I would run down the lane And into the night/Run so fast I swear my feet would fly/Run from my babies asleep in their beds/Run from my lover and my best friend/And back again
I understand this song in my bones, even though I am currently childless. This woman is carving out a space for herself to just be who she is, time to not be a mother or wife in that moment. And because she loves her children and her partner, she comes back. When I run (or get on that elliptical trainer, or walk, or lift weights) I am just me. I'm not Ms. Laila, the storytime lady, and I'm not Laila, the wife, or Laila the daughter. I love being all of these things, but at some level I also want to be me - the woman who is in the midst of what feels like a profound life changing time. I am running not away from my family or friends, but towards the woman I want to become.
I can see her in my mind. She's strong, sexy, confident, powerful. She is alive, a fighter. She knows all the crazy horrible things in this world that can break her heart wide open, and she says, So be it. I can still love life, create art, have fun, love myself and love my loved ones in the face of all that's broken with this world.
But the smell of the world came into my lungs/The sound of the gravel when my legs went numb/And my heart nearly burst right out of my chest/And it felt so good to know I wasn't dead/
When I run, I don't fly like a slight, skinny bird. I tend to plod, and sweat, and gasp. I am a woman of some substance, you might say. But there are moments when my heart's pounding that I come close to feeling a sort of flight, a certain sweet distance from everyday experience. The more I run the more I realize that my body does what it wants to; some days I can run, and some days I just walk, and that's okay. Either way I feel more alive, like every moment is a chance to be made new.