Roar.

Earlier today, I had been for a run, because I’m still doing that, and stopped by the local shop to get something for lunch. After I left the shop I took the shortcut round the side of the building. The shortcut involves going through a few trees and jumping over a wall and, while I’ve never seen anyone else go that way, I’m well-acquainted with it because for some reason it’s one of my son’s favourite hangout spots.

So that’s how I came to be leaping down from the darkness of the foliage onto the pavement, nonchalantly clutching a meal deal at chest height in a t-shirt with a t-rex and the text ‘ROAR!’ across it, to a small audience of slightly alarmed pedestrians.

I felt that quiet satisfaction and amusement I get having done something adequately weird without having priorly realised it was going to be weird. Hmm, yes, look at me in bemusement and secret admiration, oh meek onlookers, for I am not one of you.

And then my right foot decided that was a good time to just trip over nothing and put me back in my place.

Like watching paint dry

I’ll be honest; I’m a bit disappointed by my life at the moment. I thought something exciting would have happened by now. I like exciting things. Bolts from the blue. Severe weather warnings and any halts to business as usual.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we had the pandemic. Yeah, yeah, yeah, careful what you wish for. I’ve been wishing for exciting things ever since I learned to wish; you’re not gonna stop me now.

I know I can make exciting things happen. And I intend to. But it’s not the same. I want something to happen to me. I want something to happen for me. I want something to just breeze into my life with no warning and turn everything a little bit upside down.

Come on already! What’s taking so long?

One and the same

I learned fairly recently from a source I now can’t place that emotional trauma and physical trauma are essentially one and the same to the body. Which, I mean, I already knew in the context of understanding and dealing with trauma, but what I hadn’t considered up to that point was the implications for, for instance, exercise and recovery. Because if you experience emotional trauma and then do a workout, your body is now going to have two things to recover from. If something really bad happens in your life, it’s probably not a brilliant idea to push yourself too hard physically, even though that’s a fairly common reaction for people to have.

But it’s a tricky line, because exercise is often a healthy coping strategy for all kinds of psychological ailments and burdens. So the fact that they are equatable doesn’t mean they are necessarily additive. Does physical recovery train your body to deal better with emotional recovery? Does the low-grade physical trauma of exertion give your body something it knows how to do, providing some relief from what can be very mysterious psychological chaos? Does healing one heal the other?

This is on my mind because, late last night, I broke through into a little nugget of trauma I’d been unknowingly holding onto for the last five years. And, although it was an altogether positive experience, and I processed the revelation well, and then I even let myself sleep a little later; today I have felt very tired and flat. And I wondered, is my body recovering from a hefty emotional workout? Because there isn’t any other obvious reason for my low energy.

I don’t think it’s my exercise regime, because day four of daily running has seen an easing of the leg aches and I felt great striding out today.

I am too tired to dig into this further, but I have many speculations swirling in my head to make manifest another day.

Give me more

There is a part of me – a significant, and close to the surface part – that enjoys a good bit of pain. A part of me inclined toward overexertion, obsession, and prodding open wounds. Most of the time, if you give me pain, you’ll see me smirk with a glint in my eye. Go on, give me more.

I’ve often thought that, if I was ever unlucky enough to find myself in a hostage situation, or being tortured for compliance or something, I’d be quite likely to get myself killed. Because I’d fucking brat. Like, don’t get me wrong, I am terrified of both death and authority, I’ll be a very good girl up to a point, but push a certain button in me and I will resist you relentlessly, I will goad you into punishing me, and all the while I’ll be smirking bitterly with a glint in my eye. I think the term is defiant. It’s like I never grew out of seeing how much I can get away with.

I’ve had to temper that to be a decent parent, because I can’t afford the recovery time. I’ve had to tame myself. But I think I went too far.

I wrote over a year ago about wanting to undo my taming, and I wasn’t talking about this masochistic wildness, but it’s all linked. The ability to both hurt and be hurt is integral to the human animal. The ability to wound, but not kill, and be wounded, but not die. And while that does apply in the macro, I also mean it in a more local sense. If you cut yourself, that part of you shouldn’t wither away; it should heal. And if a certain part of you is repeatedly taking punishment, it shouldn’t wear down to the bone; it should callous. It should resist. And resistance, well-practiced, makes it stronger. That’s a fundamental quality of being alive; it sets us apart from mere objects of creation. It gives us agency. And while we can’t help but be subject to this quality in lots of ways, there are many other ways that we unconsciously forgo it, and instead submit ourselves to external factors.

If we cower from pain, we become less than we are. And if we treat others as if they can’t take the pain, then we don’t give them the credit they deserve.

We’re living in a strange world – a world where you can avoid a lot of pain if you want to. But not all pain. If you’ve gone the avoidant route and haven’t conditioned yourself to withstand it, then what’re you gonna do when the pain finally comes? Because it will inevitably come.

I’ve been living in a bit of a fantasy for a while thinking I could become who I want to be without so much as a bit of chafing. Because it’s so easy to find an existence that doesn’t necessitate friction, and it’s even easier to get used to it once you have. And, also, honestly, I was really fucking tired of pain, so it was nice to believe I could be free of it for a while.

I know that part of my submission was biological – I fundamentally changed in ways I couldn’t have imagined through experiencing pregnancy and motherhood, and my drive to be the soft, warm welcoming arms that an infant needs and thrives within conflicted with any desire to be hard, rough or seasoned. This was probably a phase I needed to be in. But as my son grows, what he needs is ever more complex, and ever less about me. And as I grow, my ability to understand my own needs is ever more advanced, and ever less ambiguous. I need more pain. And I’d better make it good.

Waiting for the shoe

I ran again this evening – I’d mapped out a 1.6 mile loop from my house and I did that and a bit extra and then I walked to the shop. I took it easy, because I don’t know how to run properly, I know most people don’t run every day, and it especially doesn’t seem to be recommended for beginners, but I’m starting to feel like I’m doing this wrong.

Honestly, when I promised to run every day I kind of expected to be resorting to five minutes on my mini trampoline, and of course there’s plenty of time for that yet, but the run (or rather what I imagine was in fact a very slow jog) tonight wasn’t nearly as taxing as I was preparing myself for. It was more of a light stretch. Which calls into question, well, a lot of things, actually.

I was expecting this to be hard already. I was expecting not to be able to run a mile in the first place. I was expecting today to be worse than yesterday. I was expecting this to suck a bit. And it doesn’t. A lot of my body is aching, and the idea of skipping the run this evening was quite appealing. But then I put my leggings on and I got fucking excited. And I wrapped my cheapy earphone wires around my neck to stop them falling out en route and that was me fucking sorted. Bloody lovely. There were no knee niggles or toe woes, everything was fucking fine again. I’m getting suspicious.

Am I being too conservative? Do I need to go faster, or further? Or, on the contrary, am I being too gung ho and will I suddenly, unsuspectingly, be flung into a pit of misery after a couple more days of this, because, no, I shouldn’t be running every day?

…OrrrrrAm I actually doing something right?

What a dangerous fucking thought.