My whole life has been spent trying to prove myself worthy and to please others. I wore masks that were outwardly beautiful, but covered my true, wretched self. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed success…but inside I was miserable. Scared. Afraid to be ME. Afraid to trust my heart’s desires.
I was raised in a small town in a nice family. My mom and dad made sure my sister and I were in the Baptist church with them every time the doors opened. We were dressed to the nines and behaved impeccably. I was an excellent student in school and followed the rules; I was a good little girl. I learned early on that if I wore a mask with my perfect dress, lace socks, patent shoes, and hair ribbon, I received more acceptance and praise. This veil of perfection covered my true feelings and desires that may have been otherwise scorned. I wore the facade well, and for a very long time. It became a part of me, and like my unnatural 80’s hair, the disguise was stiff and difficult to maintain.
Of course, the masks were torn off eventually, and I was left feeling extremely vulnerable, embarrassed, and scared. I was the master of deception and began secretly drinking… until I became a very functional alcoholic. All the while I played the role of the perfect wife, mother, teacher, and accomplished runner. At the end of 1999 I ran a marathon in 3:10; in 2000 I ran several other PR’s including an 18:10 5K, 1:27 half, 1:03 15K, 38:53 10K and 31:21 8K.
Eventually it caught up with me and I landed in rehab following a DUI. Part of my disguise was ripped off, and I was lost. Broken. Humiliated. I almost lost my family, my career, my SELF. My hope died out, and yet my friends and family rallied around me and wouldn’t let me go. I began my road to sobriety on March 5, 2003. However, there were still many cloaks I hid behind that needed to come off, and with God’s help, I’ve been able to become a perfectly imperfect woman that God needed and wanted me to be. I am still a work in progress, but I am learning.
I have 3 amazing children and I am still a teacher at the same elementary school I attended as a child. I had two extensive foot surgeries that slowed me down, but I am back running now for pleasure and stress relief. I ran the Boston Marathon 3 times, New York City Marathon in 2010, and 5 other marathons. I am currently training for a half marathon, though I am only training to finish it and do not have any time goal in mind, as I am much slower than before. However, my purpose has changed. Life has changed. I don’t have to prove myself worthy anymore; I only have to be my real, true self and that is enough. Enjoying the beauty of the world around me can be accomplished from the front or the back of the pack. It’s not my position that is important, but my perspective.
Running helped me so much throughout my life, and has been a constant throughout all the change. I want to help others who are hopeless to see that even when they think all is lost (as I did), they CAN go on. They CAN get better. I hope through Runwell I can do just that.