The Place I Ran To

(from 1990 journal entry, after a breakup)

          I ran. Finally. I ran over to the path alongside the creek and kept on running. I thought my lungs would explode. That is what I wanted. I wanted my chest to explode. To open up and spew out whatever I’d been keeping in me for the past week, month, year.
            As I ran, I felt everything. That is what I wanted. I wanted to feel the muscles in my thighs contract beneath the jiggle of skin; to feel my arms swing, my calves tighten and expand with each piston-like footfall.
            I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. Mallards swam away as I ran over rock like a mountain goat. I ran into the water and found what I had come for: the water. The water, rushing through and over rock, concrete, jams of leaves and sticks and rubble. Bubbling, like my brain. That’s it. “My brain is bubbling,” I said to myself this morning before I went out. And now here it was. The bubbling water, like my brain, churning, gurgling non-stop. This is what I had run to see. I found a connection with the water. And as the bubbling white foam reached below the rock line and flowed out smooth, like glass, on down the stream, I knew I would find a calm inside my head. But first I just needed to feel every piece of me in action. I needed to explode and hurt and ache and fly and feel everything.

            I don’t know if I can go one more night without making love. I need to explode like lightning; rip open a dark slice of sky and feel my breath come in jagged gasps. Like when I run; when I make love; when I am touched deeply and to the core; when my roots are touched: almost painful, like Rinpoche’s raw heart. Only when I am so exposed and raw and open do I feel real. Like the skin horse in The Velveteen Rabbit.
            That’s why it’s good to run. It’s good to make love. You feel everything when you are so open and honest. You are real, even if only for a moment. Until you take the last orgasmic breath then begin to breath evenly: in, out. Until that exploding flower moment seems only an illusion. It has become a memory. But a real memory.

             There is an eternal “Why?” that sounds off in my head every now and then. Now, more than ever. I feel this on-edge power; this edgy impatience, like the horse of the Dioscuri, the twins Polydeuces and Castor, in Greek mythology. I chomp at the bit, my feet barely touching the ground. I titter. I tap. I dance back and forth, waiting to go somewhere but believing someone else must take the reigns and lead me. I feel like something is about to happen but I can’t guess what. Perhaps it is simply my opening. My self opening, a petal at a time, while my center grows anxious to burst from the inside out.
            I am Narcissus. Self-absorbed, learning about my own beauty. Coming dangerously close to self-consumption. I treat the waters of aloneness that flow along the edge of togetherness. Never quite sure whether to keep trying to swim or clamber out onto the bank, exhausted and awaiting rescue. My deepest fear is that no one will rescue me. In truth, I know no one can. But my deepest fear remains: I will be alone.
            Natalie Goldberg says loneliness is a dog that has followed her for years. My loneliness is a raven that flies across my shoulder. My left shoulder where my dragonfly tattoo sits. The raven is black and magic and says this loneliness is mine and I must practice it. I must own it. There is no place to run to separate myself from it.
            I can’t quite see the raven. That is its magic. It is elusive, like my dragonfly. But when it comes, I know it. I cry inside my heart. My heart weeps because I am finally beautiful, and I am alone.

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