I ran today, outside, down a real sidewalk, for the first time in what felt like an eternity. It was not easy. I huffed and puffed and had to slow several times to a walk. I felt the burden of carrying a few extra pounds with me in every step. I felt the weakness, the stagnancy in my leg muscles. After a long and lazy winter, they just aren't built, right now, for nice, leisurely three-mile runs.
But this is how things are at the beginning -- slow and plodding. When you're new -- whether brand new or just returning to something after a time away -- it's always hard. You feel weak. You question what the hell you think you're doing.
But the nice part is that you know, it will get easier and easier if you keep putting one foot in front of the other. One day, you'll run for miles and just think, ah, this is wonderful.
I have spent a lot of time daydreaming lately. I have always been a daydreamer. It is hard for me sometimes to decipher which of those daydreams are real possibilities, things I should pursue, and which are just the wild fantasies of an overactive imagination. I think too often I tell myself the later. I'm trying not to shush myself so quickly this time. I'm letting the daydreams force me into small actions, little baby steps.
Today, I bought a nice leather book to write in. It is brown and lovely and right now, empty. Over the weekend, I read another book about becoming a writer, one filled with short exercises I hope soon fill the pages of my brown book. On Saturday, I submitted my story to that contest, a contest I know I am not ready to enter. But I thought, what the hell. Might as well. Today I bought a copy of that publication, and I'm excited to sit on the plane tonight and study it like a textbook. I have spent lots of time researching online -- artist retreats, summer workshop programs, low-residency MFA programs, even. I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm just looking. In Chicago, a friend and I spent a great afternoon "being writers" at a coffee shop, where we worked a little and workshopped our pieces. Then we went to dinner with four real, live MFA students, and I had to remind myself often to keep my envy below the surface, as not to scare them away.
Anyway, so you see, I'm letting myself wonder and I'm letting wonder really move me. It feels wonderfully indulgent but also scary. Part of me says, what about this, what about that? I understand that changing your life mid-stream is not the easiest thing.
But I'm just daydreaming, I'm just beginning to try some things out. And if something comes of it, I wouldn't be the first girl to ever change her course.