I am a warrior. I fight everyday. I’m blessed because my battle is one I may be forced to live with, but it’s not one that can kill me. Every day someone somewhere gets news they prayed they would never hear. Every day a new fight begins for someone I have never met, never heard of, and can’t help by dropping off a meal, driving them to appointments, cheering them up, or holding them while they cry. There are so many different battles we each face in our lives, and the hope we can inspire each other with is the hope, and promise of a better tomorrow when today is just too much to take. The picture I chose of myself took place during an extreme obstacle race called the “Warrior Dash”.
Most people who know me, know I adore pretty dresses, shiny things, and comfort above all else. What most people don’t know is that I live with chronic pain, inflammation in my spine, and what I fondly refer to as “goofy legs”. My body does not cooperate reliably and so I like to challenge it (and my mind) to face and overcome things I am afraid of. The Warrior Dash forced me to run uphill (hello goofy legs, how do you like those hills NOW?!) through mud, climb a 20 foot wall (which is covered in almost as much mud as you are by that point), leap hurdles (in mud), scale rope walls across sharp drops (in mud), crawl through long trenches under razor wire (yes, you guessed it, filled with mud), and to cross the finish line? I needed to leap over low hurdles. Which are on fire. In the mud. I can’t leap, I can’t even jump really under the best of circumstances with my legs, so I ran straight through the fire to finish.
When I was done, they gave me a hose and I gave them my sneakers (like everyone else) which I donated (and they presumably CLEANED before being redistributed) to the St. Jude’s Hospital for children. I walked (limped, actually) back to my car barefoot, scratched, burned, and still somewhat covered in mud. But I felt unbelievable because I DID IT. I did it, and I SURVIVED. I don’t define myself by my struggle except to say that it has forged me into a fierce warrior. I refuse to be held hostage by anything or anyone, and that includes myself: body and mind. Not everyone gets my happy ending so please, pay attention, HELP. Help by educating yourself on the battles that are out there, how you can draw attention to those struggles, and maybe even what you can do to ease them. Be a warrior.