I was a problem child. I got into fights a lot. I was far too familiar with the principal's office.
My dark side made appearances not infrequently. It was hard to predict what would happen when it showed up. But, bad things always happened.
I got hurt. People got hurt. I didn't like my dark side. It always got me into trouble.
My dark side scared me. I didn't understand it. When it showed up, the light side ceased to exist.
Eventually, my anger would result in the serious injury of a classmate. I was terrified. I wasn't a monster, but I had done something monstrous.
I hid my dark side away. I would endure any insult. I would let people beat me up. I wouldn't let my dark side out again.
But, you can't get rid of you dark side. You can try. You can pretend.
The anger turned inward. The dark side gnawed at me. It snarled at me.
It told me I was a monster.
For years, the anger was bottled up. It was contained. It simmered impatiently just beneath the surface.
I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't know what I could do with it. This beast still owned me.
Running would find me. I would find it to be the yin to the dark side's yang. It soothed the beast. It calmed it.
I would also discover that running provided an outlet. In the latter stages of the race, I would take the leash off. Unleashed, the beast ran wild.
A furious cry from the depths of my soul erupted. The beast was loose and it was hungry. I would explode and claim countless runners en route to the finish.
The beast's snarling subsided. It had been fed. It was soothed, if only temporarily.
For the first time in my life, the beast helped me. My dark side took over, but it had empowered me. It gave me what I needed to finish the job.
I still keep my dark side on a short leash. I only let it run loose on special occasions. It smiles when I do and thanks me by letting me run faster and further than I ever thought I could.
I run because the dark side lurks....