Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Quiet Things That No One Needs to Know

I may have told you this already, but one day several years ago when my ex-Glenn, who's run thousands upon thousands of miles, was running on the treadmill at the gym, a girl came up to him and asked him something like, Don't you ever just want to stop? and he answered something like, I want to stop all the time. But I don't. Maybe it was I want to stop all the time. But I keep going, but either way, you get the gist. The diction's a little different, but the meaning's not.

I think about that exchange often while I'm running, specifically, of course, when I'm ready--but not really ready--to stop. When I need something extra to get me through, I think about it, and I think about my ex-Glenn, who up until he relayed that conversation I thought had the easiest time running ever, and I repeat the first version over and over in my head like a mantra. I want to stop all the time. But I don't. And like my ex-Glenn, I keep on running, like it or not.

Well, last night was one of those nights when I had to pull the mantra out. It was humid, I was tired, I hadn't run outside in what seemed to be ages, my feet hurt, and dammit it all to hell, I wanted to stop. I wanted to stop, so in my head--

I want to stop all the time. But I don't.
I want to stop all the time. But I don't.
I want to stop all the time. But I don't.
I don't. I don't. I don't.

And then it happened. The running-induced epiphany of which I've written.

A few months ago, my mom said something about how strong I am, a statement that I disputed immediately (and a sentiment I still fail to see). What exactly prompted that statement, I have no idea, but the divorce, the restraining order, the threats from my ex-Glenn, the sole responsibility of my house and kids, the unethical lawyer who's 5,000 dollars richer while I'm that amount poorer--all of that had something to do with it, I'm sure. Really, it doesn't matter why the statement was made, only that it was.

So strong how? I asked (antagonistically, I'm sure).

Because, she told me not in these exact words, despite all the bad stuff happening to you, you're keeping it all together. You're taking care of the kids, taking care of the house, taking care of yourself.

Yes, but what choice do I have? It has nothing to do with strong. 

I wouldn't get out of bed. When your father left for ten days when you and your sister were little, I didn't get out of bed once and Tante, Paulette, and Aunt Carla had to come and take care of you.

Well, I'm not you.

I know that. I'm just telling you what I would do and why I think you're strong.

Again, I want to reiterate that I really don't think myself to be strong. If you have kids and a job and things that have to be done, well, you have kids and a job and things that need to be done. But while I was running last night, when I wanted to stop, when I thought my usual thought--I want to stop all the time. But I don't, it segued to my thinking other thoughts.

I thought about the last couple of weeks. I thought about my ex-Glenn taking my Hudson. I thought about his harassing my friends through both Facebook Messenger and text. I thought about a son who refuses to wake up when he needs to, making me rush like a maniac to get another son to school and myself to work on time every day. I thought about how once I get to work, already rushed and feeling harried, I work seven periods straight, teach two college classes, and have to be two grades' department head, and my days are such a blur that holy shit! it's already the middle of October and I don't even know how that occurred. I thought about a recently ended relationship that I wasn't ready to end. I thought about how much in the last month or so I really needed a friend but my two best ones disappeared, one to college and one to wherever friends go when they decide an intermission must be had.

I thought about those things, and I thought about how so many times in the last couple weeks I wanted nothing more than to climb into bed, clutch the stupid t-shirt-come-security blanket I sleep with every night, and never get out. I thought about all the times I wanted to call into work but got up and went anyway, all the times I wanted to give my students something to keep them busy but taught regardless. I thought about those things, and the next time I want to stop all the time. But I don't ran through my mind, it entirely meant something else.