Scrape

I originally set out on Sunday to write about returning to aerial — potentially with some line about not being able to practice for a while, and how getting back into the swing of things can feel like starting from the beginning again sometimes, but then my attempt to go on a run after class ended up being a better symbolic tableau of life as of late.

I set out for a run right after aerial, in love with the warm weather, excited to finally wear shorts again on my runs. I attempted a light warm up in the driveway, only to feel a twinge in my ankle. I tried to compensate with my other foot, which somehow caught on the asphalt and sent me crashing to the ground, smashing my knee into the driveway, scraping up my left leg from shin to hip, shredding my hands, and sending my phone halfway across the driveway.

And I immediately sat up, buried my face in my hands, and started crying.

I can’t tell you exactly why: because it hurt, because it was embarrassing, because it messed up my plans, because I hate being clumsy — because the last few weeks have been so exhausting and soul-challenging that I had no bandwidth to handle a boo-boo. And a part of me laughed: what a perfect way to cap off this mini-chapter. Me sprawled across my driveway, all banged up, when all I wanted to do was try to prevent injury.

I came inside the house with tears rolling down my cheeks, like a kid coming off the playground. On instinct, my husband gets up and tends to my wounds, listens to me as I keep repeating, “I just feel like such an idiot.” He asks if I’m still going to run and I stubbornly say I am. He pulls out the clear tattoo bandages from our last set of tattoos and fashions something over the two biggest gashes.

“It’s enough to get you by for the run,” he says.

And I go out, still upset, now in a spiral of “if this never happened, I’d be on mile 2 by now,” and “it’s getting cold and it would’ve been warmer for my run if I hadn’t tripped up,” — beating myself up more than gravity and pebbles ever could. As soon as I clear the garage doors, my neighbor’s cat — a little boy named Leo who has taken a liking to me ever since he became a fixture in our neighborhood — is there to greet me. I decide he’s trying to cheer me on — and that I would’ve missed him had my original attempt at a run had been successful.

And I do run. And my knees throb, and I learn the hard way just how far up my hip the scrapes went. And it’s getting cold, and colder by the minute. But I finish, and I finish with Leo waiting patiently for me at the finish line, to shower affection for as long as I’m willing to be there.

And somehow this mortifying moment perfectly summed everything up. Scraped up and bruised, embarrassed, angry, sad, and yet, I still ran — with the help and support of those who love me, who can patch me up and cheer me on.

Sometimes getting back into what you’ve been neglecting can feel like beginning again sometimes, and sometimes you have to begin again after getting all banged up.

Onward.

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