Once you choose hope, anything's possible -Christopher Reeve
I am in pain. I am in constant physical pain; pain that has lasted for three months.
But, if I am completely honest, I have been in pain for the past eight (8) years.
If you ever wondered what my all-time favorite movie is, without hesitation, I would say Forrest Gump. A slow-witted individual who never thought of himself at any disadvantage, inspiring and saving anyone he came in contact with through his childlike optimism. However, the one person who Forrest cared about the most was the one he couldn’t save in the end; his childhood love, Jenny.
I couldn’t pinpoint why it’s my all-time favorite, but I could tell you I watched it every night before any big competition growing up. I could tell you one of the best presents I ever received was a collector’s edition DVD wrapped in a box of chocolates. I could tell you I have deep jealously of my brother because he has a pair of Nike Cortez’ sitting in his closet.
Perhaps I love the movie because deep down I, myself, am a hopeless romantic, daydreaming of the day when I can find my person that would cause me to run across America for “no particular reason.”
You wouldn’t know after hearing my many failed attempts at love, that I daydream of completely giving myself to another human being. Maybe that’s why I failed so often; it’s a scary thought to lose yourself completely in another being, completely vulnerable and without control. For an introvert like myself, the lack of control is probably the scariest territory we know, so we do anything we think possible to gain control, like lying or deceiving, much to our demise.
Since the Pacific Games in Samoa this past July, I wake up every single morning in physical pain.
It’s frustrating and scary when you can see a genuine concern on doctor’s faces when they are puzzled about the pain I am experiencing. You wonder if they don’t believe you, if you are making this up in your head. You wonder if any of this is real and just waiting for the moment you wake up. Then you try smacking yourself awake and are quickly made aware that, “nope, this still hurts very much.”
Recently, I’ve become aware that I am a sufferer of a TBI (traumatic brain injury). At the time, it didn’t seem so dramatic; nothing serious came of it right away. Decades later, I am feeling the effects, and its consuming every bit of energy to fight it.
I am falling victim to mental health issues as a result, feelings of anxiety and depression are rising. I’m experiencing a decline in energy and motivation, and efforts of positive self-talk has become non-existent. It's not something you can just simply snap out of. Its a chemical imbalance that must be examined more in depth.
I’ve lost my ‘Jenny’ recently, all my doing. She was the one person who completely loved the silly, introverted, daydreamer that was me, because not even I loved that person. My family is fighting hard to show they are there, but I can see they are growing weary.
Despite it all, I still ran.
I traveled to World Championships distracted and unprepared, weakened and depleted, seriously worried that I wouldn't be able to survive the flight. I did more than just survive the flight; I ran the race, and finished.
I wish I could step out of myself, out of my mind, and become the slow-witted, purely optimistic Forrest Gump who lives life simply by following his heart. Maybe then I would still be able to kiss the lips of Sunflower, or perhaps know my next step in life.
But it is now, and like Forrest, I will work to do what is right, and not what is liked. I will work to love unconditionally, worrying only about the present moments. I will get to the point where I can run around America for no other reason than, “I just felt like running”.
Inspired by recent events in running... No Man is Limited. I have a race to run, a race not on any track surface we are familiar with.
… We know that all things work together for good to those that love God..
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Jeremy Dodson is a Track & Field Olympian who struggles with the idea of perfection, hoping to break the barrier we place on ourselves so that genuine living can take place for everyone.