Wednesday, June 16, 2010


In the beginning, I listened to Coldplay when I ran. Sad strummy music, music that pushed my melancholy forward and out so that I was running through it, using it as fuel. That's how it was at first: inner strife and small personal tragedies to knead in my mind, little betrayals and the sadnesses they impart used as propulsion through muscle conditioning. More often than not, I cried through lap after lap: my heart breaking until tears flowed more easy than sweat.

Coldplay's Fix You would come through my earphones on that last lap, when I could push myself no further, when a single mile was incomprehensible to my tired body. I'd listen to the lyrics, knowing they were meant for me, knowing that I was going the distance for me. To try to repair something broken inside of me.

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

This is when I would cough and sputter through those last strides, eyes red and puffy from the crying. Breath exploding in painful bursts.

I ended each batch of running with a bruised body, legs like lead drums.

I don't know when it changed. Over time I started adding new songs to my playlist, songs with a stronger beat and faster tempo. They helped me to keep pace with the building speed, each lap leading to a growing number of daily miles.

Lately I've been listening to a bunch of vintage stuff from high school: old Joy Division and New Order, some stuff from The Cure and old school U2.

My feet pound evenly on the treadmill, keeping time with my breathing. I think about the months that have passed, how I've done all this work and am seeing a difference in my muscles. I feel stronger than I have in a very long time. I can bend and twist and reach and grab--- I feel this body starting to flourish under my careful attention. After all the crying and the tears, after swimming through all the sadness, scooping it out with my hands and leaving it in forlorn piles along the wayside, after the excuses and the wheedling reasons why I couldn't/shouldn't/didn't have time/didn't have energy/didn't have the capacity--- after all the no's and the can'ts and the never-in-a-million-year's--- after all of it, I've come to this place where I can quietly shed miles and breathe in deep.

When New Order's Ceremony comes on, I revel in the steady pulse. It offers me a perfect stream to push my legs and feet into motion knowing that this time things are different.

This is why events unnerve me,
they find it all, a different story.
Notice whom for wheels are turning,
turn again and turn towards this time.

All she asks, the strength to hold me.
Then again the same old story.
World will travel, oh so quickly,
travel first and lean towards this time.

Oh I'll break them down, no mercy shown.
Heaven knows it's got to be this time.
Watching her, these things she said,
the times she cried,
too frail to wake this time.

Oh I'll break them down, no mercy shown.
Heaven knows it's got to be this time.
Avenues all lined with trees,
picture me and then you start watching.
Watching forever, forever.
Watching love grow, forever.
Letting me know, forever.


Swistle said...

This is so great. Music therapy, making huge progress. Physical therapy.

Bethsix said...

Because I can't articulate the deeper comment knocking around in my head, I will say this totally stupid thing: When I saw the title of this post, I immediately thought of Joy Division, but had no idea it would actually BE about the song.

Also, I just heard an Iron and Wine cover of Love Vigilantes. Weird, but strangely satisfying.

artemisia said...

I have no words other than thank you, and I am so, so happy for you.

Erin P said...

Feels good, doesn't it? I'm impressed by you!!