First of all, stop what you’re doing and watch Oprah’s Golden Globes speech. If this doesn’t move you then this isn’t the blog for you and we can’t be friends. Joking! (Kind of)
Okay now we can continue.
Just show up. That’s one of my intentions for January, it seems overly simple, but it’s not always easy. Kelly Roberts, my running and blogging guru suggested this one on her latest BQ or Bust update. Like Kelly, I know I’m a quitter, I quit things as soon as they get hard or I don’t see the progress I think I should be seeing. I know full well that after 2 months off training, but not really resting or looking after myself, getting back into some sort of routine isn’t going to be easy. So all I’m asking of myself is to show up.
Yesterday, waking up at 5:30am to be on the bus for 40 minutes into town to run a few laps around the park was not something I really felt excited about. I am not a morning person, I repeat, I am NOT a morning person and I never will be. As I slouched in the bus seat, wondering why on earth I am doing this when I don’t start work until 10:30am, I just repeated my new mantra “just show up”. After the first lap, I had forgotten about all my reservations, I didn’t think about how tired I was, I only thought about the current lap and maintaining the pace and conversation of the other runners. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as awful as my mind had told me it was going to be when I was hauling my sleepy ass into the shower.
Today, the only thing I’ve written into my diary is Cloud Runners Society. I have the day off and I have had lofty goals for this month, getting all my shit organised, reducing the amount of stuff I have and really paying attention to my spending. Today is the 9th anniversary of my dad’s death, so I give myself the freedom to do whatever feels right. I might list those clothes on trademe or I might burrito for the entire day (/bʊˈriːtəʊ/ noun; the act of using your blanket like a tortilla to wrap your bean self). I give myself no expectations, and most importantly no judgement. When it’s time to go to CRS, I might not want to, but I’m going to show up, not because I have to, but because I want to. The best version of myself wants to go, not the burrito version, and there’s a time and place for each, but in order to maintain the balance, I’m going to have to just. show. up.
In the days leading up to this day every year, I start engaging in destructive behaviour without even noticing. My subconscious puts together the pieces before my rational brain recognises it. I start rereading what I wrote about my dad’s death (see “Time for a story” blog entry), I listen to sad songs and I eat allll the comfort food. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched the DVD of my dad’s funeral (yes it exists and it’s macabre but I’m grateful to have it) and I haven’t found the need to inflict that on myself this year, which is great. I did however watch Kingdom of Us, a Netflix documentary about a family of 8 going through memories of their dad who they lost to suicide 6 years prior. There’s something about seeing people navigate grief that isn’t really explored in mainstream media. Hearing these young women echo my own statements was comforting, knowing that on the other side of the world there are people who feel the same way. I guess that’s why I share this blog, because I think it’s so important to talk about things we don’t always want to. If one person feels a little more sane after reading my ramblings, then it’s worth it.
My truth is that I feel sad when I see young girls holding their dad’s hand, as my dad still reached for mine crossing the road even at the age of sixteen. I sometimes think I see him in the corner of my eye, I turn every time I hear a Ford Transit drive past. Just like the girls in the documentary, I’ve started to forget what his voice sounded like, and I used to constantly dream that he was actually living somewhere else. I still think of things that I had wished I had asked him, stories I wish I had listened better to. Things have got better though. I can listen to ‘What a wonderful world’ without crying and I can look at photos and feel happy, rather than sad. Most days now I feel as if it never happened, or as if it was a different life. I really thought 9 years on that I wouldn’t still have days where it consumed me, but that’s the strange thing about grief, people say it never goes away, but you really don’t know it until you’ve felt it. I still can’t predict how I’ll feel about it next year, next month or next week.
It’s not a day that I celebrate, but it’s also not forgotten. Most change is made gradually, by taking small steps and before you know it you are so far from where you started. But not this day, it’s the day my life changed forever. So I give it the respect it deserves, and I give myself the same. So if you’re feeling a little fragile, for whatever reason, honour it. Look after yourself, because this whole life thing isn’t easy and we need you on board. It’s the ones like you, with the big, messy, empathetic hearts that are going to change this world.