Round-up, here is Amy’s 5th post!
Today I woke up and I felt spring. From the frayed hole in my curtain I smiled at the crack of light and something warmed in me. I laughed, I think it was hope.
I’d got myself into a rut; 2016 had tossed me around like a rag doll. Two months of happiness sandwiched between the cold harsh reality of being an “adult” and everything it could bring: countless rejections, disappointment, financial hardship, my first heartbreak and the all-encompassing doom of the Tories in/Brexit/Donald Trump becoming President. I spent more months crying last year than I ever have in my life.
Although there was never a point where I thought I couldn’t get through it, predominantly down to my well weaved support network, the love of my job in the arts and the overriding excitement of a whole world of music yet to be discovered, it was tough. And although I had gained a lot of experience, I feel I lost some of myself along the way. Perhaps that was inevitable.
With the drudgery that had come before, when I did eventually get full-time work, I started to save a small, manageable amount every month. And when this job went part-time, I went back to mania of retail at Christmas, my main goal having enough money that I could go and visit one of my best friends in Hong Kong.
After an infuriating January, whilst in Hong Kong I basked in the glory of being away from my life for the first time all year, soaking up a completely different culture. Having spent most of my childhood holidays in Whitby or Lancaster University Campus (yes, you read that right) and having never been out of Europe, this was very much a new experience for me. The physical space allowed mental space and I had time to reflect. As I took long bus journey’s to visit the Big Buddha, with a stranger’s head lulling against my shoulder, it came to me; part of pulling myself together again is going to be running.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m back on very familiar and yet uneasy ground. As I let my feet do the walking for me, I found myself on a special piece of land.
We call it The Heath, my friend and I, and it’s a field just behind our secondary school where we both studied and fought through the ups and downs that teenage hood can bring. During university, when we both started to like each other, this piece of land became a place of comfort when we went home. As we viewed the school grounds that trapped us and the town we both couldn’t wait to escape, I think the distant but close positioning of it best symbolised our encompassed state. With a bottle usually in hand, we’d seen off many celebrations on that field and danced through the technicolour of emotion with Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights.
The Heath also, ironically, was the place where our school used to make us do cross country, something I genuinely hated and dreaded whenever it arose its ugly, muddy head. Like most P.E lessons, I would do anything to get out of it, which adds another twist to my running tale.
Downloading the Couch 25k programme I thought to myself would I have to go back to square one? I took a risk and plunged for Week 4 (3 minutes or running- 1 min break- 5 minutes of running). I thought I could handle this as I had been keeping active at the gym. And I did. There I was breathing through the music, trying not to slip on the mud, hoping the surrounding dogs were not going to bound towards me and knock me off course, waiting for that all powerful: “Ding, now start walking.”
For the all-important playlist I opted for a Spotify special “Gym & Hip Hop” which had me smiling and between runs, dancing my way through (I find this helps). And there I was for half an hour, with one simple objective- getting from run to run and not giving up. Through the process I felt an inner peace return. Running helped heal me last time, it will help heal me again.