Last month was the first time since I started this blog back in 2017 that I didn’t write a single post.
There are a few reasons for this. I haven’t been running. I didn’t feel like writing. I haven’t had much to write about. I don’t know about anyone else, but the national discussion following the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day took hold of my attention to the point where, for a few weeks, it felt tacky to post anything about myself.
I haven’t written much on this blog that isn’t about running. I mean, it’s been a “running blog.” It says – well, it said so, right at the top. Until yesterday, it said “Ari Scott’s Unfunny Blog About Running,” a tag I came up with back in the fall of 2017 when I thought the only people who might read any of this were people who knew me as a comedy writer from UCB Theatre. At the time, I wasn’t sure what direction the blog would take. I just knew I wanted to be a better runner and I wanted to document my journey.
My life was very different at the time. I had a full time job, a full race schedule, two living parents, and inhabited a world that had no firsthand experience of a global pandemic. The beforetimes. Several lifetimes ago.
I’ve done some writing on Instagram these past few months. Nothing long, as the app limits the number of words you can write (and I never want to hit the “continued in the comments” threshold). I’ve written about my father, my mother, their relationship, my childhood, life in NYC, my dog. Some normal posts, some not.
For a while, I’ve had the urge to write longer posts about… stuff. I never know where to put them. Writing about things other than running on my running blog felt weird. There is Medium. I posted one thing there, once. There’s my Tumblr, an old site that feels like a foreign desert at this point. Medium seemed like the best bet for more long-form content, but it was another website. I like the idea of having my own site. I considered starting a completely new WordPress account solely for other writing.
The main problem with all of these solutions is that there are some posts that are about running and other things. My post about the 56 miles I ran while my dad was dying might be a good example. I knew I would create posts and not know where they should live.
So it seemed easier to just change this blog to be a place where I can write about anything I want.
Once I made that decision, it felt right. I decided to change up the visual theme for the first time in years so it would look different and, as a result, feel different – even if just to me. It felt like a fresh start. It felt good. I am keeping the title. “My body is a machine” started as a race mantra, but there’s a dissociative aspect to it, beyond running, that appeals to me.
There is a lot going on right now that might feel like an ending. It can be hard (for me) to remember this, but endings always lead to beginnings. Maybe this is a time for beginnings. New roads, changes in direction, and paths we never expected to take. It’s only scary because we haven’t gotten there yet.
A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of my dad to Instagram and wrote about how the line that mentally divided my life in two was no longer my move to NYC at 22, but instead the day my father died in April. Everything leading up to that point was the first act. The second act will be everything else. Whatever is next.
This “new phase of life” is a feeling I had after my mom died, but I think my dad’s death cemented it. The death of my mother was heartbreaking, but still having my dad was like having a sturdy rope I could cling to whenever I felt unmoored or lost. I still had a living parent. That made all the difference.
The weird thing is, that dividing line wasn’t one day long. I think I’m still inside of it. I haven’t come out the other side. It’s less like a line and more like a deep, dark chasm. I’m not sure how wide it is or when I’ll make my way through. I’m not even sure what it looks like on the other side. There is another side. I am sure of that.