Lies

“You believe a lot of lies about yourself”…

He grabbed his coat and notebook and walked away. His words, however, stayed.  Seated at the table with me.

“You believe a lot of lies about yourself”…

It wasn’t just the words but the way they were spoken. Matter of fact. A statement. Not a question of “do you?” or a suggestion of “you may” but simply a fact: “You believe”…

And lunch was over and the statement wasn’t made for me. No. It was a fact for him. As though he found the clarity that I was seeking. As though he could see there was nothing left to say until I could see…

I believe a lot of lies about myself.

I’ve often said, there is no reason to be offended. If someone says something about you that is true and you don’t like it, change it. If what they say isn’t true they’re a liar, and you should never listen to liars. But…

…what am I supposed to do when I’m lying to myself, about myself?

In 2014 I ran the Portland Marathon. All of it. I trained for months and months, each weekend pushing myself further and further. 12 miles, 14 miles, 18 miles…I don’t quit. I am not a quitter. I will not quit. 20 miles…

When race day came I knew it would be a challenge and I knew I would finish. For the first 18 miles my body felt great. I ran with a smile and clear mind and nothing was going to stop me. I don’t quit. I am not a quitter. I will not quit. 20 miles…my body starts to breakdown. On this gorgeous Sunday morning people were literally dropping out and literally falling to the ground, laying face down on strangers lawns and calling for me to join them.

By mile 24 I was broken. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally. I felt as though I could not take another step forward and I also knew I could not quit. I will not quit (I can not take another step). I am not a quitter (I want to die).

Mile 25 passes so slowly…and death does not come.

For the final 1.2 miles the streets are lined with people offering encouragement and I hate every single one of them. “You’re doing great“, “You can do this“, “Awesome job, Johnpaul“, but I just want this nightmare to end and I don’t believe a word they are saying. No…worse…I refuse to believe. They don’t know how I feel. They don’t know what I’m thinking. Great job? Not to me. I can do this? Not to the standards I have set. Awesome? Fuck off.

I realize that I’m nearing the 5 hour mark and I tell myself to keep moving. Make it under 5 hours and you won’t be embarrassed, I tell myself.

Downtown Portland.
The streets are packed.
1,000 of people cheering.
Yet I am alone.

I have one corner left to turn and I see my children standing there. I’m too broken to move any faster and still they bring me love…for one brief moment I feel a sense of pride. My children are watching me run. My children believe in me. My children will be proud…

I round the last corner  and see the race timer… 5 hours, 3 minutes…I start to cry. Head down staring straight at the street I cross the finish line. 5 hours, 3 minutes, 20 seconds…

A race volunteer tries to put a medal around my neck but I just grab it in my hands. I decide in that moment of brokenness that I failed and I will never wear this medal. I go home still holding what has instantly become a symbol of failure to me…I hang the medal with my others and fall asleep…

I have ran countless races and every other time I was given a medal I would wear it proudly and say, “They don’t give medals to losers” and then I would tell my kids that I won (for which category I’m not sure… No… probably not fastest time, son, but perhaps I was the fastest mid 30’s male wearing blue and black? The details aren’t important…I’m a winner).

And yet:

“You believe a lot of lies about yourself”.

Lunch is over so I grab my jacket and notebook, walk slowly to my car, drive home, and put my 2014 Portland Marathon Medal around my neck for the first time and I tell myself:

“Don’t believe the lies”

After all, they don’t give medals to losers…and that’s the truth!

Lies

Daydreams

I dream about you on the beach. Laying back and relaxing in the sun. Life has become life for you and I. It’s just another day at the beach. But then I glance at you (and so much time has past I’ve forgotten) but you glance back and suddenly nothing will keep me from holding you.

And I don’t care what our children will think, as I roll you into the sand. And you are so tired of this. “Every time we come to the beach you just won’t leave me alone.”
But glances are what started our love and glances on the beach are what propelled our love and I don’t care!

I’ll run my sandy fingers through your sandy hair. And I’ll tell you how I’ve loved you since the day we first met.

No one else will matter. Nothing else remains. It’s just you and it’s just me and together we are perfectly in love.

And our children love us the same.

Daydreams