There are several reasons why I chose to start my blog. One of them being that I wanted to push myself to be real, to be genuine and at the same time hopefully provide encouragement and support to others who struggle to be happy with who they are as an individual. From an early age, there is pressure to be perfect; not only perfect physically, but to have the perfect personality. It simply isn’t possible. Stop yourself and think about what a world of people with the same personality would be like…….YUCK!
I write and post about things that are important to me, are struggles for me, and things that simply confuse me. My hope is that perhaps someone out there may read something I’ve written and stop and think, ‘gosh, there is someone out there dealing with the same things I am dealing with. I really am not alone in this.’ Too many times in my past, I’ve felt alone and I’ve felt like no one understood. If one person out there in the world reads my posts and comes away feeling understood, feeling like they are not alone….then I have succeeded.
That being said, there is something that has been weighing on my mind for far too long. Honestly, I shouldn’t allow it to take up space in my mind or heart, it isn’t worth it. I have spent weeks thinking about it and debating writing about it. I was reminded of the above reasoning the other day and that’s when I decided, I needed to write about this issue. I’m sure there are people out there that have experienced this at some point in their lives. If I want to do what I set out to do, then that means talking about the uncomfortable things as well.
Recently, two women (that I called friends), became upset with me. These are women I see all the time. I run with them, we are part of the same groups/same friends, and we used to spend time together as well. They were hurt and insulted that I chose to run an intensely difficult race that I was under-trained for. I had no right and did not deserve to run the race because I hadn’t trained like they had. I will be the first to tell you that I knew I had not trained as much as I could have. I had several running friends tell me they weren’t quite sure if I could do it. I’m okay with that, I had doubts myself. That is all completely understandable.
What leads me to where I am at now and why I am writing this, is the following; instead of coming to me with how they felt, they began to talk about me to others within our group, of how disrespectful they thought I was and how there was no way I could accomplish this. Okay, fine, but it didn’t stop there. After all was said and done and I WAS able to accomplish it, instead of coming to me and saying, ‘geez, I never thought you could do it, but look, you did.’ (many friends & acquaintances felt that way and that’s totally cool with me). The whispering behind the back continued but at a greater force. Then came the outright disrespect, some of which was ignoring me when I was around, looking me in the eyes and not responding to my ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you doing?’, or walking away from a group/conversation when I joined. When those situations didn’t deter me, they chose to spread untrue and hurtful rumors.
(Brief side note, this is a perfect example of why I am a part of GOTR and the things they teach in their programs. The curriculum focuses on teaching girls confidence, strong character, how to care for themselves and others, and how to build up their competence and connections. Women/girls face a myriad of messages about how they aren’t good enough. Also women/girls are the ones that tear each other down the most. GOTR is about teaching girls to empower each other and raise each other up, not to tear each other down.)
I made the final decision to write about this, as a way to provide an example showing that despite the fact that we are far from adolescence, bullying others and tearing other people down still happens. Even in your 30s. We, as a community of runners, women and friends need to stop this nonsense. What women need is support, encouragement, friendship and a sense of belonging. So many of us have felt like an outsider, pushed aside and unwanted. Do you truly want to make others feel that way too? We all have our flaws and some days they feel too numerous to count. We won’t all get along with or like each other.
The question I want to pose to you today is what will you do about that? What will you do the next time you have the urge to say or repeat something hurtful? What will you do the next time someone hurts or upsets you? I ask you to stop and think about your next step and ask yourself…’will this promote community and what I stand for, is what I’m doing hurtful and degrading or is this supportive and compassionate, how would I feel to be treated this way?’