Thursday, 3 December 2009

WHAT I THINK ABOUT WHEN I THINK ABOUT RUNNING

Things have actually been a bit pants lately, hence the radio silence. I know a blog is supposed to be a wonderfully therapeutic space in which to share good and bad, but I have absolutely no talent for confessional writing. I wish I did – I’m sure it would make me feel better, but try as I might to escape from my terribly buttoned-up conditioning, I’m afraid my DNA appears to be woven from very hairy Harris tweed. I’ve drunk an awful lot of tea and muttered duck-billed platitudes like ‘Mustn’t grumble’, and ‘Really, one has an awful lot to be thankful for’, and ‘at least the children are all right’, before taking refuge in clich├ęs - ‘it will all come out in the wash’ is one I particularly want to give myself a slap for.

So it’s all been the tiniest bit Vortex of Despair, and I’m really rather resenting the fact that the Studio appears to have brought in Orwell and Kafka to rewrite my original screenplay, excising all the charming feel-good, lovely-you-lovely-me bits, sacking Richard Curtis and putting Ingmar Bergman in to direct the picture instead.

Really, this wasn’t what I had in mind for 2009 at all, and my stiff upper lip is occasionally getting rather quivery. On occasion, I become rather spineless and behave like Chicken Licken.

Try as I might to be stout-heartedly brave about everything, and give it my best Mrs Miniver, lovely colleagues at work have noticed that it’s not all as ticketty-boo as it might be. The signs that they’ve noticed are subtle - the British are particularly good at sensing when one just can’t bear to talk about something, and rather than manacling you to a couch and bludgeoning you into a furious, forensic psychoanalysis, they offer up quiet acts of love. It is these mute yet potent tropes of friendship which sustain and nurture you through difficult times.

It was as a result of one of these rhetorical touches that I found myself yesterday lunchtime running with one of the team around St James’ Park, wheezing past the enormous pelicans, trying not to trip over squirrels and lunching tourists, as we ran in comradely silence round the periphery and on into Green Park.

Getting me running has been a labour of love for my colleague – I think it has taken her three weeks of nagging to get me to bring my kit in, and another three weeks to get me to put it on, but she has persevered, quietly and doggedly determined to effect a cure before the illness takes a firm hold. The unspoken truth hanging between us is that she knows I need digging out of a pit of gloom, and if I am unable to change the situation I find myself in, she can at least help me change the way I deal with it. Running is nature’s prozac: I’m sure it’s utterly useless as a therapy in extremis, but when things are mild to moderate grim, the endorphin boost suddenly gives one the courage to face things head on. Like any treatment, it needs to be taken regularly to be properly effective, but for the first time in weeks, as I was belting back to the office to beat the rain, I found the strength to believe that things will get better, thanks to a friend who knew I couldn’t talk, but had her own way of listening.


And this is what I think about when I think about running.

35 comments:

Wildernesschic said...

I don't know about running as I hear pounding pavements are not good for a sagging jaw line .. leading to further depression .. but .. Walking in the fresh air definitely Natures prozac .. Hope all is wellx

screamish said...

Oh...was wondering why it had been so long between posts...

a doctor told me once that for a certain population, regular light exercise has been PROVEN to be just as effective as a prescription... keep up the endorphins...

hope things look up soon...

nappy valley girl said...

Hope you are OK....Exercise always makes me feel better, however much I dread doing it beforehand (and on a cold winter's morning that is a lot of dread). x

Helena Halme said...

I would say you're excellent at this confessional stuff. Hope it gets better soon.

Helena xx

Helena Halme said...

PS. What an excellent link your NSPCC Father Christmas letter is - many thanks - am going to send to all younger God children one. xx

rockinloubylou said...

Glad to see you back and blogging.

The Divorcee said...

Sending you much love- I thought your post was beautiful by the way, you are so very talented at this writing lark and especially in a confessional type fashion. Have missed your fantastic blog.

I hope things aren't too dastardly, this time of year really isn't much of a mood lifter (let's not even mention the weather..!), but hope that things get better soon.

x

So Lovely said...

When I'm having a particularly bad day I always make myself take a very brisk and long walk. I loath the first few moments and then as I settle into a pace and come to adore it. More oxygen in the blood or something scientific. Sending you strength and support from across the pond. xx

Marie said...

Sorry to hear all is not well. And yes aren't running and walking sometimes the best. Allowing your mind to run free too, to think of things and work through them.

I love St James Park, walk through it every day if possible and find even just seeing the green and nature lifts my soul a little.

Hope all improves soon and you're back to 'normal' service.

Best wishes, x

Lucille said...

Running and talking is my best remedy. You don't have to run as far because the aerobic effect is doubled by the verbal effort. It is essential to replace lost calories with a frothy coffee at the end.

More than Just a Mother said...

Ooh, I am a new runner and love the head space it gives me...

You have an award here - I hope you'll accept it http://morethanjustamother.blogspot.com/2009/12/so-whaddya-wanna-know.html

shayma said...

am sending you loads of love. x

Claire said...

xxx

Lewis William said...

I think it's safe to say you have some staunchly loyal readers.

Sometimes a little Bergman helps one enjoy the Curtis all the more.

December has done the same to me, as well...

X

Silent Storyteller said...

Confessional or not ...you are a brilliant writer and make many of us smile and laugh...keep it up and hope things turn for the better soon....and thank you again and again and again for your tweets and posts

Steerforth said...

A few weeks ago, I read a regular column in "The Times" in which people over 60 share pearls of wisdom. I wish I could remember the quote, but it was something along the lines of "Life is basically about muddling through, with the occasional crisis." How true.

Only the other day, I was walking by the Thames at Twickenham, remembering that exactly two years ago, I felt as if everything was falling apart. For a while it was, but nothing lasts and adversity is the mother of invention.

I'm sure that you'll emerge triumphant and feel stronger for it, but in the meantime I recommend fine wines and expensive Belgian chocolates.

westendmum said...

Oh Mrs T. hugs through the ether.
WEM xx

All best wishes said...

Sorry to hear you're stuck in the mire of suckitude at the moment. Hope things get better soon. Oodles of e-hugs xxx

That's Not My Age said...

Yes running, walking, riding a bike, are all good for the soul, it's a tonic just to get outdoors/out of the office. And as my mum always says.. 'it's good to blow the cobwebs away' (apologies if I've just added another cliche!)

Love the blog by the way.

neversarah said...

Sorry to hear it's all a bit horrid right now; please consider this a cyber version of suitably stiff-upper-lip empathy. Here's hoping 2010 brings fewer rainy days, both for the running and otherwise.

Mya said...

Hope things improve soon. Running is good. Sunshine is good, (yes, I know, bit of a tough ask in London in December), gardening is good and swimming is best. I think you wear the confessional writer hat very well.
Mya x

Knackered Mother said...

Thanks Mrs T, I've been procrastinating about going for a run for the first time in FIVE YEARS but your post has inspired me to set off at a gentle pace.

Caroline, no. said...

I read that book and have been tempted to go running, too. Despite the fact I am seriously not built for running.

Rose said...

I'm sorry this hasn't been the best of times. Your post reminded me very much of an article I read in the Evening Standard. It was by someone who I think had lived here for many years but wasn't British. He was saying how he'd only just realised that in many ways the British are more emotional than other nationalities we just show it in different ways.

You sound like you have a great work buddy there.

Errant Aesthete said...

Oh Dear Mrs. Trefusis,

I have been mired in the muck myself many a time and there is much to be said for the therapeutics of movement in the great outdoors. Like someone else mentioned, I, too, find your confessional talents to be daunting. Your writing, itself, leaves me wilted as in a puddle on the floor. So incisive it is and magnificently composed.

Find solace in your gifts which are boundless.

Anonymous said...

Your blog really touched a nerve with me and I know what you mean about that awful pain you just can't share. True friends are the ones who don't delve and who don't feel that letting it all out is the only option. Sometimes you don't know how you feel yourself and it is too private to share. I hope you can find someone to talk to at some point and good luck.

tedsmum said...

Daylight on the pineal gland definitely has a positive effect, as do the endorphins produced by exercise but sometimes the best thing is just saying how bloody it all is - acknowledging it and having other people accept it.Try anything and expect nothing. Be kind to yourself and try to let go a little.
and please do write about the crap days too because it will make me for one feel a whole lot better!

Insomniac Mummy said...

Just dropping by with a ((hug)).

xxx

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Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

Oh Mrs T, hope things are a little better for you now. You're right - running is excellent therapy and I think you're rather courageous about the whole thing. xx

Iheartfashion said...

Sorry to hear you're feeling badly, Mrs. T. Running sounds like a great remedy if you can bear it. I'm more of a walker, but fresh air and exercise definitely work wonders.

Andy said...

the run in the park was definitely a stride in the right direction. Been there myself, cycling was my drug of choice. believe it will be a happy new year.

Christina Lindsay said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. You have been sorely missed in the blogosphere. Hope everything is OK soon. I think you're marvellous! xxx

one of 365 said...

Happy New Year Mrs. T!

xoxoxxoxo

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