I spent a number of years, 19, to be exact, actively working to become as small and unnoticed as possible. I tried my level best to not take up any resources and to not need anything, let alone want anything. I wouldn’t say that I set a clear intention to accomplish this, but you know the phrase not making a decision is making a decision? Well, that kind of applies here. Not stepping up and taking charge and being visible was an indirect decision to stay small and in the shadows. I was vaguely aware this was happening. I didn’t do anything to change it, and my lack of esteem or sense that I deserved my share of resources or whatever combination of what was going on inside of me and in my life certainly reared up if I had any inkling to challenge it at all. But you know what the irony is? During this time, I got physically bigger, and bigger, and bigger. The more I tried to shrink myself, be invisible, and not make any sudden moves to get noticed, the more you could literally see me.
Until one day, after many moments of only peeking out from behind the curtain for a glance at the possibility of my life, I decided: THAT’S ENOUGH. I stepped out onto the stage of my own life—center stage, right in the spotlight—and said: This is what I look like. This is what I weigh. This is how I feel. This is how it happened. And, most importantly, THIS IS WHAT I WANT. The more I invested in myself, the more my fears were revealed. And the more my fears were revealed, the more I realized that what I wanted, in running or on an obstacle course or in my work or in my life, was to be BRAVE. To make BRAVE choices, to run BRAVELY and to race BRAVELY, to live BRAVELY, to love BRAVELY and to be BRAVE enough to show the world who I am.
Running made me BRAVE. Running makes me want to be more BRAVE. And each day I go out the door to run it requires BRAVERY. On any given day it’s friend or foe; cheerleader or bully; a sanctuary or a challenge. But one thing’s for sure: running is a constant teacher that keeps me coming back for more, and it’s helping me build my solid, BRAVE muscle.