7 months ago, I started running. I didn’t start out saying, “I’m going to start running.” No; in fact, I just started going outside and walking for 10-20 minutes because I work from home and I needed to get some fresh air. One day, I started jogging for a few minutes. It wasn’t particularly easy or pleasurable running on the uneven ground. I remembered Anna telling me how she used to walk for 30 minutes every night after dinner around her pool, for exercise, when she was growing up. Well, there was a pool on the property.
I started slowly jogging on the even concrete around the pool. I would pray as I ran. I felt like something was stirring on the inside of me. Something trying to come out; be discovered. I had heard of Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth years before, had even tried to get into it, but never could. For some reason, I felt drawn to start listening to it. But I didn’t want to commit to the book, so instead I listened to the 10-part YouTube video series he did with Oprah for her first live web classroom series. It was exactly what I needed.
In 2003, Anna had discovered Dr. Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention and it changed our lives. Then in 2007, we both discovered Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and it transformed our lives. Listening to Eckhard Tolle and Oprah talk about this “new earth” felt like that, but even better. The leaves were changing. We were approaching the end of 2017. I ran and listened, ran and listened, ran and listened. Before I knew it, I was running 10 miles a day, six days a week. I loved it. I also began to meditate. I found the mindfulness app Headspace, which was perfect. It wasn’t “frufru” meditation, but just mindfulness… easy, simple, no frills, no fuss.
The holidays were approaching and I found myself wanting to be in a state of acceptance, not resistance. I had been resisting everything that had happened to me for the last 4-5 years: having a mental breakdown in 2013, going on a leave of absence to care for myself – but instead spending the next 6 months assuming full care of Anna’s aging and mentally declining mother, not taking care of my personal well-being, beginning to gain weight, getting into verbal altercations with Anna’s brother who lived with their mother, getting the police involved, getting unjustly fired after being the very best within my elite nursing leadership team, becoming severely depressed, wanting to die, gaining more weight, becoming a psychiatric nurse for 6 months, trying to still go to grad school for becoming a Nurse Practitioner, becoming burdened with the spiritual damage the adult male patients had adopted from decades of sexual assault (both done to them and done by them), getting fired from that job, having a seizure because I didn’t have enough money for my anti-anxiety medicine, watching Anna have a seizure a month later after taking too many prescription water pills accidentally and being admitted to the ICU – but not telling anyone, losing another job as a in-home baby nurse after asking one of the clients for money to get my car fixed, losing our house, having a sister tell me God told her to not help us and another sister tell me everyone thought I was on drugs so it would be good for me to live in rustic camper in the mountains, deciding to never talk to any of them again, have Anna’s mother barricade us from coming to her house, the church people tell us to go to a shelter after giving years and years and years into that ministry, trying to apply for disability, having Anna tell me constantly to “wake up – and take my head out of the ground,” not listening, becoming homeless, selling every single thing I owned to pay for an extended-stay hotel for a month, eating fast food and binge-watching Netflix the entire time, running out of money, sleeping on Anna’s nieces couch for a week and a half, seriously considering suicide, discovering I once again weighed over 250 lbs after a decade before losing 90 lbs, moving in with a high school friend of Anna’s for 6 months, being kicked out five days before Christmas, somewhere in between there finally landing a small job working from home after applying to 100s and 100s of jobs, me being denied for disability, Anna being approved, going to a Hampton Inn for 10 days, finding our current home on Craig’s list by nothing less than the hand of God, moving in, re-starting my binge-watching habit paired with working a few hours from home during the day, trying to go back to grad school, starting to slowly lose some weight, still not finishing grad school, watch Anna re-start her quest to save her mother from her negligent brother, getting the police involved, her mother going into a nursing home, her negligent brother dying from cancer, watch Anna start to lose some weight, us not talking to any family or family-like friends for going-on two years, getting in arguments on the phone with the nursing home because Anna wasn’t “on the list” (thanks to her brother who was now dead), getting the state involved, continuing to lose some weight, start to have sex with Anna after not for probably 14 or 15 years, seeing Anna continue to lose weight, finally going to see Anna’s mom, Pastor, in May 2017, going all the time, beginning to feel renewed as we sowed into all the residents’ lives (and they sowed into ours), have garnishments taken out of my check from past debt, filing bankruptcy, start trying to find a better / higher-paying job in July, watch Anna begin to open back up and be her normal people-person self after spending 15 years only leaving the house for doctor’s appointments because of the 150 lbs she gained after losing her dad in 1999 and her job in 2001, see Anna drop significantly more weight, apply – apply – apply for jobs – jobs – jobs for months – months – months and no success, seriously considering suicide again, witness Anna have to have 2 major surgeries and hospitalizations in in the autumn of 2017, continuing to work my same position of now 2 years but not guaranteed full-time hours or benefits, continuing to have no luck on the job-front, getting behind on my rent payments, owing our amazing landlords money, FINALLY getting married in October after 18 years with Anna, all the way up until November 2017 when the shift began to really happen…
When my sister found me on a social media profile in early December – it took me a few weeks to respond but when I did, I said yes. Yes to opening that door and trying to reunite with my family. It was not easy; in fact, the start of it (a few days after Christmas) was absolutely terrible. I had been text arguing with them all day and then went to the rented mountain cabin with Anna – who knew nothing of what had transpired and wondering why everyone was so distant, getting in a huge blowout the next day when I told Anna I was going back to spend more time with them, but knowing I HAD to do it if I wanted to move forward, doing it, overcoming it, beginning to repair and restore very old, very wounded damages from years and years and years of grief and hurt, opening on social media, discovering that (contrary to what I once believed) – the world would not end if we put ourselves out there.
And so here we are. I am a runner. Not a fast runner. Not the best runner. Don’t run with anyone except myself. Don’t run races. I just run. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people say runners are really just running away from something. Am I running away from something? Absolutely … inauthenticity.
But I’m also running towards something: love, my calling, a greater quality of life, being free and open, living with no apologies, and my commitment to becoming a writer. I am a runner. I am a writer. I am Katie.