I got a letter in the mail the other day, so I did what I always do. I drowned my emotions in sweat; ran until I could no longer feel.
I don’t know how to handle things sometimes. I’d like to think that I’m in-tune with my emotions. I mean, that’s what I do for a living essentially—express my emotions through written word. But when it came to reading something so packed with someone’s most innermost thoughts, I balked.
I think it’s easier for me to write, to wrap my head around things, to make sense of my own words than someone else’s. That’s probably why I’ll eventually fall in love with a writer—because their words will knock me off my feet. But reading this letter, I didn’t know what to say, let alone what to feel. It scares me when things like that happen—things too emotional for words.
I held it in my hand, almost feeling the envelope shake between my thumb and forefinger, almost feeling my stomach do a once-over. It wasn’t that the letter was bad, it was that it was too much. Too much from a kind soul I barely knew. Too much for my determined heart to handle. Too much to respond to when I was lacking the words.
So I did what I’ve done best for the past few years, the remedy that’s gotten me through heartbreak, through fights with my mother, through defeat and anger and confusion and life-altering stress: I ran.
I ran until I couldn’t feel my legs, until I had to stop because I literally could not catch my breath.
Running has always given me clarity. It’s as if the rhythmic pounding of feet and the regulating of my breathing takes all my mental capacity. I can physically feel the stress dissipating like steam rising up from my pores. I can feel myself becoming lighter.
And somewhere between miles two and three, I find some sort of answer.
I always do.