Secret Pop

Apr 15, 2013

The secret to running is to just keep going

These are not new realizations. I've been learning the same lessons over and over for as long as I can remember, sad as that sounds. But these days, it feels more like a veneer. I'm not feeling the actual pain of remembering when I heard that song playing, while I was trying to get it together in the bathroom of a speakeasy and all I could feel was dread and hurt and anger and sorrow. I'm not feeling that pain. I'm just remembering feeling that pain because that song is now playing on a commercial. I remember how provocative that song was, but I no longer feel the actual provocation.

I woke up on a Monday morning a few weeks ago -- it was the day after St. Patrick's Day, if you must know -- and I told my little sister that it was as if a weight had been lifted. I was suddenly -- at last -- convinced that things were going to be better. And I felt good that day. And things were better. For a little while. But then they got unpleasant again. And it felt as if everything had melted down to a murky liquid that was draining away, and my hope that things might not be unbearable circled the drain with it.

I woke up today -- a Monday -- and it was like it was that other Monday. Like a weight had been lifted. Like I was waking up for the first time in the absence of crippling dread. I could suddenly appreciate the gloomy weather and get some work done and tidy up my office and maybe even see myself, at some future date, no longer really feeling those tender remnants of bruises past.

Then I was at my computer, and I saw that bombs had gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and it made me feel all the things that tragic things do. I think it was best summed up by Alex Blagg in this tweet, which I saw this evening and recognized to be spot on. These things steal focus, as they should. But no one knows how long we're supposed to engage these coping mechanisms or when we're supposed to leave it to the people who handle these things for a living and just hope it all pans out.

My little sister and I talked about an article she shared with me from the Chicago Tribune. We mourned runners who literally lost their legs, knowing that some of them had probably waited their whole lives to cross that finish line. It seemed so cruel. It's hard not to let one's imagination spiral out of control in the face of these morbid descriptors. There was a point, during the Sandy Hook nightmare, when I had to just stop listening, because I wouldn't be able to get those thoughts out of my head, and those thoughts were so awful.

We keep experiencing these horrible assaults on our humanity, and most of us survive them. And in my moviegoer's mind, I imagine that a runner who lost a leg today will end up recovering and taking on the Boston Marathon again, and it will be a triumph of the spirit and a symbol that we can't be snuffed out like some single-wick candle. People survive. Amazingly, sometimes. People survive things I feel quite certain I could never survive myself. I always say I'll be one of the first to go in any kind of apocalypse. Zombies. Pandemic. Asteroid. You name it. I'm not the surviving type. Especially if you give me half a minute to think about what the world will be like without plumbing and refrigeration. So I have plenty of room in my heart to hold admiration for others who can hack it. I have sometimes wondered if I could get through tribulations so trivial I'm embarrassed to describe them. Of course, at the time, it was everything. And anyone who told me otherwise was my sworn enemy.

Anyway, I guess my point is time passes, and things get better. Even if you try to keep them from doing so.


jerry rommer said...

nicely put Mary
all the best
a British guy

jerry rommer said...

Foundation Room
April 30 2002
a long long time ago...

Mary Forrest said...

I completely remember that, Jerry! And I have great appreciation for the fact that you know the date. No one loves to keep track more than I do...

Thanks for reading. I hope you're well!

Anonymous said...

you have a beautiful way with words Mary... although i remember them being rather more slurred..! that... was one crazy night.

yeah things are good... but it's been a rollercoaster...

jerry rommer said...

you have a beautiful way with words Mary... although i remember them being rather more slurred..! that... was one crazy night.

yeah things are good... but it's been a rollercoaster...