I don’t really know why I am here writing this down.
It’s 10pm. I’m in bed and I’m incredibly tired. Astrid is snoring softly beside me after her bedtime story and some tears for the butterflies we raised and released today. She misses them. She named them all ‘Flower’ which is what she names everything including a flame haired merman with curly chest hair.
She’s shed rather a lot of tears today. Beginning with my refusal to cook pasta for breakfast, to me insisting she washes her hands after using the toilet. Anger tears. Sad tears because Iris has started full time school and Astrid isn’t sure how to get through a whole day without her. She’s the sidekick and you can’t be the sidekick without the other character.
Iris has shed tears today too, although only a few and only when Astrid ate all of the cucumber. Iris doesn’t cry much. Iris is brave and wise.
I haven’t cried today although I felt like it when Astrid cried after the butterflies flew away. I wondered why I had put her through it. I know she gets very attached to things and creatures and people, but none of this had crossed my mind when I ordered a pot of tiny caterpillars on the internet.
I didn’t cry and I didn’t run today, although I should have. I have an imaginary training plan that isn’t a plan at all. I conjure it up day by day and it’s basically meaningless. But it says I should have ran today. Cardiff half marathon seems to be closing in on me and I know I can do it because I casually ran 13 miles on a Monday evening just a couple of weeks ago, and I ran from Caerphilly Castle to Cardiff Castle on the weekend. Those big epic runs make me feel like a superhero but that feeling slips away and I doubt my ability to run to the end of the street.
My house is quite clean, which is a surprise to me more than anybody else. Nobody else seems to notice when it’s all falling apart around our ears and clutter covers every surface. It turns out that things do get easier, even though I couldn’t believe it in the days when the house was dreadful and the babies were tiny and my despair at living like it was a big black cloak that I couldn’t take off. There’s still clutter and piles of stuff, but the dust on the skirting boards isn’t so thick and we never run out of clean clothes anymore.
Yes, the children growing has made everything easier. Of course. But I credit running and only running with the big changes in my life.
Nothing, apart from the obvious things like kids and love, has been so life changing for me ever before. My mental health was a huge wall I couldn’t climb over. A barrier between me and life. My anxiety kept me prisoner, trapped inside the body I hated and didn’t look after.
Physical health came second to the huge benefits to the ways that I think and feel. I have lost weight and I don’t ache anymore. I can chase my kids and I can play and dance and I don’t feel sluggish anymore. But better still, my mind is mostly clear and if it does fog up again I only have to put my trainers on and head out into the weather and I know I’ll feel better. Even the stupid angry hateful runs where half a mile in I’m already walking and cursing my legs because they are being useless help me. Even the runs where I set out and before I reach the end of my street my head is telling me that I’m no runner and this is just a waste of energy. All I need to do is ignore it for just a moment or so and keep going. Keep pushing. Turn the music up. The superhero feeling always returns in the end.