I have a sister. She is no longer with us, but I see her often in my dreams.
To set the stage, Jeannie was an incredibly beautiful woman. She had many eyes on her and she knew it. She was the type of woman, that even in a crowded room, your eyes sought hers out. She was once described to me as “not just pretty, but unforgettable”.
She also had her flaws. She fought battles that she didn’t care if she lost. She lived with reckless abandonment, and was never afraid of breaking more than a few rules. She portrayed herself as confident, strong, and stubborn, but there were a few cracks in her facade.
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time letting go of a conversation we shared. I remember sitting on my dad’s swing with her. She was telling me about a band she just went to see, and reflecting on her hero worship for the singer. I remarked that it must be incredible having all those people cheering for you. Her uncharacteristic response, and what has been echoing in my dreams, “I don’t know if I’ll ever know that feeling. Most times when I hear someone say my name, they are not cheering for me”.
With these thoughts into my head, I left for the starting line of the DC race. I’m often criticised that I don’t put enough “running stuff” in my blog. Allow me to rectify. I implemented a plan to run 5k tempos with .9 recovery repeaters. I ran even splits and used the spare change miles at the end to run at 85% of my maximum heart rate. There, that’s out of the way.
Back to my sister. Being in DC, the word bravery enveloped me. Both stone monuments and living men and women, in all types of uniforms, oozed it. I looked at my sister through a fresh lens of bravery. Seeing her struggle. Seeing her fail. In spite of her challenges, seeing her brave enough to live her life on her own terms.
My dad was that way. He wasn’t going to play by anyone else’s rules. My children are that way. They each have struggles that they try to hide from the world. Mark, born with a medical faux pas, is taking the stage tonight to say “f*ck you Poland Syndrome” in his third body building competition. All showing bravery, and frankly, impressing the heck out of me.
Today, I did nothing brave. I just ran. I ran while police are facing dangers they may never see coming...while EMT’s and firefighters are putting their lives at risk to save others...while soldiers run in while others run out… and while a confident, strong and stubborn woman is finally brave enough to let go and know that today, the cheers are all for her.