After yesterday’s post, I felt compelled to write a follow-up. I had reread my post.
I try not to reread my own posts, because I always think, “ugh, did I really write this self-important drivel?” I did!
But I read it anyway, partly because I couldn’t entirely recall what I’d written (ahem). And I realized something.
Blogging turns me into an asshole.
I’m going to warn you ahead of time I won’t talk much about running today. But this is something that’s important for me to say.
My posts tend to trivialize the other people I mention. But my friend Geoffrey, my brother Alex, and especially my better-than-me, Pixie, are truly amazing folks. Geoffrey is a better runner than me, and somehow has accomplished that in addition to raising three amazing kids. Alex squeezes running in between creating mystical music on over a dozen instruments.
Pixie, without sharing too many personal details, is the most self-driven and inspiring person I’ve ever met, which is why I’m blessed to be with her. In most of my previous relationships, it has always been too easy to grow complacent. “How about we just stay in for the 50th time and eat ice cream?” But with Pixie I feel pushed to make myself a better person every single day.
Writing is an egotistical act. What I write is all about me. It’s narcissism. It’s catharsis. It’s all about my feelings, and pains, and failures and successes. I think that’s the only way to write meaningfully. I expose all the stuff inside of me, both the treasure and the trash. Some of my friends may think I’m a superhero, but I’m not. Just the fact that I beat the shit out of myself every day should indicate that there’s something wrong with me.
But running isn’t the cure-all for dealing with the ups and down of life. Even more important than running is the people in my life: The people I love and the people who love me back. Of course, this is a blog about running. But I’m cheating here and telling you about something that’s even more important.
Running is a deeply solitary act. Even if you’re running a race, you’re really alone, stuck in your own head. You have many many miles and hours in which to review every single thing you’ve ever thought and felt. To needlessly obsess over that mean thing you did to your brother when you were 11. To criticize and re-criticize yourself for failings both real and imagined.
The only thing that pulls you out of your head, that lets you forget – for a while – the stupid stuff that infuriates you for no reason whatsoever, that allows you be truly joyful, is the people who surround you. I run with Geoffrey, not only because he makes me a better runner, but because we share and connect and pull one another out of our loneliness. And I’m so lucky that my brother Alex doesn’t hate me for that thing I did to him when I was 11.
The person though, who by far the most keeps me afloat in the chaos of my soul, is Pixie. She is there every day, a lighthouse that I never lose sight of. She reminds me why I do all the hard things I do. If I ever question myself, I can say, “I do this because of her.” Being “awesome” is not a good enough reason. You tell someone once that you’re running a marathon and they say, “wow!” You tell it to them again and they say, “uh yeah, I know. That’s like all you ever talk about.”
Pixie doesn’t care that I run or why I run. Well she does, but she would be just as impressed with me if I had an epic collection of lint (as long as that collection wasn’t on her couch). What I’m saying is that she loves and supports me because that’s who she is. I don’t have to impress her. But I choose to, because I could never do enough for her.
In the martial arts, you learn that you can never attain perfection. You can only ever strive for it your whole life. Running is something I hope to do all my life. But it’s really hard to strive for perfection if you think the only person who will be there in your final days is the nurse changing your catheter. And she’s not likely to say, “wow, good job with all the shit you did!” More likely she’ll say, “good lord you piss a lot!”
As long as Pixie is in my life, I have a pillar to support me while the currents of this world swirl violently around me. I hope my horrible socks don’t scare her off, but maybe someday I’ll actually learn what a “hamper” is. Right now I’m pretty sure it’s a small adorable rodent. I guess it grabs my sock and scurries off with it into a dark corner? I’m not sure how that helps, but I’ll trust the system!
So to the folks who crop up in my posts with barely an acknowledgment, I apologize. You have a whole rich, full, transcendent quality to you that’s completely washed over with a few unsatisfying words. I try my best in my real life to show my love and appreciation. But the words I write are what are immortalized, and they don’t do you justice.
And to Pixie I say thank-you. Thank-you for your generosity. Thank-you for your strength. Thank-you for your beauty that transcends mere appearance. Thank-you for inspiring me to make myself even half as incredible as you. There is so much in this world that wants to knock one down and keep one down. But you constantly pull me up, never letting me surrender. Without you I don’t know where I’d be, but it would be in a much less happy place.
And to my readers, I hope the above didn’t make you gag too much. But too few of us really express our love and appreciation for those we care about. I know I don’t do it enough. I hope if anything, this helps you appreciate the people in your life who drive you.
And now, a cute picture.
|Cute? Or Terrifying!|