Over these past few months, I have realized something about myself that I was not quick to admit: I am a runner. I run when I most definitely know that there are other options to arriving at my very own solutions. Especially the unhealthy routine I continually choose to take; tying those loose but reliable shoe laces on my running shoes and hitting the pavement with my insecurities, broken promises I have made to innately good people, and the weaknesses I have tried tirelessly to turn into strengths, but had failed endlessly at.
I had a long reputation of running away from anything and everything that had made me feel the most human. I ran away when I found my life far from satisfying. The complex equations of my life that never found the right answers- only failed attempts that lead me to feel incapable, little and an enemy to my very own self. I had ran when I had witnessed platonic love crumble too soon in the palms of my hands. Friendships that only heightened my ego, but soon became anything other than pure and two-sided.
A part-time job that dissatisfied my bank account. A commute to work that I fought myself to drive each morning just to prove to the world that I am in fact an active participant to our society. I was unhappy. I was angry. Every thread of my life was burning at the ends. And for each time that I had ran away, hitting that cold pavement at sun rise, it had only brought me back to watching those loose and never ending inflamed threads of my life burning.
There is an ultimate catch with running- it will make you feel empowered but the empowerment you feel when running away is only temporary. Running away from the dissatisfaction of knowing all of your imperfect components that are embedded in your life ,will only have you right back at the starting line. You will feel unfinished. You will feel as if something is missing or out of place, may even both. Because the truth is, when you run from all of the things that make you feel the most human, you will notice all of the strangers around you who do not run, and who are fully present in the times of their hardship.
You will be out of place, that is one thing absolute. You will be left on a never ending race with life. You will recognize those same strangers you first saw arriving at their solutions next to you, swimming with the current, while you are fighting against it. You will trip because you are exhausted. And when you do fall flat on your face, surrender. Stop running. Take the bravery you possess and jump into the arena. Go to battle. Win or lose. Winning or losing is not what you will be recognized for, it is not the thing at play here. It will be your first attempt of fighting life head-on.
If you have chosen to jump into the arena, I will tell you one thing: you are not too late. Most of us have been exactly where you are right now: standing in the middle of a cheering crowd, waiting in line for your turn to go to war for everything you find important enough to fight for. If I can tell you one thing, it is then, when we finally take our first leap into the arena, that we can take on anything. We are human. We are strong, resilient and often underestimated. We are fighters, not runners.
Always remember that everything you are running from is so worth fighting for. Your broken marriage is worth the open wounds on your chest. Your friendships deserve the fight of having yourself knocked out cold in middle of the arena. Your insecurities demand to be proven that they are invalid- to be shown that they are everything except what you believe to be true. The loneliness that surrounds you in the crowd of fulfilled individuals, needs to be reminded that you are not lonely- you are loved, admired and ultimately, you are truly valued.
To our new fighter: when you take your first jump into your first fight against your life, you will be reminded that you have taken one of the most valiant step you have ever taken- you took your running shoes off.