Great people do things before they’re ready: the importance of running

I am a runner. I don’t enjoy physically running but as a true Sagittarius at heart, I yearn to travel the world, to leave my comfort zone, experience new places and people and overall, grow as a person in places and with people so unlike my own. This has led me to do great things: befriend and date the high school outcast who ultimately hurt me but not without teaching me a lesson or two, to going to college where I only knew a handful of people, to becoming a site leader in university where I co-lead a handful of people to do environmental work in Puerto Rico, to moving in with my best friend for a year and although it being a tough year – our friendship became stronger because of it, to traveling to Mexico by myself after graduating from university to meet up with some friends and finally to moving exactly 7,088 miles from little old Delaware to live for 27 months in Ethiopia.

My older brother and sister have had great impact in my decisions as I like to think I am a little bit like both of them; stubborn and wild like my sister but restless and driven like my brother. I am also so much like my mother: passionate, dedicated and emotional. And my father? That’s another story. But in his faults in stepped my stepfather who showed me about compassion and empathy. The people who shaped me – they’re all a part of who I am and I carry them in my spirit.

I’ve been known as forward, emotional and at times too much. Some may point those “flaws” out and decide they want out while others see those qualities as strengths. When I was younger, I wanted to fit in and ultimately, this led to troubling times in both middle and high school.  One day in high school, after my mom picked me up from school, I voiced my concern to her and I asked to go to therapy. There was some childhood trauma that I had to get over with the abandonment of my father, the divorce of my mother and my stepfather (the only father I had) and ultimately, I needed to face and work through my feelings of inadequacy. For about one or two years, on a bi-weekly schedule, I headed to the therapists office – not because I was forced to but because I wanted to. I wanted to I needed to change and become the person I knew I could be. I didn’t and still don’t see asking for help as a sign of weakness and instead, I view it as courageous to know when to ask for help.

Therapy, along with the support of loved ones, brought me out of my darkness and shined a light on a path where there had previously been none. But yet, even with therapy, I didn’t really learn to accept and love everything I am and everything I am not until a few years later. There were still so much I had to learn about myself, others and the world.  This brings me to present day. During the last few years, I have thrived in places that were out of my comfort zone and in a way, it has made me fearless. No longer am I the person struggling to fit in and so afraid to stand out, nor am I the unlovable person I thought I was.

People who travel aren’t always running away from things. Sometimes, we have to leave our comfort zones to find out just who we are and what we are capable of. It’s in the unknown that people are tested, not in the known. So, I am a runner. But I’m not running away from my problems. I’m running towards the person that I am meant to be while having the ability to find home anywhere I go. I am thankful to have asked for help because nothing is worse than feeling alone when you are in a room full of people.

Note: I wrote this on one of the many rainy days without power but I waited to post it on here because it was very candid and personal. There is still work to be done but each day I work on myself a little more gracefully. Vulnerability is sexy, eh?

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