Monday, 8 August 2011

Running in the Rain

What I did this weekend…

Thursday I went to a clothes swap for charity.  This is the second one in three weeks.  I find these a great way to get rid of stuff that I normally don’t want to drop off at the charity shop.  I have been hauling big blue IKEA bags full of clothes and stuff to charity shops every six months for years.  This is a problem.  Not the donation part, the replacing part.  Why do I constantly have enough stuff to carry to the charity shop every six months.  Somebody stop me!!!!
There was a time when I could fit my material life into a small car.  Those were the days.  Granted, those days I was living with my parents and so didn’t actually own a lot of things on my own, but still, it’s something to shoot for, especially when there is a very good likelihood of some international housemoves in your future. 
However, what I want to talk about here, is what I have been taking to the swaps.  A lot of these items travelled across the pond with me five years ago.  I haven’t worn them for probably about three years.  So why have they been in my possession for so long?  They have memories.  You know that shirt you bought when you were first on your own? It doesn’t fit anymore, it is faded, it probably isn’t your style anymore, but you hold on to it.  You can’t bear to put it in the donation bag that sits in your hall/bedroom/laundry room.  Or more likely, you have put it in that bag numerous times but taken it out at the last minute.  What is it about these items?  Why is it so hard to let go of these items?  Why is it so hard to accept that you have grown?  Why not celebrate the fact that you have grown?
I find it is easier to give these items away at swaps.  There is something about telling the story of this item to ladies that understand and have similar stories.  You know it is going to a good home.  You know that these ladies understand the history of the garment.  And what they do after that doesn’t matter so much.  They have their own items with their own stories.  In telling the story, you tell your own story and you own up to, and own, your growing process.  I mean, who wants to be the same person they were 7-10 years ago?  We keep growing and that’s usually a good thing, but it can be hard to admit as well.  Good Luck and godspeed.

Friday I got into a huff about academia and finally owned my decision to get out and tell my geography stories the way I want to tell them.  Now I just need to power through the last three projects in the next few weeks so that I can leave it behind.  I long for the day I can read a book and not feel guilty that it isn’t a journal article.  I’m not saying I won’t keep reading articles, but I don’t want to feel obligated to read them anymore.  So now I just have to power through.  Easier said than done.  One day at a time. One reference at a time.  
Then I went for a run.  It has been a long time.  It was painful.  But the body was craving the activity.  It is a strange thing when you realize that exercise is actually good for you and not just a way to fit into your jeans again.  It seems like that should be obvious, but it wasn’t to me for awhile.  I admit I was running to get into my jeans.  Now I am running because it actually makes me feel better. 
I know.  Who am I? Believe me, I ask myself this every time I go for a run.  But it goes along with the clothes swap.  We grow.  Embrace the growth, yes?

Saturday we went for a wander.  We tend to take the city we live in for granted.  We live in London.  London.  How awesome is that?!  So we have decided to go for a wander one day on the weekend.  This also makes us feel like we have a proper weekend instead of lounging around and watching David Attenborough documentaries (Pete) or reruns or noses in the iPhones.  This weekend we walked the South Bank. 
This is not necessarily new territory for us, but we wanted to take our time with it today and enjoy the rare sunlight.  Except when we actually made it out of the house the incessant light rain that is the hallmark of the Great British Summer started and didn’t let up for the next five hours.  We would not be deterred.  You really can’t be, or you would never leave the house.  It was well worth it.  We discovered some great shops and a great pie shop and saw some great sand art.  That evening we had dinner and good conversation with some new friends.  A good day to be sure.

Sunday didn’t go as well.  We enjoyed our morning coffee and had breakfast on our deck in the sun.  Lovely.  We made a trip to TK Maxx for a pair of running shorts and came out with a new suit, shirt, cookbook, tablecloth, computer bag and running pants.  Oops!  We may have found the culprit (see above).  We were feeling good, despite the excess baggage.  The sun was shining.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  We decided to go for a run and then take some books, bread and cheese to the park and enjoy the day. 
A minute into our run it started to sprinkle.  No biggie, although I did have a mini panic attack about the laundry hanging out.  We pressed on.  It was just a little drizzle. 
By the time I got to the end of the block it was that big ‘ole fat rain, falling at a diagonal.  Great.  However, as my grandfather always said.  The bigger the drops the shorter the shower.  Another half K and that seemed to be the case.  The showers had stopped and the sun was out.  A little humid, but doable.  1.5 K later and the rain started again.  Annoying, but so it goes.  At this point I was concentrating on running and had forgot about the laundry.  One song later and I was running in a full on hail storm.  Big slushy rain coming down in diagonal sheets.  Pete had just passed me going the other way and when I turned to see if he had taken cover all I could see was a white sheet of moisture.  S***! 
I kept running. 
I kept running?  I can’t believe it myself.  I kept going.  I guess I figured I was already soaked, why not finish the run?  Or maybe it was something else.  I don’t know, but I kept going.  The rain let up fairly quickly and I was still going.  Incidentally, it probably wasn’t the best day to wear the white tank to run.  The last block and the sky was pure blue and the sun streaming down.  Of course.

And now it’s Monday.  It’s time to power through.  If I can run through a hailstorm I can finish these projects.  I never thought it possible, that I, Ariel-passed-gym-purely-by-attendance, would be a runner.  But there I was-here I am-pushing myself to run.  When I run, I am fully in the moment.  I am aware of every step and it can, and does, suck.  Like really suck.  Like I can’t breathe and I might die, suck.  But then it’s over and I feel better.  There is something better waiting for me on the other side of these projects.  I can feel the clear skies and sunlight coming.  I just have to run through the hail for awhile.  One day, one reference, one interview, one summary, one chapter, at a time.

Look at me.  I’m growing. 

1 comment:

  1. been writing my current fellowship proposal with your lovely New Zealand jogging trousers over the last weeks.... so much to amazing clothes swaps!