“Oh, baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
‘Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run”
“Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

It’s been a long time. Longer than I would like but the words just haven’t come lately. I’ve had so much in my head and no idea what needed to get out first. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote and so much of it is still knocking around that it’s been making me feel a little like running away. Something I’m really good at. So, I’ve been literally “running”. A lot. Well, a lot for me anyway.

I started to notice that I ran on the days when it felt like the walls were closing in on me, and then I realized I feel the most free when I run. I put on my headphones, push play on my Running playlist and I go, as stripped down as I can be. No shirt, phone tucked into my sports bra, shorts, shoes, headphones, and house key. Free. Nothing to weigh me down, nothing to carry. I feel free of worry, free of guilt, free of judgement. I don’t care what I look like or what people think. I shed every ounce of self-doubt. I run. And I sing. There was a time when I would have been embarrassed and I ran in silence. But it’s something I love and I’ve hidden it forever. I’ve decided to no longer hide the things I love from the world. It’s who I am. Running sets me free. And freedom has given me the courage to do some of the very things I have been so afraid of for far too long.

I moved. Again. Back to the side of town I grew up on. Things are familiar here for me but also so very different. I realized that for the first time in my life, I live completely alone. It is the least lonely I have felt in years. I can’t wait to go home every night. It is the first time something has felt completely mine.

I’ve said no. To more things than ever. To more people than ever. And I’ve stopped apologizing for being who I am and stopped feeling guilty for wanting what I want. My dreams belong to me and I don’t feel the need to justify them or explain myself.

I’ve said the words and risked rejection and had it land like a hard left hook to my jaw. I’ve gotten back up, and gotten better at seeing the punch coming. I’ll never win the fight if I don’t step in the ring and show them what I’m made of. So I’ll keep saying the words when it’s what I feel and I’ll just keep picking my heart up off the mat and getting up before the count until it’s over.

I’ve accepted some things about myself. I’ve even come to admire some of them. I like what I see in the mirror everyday. I can live with her. I like the curve of her hip and I like the size of her thighs. They’re strong and they fit her. They keep her running and that keeps her free.

Freedom comes at a price though I haven’t figured out what that is yet. I guess I’ll pay the bill when the time comes. Maybe it means I never become half of something else. Maybe it means there are people who will just never accept me, as much as I want them to. Or maybe I’ve already paid the price and just never realized it. Maybe I’m paid in full and freedom is what I bought.

“Oh, will you walk with me out on the wire?
‘Cause baby I’m just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild, babe, I want to know if love is real”