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Have you ever run 62 miles in one straight shot after giving birth to twins? Have you ever quit the job that was making you miserable, with no money in the bank, because you knew your happiness was more important than anything else? Have you ever defeated an injury and reached the top of the mountain- red faced and sweating but still, there you are, or signed up for a race while holding your breath because you're not sure you can do it but you know you have to start somewhere?
Have you ever set down your pen after finishing the 321st and final page of your novel, or accepted your PhD after years of budgeting and criticism and self doubt? Have you ever stopped to take a breath, to treat yourself kindly and deny the inner demon that always speaks up? Have you ever been completely honest with your child when they ask something hard? Have you ever given birth and then lay in bed with your infant, thanking your body and your mind for this impossible feat they just accomplished?
Have you ever taught yourself to cook, one recipe after the next, and delighted in the disasters because of what a good story they will make? Have you ever refused to apologize, or rang that fucking bell after the chemo is over, and maybe one small cell of you started to believe that you actually are a warrior and a survivor and maybe that mess is all behind you?
Have you ever caught a 4 am flight with three little kids? Or raised two babies in a city far away from your family with no car and endless errands?
Have you ever held back a panic attack while 70 feet underwater? Or you couldn't hold it back but you got on the plane anyway?
Have you ever bought the house, read the book in French, word by word with the dictionary next to you in bed? Have you ever held onto the A in your class till the bitter end, or painted your nails just for fun for the first time and they actually looked okay?
Have you ever had to say you're sorry and you said it, even though it's uncomfortable and squirmy and you'd rather be talking about anything else? Have you ever chosen exercise over anger, or put the bike away because you're pregnant and you have to take it down a few notches or so they tell you, or rid your life of the toxic people and the unnecessary things in one satisfying rip?
Have you ever painted your way through the loss of a parent, or put yourself to bed before 2am even though you could stay out in the garden forever if people didn't need you so much, or fought the road rage or quit cigarettes or kept very calm when the spouse beside you is having a stroke in bed, and you saved his life by doing everything right?
Have you ever entertained a ten year old with a broken femur, in a body cast, for weeks on end?
Have you ever kept yourself in check when you know your anger is misdirected? It's harder then it sounds. Have you ever sat with a client for months without her saying a word, and finally you figure her out and she starts talking and you can finally get to helping her, which is what you wanted to do the whole time? Or gone to the gym even though if sucks after so long, or been stripped down to the bones and found, at the last minute, the courage and resilience you never even knew where there?
Have you ever killed it at a job interview while holding your two week old son?
Have you ever let yourself be a normal, messy, flawed human in front of your partner, or celebrated 18 years without cancer with the three children who watched you fight it? Have you ever been pregnant? Have you ever packed your damn lunch to save your damn money even though packing lunches is the worst? Have you ever shown patience with an animal or done yoga every day even though you're new and the postures are terrifying? Have you ever joined a ballet class, as an adult, because damn it you want to do something for yourself alone?
Have you ever stopped running and stayed put, and now you're in Colorado and it's going to work out, even if you don't know how? Have you ever helped out when you didn't have to, even though it's 20 degrees and you're freezing but you know you're capable? Have you ever picked up the luggage of a perfect stranger and walked them to their gate, because you see they're wrestling two little kids and they're alone?
Have you ever stayed in school, even when you have a husband and pets and a house and a job that all need you at once? Have you ever changed the oil in your car, or survived four days alone with a crying newborn and no sleep? Have you ever been in your first bewildering and chaotic year of med school or done 80 push ups in one set?
Have you ever taken an exam and got a 4.0, after a 12 hour shift? Have you ever delivered the speech without tears, or quit the xanax and faced the cross-country move with an optimism you've never felt before, or cut out the sugar because it's the first step? Have you ever said 'no' to a second date because you're done wasting your time?
Have you ever finished school and got your degree, and thank god because the husband left, and there you are with your two year old son, not looking back, equipped to work and support and love and nourish all by yourself and damn it, you're doing it?
Just in the past few weeks.
And I'm keeping those comments forever as a source of strength and inspiration and pure delight for when I need a reason to keep swimming, as they say. You can use them, too. You know where to find them.
I had no idea what sort of experience we were all in for when I wrote that prompt. I am so proud of you. Thank you for sharing that tiny, huge part of yourself.
We'll be back this Monday with another giveaway, one I'm very very excited about. And until then, the winner of the 50 dollar Holdfast Giveaway:
"I'm proud of myself for taking the bus everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE, with two kids in tow. We go to the grocery store with one strapped to my front and one holding my hand and somehow I manage to carry groceries on my shoulders. We take an 85 minute ride to doctors appointments. It's hard not having a car but we're making it work. I'm a tough Mama and I'm proud of that."
Congrats Jessica! Email email@example.com and we'll get you all set up. I hope you get your babies all suited up....but you also get something for yourself!