What makes me happy and makes me feel like I'm in my element and on top of the world, like I can do anything? What pushes me to succeed when I feel like nothing matters, that nothing is worth it and I'm going nowhere?
There are some people who make me feel that way. My family, a few friends, the SO, they believe in me and push me and cherish me. Cherish: To hold dear, to cling to the idea or the feeling of. I love that word. Cherish. It makes me feel held close. It makes me feel warm and comforted. Honestly, the smell of cinnamon wafts through the air when I hear it. (Can you tell it's my favorite spice? I guess that's what makes me feel 100 % me. The knowledge of being safe at home, of the people who care for me allows me to spread my wings.
Would I have been this outgoing if my mother had told me all I could ever be was such-and-such? I don't think I would have had the courage to move far enough away from home that I only see my family a few times a year. If my father had not treated all his daughters with warmth and grace I do not think I would have found a man who loves me like he does who I can love in return. What if my sisters would have never helped me and pushed for my success? I don't think I in turn would be able to reach out to others to try as I can to make their lives, even just a minute of it, any better. And if my friends would not have set out boundaries for me and stuck by me with loyalty and commitment I do not know if I would have reached out to others when I was scared and lonely in new places with no familiar faces.
So many people have not been surrounded by such a wonderful network of people. I am lucky and blessed to have those I can name who surround me and lift me up when I am feeling down, when I have hit rock bottom. When I am convinced I can't do it anymore. When my legs are sore from running and I just want to quit, I hear "I'm proud of you." When I'm tired and I want to quit this journey someone questions me about it. "You look good! How much weight have you lost this far?" And when an acquaintance asks me "What's new?" because they want to hear the running plans they've heard about in passing from someone who loves me, I feel renewed.
Sharing this journey with those who surround me keeps me strong. Laying my plans out and asking for help and guidance pushes me when all I want to do is sit on the couch. I have felt alone, I have felt afraid, but these people keep me going when I don't think I could do it by myself. They have loved me, even when it hurts. I thank them always, even though I don't tell them all the time.
My loved ones have helped me become me. Because of seeing examples of the strength they have, even if they don't know it, I am able to keep on. I have seen the quiet strength that is my father persevere through long days and hard nights when other men have given up. I have seen my mother put a smile on her face and continue through her day when she is in daily pain. I have seen my sister go out and explore the world, leaving all she knew and coming back a stronger and wiser person. I have seen my other sister struggle to smile in a day and still manage to do it because of her incredible strength. I have watched them deal with some impossible circumstances and have seen them come through stronger in faith and stronger in family. I have seen the love shared between my SO and his father, holding on when everyone told them they should let go. And they all have taught me.
Love may not make me richer, but love will fill my life with riches. When things are hard, when I'm running and my legs want to give out, I think of my father and keep moving my legs. When a car passes and the people in it stare, I think of my mother and I smile to show them warmth. When I try a new route and I'm afraid I can't make it, I think of my sister and explore my surroundings. When I'm hurt and I don't know if I can go again, I think of my middle sister and put a smile on my face, my shoes on my feet, and I head out that door. When people tell me not to try, not to push, that it's too far or too fast, I think of the SO and his dad and I hang on to my dream. I run.