Authentic Women

Living authentically means you are living true to your passions, true to your purpose, and true to your potential. Staying on a path to live a life of authentic truths can be challenging. Last spring when I felt like I had lost my anchor, I wrote down this sentence.

I am a strong, independent woman who lives in the extremes, moves towards her next adventure, and refuses to settle for anyone who can’t keep up

I’ve been trying to embody my authentic self, ever since.

Today I feel free. Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My once narrow lens, now, sees a myriad of possibilities. Living authentically can feel overwhelming at times. Sometimes I want to revert back to what is comfortable. Sometimes I want to hide from my emotions. And that’s okay.

I want to be the type of woman who refuses to give up on her dreams despite life’s greatest efforts telling her to stop. Nearly every decision I have made (e.g., moving to Eugene, moving to San Diego, running at 6AM, sleeping by 10PM on a Saturday night) over the past 4 years has been with one goal in mind – to one day call myself an Olympian.

Only 3 months prior to the moment I planned on making this dream a reality, my heart was hit with some unexpected pain. I almost quit running. My coach had to talk me out of it. He was not happy with me. He couldn’t understand how I could so quickly throw away the past 4 years of training. He was right; something didn’t feel right. Hanging up my spikes after years of preparation and only 3 months outside the Olympic trials wasn’t true to my soul. Eventually, I returned to track practice not because my coach was frustrated with me but because I wanted to fully embrace my authentic self.

Then a mere 2 months before the day I was supposed to toe the line at the Olympic trials, I endured a stress fracture in my foot. First, my teetering heart, and now, my body was telling me to quit. I didn’t listen. As an authentic woman I wasn’t going to let anything come between myself and my goals. I continued to train on the stress fracture, and on July 1st I lined my spike up behind the start line and eagerly waited for the sound of the gun. I didn’t make it past the first round. Some may have viewed this performance as a failure and maybe it was, but the triumph was in each stride leading up to that afternoon when I walked out of the stadium and onto the track. I know what each stride took, and none of those strides were easy. I praised the effort it took for me to train through a broken heart, to train through a stress fracture, and then to bare my heart and soul in front of thousands of people. Even in moments of failure I am beautiful, I am strong, and I will get through it with more love.

In that moment walking towards the start line with a fractured foot and not knowing whether today was the day my bone would break all the way through, I was scared.  I was also scared when I started this blog. Every time I submit a new post my heart drops a little. Will people like it? Yesterday, I applied for a tenure-track assistant professor position at a top-3 university in special education research. Tomorrow, I plan to continue training for the U.S. Championships in June with hopes to making the world team in London. And guess what? I’m scared I won’t be selected for the job or my training won’t be enough for a top 3 finish. Goals can be scary because the outcomes are unknown, but what’s even scarier, is if I choose not to write, not to apply, or not to train. The moments we wish to redo are also the chances we don’t take. Sending you off with this little reminder — be brave. love boldly. live vulnerably. live authentically.

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