when you finally stop running

Two blurry figures in a weathered, brick tunnel.

I’m beginning to think that denial is stronger than faith—at least, in me.

I never thought of myself as a runner, feet pounding the pavement or carpeted track of my university gym, rolling inward as I lifted and struck again. I hated the sound of my footfalls, no music loud enough to mask my breathing. This was before my legs got bad and running became impossible—or so I thought.

The fact is I’ve been running from the truth of myself for more than a decade. By truth, I mean there is evidence of my path in the pages of journals I’ve kept since I was six, mentions of attraction and fears and wants buried between reviews of books and half-finished poems and obsessive (performative) notes about boys.

The truth that I am a lesbian. A lesbian who married a wonderful man who is her best friend and the only person she thought she’d spend her life with.

Coming out as gay when you’re 31 years old and married to a man is its own unique chaos. Fear at how friends and family will respond to you. Weekly therapy to try to understand why it took so long to stop running, why you stopped now. Moving into an apartment with one of your two cats (he kept the other). Exploring the hellscape that is online dating when you’re queer and new and not sure what you can offer another person when you’ve already failed the best friend you’ve ever had. Filing for divorce in the middle of a pandemic.

The reality of my life has completely unraveled in the last three months. No more beautiful rental home. No more stability. It’s all panicked timelines and deadlines and somehow, a full-time job waiting for me every Monday morning.

This is the story for so many of us. I (almost) can’t believe I’ve been running alongside all these women for so long and never noticed, each of us fighting against the force the pulls us off the track until we can’t anymore. Until we have to say it—quietly, at first, and only to ourselves, then again in desperate admissions to our loved ones.

Sometimes it feels like I was running to keep my fragile world spinning, and once I stopped to look back at what I was running from, I realized it had already shattered, splinters of glass lodged in the soles of my feet. I wonder how long it will take to excise the shards from my skin, for the scars to heal.

I have hope for congruity, now; for peace, finally. I have hope to find it here and share it with you, so maybe there won’t be another me that follows along that broken, well-worn path.


2 responses to “when you finally stop running”

  1. Melanie J Schnieders Avatar
    Melanie J Schnieders

    Truly wonderful – thank you for sharing such a unique perspective on an age old issue. You are special and I hope you can find the happiness we all seek. Love you!

    1. I love you!! Thank you for reading and commenting 💙

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