Not only have I heard you, but I have let your words and actions sink into my brain and then into my heart.
Because of you, I am better. Because of you, I own my flaws and my power.
I heard the “shut up and run” comments thrown at you. You were being “too political,” they said. My heart sank. But there you were, standing your ground. Bruised? Yes, but strong. People can say whatever they want. You will never confuse being political with doing the right thing.
That was such a hard fall. It didn’t take long for you to realize that you’d never be the same. I’m sure you wept as you lost the part of you that you’d never get back and maybe you will again in the days to come. Still, out of the ashes of your past self, I saw you rise like a phoenix, dazzling me with your beauty.
My alarm goes off as you’re finishing up your run. If that’s not the case, it’s because you decided to squeeze in your run somewhere between work, your kids’ practices, making dinner, and doing your part to make the world a better place. I’m not naive enough to be fooled by social media and think that you’re getting through your days with ease, but that’s part of what makes me inspired by you. You make a point to do the best you can with the time you have, showing me that good enough is often better than perfect. People may try to define you by simple words- runner, mom, (insert job title), etc.. While part of you embraces those titles, you show everyone that you’re much more than that. You’re a total badass.
The contract they threw at you was insulting. You knew men who you continually placed better than got offered over twice that amount. I knew you felt uncomfortable asking for more, but you did it anyway, even when it meant talking to other companies. That forced me to ask myself some tough questions about my own worth. I needed that!
“You can’t do it.” “You’re not strong enough.” “You’re not pretty enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” You didn’t know whether to cry or scream at the world that you got the message loud and clear. For so long you believed that message, but every now and then you’d hear a different one. “You can do it!” You are ENOUGH!” An epic war of the heart and mind began. You decided to try that thing you’ve been wanting to do. You pondered that maybe you are enough. That’s when I got a glimpse of who you truly are. You are the mountain, strong and confident. You are as breathtaking as a field of never-ending wildflowers. I saw that in you and then I thought about who I truly am when I believe I am enough.
You’re not where you want to be yet. It’s a struggle every damn day, but still, you let the world see your issues. I feel the weight on your shoulders. As hard as it is, you always try your best. No matter what life throws at you, no matter how many times life throws you a curve ball, you always try. On my toughest days, it’s you showing me how to handle them.
I’ve seen you howl at the moon as only a child of Mother Nature could. Your power sent chills running down my spine. Then I saw you turn your back to the sun, petals wilting after spending too much time in the dark. This is the story you created, but I can see it’s not the story you were meant to live. It’s your darkness and your light that makes you so stunning, but you lose your power to be a torch for others when you stay in the dark too long. Thank your mistakes, flaws, and fears for what they’ve taught you, but then remember to step back into the light. You are meant to be the moon, the stars and the sun! I live to see you shine so I can shine brighter too.
You knew women were getting screwed over and companies were taking advantage of them. You got mad when a contact was ended if a woman got pregnant. You didn’t have to help. I see how busy you already are. You could have been another person who thinks “I know that sucks, but who am I to do something.” Yet, you chose to use your heart and knowledge to lift women up. I had to look in the mirror and ask myself if I was doing everything I could do to help too.
When you decided you were going to love your body no matter your weight, I took notice. When you failed and fell, but decided to get back up, it was as if you offered your hand to help me get off the ground too.
They told you that you were cocky. Seriously? I just watched a video where a guy talked about how awesome he was for 5 minutes and people thought it was great. You rightfully owned that you had a great race by making one small comment, but you were the one who was too confident? It got you down. I felt your heart get heavy. Then you crushed another race. It was f***ing awesome.
“Me too.” You cried. Those two words were the hardest you’ve ever typed. You weren’t sure you should, but your aching heart said it was time. You knew not everyone would understand, but then you saw that too many did. I wish I could take some of your pain. I can’t erase what happened to you, but know that your words inspired me to braver. I’ll be by your side, doing what it takes so that one day this will all stop.
I don’t think you know it, but almost every person who gets to know you is a better person for it. You don’t often put yourself in the spotlight, but there you are gently pushing people to get the most out of themselves. If anyone ever needs help, you’re the first one to give a hand. While sometimes quiet, your voice is suddenly loud and clear when it matters most. You are the queen bee, but you lead by taking on as much work as you can handle.
You. Yes, you! Maybe we have met in person, maybe we never will, but you have transformed me. I stand taller because of you. I’m more informed because of you. I love myself more because of you. I’ve learned to love others more deeply because of you. I’m contributing more to causes I care about because of you. Your light has made mine shine brighter. Don’t ever hide your power. I need it. Everyone needs it. Keep on owning your flaws and your strengths. That’s connection. That’s growth for all. That’s this world taking small steps forward.
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Sandi is a MUT runner currently residing in the mountains of Colorado. She’s a running coach and one of the co-founders of SageRunning.com. She has won races ranging from a 5 mile road race to 100 mile mountain ultra. When she’s not running you can find her reading, rollerblading, following curiosity, or rolled up in trying to make another crazy idea come to life.
Trail Sisters is committed to creating opportunity and participation for women in trail running. Our content is always free to read. Consider a monthly contribution on Patreon to support Trail Sisters so we can continue to inspire, educate and empower others!