13.1 miles isn’t what the average person runs before brewing their morning coffee. However, it was a top bucket list item from freshman year of college, I just never felt capable nor confident enough to carry through. I thought it wasn’t until I met him that I found the courage but looking back, he was just one person amongst many who had given me strength.
Weight in Gold
Frankly, I grew up with low self-confidence due to my above average body weight. 1st grade, I slurped up bowls of ramen bigger than my face. 6th grade, I qualified for Stanford’s obesity camp for children. Up until 9th grade, you simply had to take my age and multiply it by 10 to know my weight in pounds. I was weighing myself down in so many ways.
During freshman orientation, I tried to break my shell, but 3 days of forced group activities was no bueno. I even skipped the biggest tradition of a night scavenger hunt to design my schedule instead. Hearing about everyone’s adventures the next morning, I got such serious FOMO I decided that when college started, nothing would hold me back.
That’s What I Like
I began by getting to know my freshman year floormates. KBBQ competitions, Santa Monica trips, late night rants and snacks, they came to be my closest friends, a best friend, and then some with one. They helped me feel comfortable, welcome, and the happiest I had been in a while. I trust and support them unrelentlessly as they would to me.
Looking back, I realized that those were the first people I had really opened up to. Allowed them to peek into my mind and put my guard down around. Because they wouldn’t judge and because I wanted to make them happy too. It took different experiences for each of them, but in our own little awkward ways, we all became close together.
A Change Is Gonna Come
Flash forward 2 years, I took my best friend to her first clubbing event. Sadly, the competing fraternity had another party across town, taking half my school with them. But, the bomb DJ kept the songs flowing and we were grooving. Apparently my friend and I looked so good we were approached by “A” and his friend and asked to dance.
For Once in My Life
A could only thrust, not dance, so we sat down to drink and chat instead. It was loud and dark, I could only see A’s bold glasses and sweat pools, but for the first time in my life, I… never wanted to stop talking to a complete stranger. He was electrifyingly charismatic, something I continually learned through our daily texts and following dates.
As a foodie, he worked out daily to balance out his food-ventures. He stayed humble and motivational but sometimes lacked self-confidence too. I found myself pushing to comfort him and cheer him up, letting him know why he was great. I started wanting to look better for him too and needed a solid goal, so I finally signed up for my half marathon.
Girl on Fire
Fun fact: I later learned that I was his rebound about the same time I learned that I was pre-diabetic. We stopped meeting up, but I kept up training for the half marathon, no longer to impress a man, but my friends and to improve my health. I was running 2-3 times a week, going to tae bo classes, keeping up with work and my studies. I was on fire.
Feel It Still
Day of, I was nervous but also excited for what I was about to accomplish. With my rainbow bandana flying behind me, (I had dressed up as nyan cat. Only one person could tell.) I flew over that finish line with a 2:09 run time. My ankles screamed with every step and I left bodily fluids on everything I touched, but I had finally rocked this bad boy.
Say You Won’t Let Go
When you have felt vulnerable for so long, it’s hard to let anyone enter your world. But as they say, the ones who matter will work to climb over your walls and protect you when you’re vulnerable. They are the ones that will open you up and show you how much you matter. They are the ones you will care for and support indefinitely, just like they helped you.
I just moved to a new area to continue my schooling and honestly, I’m still a fragile egg nervous to leave my shell. But, the stories I can now tell because I let down my walls are something I cherish and hope to experience again. I just need to stay open-minded, find my roots, and maybe meet another guy. Cuz hey, I’ve always wanted to try skydiving...