Getting a little more JOLLY, a little more GREEN, and a little less GIANT.

14 May 2012

I Wear Running Shoes to Therapy

I started running last year because I was fat.

And I was fat because...Well, I'm still figuring that one out. But don't worry about me; I'm working through it with the help of therapy.

I see my therapist 3 to 4 times a week. And I always wear my running shoes. A ponytail. And spandex.

My therapist doesn't talk much. She just listens as my brain sifts to the rhythm of my running shoes hitting the pavement. Some days "therapy" is just getting away from the kids, the house, the daily grind. Running mindlessly to loud, pumping music. My mind idling on song lyrics, craft projects, to do lists.

But some days--like today--we have break-throughs.

Today I ran past a wild rose bush. Cheery red and yellow blossoms snagged my peripheral vision. They flagged my memories down and instantly conjured a childhood image.

A daddy daughter date.

A Saturday morning. I don't know how old I was, but lucky me, I was going to go to a church breakfast with my dad. Just him and me.

Dressed up, we stood next to the wild rose bush that grew in our backyard. Near the grey bricks of the garage. The bush was wild and prickly and repulsive most of the year. But every spring, it imparted a peace offering: hundreds of bright, happy red and yellow blossoms.

I could smell the sun baked blossoms as we posed for a quick picture. My mom was there too. I remember her breaking off a few flowers to place jauntily in my dad's pocket. And a few blossoms to tuck behind my ear. Fragile, homemade boutonnieres for our special date.

Like the brilliantly colored petals, everyone was cheerful. The excitement of this petite rite of passage imprinted on my young mind accompanied by the sight and fragrance of floral reds and yellows.

This vivid memory, a memory I haven't reflected on in years, flooded my mind within milliseconds of catching sight of the bush. As I rushed past the blossoms, the warm, musty smell of sun baked wild roses waved me on, patting my back, and sealing in the reminiscence.

As I continued on my running path, savoring this cherished memory, I marveled at how quickly it had risen to my conscience. At how vivid it was. And again at how swiftly my mind and heart synchronized afterwards.

And just like that something gave way within me. Almost physically I felt it.


It was an instance where the circumstances of the moment harmonized. The music on my playlist was rather melancholy. I was feeling particularly receptive after being worn down by the effort of the first few miles. This was the one and only wild rose bush seen on my entire four mile journey.

There was a release. Of hurt, of anger, of bitterness. A grudge held against parents who made so many mistakes, left back on the trail, laid down to rest next to the rose bush. It was a sudden and enlightening realization that all parents are guilty of negligence and error as they struggle to find their way through parenthood. That there was no point in making them suffer for it anymore. Whether they realized I was doing it or not. Whether I realized I was doing it or not. And a hope that my own children would be kinder to me than I had been on my own mom and dad as I would inevitably have my own grievous faults in raising children.

All that from running.

I started running because I was fat. I keep running because I am healing my body, mind, and soul.

(And it's a heckuva alot cheaper than seeing a real therapist.)

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