Looking Out For the Littlest Happy Things

For the month of July, I made a concerted effort to live in the present and enjoy each moment. I stopped putting pressure on myself to have it all because I realized that it WILL come. When we cling only to what we know and let overwhelming fear in, it’s because we are trying to hold on too tight to control. I realized I had to stop chasing this controlled ending or I will lose precious time. No one knows what path their journey will take. Some of us want to try to guide it, but only the universe truly knows where it will go.

I did several things to help myself along: I withdrew my profile from the dating site I was on. I practiced gratitude often. I made an effort to unplug more consistently. I ate whole foods. I expressed myself honestly and confidently instead of holding back because I wanted to sugar-coat a statement. I spent productive time alone. I took myself out on dates.

Happy face on a hike
Happy face on a hike

I also decided to be more assertive in the pursuit of my passions. I want to see opportunities more easily when they are offered to me. We tend to have tunnel vision and close ourselves off to creativity when we are in a rut. These are a few ways I can lead myself away from that tendency.

  • I will write more consistently (and publish more often). Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and I tend to run away from it when I feel anxiety about the future. I should be doing the opposite! Some of us have natural talent, but practicing our craft is what make us great.
  • I will open my eyes to the creativity that the world gives freely, and use it. We don’t always take advantage of the gifts that are bestowed upon us every single day. We shouldn’t be wasting them.

The first thing I did to kick off the month was take myself out to a movie. ALONE. It was great!

In the first week of July, I gave myself a gift. I bought my plane ticket to New York. I had been hemming and hawing, not wanting to pull the trigger because I hadn’t yet planned everything out perfectly. No longer! The trip will fall into place in the next few months, and I am comfortable with that.


Over the next few weeks, I did many things for myself. I chose new podcasts to listen to. I attended an overnight event with 100+ people I have never met (and a few that I know very well). I cherished quality friend and family time. I tried new activities, including an amazing class that combined belly dance, yoga, and aromatherapy. It turned out to be quite transformative. I attended a meetup without a wing man to provide comfort, forcing me to talk to strangers on my own merits. As much as I am a people person most of the time, there are moments when I am shy. Walking into a place knowing absolutely no one is one of those. Everyone was friendly of course, and I even left with some future salsa partners. I went camping for five days in Olympic National Park with two friends. Talk about adventure! There were challenging hikes, beautiful sights, and giggles galore over games of Canasta and Yahtzee. I tried new beers at Brewfest on the Portland waterfront. I treated myself to a massage and acupuncture, and it was totally worth it. I allowed myself to emotionally heal over some issues I’d been hiding from. It felt fantastic.

The best things, though, were the small things. I walked around the farmers market and enjoyed fresh fruits right out of the pint. I let the tinkle of a child’s laughter float over me and fill me with joy. I found heart shapes in nature and took pictures. I read books, listened to bands playing in the park, and took a day off work midweek just because I wanted to. What a fabulous month. In August, I intend to take the spirit of the last 31 days and keep the energy going. I have some great ideas but welcome more! Book or podcast suggestions, activity invitations and restaurant recommendations especially appreciated. I hope you are enjoying the summer as much as I am! Drop me a note here and tell me what special treats you are giving yourself during the sunny months.


Beautiful Lake Crescent
Beautiful Lake Crescent
Heart-shaped rock
Hearts in nature

Crow Medicine

In my personal Numerology, the number of the day is seven. Seven is the number that is all about meditation and self-reflection. In the resource that I use, the missive reads:

Look Within

Be alone, at least for part of the day. Be still. Read. Think. Listen to your inner soul. Drop the business world. If you pursue money today, it will run from you. If you keep still and wait, things will come to you. Study something spiritual or scientific. If you read the scriptures, choose Matthew 6 on this day. Work with your plants. Take a long walk or a drive in the country. The number 7 always reveals something. Meditate. Be open. – Louise Hay: Colors & Numbers

I certainly needed that message today. I have been in a funk this week and am having some trouble getting out of it. I won’t go into the details here; it’s not necessary. When I feel like this and decide to do something uplifting instead of huff and pout my way through the day, one thing always happens: the world drops some knowledge on me, loud and clear.

Crow Medicine
Crow Medicine

Since it was nice and sunny outside after work, I decided to sit and write on my porch, a setting I enjoy but do not make time for very often. I pulled my camp chair out of storage, grabbed a notepad, and filled a giant goblet with cold water, sitting it beside me on the cement. I had been listening to a song on the radio on my way home earlier, and it came into my mind as I stared at the blank page. Then, I started to write. The words came easier than I expected, but there are always natural pauses in my work. I fidget, or look up when someone walks by. I get hypnotized by the honeybee pollinating my poppies. I imagine something crawling on my toes and feel the need to whip them up in the air and shake them around a little…you know, just in case.

I was two stanzas into my song/poem when I saw some large shadows moving across the ground in front of me. I looked up and saw two crows. They spoke to me. I didn’t know what they were saying, but I knew I had to put pen to paper and somehow get it out of them. Here’s what I wrote:

Now, stop.
Look at yourself,
really take a look, and breathe.

It’s too much to ask that
you believe in yourself?
I just want to know you’re staring back
into the glass and seeing what’s there—
love, loyalty, wisdom, and truth.

Wake up and hear your crow-cry!
Don’t fill your head with toxic waste.
Go instead into your beautiful mind,
and see love infinitely, authentically,
at last.

Why do you forget this gift,
roll over and part ways
with the one who loves you best?
I just want to know you’re filled with hope.
Know the world is here to help.

I got curious. I have these Native American animal medicine cards, and I thought, if Crow is giving me such a strong message, I owe it to myself to get that book out and reread what crow medicine is all about. Instead of copying and pasting the entire page (however, please click the link to experience it in its entirety), I will attempt to paraphrase.

The Crow sees that all worlds are an illusion, and that there is something much greater the laws of humanity. When we think of the Crow, we tend to think of death. This is just one of the infinite worlds. Because Crow is a shape-shifter (some see this as the metamorphosis between the living world and the dark unknown of death), it is illustrating that change is always imminent. Nothing is what it seems, but the Crow is the one who is able to peer through the clouds to ascertain what is truly important. Those who feel a connection with the Crow should use this knowledge as their guide.

The last paragraph is beautiful and eloquent, and I would not be able to do it justice, so I will end with this quote:

As you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and
balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.

Boom. That spoke to me, big time. All the bad feelings I’ve been having this week were shattered by that paragraph. I felt refreshed and different when I read it. I love that words—and words alone—can do that for me. They bring up something inside that just needs the tiniest bit of prodding to come out.

Have you read, heard, or watched something that made you feel this way? If you want to, borrow Crow today and see what it brings out in you.

Who are you? Speak your truth!

“Oh I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you; you have not known what you are. You have slumbered upon yourself all your life. Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time…Whoever you are, claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and the west are tame compared to you. These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are immense and interminable as they are.”Walt Whitman

I am a Contradiction

Are we all a contradiction? Is this something that rings true with you as you read this? There are so many times that I fear it makes me less perfect, less like everyone else, but I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Is it, then, what makes us so fascinating and indelibly human?

The truth should set us free. Right?

My Truths

I love the limelight—when I choose to turn on my “light,” my friends call me The Belle of the Ball. Generally I will take any chance to stand out and call attention to myself, sometimes taking it to a narcissistic level. Strangely, though, in my natural state, I am still, quiet, and blend in. Perhaps this is the reason I need that “switch” to turn me into someone else. I’m not sure if I feel that my value goes one way or the other when I am Belle and when I am Becky, but I have always noticed these two distinct sides of me.

There are times I feel lonely, and that is when I start putting myself down for being single. Damn you, society, for putting those thoughts into my mind. Damn you, subconscious, for letting them fester. Single is not a negative thing; it does not mean unlovable. In fact, single means not willing to settle for less than I deserve. So when I am feeling lonely, I should be celebrating my independence and cautious nature in choosing who I will spend my life with. Besides, I am constantly surrounded by loved ones. I know I’m ready for my big romantic love, but perhaps he is not quite ripe yet. Who knows? I can’t let it stop me from living an amazing life.

I am very physically active and live a healthy life, yet I still see myself as the “big girl.” I was uncomfortably overweight for a large part of my life, and it became who I was—how I identified myself. It’s been 10 years since my drastic weight loss, and still I have fears and uncertainty about how people view the physical part of me.

“You think of yourself
as a citizen of the universe.
You think you belong
to this world of dust and matter.
Out of this dust
you have created a personal image,
and have forgotten
about the essence of your true origin.” – Rumi

I dance on stage in front of dozens, exposing my vulnerability and body, and yet I cower in fear at the thought of approaching a handsome, confident man.

I am full of energy and life, yet I am exhausted much of the time. I often do not listen to my body when it says STOP.

And this whole recent breakup…the religion thing…I love the fact that it made me question the truth about my own faith. I’ve been delving more deeply into my Quaker roots, and I find it fascinating to study other people and their experiences, whether or not their beliefs match my own. My faith, though not always front and center in my life, has always been essential to me. I’ve found it helpful to read several books in the past few weeks, including a great one written by a Quaker kid I knew growing up, called The Unlikely Disciple. I followed that up with The Year of Living Biblically. Talk about contradictions.It highlights the ridiculousness of trying to live literally by all of the Bible’s rules. At the same time, it weeds out some very simple but eternally applicable lessons that the Bible deems important. Another useful text is one that my mother sent me at the beginning of my breakup, called A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense. It has reconnected me with some of the testimonies of Quakerism that sometimes get lost in the fray of everyday life.

My truth is that I don’t fit into a pre-made box. My mold isn’t shaped like a puzzle piece; it’s more like a dodecahedron. So where does that leave me? How do I find my people? My calling? What drives me? Do I have to categorize myself in order to find someone that I mesh well with? In some ways, my versatility makes me very easy to get along with. In other ways it alienates me to a point where I don’t know how to define myself. Let’s be honest, sometimes questioning can lead to an amazing breakthrough, but there is always that fear that it will lead to nothing. I suppose all I can do, all any of us can do, is to stay open to the journey and experience it with gratitude and a true lust for life.

Whoever you are, claim your own at any hazard!

What is your truth?

The Tax of Life

Besides the dreaded monetary taxes that are due each year on April 15, what are the tariffs we pay in life? Sometimes I think my tariff, my lot in life, is to be a Single Everywoman to the world. Don’t laugh—think about it. I “pay” out my stories* and my support for all the single ladies (the ones who know me or read my blog, anyway) as my fee. In return I get a thank you here and there, and a feeling of community. I think that has value.

Is it something else? Is it my dancing? Live art has a distinct worth. Is it something else I’ve done that leaves a mark?

What’s the tax you pay for your existence? What do you contribute to the world? Do you give as much as you receive? Do you see your contribution as voluntary? Maybe you see it as something you owe, more of a grind.

What about those who contribute something “bad” to society? I think of the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon. Why were those people taxed more heavily? Why do any of us pay a costlier price than the next person? Perhaps it is all part of the yin/yang circle of life. Perhaps it is about chance, or being human. Maybe it’s karma. What do you think?

Clearly Tax Day has brought up a lot more than what I owe for the last calendar year. I think it’s good to consider your worth and whether you are living up to your highest potential “tax bracket” of life. I suggest we all do this often, and think about it in many terms, whether that is how much love you give, how much money you have (and what you do with it), your beauty, a piece of art…whatever is important in your world.

The Pretenders

Now that we’re adults, we call it fantasizing or daydreaming, but I prefer the term pretending. Fantasies and daydreams seem far off and impossible. Pretending takes me back to my childhood, where anything was conceivable, and all I had to do was think about it to launch it into reality. *cue the Reading Rainbow theme song*

It brings to me a much more positive state of mind. As children, we don’t know the same limitations that we are conditioned to learn as adults. When I’m pretending, I can be a great explorer; I can dance on the wind; I can be magic. No paperwork, no waitlists, no fear.

Let’s go back to that time where it all happens in the mind, and may it inspire us to live our lives in joy and unrestrained hope.


I am alone

I am alone. No more have I ever felt it. Alone. It echoes.

My immediate family is 2,400 miles away. I have no boyfriend, no husband, and no children. I am alone.

I’ve had this feeling before.

Some days, this feeling is about being single. There are a lot of times it’s about that, but today, it’s not.

Today, it’s deeper. It feels like a questioning of faith, of who I am.

I was in a car accident last week. I was hit pretty hard from behind, while sitting in rush hour traffic, and a week later I am still feeling sore, back spasming, not able to work a full day, struggling to figure out all of this insurance paperwork, and generally feeling really awful. I can’t sit up for more than a few hours without discomfort. I can’t dance. Can’t run. I’m in pain.

My heart is in pain as well. I go through periods of feeling very grateful for the friends and extended family who have offered me solace and brought me magazines, coffee, and company in my time of need. Then, something switches, and I let the sadness swallow me and I forget about those people; I sink into the void. The void is a dangerous place. It’s thick and black. It’s a place that keeps me very still, very quiet, and obscures my vision with heavy tears. It’s a pity party to the nth degree. And I must face it alone. Have you ever felt this way?

If I am injured and I can’t move, what good am I? In the last several years, the word movement has become one of the words that defines me. I have belly danced my way into discovering my femininity. I have salsa danced my way into understanding my sensual side. I have run straight into an athletic part of me that I never knew existed. Without those, I struggle to connect the dots that make up Becky.

Yes, I am a writer. Yes, I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, a unique spirit. But it has always been a choice to wear whatever hat I needed at the time. When those hats go from dozens to merely one, victim, in a matter of seconds, it’s jarring. And alone, I must figure out what to do with that. It’s not scary, but it is emotional. It’s this alone time that I should take to figure out the answers to the questions that we should all ask ourselves. Who am I? Why am I here?

I can see the light at the end of this, but I must accept the void as part of myself before I get there. It’s a dusty road, the grime clouding my eyes. Slowly, they will clear, but if someone could keep an eye on my glasses along the way, I would be grateful.

Whole, Complete, and Lacking in Nothing

I found this article written by Dr. Christiane Northrup today on my Facebook scroll. She is always an inspiration to read, but this post in particular struck a very sensitive chord with me. It began with her describing a workshop with Jill Rogers that started like this:

Jill started the workshop with a ritual in which she looked deep into each of our eyes and said, “You are whole, complete, and lacking in nothing.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I felt the truth of this statement from both a soul perspective and as a deep sadness because I still hadn’t found the love (spelled MAN) I was looking for in my life.

I pride myself in being incredibly independent, but there are times when I break down in sadness because I feel I am lacking something in my life. These times may feel like despair at the moment, but actually I think they are a choice made by my body to acknowledge my emotions, which is a very good thing. So often I lose myself in my activities and other people, and while they are truly a blessing for my body and soul, I recognize that there is a part of me that uses them to avoid facing the emotions inside of me that are not so happy-go-lucky.

In the moment that my feelings overwhelm me, I have to remind myself that this is healthy. This is a part of my journey. Life is built on all experiences, not just the good ones. It is a comfort to me that others are on a similar journey, and their words help me work through the sadness by facing it and not running away, as well as by giving me inspiration for new paths. 

I will never stop learning. I will never stop building on this life. I will never be completely satisfied with the whole. This is what makes me human, it’s what pushes me to be great, what pushes me to keep looking for more. I love sharing my journey with my tribe, because connection with you is one of the most important parts of my foundation.

I urge you to read the post in its entirety, whether you are happily in love with a significant other or looking giddily forward to what the universe has in store for you next.


Do you ever feel like you’ve been fooling everyone around you into thinking that you’re actually a grown up?

Sure, you’ve got a car payment and a general practitioner; you go to the dentist every six months like you’re supposed to…you’re even paying off those student loans all by yourself. You have a job, friends, and most of the time you get a good night’s sleep.

But we stumble. There are hiccups. Sometimes being grown-up life feels downright juvenile. We have the same types of drama that we had in high school. There are always going to be the jocks and the nerds. People still talk behind each other’s backs. No one is perfect, so that certainly can’t be an indicator.

So what exactly makes us grown up? Is it hitting the ripe old age of 18? Is it learning how to control our emotions and considering other people’s feelings? Is it taking calculated risks?

When I asked “What is a grown-up” on Facebook, I got these answers:

Providing for yourself.

Taking responsibility for your actions & your future!!

Good question.

I hope to never find out.

Being a grown up can be defined as this…when Christmas and Birthdays roll around you start to think about what you need rather than what you “want”. And you’re happy when you get new dress socks, shoes, clothes, tables, chairs, etc. because it’s one less thing you have to buy. Yep, the day you’re happy to get the socks you asked for for your birthday is the day you’re a grownup because no kid in their right mind would be happy with socks. or underwear. lol.

When you figure out that you don’t know everything. When you learn to humble yourself for the right reasons. When you take responsibility for your actions.

Buying a vacuum cleaner.

Lemme know.

Being proud of accomplishments and recognizing failures.

Taking yourself -too- seriously. Only a grown-ups refuse to change their own opinion of the correctness of their views and opinions… Ask them…

Being young at heart, feeling peace in beautiful moments, looking at the world with wonder and know if you keep a steady course when shooting for the stars you will get there eventually.

Maybe we’re not grown up until we have a crisis of faith. Have you ever questioned (or even cared about) your place on this earth? Do you feel you are on a particular journey?

We are all on such divergent tracks. Who’s to say that a 40-year old living with his parents is any less of an adult than a 17-year old single mother who has been living on her own for years? It’s such a subjective topic that I am having trouble focusing on the true meaning of being a grown up. How do we decide? Who decides? There’s no algorithm, no pattern. If one person says it’s about leaving the nest, I could argue that leaving before marriage is almost exclusively an American cultural thing. In many other countries, the child doesn’t leave until they are ready to marry.

I find it fascinating how different the lives of people in a particular age bracket—say, 30 to 40 years old, since that is the age of the majority of my friends—can be. I’ve got friends with children, friends in college, friends with drama, friends working jobs they hate for less than they are worth, friends who are in the prime of their careers, and friends who are just trying to figure something, one thing, out. Maybe I’ve got a happy-new-year-what-are-you-going-to-change-about-your-life hangover. Maybe I’m in a crisis of faith, and big changes are coming. Maybe I need to stop and breathe.

So, I breathe. I focus my thoughts and ask the universe to tell me something. I pull a Zen card out of the pile. It says Zen Mind. Here is what it reads:

Experience all things with the enthusiasm of a child, as if you were seeing it for the first time. This is the Zen Mind. Always new, always aware, always that of a beginner.

Of course. The answer turns my question upside down. Thank you, Universe!

In the beginning as in the end.
In the beginning as in the end.

It’s the MEND of the World!

There is an energy building right now. We all feel it, even if it is only a subconscious awareness. Whether or not you believe in the end-of-the-world propaganda or in a worldwide ascension into pure love mindfulness—from the Mayans, aliens, scientists, or your new-age friend with the opened third eye—you must have heard that something is going on with the planet, unless you are living far from society or literally under a rock. We’ve been witness to so much of the bad part; it dominates the news. Anger and confusion abound. Truly terrifying violence and an outpouring of expressions of pain seem to be around every corner. We can’t help but feel it in our bones; fear is walking beside us as the clock ticks down the hours to December 21, 2012, the date of the supposed alignment-apocalypse-transformation.

I am not quaking every time I walk into a public place. I don’t check dark alleys before I walk by them, and though I think of the recent shooting victims, I am not consumed with fear and negativity all the time. That being said, I am thinking about it more than I ever have, and more often than not, it brings me to thoughts of December 21. For months, my friends and I have exclaimed “Mayans did it!” every time something goes wrong or surprises us. It’s become a joke that has no real meaning, only a catch phrase that is funny because the truth is, we don’t know how to explain some of the things that are going on. A few weeks ago this mostly applied to super storms, strange coincidences, or memes on the internet. Now it is very apparent that this applies to violent public massacres and personal tragedies. In the last week alone, I have been made aware of not only the shootings, but also a slew of suicides, and I don’t use the word slew loosely. I have never heard of so many suicides in such a small time. Just yesterday my doctor told me about her daughter’s 14-year-old best friend who committed suicide recently. Those words made me pause. What kind of anguish does one have to go through to want to end her life at fourteen years old? I thank God, the Universe, all of it, that I don’t have those feelings of such hopelessness and despair. Still, how could you not feel your heart drop into your stomach when you hear something like this?

Last week I had dinner with a good friend and my cousin, who is particularly attuned to the state of the universe, and does her research when she learns something intriguing. She strongly believes that there is an ultimate consciousness ascension that is starting to take place and will culminate on Friday. I will be straight with you, friends. When she started talking about this, all I wanted to do was tune out or change the subject. It’s all I hear lately…world upheaval or the ultimate elevation. Can’t we just go back to gossiping about our friends? Then I decided to stop wriggling in my seat and actually listen. What I heard her say was fascinating. I’m going to paraphrase here, and I probably won’t do it justice. I’m not going to say I buy this theory 100%, but it definitely gives me something to think about. Basically, we are coming into an era of much larger awareness. Our minds will open and the cognizance of these vibrations will be more intense than they ever have been. This applies to every person, not just a chosen few. Those who live with peace and love in their hearts will be most open to the enlightenment. Unfortunately, it seems that some people can’t handle what is happening…unfamiliar notions are starting to perforate their minds, and it is terrifying them rather than comforting them. Maybe this is why there is so much violence taking place in such a small time…perhaps we should all take this knowledge and handle ourselves and others with a little more care.

An illustration of reaching our highest potential through love. Inspired by "Power vs. Force" by David Hawkins
An illustration of reaching our highest potential through love. Inspired by “Power vs. Force” by David Hawkins

So I have some affirmations for us, because as much as I want to believe in this ascension, I still have a heavy heart at times, and I need to build up an aura of love so big that I can’t find the edges and I’ll never travel so far that I could possibly escape it. This is the only thing that can save us, friends. Take it from whatever medium you want—a tarot reader, a religious leader, a friend—but the message is the same. We need love to survive. There are few other concrete truths.

No meetings are accidental. “Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.”From Marianne Williamson’s Everyday Miracles affirmations.

Stop focusing on what you do not have, and shift your consciousness to an appreciation for all that you are and all that you do have.From Wayne Dyer’s Get Inspired! affirmations.

It is easy to grow and change in the atmosphere of love.From Louise Hay’s Power Thoughts affirmations.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.Rumi

God wills only love, joy, and peace for you in all ways.From Doreen Virtue’s Daily Guidance From Your Angels affirmations.

Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. Mother Theresa

Please, share the love, friends. Practice kindness. Smile, and be whole in heart and body this Friday. Hopefully we’ll see each other with new eyes in the coming days.

Watch out–Fluffy Girl Running!

This week begins my serious training for the half marathon I’m running in November. November sounded soooooo faaaar away a few days ago, but then my friend Alicia kindly reminded me that it’s actually only 7 weeks. UGH. I know, I know! I’ve run two half marathons now; you’d think it wouldn’t be so daunting. Let me tell you, the words “half marathon” never get any less scary to me!

So, yesterday I put on my running shorts and my snazzy new headphones (another coworker birthday present–Meelectronics brand, S6 Sport-Fi headphone) and headed out. I was maybe an eighth of a mile into my run when this guy passed me from the opposite direction. He was middle aged, lanky, and riding a bike. He sat up on his bike and started clapping, directing a cheer at me. “Great job! Keep it up!” he shouted. At least I think that’s what he said…have I mentioned how AMAZING my headphones are?

My initial reaction was mortification. He was making fun of me, right? I may not be 200 pounds anymore but I’m certainly not athletically built. I feel especially fluffy when I’m running alongside the svelte sprinters who fly up and down the waterfront. So he couldn’t possibly have thought I was rocking this run, Kara Goucher-style. Right?

Then, I stopped myself. This was not middle school. He was a grown man, and he took it upon himself to give my spirits a boost in the middle of my sweaty run. I smiled then. I kept smiling the rest of my run, feeling very proud and giggling to myself, thinking that his simple act of kindness made my day and probably his as well. What a great concept!

This leads me to this morning. I was looking at my Facebook page and came across this post from Run the Edge (a blog about running by Tim Catalano and Adam Goucher):

Borrowed from Flintland.blogspot.com

Hey, Fat Girl.

Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe.

You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home.  You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you.

You are awesome.

If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others.
You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.

You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.

You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.

I bow to you.

I actually teared up when I read this. I have been that “fluffy” girl so many times in the past. Yesterday, I was that fluffy girl until I stopped and convinced myself that I wasn’t that girl any more. I smiled at the man who cheered me on. I accepted his praise. And I will pay it forward.

Please take the time to visit the Flintland blog. At the time I read it, there were 442 comments on this post, many from women a lot like me. I’m willing to bet you’ll see a little of yourself somewhere in there, too.

Now THAT’S a runner!