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The suicide hot line phone number was posted to my parents refrigerator for months. Hung up for me by my mother, out of both love and what I can only imagine to be fear, for I was an utter and complete mess. And though I never used it, there were many instances in the last year when for the first time ever in my life, I truly felt like I just wanted to give up.
It’s really hard to admit that.
(And I assure you, those feelings are long gone).
But there simply are no words to possibly describe to someone what it feels like when you honestly believe your entire world has come crashing down on you, and you have nothing left to give. A crazy combination of heartache, and failure, confusion and complete loss of hope. I often hear people refer to these types of feelings as “emptiness” or “numbness”, but in my opinion, that certainly does not describe it. Because the emotional and even physical pain is often so overwhelming you feel like you would do just about anything to make it stop.
Just over two weeks from today marks the one year anniversary (“anniversary” sounds so cliche) of when I moved to New Hampshire. Many of you were probably not Run Faster Mommy blog readers at the time, so you may have absolutely no idea of what I’m referring too. It’s probably better off that way. In fact, many months ago I swore myself off from even mentioning the whole situation on the internet again. Digging up the past almost never does anyone any good. In fact, it’s just a giant disservice to everyone involved, and all the progress everyone has made since.
So why bring it up now?
I can’t help but find the irony in the fact that the one year mark almost exactly coincides with the day that I will attempt the most difficult athletic feat of my life (so far). I know I’m not physically where I hoped to be at this point, but I also know that this is one of those events where people will be mentally destroyed and quit long before their bodies physically give up. I know I won’t be tearing that course up, but I know my body is physically capable of surviving the possible 14 hours of pain Killington mountain has in store for me.
So it all boils down to the mental strength.
Do I have it?
The past week, every time I question if I have that strength, I start to get flashbacks. Flashbacks of that night, that week, those months; flashbacks of those feelings, flashbacks of the phone number glaring at me from refrigerator. Flashbacks of the feelings of bitterness and anger that this is what my life had become. Flashbacks of the months and years preceding that night, and every single angry, hurt, lost feeling I bottled up for so long that in no doubt, SOMEHOW contributed to everything that happened (as I begin to forgive I begin to see more clearly). I look back on all of that today, and wonder if anything I willingly walk into, never mind actually train for, could ever be that mentally painful again.
I spent a lot of time and energy over the last year defending my chaos. Playing the angry, defensive, “you’ll NEVER understand” card. The truth is- it was, and still is, a waste of effort. Because no two people will ever experience life the same, ever. No two people will react the same to a specific situation, that is assuming, two people can experience the identical situation. I will not apologize for the way I have reacted to everything and I will not become frustrated with those who look down on me for the way I choose to heal. It’s not their fault, for they simply are not me.
So instead, I have become grateful.
Maybe not for the exact events, but for all that the entire situation has taught me, and continues to teach me. For the places this change in direction has taken me. For the amazing people in my life now that I may have never met otherwise, who have shown me what it feels like to be truly happy and loved. For the inner strength and resolve that I’m slowly beginning to realize I really do possess. But most importantly, for the massive appreciation for life that becomes so much clearer after you’ve been at rock bottom.
My life may not be what or where I had imagined nor hoped it to be when I was much younger, thinking ahead to my future and how I thought things should be. Author Merry Browne once said “preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom”, and I find that to ring true daily in my life. Because my life today is amazingly beautiful. For life, in itself, is a precious gift. My health and physical strength are something I try to never take for granted. I still have one hell of a long way to go before I get to where I need to be, but I can’t help but wonder if I would appreciate any of it if things had worked out “as I expected”.
I’m grateful for this past year. For all that it has taught me. For showing me, though often in a roundabout and painful way, that I am incredibly strong. That just maybe, life has a way of working out the way it is supposed to.
And as grateful as I am for this past year, I’m finally, finally, ready to let it all go.
And I plan to leave it all out on the hills, rocks, and ponds of Killington. On the barbed wire that tears at my clothes, the rocks and ropes that tear at my skin, the walls that seem to high to overcome and the rocks too heavy to drag. All of it.
Bring it on Ultra Beast. I’ve got fuel for this fire and a phoenix ready to rise from the ashes.