I have just done something I hadn’t done in nearly 30 years.
No, I didn’t sneak a bunch of people into the drive-in by stuffing them into the trunk of my car.
No, I didn’t funnel beer straight from the keg (although truth be told, it’s been way less than 30 years since I did this)
No, I didn’t tie a huge bow in my hair after spraying it with a half can of Final Net, put on about 47 black rubber bracelets and pull up my ankle socks so they could be seen nicely above my black pumps.
I ran a mile. Without stopping.
A feat last accomplished in PE class my senior year in high school. Why I took PE my senior year is a foggy memory – I think it had to do with me having more than one elective on my schedule my junior year and needing to make it up before graduation.
I did it. I ran. A mile. Without stopping. . And then, a couple of days later, I did two. Sans break.
But I did it.
And I think I may have found a little piece of myself that’s lain fallow for nearly eight years.
At the very moment Will was born so abruptly and without warning, a large part of me – who I was, how I defined myself – ceased to exist. Which was necessary. Very necessary. Everything everything everything had to be channeled into ensuring that Will had whatever he needed in order to not only maximize his potential, but literally survive.
For several years, I focused solely on my child. Had to. No choice. And I did it gladly.
But while I was focused on him, I forgot about myself. In every sense of the word.
Partly out of necessity.
And partly out of guilt, for I felt paralyzingly responsible for his circumstance. My body had failed my child – failed to keep him safe. But that’s another story for another therapist’s couch.
As Will grew and stabilized and began to demand less and less of my intense attention, I became aware, first gradually and then acutely, of the floundering within my own self and psyche. I had let myself go, in myriad ways. At first I wallowed in it. Tears and self-flagellation a go-go. And then, finally, last fall, I did something about it.
I started to write a novel, taking care of the mental, creative me. And I began to work with a personal trainer, to assist the physical me.
All the parts of me are still works in progress – and always will be, as I firmly believe that growth is an integral and ongoing part of life. ‘Tis good for you, staves off stagnation.
So that mile I ran – it was much more than just 5280 feet. It was an individual victory. Sweeter than honey. My own gold medal, earned when I defeated my closest nemeses – my own personal demons.
Have a long way to go – my tuchus and core and thighs are testament to that, as is the holding pattern my book is in. But I think I’ve finally broken through the barriers I set for myself nearly eight years ago. And irony of ironies – who knew that taking care of oneself would make me a better mother. Which was my objective all along.
One small step on a treadmill. One giant step for me.