Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spotless Mind

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd ...:

I try to make these blogs mostly about capturing the present or looking forward but we'll call this a semi nostalgic once. A movie was made once, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind about a couple who after their break up continuously go back and get their memories erased of each other and yet somehow end up back together. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind they titled it, borrowing from the poem above. 

It is strange to have memory problems when you had all but a perfect memory once upon a time... it is strange to imagine the premise of that movie that people would choose to forget the things in their life because the pain and the joy seem disproportionate to each other... and in trying to forget the pain... they are willing to forget the joy. Basic common sense would tell us that there are things where the pain isn't worth the joy and thus some things should not continue but I am not sure that even in those things I'd rather forget. I know some people see things through rose colored glasses and others seem to obsess over insignificant trivial details. Josh Billings said that there are people who mistake their imagination for their memory... and I think probably we all do to some degree which is why I always say as I write this blog... is this story true... no it's just what I remember.

There are things that other people do that I don't quite understand. Despite this massive tattoo on my arm, I remember the pain incredibly clearly and I can't imagine getting another tattoo again and it's been over 2 years. The first marathon I did I said I'd never do one again because it hurt so much but I did another one 13 days later... When are  our joys and pains worth each other is at best a personal decision. For me the pains of running and parenting are more than worth it but the ones of romantic love I've shown to be more than hesitant about. 

And so perhaps this is why I keep going back to my love affair with running, something I did since I was 8 and stopped and got fat, then started again and lost weight, then stopped racing and moved to sports and now for a guy who doesn't work seems like it is somehow both his passion and his occupation in a sense. It is a pain and a joy, never fully one, never fully the other, the equation tilting in both directions at different times. And so it is with life... but the reason this blog often has pictures is because those capture a moment and freeze it and own it. But every so often you get pictures later than expected... the one from the 2 miler that I won the non student division but went into with training mode and then realized I don't know how to not race, the pocatello marathon where I realized that for the first time ever running my first urban race that there's a beauty to that I'd never experienced. The fact that before the brainpower 5k group I was dancing trying to make sure everyone's smile was as genuine as I could get it not realizing someone was taking a picture of me... 

Those who talk to me most often realize that sometimes we have the same conversation more than once but only they are aware of it. Those closest to me and who get to engage with me more than randomly on occasion realize that my sense of time is incredibly off. This is a strange year because it seems light years since I won a marathon when it's barely been six months and since then I have ran in 5 different states with a sixth one coming up this weekend and possibly a 7th in November. And while most of these invitations have come with low costs they have also not paid any bills. There isn't a day that I'm not greatful that even if the bills don't lighten up that some of the thrills have been amazing. But the time between race to race is as far apart to me as it is to Kiana. It seems like forever because my memory is damaged but it's perhaps why I get along so well with a six year old because the simple joys of childhood aren't too far from the simple joys of my mind. 

And even while I nail down the George Clooney lifestyle... I still add songs to the hopeless romantic playlist, which is the longest playlist I've ever made. The latest song is Edwin McCain's I'll be wondering if I'll keep running away from these opportunities or at least embrace the possibility of an opportuinity...

I'll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.

I'll be your crying shoulder,
I'll be love's suicide
I'll be better when I'm older,
I'll be the greatest fan of your life.

And rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed.
You're my survival, you're my living proof.
My love is alive and not dead.

And I can't decide where in that song I want to cling more to... that I will hang to someone's lips instead of the heartache that hangs from above or whether I really have let my capacity to love in the romantic sense commit suicide. I do think the one line in there is that I'll be better when I'm older but I mostly translate it as I'll be better if I'm older... something that I have little confidence in but as the medical appointments get further apart perhaps a bit more. 

The pains of course are there... but the highs and low are ridicoulously apart. Brain cancer, divorce, custody challenges, finances going down the tube, somethings that will never be fixed, somethings that if they ever are will seem like it took as long as forever. And yet somehow by sharing my story... I've gotten to have some great experiences on the big scale but also sat and watched survivors and unfortunately watch people die from cancer... It's a strange life I lead and while I think we all want to believe we lead our own lives... that my 5k prs and my marathon PR with and without a stroller are both one second apart is a bit scary...

I keep up my "running slut" ways this weekend as I head to Spartan Beast in Vermont. Even some of my best running friends wonder why I don't just pick a distance and focus on that for a year or two... When you've woken up in ambulances a couple of times... for me at least... I'd rather different types of races and more of them than just spend hours and hours for a personal best of only one distance (though obviously I try to get the best personal time in every distance).  People have said the way I exercise I seem like I'm in beast mode but this is the first race that has that in it's title so I hope I earn it. As always, getting to the finish line is non negotiable.

Usually, because I have a six year old... I try to be the one behind the camera and it's rare I see/get pictures of me. If these are the choices this is simple realizing I get more joy and purpose when she wants me to update her pancake to look more like her so we add glasses and a bigger smiles. And well, I can't say I want eternal sunshine or a spotless mind. Yet while I would NEVER sign up for the last 3 years, I'd also not sign anyone the right to take away the memories whether or bad. But what I do suggest as I have all along is that anyone who reads this well... don't wait till your brain is as screwed as mine before you do better things with those who matter. And write some of them down to remember it and some pictures to semi relive them. And then the spots in my mind are somehow simultaneously the sunshine.

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