to describe it. Sincere in your words, in your actions, in your non-words. You spoke volumes with your eyes without saying a word. You scared me. You scared me so much I ran. I ran to be with someone who I thought knew me. But no one knew me the way you did.

You knew me better than I did. It's only now, 20 years later, that I understand it. And now, I wish I could see you again to say thank you. Thank you for showing me how to love.

Call me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In the photo, I see me.

In the photo, I see me. Exhausted, happy, relieved me. What a goal! 21.1 kilometres frozen in time in a moment that would last a lifetime. I see joy, glee, pride and a pretty confident person with a beaming smile. I did it!

Ha! to all you naysayers who said I couldn't, wouldn't do it. Ha! to the nagging self-doubt that constantly creeped into my training runs over the last few months. Ha! to the rain that started the day and the humidity that ended it. "I beat you". Haha. Damn, that medal looks good on me!

What I don't see is the sweat, the tears, the nagging self-doubt at kilometre 15 that I would be able to finish this race. I don't see the aches, the pains, the soreness, the months of running uphill while my thighs burned, the all too familiar awful taste of blue Gatorade as I eagerly gulped it down or the fear that I would never get here; to the race, the start, the running, the finish.

I started too fast (as usual) and really debated whether I would finish the race when at kilometer 19, I stopped. Just stopped, refusing to take another step; the weight of the last 2 kilometres weighing on my shoulders. I couldn't' go on. I didn't want to. Someone near me cheered some encouragement. I turned to glare at her. 'Don't tell me I'm almost there'. 'I am not almost there!' There is still 2 kilometres of hell to go before I get there. She turned to cheer on someone else.

I had 2 kilometres to go and I was tired but I couldn't give up. One step...two step...one step...another step. Just keep going even if you have to walk or crawl the last 2 kilometres. One step..2 step...okay now run a little, ok walk..but keep walking. Legs burning, lungs burning, the Sound of Madness throbbing through my head...'but keep going'.

Then, I saw the Sign. 'Finish' was all it said. 'Finish'.

As I crossed the Finish line, exhaustion, sweat, tears streaming down my face, I had one thought and one thought only.

'I Am A Runner.'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I think I went there...

I think I went there to find myself. Who is Sandra, what does she want, what makes her happy, what makes her tick. I wanted an answer, anything that would show me the way, the path, my path. I didn't mean it literally but, that was what I received.

A literal path of dirt and rocks and gravel to follow. One rock, gravel road, big rock, pavement (that's odd), more gravel, dirt, grass..but still a path..leading in this direction. So then, I too, will go in this direction.

I found quiet. Too quiet. I found peace. Too quiet. I found serenity. And yet still, too quiet. Perhaps it was just something I was not used to. The sound of sheep being herded in the distance, a child giggles off to my right, a hammer pounds in the far off distance, a ragged breath, a heavy footfall, a pebble. I hear water gushing down a brook. And yet, I still hear the quiet.

Perhaps it was the massive awe-inspiring mountains to my right, the hollow sound of the wind-torn grass to my left, the heavy footfall of my boots on the gravel road that made me painfully aware of the quiet. Or maybe it was the quiet making me painfully aware of the noise in my head. Telling me to stop, listen, watch, see...telling me to squelch the constant noise that I am hearing and listen to the quiet.

This was the reason I was here, was it not. To stop for a minute, a second, a nano-second. To see. To listen. To accept that I am more than the noise in my life, I am more than my commitments, my deadlines, my dread. Here, in this quiet village on top of this quiet mountain, life exists; it flourishes, it smiles, it punches me in the face with a stunness I did not expect. It was I who came here to prove something but perhaps it was this place that brought me here to learn something.

Far away from a bustling, hustling, loud city that bombards me with noise, I can hear a pebble drop, I can hear water rushing down a brook, I can hear the wind whistling through the grass and yet, it is quiet. And, it is in this quiet, that I know who I am. Finally, I can hear myself.

That was the place where..

That was the place where I didn't have to think. There were no deadlines, no phone calls, no emails, no work that needed to be completed. There was no thinking to be done. Just walking. One step in front of the other. One..two..one..two...another two steps, another two, just keep walking. I would look up periodically and see the top of the mountain. As it got harder to breathe; as it got colder; as each step felt heavier than the last, I could always look up and see the top of the mountain; my destination. The accumulation of thousands of steps, a half-dozen meals, many cups of teas, some restless nights of sleep; all there on the op of the mountain glistening against the sunset. What a glorious feeling that would be to get to the top of that mountain.