Why do people run a marathon? Why would you? Is that sense of accomplishment, of having ‘made it’ worth it? There’s the euphoria of satisfaction. The feeling of having completed something you set out to do. Perhaps the endorphins kick in and give you a high. But really? Is it worth it? I mean the marathon itself. It’s a long time. A long time to sacrifice of your own spare time. Running. Pounding along. I mean, is it actually good for you physically? Is it? The potential for injury must be considerable, the wear and tear; those precious knees. Isn’t it better to keep going through the same routine that you are, the one you know? And, oh the pain. All that self-talk …’I can do this’, ‘keep going’ and all that. That pain. The wall you hear about. You can’t go on anymore. The future is a wilderness of pain. Every part of you, every molecule of your body is screaming. What about the training? It’s not just the event is it? It’s all the training. It’s on-going. The sacrifice. All the being brutally honest with yourself. The time and the effort. It takes forever, so much longer than you thought, you feel you’ll never make it. Those dark mornings perhaps. You wake and you’re still here and still you with a long day ahead full of angst and fear and all the self-doubt. Those dark days of hopelessness, your body so heavy, your heart a weight, you want to sob but you can’t, you must carry on, you must put on a brave face like you always have. Dragging yourself out of bed. Running around at night avoiding the traffic, totally vigilant always looking for danger. All alone perhaps in the rain, and its freezing. No rest for the soul, agitated. No one else is going through this. I mean who cares? Who really cares about whether or not you run a marathon? I mean you can say it in a sentence. ‘I was sexually abused.’
There’s a reaction but does it balance the time and the pain you have been through? My guess is no. To go through it all, the hopelessness, the chronic angst, the anger, the unrelenting anger, the suicidal despair, the self-loathing, the loneliness, the totally enveloping empty loneliness, the empty echo of the rest of the World, of all the people in it carrying on regardless, the fear, the fear of everything. You are running against the tide, you’re not part of it, you don’t fit in, you’re damaged, you feel so deeply damaged but running away won’t help, getting high won’t help, you’ll be left with yourself, that wall of pain yet to face: needing to claw out of your own skin, to stop feeling the shame. To go through that seemingly endless journey, the wall of pain, in hope of praise and some accolade from others: no. ‘You were sexually abused’ and you feel no one understands. They can’t feel the same. They can’t see the pain you’re in. If they did they’d fall at your feet and sob for you, and they wouldn’t stop. But they don’t. They seem oblivious to your pain. Life is easy for them: they ain’t running the marathon: they ain’t been sexually abused. They don’t get it. They don’t see how exhausted you are. Do they?
I see you brother.
So, wouldn’t you be better off drunk or stoned or high, take a pill, hide behind the need perfection, criticism, fantasy … wouldn’t that self-talk be better as that voice of despair, of self-loathing. Isn’t it better to self-destruct? It’s what you’re used to. Stopping, giving up. Quitting. It’s too hard.
Or maybe have faith. Faith in yourself. Despite the pain you got this far didn’t you? You’re already running a marathon. Now you are heading to the light. Inner peace. Self-acceptance. Love.
At first it will glimmer but it will grow.
Easy? No. Maybe the journey is only half way. But you are already half way. After you have faced yourself, your fears and demons with patience and brutal self-honesty, and taking responsibility for how you deal with that pain … you will be glad. You will be glad you ran that marathon and it will matter to you and that’s all that will matter because now life is easier. You will know who you truly are. You are a survivor, you are strong and now you know it.
Then you will look around and see you are not alone and there is love and hope.