Day #18: A picture of your biggest insecurity.
Since I started this project 18 days ago, I have gotten really into it. Can you tell? Today's theme is one I have been dealing with forever, really. But I have to start off with saying that this post is not going to be sad or pitiful or anything negative. It's going to be honest.
I have cerebral palsy. I have always been terribly self-conscious about my legs and about the way I walk. I had thought about running for several years but didn't have the courage to try it because I was so afraid of what people would think when they saw me run and they saw how my leg turned in and they saw how slow I was. (I can be a real master at the negative mind games.)
Then, in July 2005, I had a revelation. I realized that it didn't matter what anyone thought. I remember thinking to myself that no one would notice me running and if they did, they'd never remember anyway. I was "safe". I wanted to run and I was going to do it. I have been running ever since. I absolutely love it.
It was because of Christi that I took the biggest "risk" in running. I wanted to do something to honor her memory and so I signed up for my first race in December 2007 to raise money for the Christi Thomas Memorial Fund and Kids Cancer Crusade. I was so worried that 1. I wouldn't be able to finish 2. I would fall and 3. everyone would stare at me. I took a deep breath and pictured Christi by my side throughout that first race. It made such a difference. And guess what? I did finish (with great time!), 2. I didn't fall, and 3. no one stared. I now run annual Christi Thomas Memorial races and when I wake up at 4:30am for my regular "Christi run" (as I call my morning run), I still picture Christi running next to me. It still makes all the difference.
And that's the funny thing about my biggest insecurity. It's become a source of strength for me. And while I can still, at times, feel self-conscious about my limp, running has helped me love my legs. They are what get me to the finish line, after all.
(This picture is from the First Annual Christi Thomas Memorial Run, December 2007.)