I would like to share a story, one that isn’t over but one that has a satisfying little click of purpose. Of forward movement.
And as with all good stories, this one has a beginning even earlier than what it seems.
It seems this story begins with a bad race and a blog post. A blog post that led to some of the most true and wonderful conversations with teammates. Some teammates I knew well, and I knew they were in the same state of limbo, of having lost the spark to race and wondering what new shape the sport and the team would take for them. Some teammates I didn’t know as well, and I was blown away by their willingness to open up and share, just because I had gone first. The common sentiment in all these conversations was, “Why don’t we talk about this more?”
I knew that, as powerful as it was for me to hear these stories and use them for my own personal growth, it wasn’t enough for me to be the only listener. I saw this sense of craving for more, for these teammates to find each other, to know others were also struggling and feeling alone. It didn’t take much: an evening of conversation. An email group. Hugs. A safe space where my incredible teammates could let the words flow.
I only created the space, but my teammates are doing the real work of sharing. Of being vulnerable. I was humbled by my nomination for Impala of the Month, voted on by my teammates. Rather than it exemplifying any work I did, I think it speaks volumes to the team’s desire for this conversation. Our innate and very human need for connection. To be vulnerable.
So this is where the story seems to begin and end. I wrote a blog. I was recognized for it. I learned that vulnerability is respected.
For me, the story begins much earlier. It is not a point in time I can put my finger on. It is a swirling windstorm of conditions that allowed me to find the courage to write the blog post in the first place. Years of therapy. The Wilder running retreat. Tara Mohr and Brene Brown and Cheryl Strayed and Anne Lamott and Mary Oliver and Natalie Goldberg. The beginnings and endings and rebeginnings of relationships. Meditation. Clumsy and self-absorbed journal entries and free writing.
And the story does not end yet, either. There is always a new lesson, a new difficult conversation, a new edge to push into and expand even just a fraction of an inch. For both me and my teammates, the work is just beginning.
For now, a chapter has been written. One that I can say I have pride in. Pride in my own growth, pride in the way my teammates opened up and filled a new space, yes pride in being recognized more because it validates the need of the team rather than strokes my own ego.
Time for the next chapter.