Running · To whom it may concern

They come in threes

Chapter 1

So remember last weekend, when I wrote about running in Lynn Park and how I almost destroyed myself over the course of my route?

Well, today it actually happened. I absolutely rocked myself about seven kilometers into a twelve kilometer run.

I was careening along a long, gravel straightaway and stubbed my right foot on the tip of an unseen rock. From this point, I launched myself right into a baseball slide (arms first), straight across the pathway.

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B:

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I hate falling.

For all of the usual reason, yes: it hurts, it’s embarrassing, it totally messes up your plans, and it makes bathing and clothing yourself equal parts excruciating and ridiculous for days on end.

But what I hate the most about falling is that strange nebulous time frame between the actual trip, and the moment you make contact with the ground. Your conscious, rational self knows that a connection with the earth is imminent, and yet, you still try to think of all of the ways you could stop it from happening. And then, right before impact, you resign yourself to your fate, and brace for the carnage.

After coming to a complete rest, I always try give myself a moment to take stock and check for bad cuts and injuries before getting to my feet, because I always just want to keep running and get away from the crash site as quickly as possible. Today, my adrenaline was going like crazy, and it’s at times like this that I have to be particularly careful not to start again too quickly.

I was also pretty angry with myself for making such a simple mistake, and my gut reaction was to beat it out of there and just get on with completing my run. But noticing a large stream of blood pooling in the palm of my left hand, I thought it better to be safe than sorry, so I ran back to the park’s entrance and washed my wounds at one of the water stations.

A small part of me contemplated just running back to my car and heading home, but most of me couldn’t fathom not finishing what I had set out to accomplish. So, with my cuts stinging like crazy from the antiseptic handfoam I got from the closest outhouse, I ran back to the route and finished.

It wasn’t until I was actually driving home that the extent of my cuts and scrapes really came to the fore. They stung. Stung like mad.

I made a quick pit stop at London Drugs to stock up on Epsom salts and Haribo, and upon my arrival at home, booked it straight into the bathtub.

For the next hour I sat, soaking my wounds, eating candy and listening to Hari Kondabolu stand-up shows.

Not the worst way to spend a Sunday morning, but good grief, next time I’ll elect to do it without having to gently scrape the dirt from my bleeding elbows.

(That’s more of a Tuesday morning chore.)

Chapter 2

Everyone has silly little things that made them smile. For instance, I love recognizing Vancouver in movies and television shows. I always get butterflies when people address me by name in conversation – whether face to face, over the telephone, or via text. And I will always, always love a song that has some kind of hand-clap section or chorus.

It’s an inevitable truth of life, and there is nothing to be done. I have resigned myself to this fate.

So you can of course understand why I currently have this song on constant repeat, much to the chagrin of every human within earshot of my musical devices.

I just cannot help it. It’s so darn catchy and it just makes me want to dance about the world, nonstop forever.

(My cat, unfortunately, was very unimpressed by this yesterday, and staunchly refused to join in.)

Some others that I enjoy:

Where It’s At (Beck)

Beck was one of my very first music loves. I asked for, and received Mellow Gold for my 11th birthday but I loved Odelay even more, because of this song.

Cecelia (Simon and Garfunkel)

It is always, always summer whenever I hear this opening refrain.

Women’s Realm (Belle and Sebastian)

This band. Goodness, this band.

Chapter 3

I have a recurring dream – or nightmare, I suppose – where I am caught outside wearing nothing but a t-shirt.

No underwear. No shoes. Nothing.

It’s just me, my t-shirt, and the elements. I find myself rooted to the ground in a busy town square or being jostled about by the teeming crowd of an emptying lecture hall. It’s the weirdest experience, trying desperately to both cover myself and creep away without anyone noticing.

What’s even weirder is that it’s exactly the same – the panic, the fear, the discomfort – every time.

I don’t dream this dream as often as the one where all of my teeth are falling out, nor do I find it as terrifying as the one where I am two seconds away from falling off of the chair lift, but nevertheless, it has firmly ensconced itself into my personal narrative and never fails to leave me shaken up.

Because, let’s face it. Nudity is a pretty weird thing.

But the fact that we clothe ourselves all of the time, even when we are alone, can seem equally as weird. Knowing that we are all just a bunch of penises and vaginas, cleverly hidden away, traipsing about the planet is an idea I rarely give time to, but find utterly bizarre when I do.

Sometimes when I was a pre-teen, I would take moments and try to visualize all of the adults, outside of my family, naked. I would try to imagine them having sex, or being “sexy”.

It was both strange and hard, and the moment was always fleeting. (Insert joke here about the parallels between this exercise and the first time I found myself naked with a boy.)

I am not exactly sure that the answer is, nor what exactly it is that I am looking in terms of this dream, or my ideas on nakedness and nudity. I think, for me, the most important thing is identifying my hang-ups – hang-ups I am sure shared by many – around being nude, about being naked (literally and metaphorically), and the overall social expectations and politicization of what it means to be naked (also literally and metaphorically).

My friend Emma Cooper, who is a local comedian and artist has said that when comes to nudity, “Men are not allowed to be vulnerable, and women are not allowed to be sexual.”

Whenever I think about this statement it hits me like a sack of bricks, and is an idea that I remain sensitive to, and cognizant of whenever it is that I find myself thinking about these things.

Now if only I had something to help me, during those moments of peak vulnerability, when I’m standing in that town square.

Epilogue

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Happy Sunday my little loves.

2 thoughts on “They come in threes

  1. Ouch! Vanessa. I tripped and fell while running in the woods the other day. The airborne part was similar, but the ground was soft and cushy. Nothing like the gravel. Can’t help with your dream, sorry.

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