There is no finish line when you run in circles


Olivia Roberts

An image of the hypothetical track that I feel as though I am constantly running on

I’ve never really liked running. For some reason, I tried to make it a hobby of mine when I was younger. I did more years of Girls on the Run than I can count, and in middle school, I even ran track both years.

But after all that effort, it took me until high school to realize that maybe running in a concentric circle over and over again is not for me. 

And yet the ironic part of that statement is that ever since I made the decision to leap, run, and drive myself forward with any remaining effort I have left to realize I haven’t actually made any real progress at all—seems to be all I have done these past three years. 

This voice seems to scream in my ear, clagging around and bouncing off the four respective walls of my brain until I eventually crack.”

It’s not so much in the sense that I was actually sweating at track practice every day—although mile Mondays at cheer did humble me in that regard—but rather in the metaphorical sense. 

Where my brain is the track, I am desperately grasping for any and all the breath I might have left to keep running. And so I keep running and running and running, and circle after circle, my fragile state keeps yelling at me to catch up. 

This voice seems to scream in my ear, clagging around and bouncing off the four respective walls of my brain until I eventually crack. It repeats over and over, ‘If you don’t keep running, you are going to fall behind.’ I tell myself, ‘You already started with a disadvantage. You were already seconds behind the gunshot. You have to keep fighting to make up for lost time.’ 

So here I am, running in literary circles, practically launching my distraught and mangled body over each hurdle placed in my path, only to realize that all this time the only person I’ve been running against, the only true hurdle in my way, and ultimately the only person who is capable of allowing me to stop this mind-boggling repetition of, run, catch, repeat, is me. 

But I fear my inner psyche has been playing this cruel game of chasing what you don’t have, catching up with the people who do have it and clawing all the people who say you don’t deserve it for so long that these never-ending circles and my brain’s four walls are the only things I know to be true. 

I can’t even fathom what it would be like to feel satisfied with the outcome of my race. I never even took into consideration that an ending point might eventually exist, I just kept running.