Battle Scars

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I didn’t want to wear blue jeans when I went to pick up my car, for fear that the blue dye would tint the leather in the seats.

It was my first car in over 7 years — and it was my first brand new car, ever. The car I owned from ’04 to ’06 was a ’99 Chevy Cavalier, a former rental car with a subpar braking system. Nicknamed the Chevrolier, I drove that little green clunker as recklessly as any teenager would, blazing down the roads of my hometown, hugging corners like a NASCAR driver and deliberately speeding up over hills to make the car gain air.

How I survived those years without a single ding, dent, or speeding ticket, is beyond me. Continue reading

Return to Racing

Check-in this year is mercifully indoors.

The day’s weather hangs on a precipice.  All it takes is a slight breeze or the sun going behind some clouds and it tumbles into an arctic chill.  I’m dressed to be comfortably warm in the middle of running.  I’m certainly not dressed to be comfortable in the meanwhile.

It’s the city’s Shamrock Shuffle — a fun two-miler around the downtown area before the parade.  We check-in and get our bibs and find our group of friends.

“The cheapskate in me wouldn’t even sign up for the race,” says one of our friends, as we talk about getting our money’s worth. “I’d just run alongside everyone for free.”

“Grab some green construction paper and some safety pins and hope no one notices,” my husband adds in.

Last year, sign in was outside, when winter was mild and meek and spring had subtly slid in.  It takes a while, but eventually I realize that my last race was the race last year.

“It’s good to be back,” I think to myself, even as I shiver at the starting line. Continue reading

Dark Night of the Soul

As it so happened, I learned about the dark night of the soul right as I was going through my own.

As it always happens.   And I can never really say whether it’s because we are simply seeking out what we need, or perhaps God/the Universe puts things in our path right as we need them.  But I can say I prefer the second concept way more than the first.

I learned about it from two separate places, from two different avenues, at almost the exact same time — and both on the eve of it all, right as my night had hit dusk.  Around the same time my father was rushed to the ER and curveballs had been thrown my way and precious items were starting to tumble from the shelves.  When I was desperate to run from the darkness, only to find myself running deeper into the twilight instead.

Dark night of the soul.  By definition, a complete and devastating eruption of your life.  A collapse in everything you once thought was true and infallible and unshakeable.  What was once a 16th century poem is now the term for when it all falls apart and you’re left wondering how you’ll ever redefine such key terms again.

In an obscure night
Fevered with love’s anxiety
(O hapless, happy plight!)
I went, none seeing me
Forth from my house, where all things quiet be

Continue reading

The Anger Dissipates

Practically a decade back, I found myself at the mercy of a terrible boss.  A petty, hypocritical, volatile person.  A boss who took me in as an apprentice in the profession, only to toss me out into the deep end, so that I spent more time trying to keep my head above water than I ever did learning how to do my job well.  I was promised a trusting guide and instead was fed to the wolves.

I’d eventually burn out and quit the job and quit the entire field.  I would point to her behavior, her decisions, her antics, as a major contributing factor.  I would walk away carrying a heavy anger – a venom I’d channel into a novel about a highly dysfunctional workplace.  While the book provided catharsis, it was a story written out of malice, and, as a result, was a slog and a chore to read.

That book has not and probably will never see the light of day.  At least not without a proper gutting.

I spent years wondering if I’d ever stop feeling such negative feelings about her, if I’d ever stop wishing for some type of karmic justice, for something to tip the scales back in my favor.  I spent years with that anger in my heart, even as I enrolled in new training and started a new career – a career path that fit me way better than the first ever did.

I thought it was impossible to, but eventually the anger dissipated.  Slowly, incrementally, but continuously, until it was clear that the anger was gone and I had moved on. Continue reading