Sitting at my desk this week my boss walks up to me and hands me a list I had prepared for him to review of ideas, suggestions, and my thoughts for our company. As he hands this to me he smiles and remarks, you definitely think outside of your box. When he said this I grinned and replied back with my whit “what box”? When he said this I had thoughts flood my mind. Thoughts from my childhood, my accident, my training and what my mission really means to me now I’m in my 30’s…
My thinking outside the box began through my years of looking to find normal again. I’ve said a few times before that I grew up in a small town in South Georgia and to the traditional family. My parents had expectations for me like their own life. Well I’m unsure if it was my massive blow to the head in 93 or what it was but I had my own line I walked and never followed what others expected me to do. In other words, I was called the rebellious child on a regular. My accident occurred in 93 and it instilled more determination and stubbornness than I had even before all this happened. When I say determination I mean I was determined to be normal again. My parents and friends would show me empathy and say things to me like its ok, look at what you’ve been through you can take your time. When people would say these compassionate things to me it was nice to hear and I did appreciate them, but all I really heard was do what makes you happy because I was the one walking strange and felt so abnormal. I still hear this inner voice when people say things such as this. I believe in giving your best at anything and not expecting less because of a difficult situation. I believe this even more since I have overcome what I have and I know what we are capable of without using a crutch. In fact, I was offered when I came home from the hospital to be put on disability from the state because of my brain injury and I refused after my mom explained in detail to me how it will always follow me through my life. When she explained all this I refused because it was important to be that I was normal again, and I didn’t want to be labeled abnormal the rest of my life.
The expectations I’ve had for myself have always been high since those days. I have trained hard all my life to succeed in every area. In weightlifting in running and my career. Just until this year have I found myself feeling more content and successful with it all and I’ve been active for 20 years. Some of the things that have made me feel this way are people coming in my life, walking out of my life and of course being a part of the Boston bombings in April have lead me to this exact place I am today. When I should have felt this feeling a long long time ago. I met with a friend of mine a few weeks ago. She was in Boston when the tragic event happened and she’s stood by me through most of my heartaches and complaining of training and I consider her not only my coach but my mentor and honestly a best friend to me now. She mentioned something to me that resignated with my soul and made so much sense to my life. She said we can’t always be in marathon training Stephanie, and you always have been. Take a look at life and enjoy this, you’ve worked hard take a step back and embrace life a little.
I took a run the next day after our talk and pondered over what we spoke of. All I could think of was how right on she really was and how relevant she was to my story. I speak a lot of this feeling of purpose I have had since Boston and even the people who have appeared in my life that tell me more each day of the importance of that normal I was searching for so long ago. I decided on that run and also after speaking with my coach that I would wait on all of my training for a few more months and continue speaking and encouraging children and athletes as I have been doing. This feeling I have felt has been my intuition speaking to me and I am reforming back to my out of the box thinking that I have always had with it and breaking from my norm. I think sometimes we forget that or think we don’t have the right to step outside of our lines because we will loose what we have worked so hard to obtain, when really I believe it is a path to enlightenment for our life that can make our dreams that much brighter.
To end this entry I will give some advice I have learned in my journey. Dare to live and not feel that you must always be in control of the narrative because we are not. Follow your own story as it unfolds before your eyes with curiosity and awe. Keep pushing boundaries in life, take those risk and encourage everyone to unleash their own darkness. Share your strengths and stop following the path you are supposed to take and make your own way. Zig when others zag and forge your trail to your dream…. The best advice I give almost daily is Never Give Up, Never Give In, Never Stop Trying, NEVER EVER GIVE UP…..