Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I run because there are demons to exorcise...

One of the most terrifying films I have ever seen is 'The Exorcist' in which a young girl is possessed by the devil.

Young Regan quickly goes from a sweet, pre-adolescent girl to an expletive spewing, spider crawling monstrosity. While eventually Regan's demons are exorcised, it occurs with no shortage of bloodshed and tragedy.

I have always been of the opinion that we carry demons around with us. There are the dark thoughts that keep us awake at night, the anxieties and fears about the things we can't control, or troubling ruminations.

As a child, I felt like I had little control over my demons. They would manifest in angry, violent ways sometimes. I
 found myself in the principal's office on more than one occasion. I often didn't understand how I got there. It was if something had possessed me not unlike young Regan.

But, there were things that happened in our house that were scary, terrifying, and impossible for my young mind to understand and they possessed me at times.

Perhaps that is why I gravitated towards films like 'The Exorcist'. Terrifying films like this in some small way made the scary things I encountered at home a bit more palatable.

While what happened in these films was often horrific, the protagonist almost inevitably prevailed and I suppose I needed to see this to remind myself that I could prevail as well.

I struggled greatly in childhood to master my demons. I felt like there was so little that was within my control, including my own behavior.

Then, I discovered running. Grueling and exhausting at first, running soon became the kind of exorcism I desperately needed.

The fears, anger, and voices of doubt quieted and sometimes ceased entirely when I was on the road.

My feelings of impotence and lack of control waned as I realized I actually was in control when I ran. There was much that I could not control, but I could control my own actions. It was entirely up to me how far and fast I went.

Upon completing my runs, the runner's high would wash over me providing a peace and serenity (if only short lived) that gave me hope that my demons could at least be controlled, if not entirely exorcised.

Countless miles later and a couple decades later, running is still my preferred form of exorcising demons.

Whether it is a crappy day, an opportunity squandered, a vexing conundrum, a lurking frustration, or some combination of the aforementioned, running never fails.

When I find myself on the verge of spider walking into the abyss, I take a deep breath, put on my shoes, and go.

Miles later, the demons may still be present but their voices are less pronounced. Their presence is less a threat and more of a nuisance. Their power has waned.

So, I run because I have demons...and they need to be exorcised....


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