Interview with Man Who Learned How to Stop Running
I was a pretty active kid. I liked running around and pretending I was a soldier or a cop or a swordsman. I remember how fun it felt to step outside of my house and feel the sun on the back of my neck as I sprinted up and down and up and down the sidewalk in front of my deck. Sometimes, it felt like I would run so fast that my legs were ready to give out, like if I pushed it any harder my knees would buckle under my weight and my ankles would fall off the bottoms of my calves and I'd be some horrifying monster but I'd push it anyway. I think I liked the pain.
There's something about going fast from Point A to Point B. It's exhilarating. It's why I started skateboarding, you know? I loved seeing the pavement underneath my feet fly past me, specs of concrete and pebbles blurring into lines. The wind in my face, my hair blowing back behind my ears, and that swishing sound speeding past my ears.
There's something special about that feeling. That moment your feet start to shuffle or when you take that first push towards your destination. I loved leaving everything behind. I only looked forward, towards the horizon, towards the sky, the stars, it didn't matter. I loved movement and I wanted to keep moving. I didn't care for the people, or the places, or the things that were behind me.
But, recently, I figured something out. I realized that, maybe, that was bad way to live my life.
I'm not sure if you're really following along or just zoning out while I'm talking to you but I'll spell it out for you just in case. Running wasn't just a physical thing for me. I ran from everything up until recently. I left my past behind, I left my friends behind, I left everything I knew behind me at one point.
But I couldn't really understand why I did it. I'd have these dreams where I was running on The Bridge and my literal past was behind me. All the friends that I dropped, all the exes, everyone. And they all caught up to me. It was scary at first and I think I started crying in my sleep or something because shortly afterwards my girlfriend (at the time) woke me up and started telling me things like, "You're okay". It was strange.
You know what they said to me before I woke up? They asked me why I ran so hard. They hugged me and held me and told me to stop running. They asked me to come back to them. To be a friend, to be a human to them again.
And that's when it really hit me. After I woke up and was laying there next to this person -- a person I didn't even really like -- and that image of all of my old friends pleading with me to stop running and I couldn't stop 'cause I wasn't in control. It really tore me up. I cried a lot that morning, it was like I was getting demons pulled out of me.
And I guess over the next couple of months, I tried calling them -- my old friends -- and seeing if they wanted to hang out, or get a drink, or just talk about everything. They haven't gotten back to me yet. I hope they do.
And if they do, I'll be here, I'm tired of running, you know?