What is one goal you’d like to accomplish during your lifetime?
I would like to own a house by the water. With enough land for a horse, a garden, and a barn. I want to plant my own vegetables, my own herbs, have a cat, fill a birdfeeder, and grow sunflowers. These are all part of owning a house, by the water, for me.
“even in the end you know that it’s the gesture, the gesture towards loving that is the most important in the stream of life and consciousness and body and grace…”—David Wojnarowicz - Shadow of the American Dream
Facing west, sun setting, black billowy clouds hiding the remains of daylight, crimson sky, wind from the east. Outstretched arms, beginning with a short, hard strut. Breaking into a jog, a run, flat-out sprint. Mouth agape, whisper, moan, yell, scream, broken.
Tears stream sideways, splotches of light are in his periphery.
My writing has taken a sharp turn inward. Inspired by my advisor, and a collection of short stories that has made me emotional at every ending, I think I’ve hit upon a very soft spot inside me. I think this is the writing that will matter most. I think, maybe, it’s where I can draw the better side of me to the surface, and finally - if not completely - face demons I’ve been avoiding for far too long.
It’s the start of something better. Something much, much better.
I’ve circled around the carrion of my past, in vulture formation. I’ve come close, smelling the carcass on the wind, its meaty, rotten stench filling my bald head. With extended wings, I’ve lurched closer, inspecting for choice pieces to sink into. Where do I start? How much bravery will it take just to grab a morsel? The juiciest stories come from this pile of flesh and bone. Do I start gorging?
It was high school when I first had to face my physical limitations. I was not athletic - that was my brother’s forte. I was smart. I was the brains. He was the brawn. Still, when I had to decide on a sport for my freshman year, something came over me, and I chose soccer. I figured, I could kick a ball better than I could skate on ice, so it would be easy.
Then, I had to run.
I started trying to train for the soccer season in the middle of the summer. Anyone who’s a runner will tell you, training in the summer, especially in the humid heat, is not only difficult, but if you’re packing the pounds like I was, it can be dangerous too. It didn’t take much convincing to get me to stay out of the heat whenever possible, let alone not to exert myself too much. I basically didn’t do the training I should have before the start of the soccer season. First day of practice, we had to run five miles.
I nearly died.
Okay, so not really, but it felt like it. It wasn’t just the inability to run that was killing me. It was the feeling of being an outsider - a fat nobody who didn’t go to the same elementary school as most of my teammates - that really shook me up.
That season was full of mishaps and demonstrations of my inability to navigate my way around a soccer field. I earned my nickname “Le Viande” - The Meat - because of my size and inability to move. I was the slowest kid on my team, and I knew it. I hated running, and was made fun of for it.
Flash forward 15 years, and I’m now out there running over five miles whenever I feel like it, and rather enjoying it. When I run, it’s from the taunts. It’s from the person I was and towards the person I’m becoming.
It’s that moment, that release from the past that happens around mile three or four, where the smile breaks out across my face, the runner’s high kicks in, and I feel empowered and unstoppable. I can let the past go. It’s not who I am today. I can run, I can do anything I choose, and I’m a force of nature. Something I would have never guessed some 15 years ago in high school.