Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Facts.

It’s been an entire summer, and I haven’t written a damn thing. I’ve mostly been running around here and there---just keeping myself occupied as much as possible.  However, in these summer months, I have learned quite a bit.  Most of these learnings are probably simple ‘known facts of life’—and I've probably learned them before (but perhaps I have been expanding upon my current knowledge).  Alas, I have been pondering the following:

  •  We are not invincible.  We are not impervious to death.  We are human, and as such, time and fate both catch up with us all.
  • The damage you do to yourself---isn’t always most visible to you.  Even though you think it might be, it isn’t.  It can often be best viewed by the outside world.  Often times, you’re too late before you realize what you’ve done to yourself.  There’s always a way to fix it--to put the pieces back together…but it’s not always an easy and short road.
  • Letting go is important on multiple levels (yes, I know I’ve mentioned this before).  Yet, in my opinion, letting go can help trigger a whole mess of things.  It might just start a reaction to get you moving in the right direction.

I learned about death at an age where I was just old enough to fully grasp and understand the concept of a person departing this earth.  When I was in the 4th grade, my great grandmother (who was 95 at the time) passed away.  It was the first funeral I can remember.  I don’t remember really crying.  I don’t remember much.  I do, remember that my mother made my sister and I stand next to the casket to take pictures. Which is extremely strange.  It reminds me of those old photographs from the 1800’s where you see children standing next to caskets of dead people.  Yikes.

Nevertheless, I did not want to turn my back to the casket---for fear that she would somehow wake up out of her dead state, grab my shoulder, and use me as a balancing mechanism to climb out of the casket.

I even had a wild imagination then…

At the time, I recall being more interested in the logical part of death, the preservation, the burial.  I even asked her “Mom, is Grandma wearing shoes? Does she have underwear on?” To me, that seemed like a big deal.

I suppose the concept of death really didn’t hit me then.  Nor did the concept of heaven, or angels or even coincidences that really proved someone was watching over you after departing this realm. 

It wasn’t until my 18th year of life, that I really grasped the concept of human mortality---the idea that you could say “See you tomorrow” to someone in the evening, and less than 7 hours later, they could be gone. I suppose I never really understood how a young person could be taken away so quickly, and what seemed, so unjustly.  I felt a whirlwind of emotion at the time.  Sadness, confusion and most of all, anger.  Anger from a lack of understanding. Anger from being unable to answer the question: “Why her?”  I lived with that for a long time.  It burned inside of me like a tiny flame—never really extinguishing fully.

As time went on, and I started to grow, I began to feel guilty for being able to live life.  To age, to go to school, fall in love, graduate and get a job. Yet, all of the things I just mentioned---are part of life. Part of living as a human being. Little by little, as things started to happen to me, that burning anger, that lack of understanding slowly started to diminish.  There have been too many occurrences in my life for me to call it all a coincidence. The thing is, we're given this life for a reason, I guess.  What's taken away from one, might be passed on to another.  The undying question I keep asking myself is this:

What are you going to do with it?

What am I going to do with it?  I understand that some are here longer than others, and that's just a sad fact of life.  Regardless of that, immortality doesn't exist (something I ponder every birthday).  There's a reason we're all here breathing. So, even though we're not entirely sure of our time here--I say, make the most of it.  Not to be cliche, but Carpe diem.  Do something that matters.  Even if it doesn't matter to others, make sure it's something you wanted.     

Damage & Letting Go:
I recently had an interesting conversation with one of my best friends.  We were out drinking, and, mostly talking about the 'rating' system that guys often have for girls.  1-10, with the number (1) being on the 'yikes' scale, and (10) being on the 'outrageously hot' scale. I mean, depending on what kind of person you're in to, the rating scale is different for everyone.  Either way, we got to talking about people, and their ratings.  The entire time, I thought to myself 'Dear God, I wonder what I would be rated'?  Who knows why I care, because really I shouldn't--I guess it was the curiosity of it all.  So I asked. The answer was "7". Then he said:

"You know, Alex, I'm mad at you. I'm mad that you let go. You used to be this petite little thing, and then you got comfortable." 

Funny thing is, when he said this, I agreed with him. I wasn't even offended, and I'm not offended now. He's right, and although I talk about this all of the time, I feel like I need to reflect on the path that brought me to the journey I'm on today. 

That comfortable girl, was also the world's most uncomfortable girl at the same time. She hid under a facade in order to hide her deepest insecurities. She invested all of herself in another human, and lost any and all remnants of an individual personality. She folded into herself in so many ways---and so often. She folded until there was nothing left. 

It might seem melodramatic, and reading it back now, does sound quite melancholy in nature. Alas, I have to accept that behavior, and I have to move on from it. That's where letting to comes into play. It's also where learning comes from as well. 

From this, I've learned to become the person I am today. I've learned to accept my flaws and weaknesses---which is THE BIGGEST challenge I've faced ever. Yet, I've also learned, more than anything, that I don't have to settle with those flaws and weaknesses. I can work to remedy them. Your weaknesses do not define you, I mean, they shouldn't. Thus, to take on those pesky traits that perhaps bring you down, is probably one of the greatest battles you could fight for yourself. 

So, my advice to you, and to myself, is to embrace the weaknesses, and take them in stride. Beat them down, until they no longer matter. That's what I'm doing. 

In late September, I'll be running a Spartan Sprint. I'm scared shitless. I'm afraid of failure. Yet, when I cross that finish line, I'll probably cry hysterically. You know why? Because it's something I never imagined I could or would do. Ever. In my lifetime. I'm going to show myself differently. 

I would like you all to know, that at the end of the day, I'm something I never really thought I could be again. Happy. Yes, I said it: Happy. It isn't just a singular happiness, and it lives and breathes off of so many pieces of my life. It's me, and my job, and my beautiful family and friends. It's just life---in all it's simplicity---and it doesn't rest on any one person or thing specifically. It just is what it is. Pure and simple happiness. 

A few months ago, I wrote about the snow globe, and I said I felt as though I was running to keep up with life. Some days I feel that way (I mean....not every day is rainbows and sunshine)---BUT now I run because I want to. It isn't a physical race, and it isn't a metaphor for 'going through the motions' it's just me, figuring out who I am......letting go of the old me day by day. 

And this run---while it may be long---is an amazing journey.

Thanks for running with me----


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