Begin again

I wish I knew a perfect way to start this, but sadly that isn’t the case today.

I really miss having a creative outlet, something I never knew I needed until four years ago. I never saw myself as a “creative” person growing up. Growing up, sports were more of my thing. I was awful at drawing or any other arts and craft activity, therefore I assumed that creativity wasn’t something I was born with.

I developed a love for creative writing in my first creative writing course during my senior year in college, yes it was late in life but it was the first real opportunity I had to explore that world.

I’ve told this story a million times before but I had started blogs off and on in the past but deleted them in fear of someone finding them. It wasn’t until late October of 2016 after my son Ian was born and my best friend inspired me with her blog that I had decided to start something I had wanted to do for so long.

I now sit here after four years of having this blog and 103 (now 104) published blog posts all about my life, wondering how to start again.

Back in December 2018 I had this strong desire to complete my biggest life goal, and that was to write my very first book. I decided to step away from my blog and focus all of my energy on my book. I was able to finish writing the rough draft of my book in June, and get it out to the public in December of 2019. After finishing my book I was left completely drained and had nothing left in my tank of stories and lessons.

I wrote two blog posts in 2019 while I was writing my book, and have written three blog posts so far this year. The flame I had for writing had gone out, and I found myself not wanting to get it back.

I know that happens to everyone, you have this passion in life and one day it almost disappears. Especially in 2020, nothing is off limits. It’s common to get comfortable with being content with where you’re at in life, it’s common to not want want to put effort into anything except those things that you have to. Your once creative outlet or passion you once had in life is gone because you let the flame go out with no desire to start it back up.

I’ve been searching for a creative outlet since this time last year wanting to share my thoughts with the world once again, but could never find anything that felt right.

My husband has always been extremely supportive with any crazy ideas of goals that I have. I’ve expressed this concern with him recently and he always brings me back to my blog. He understands how passionate I was about it and how much effort I put into it. He knew that it was a great outlet for me when I was just writing what I wanted and not focusing on what I thought other people wanted to read.

Since taking an unofficial break from blogging my life has changed in a relatively drastic way. I decided to start a journey I swore I would never do and that was to get my Masters degree. I never saw myself pursuing higher education than necessary because I never had a dream career that required more education. Until some tough events with people close to me brought me to realize that I had a love for helping others.

In January of 2020 I started my Masters of Education in School Counseling degree with plans to finish by June of 2023. I also as of recently, began a new career as a middle school counselor at a local middle school. Leaving a school that I absolutely loved and felt so comfortable at was pretty hard to say the least and terrifying at times, but starting a new career that I am extremely passionate about overtook the fear of the unknown.

Life has been crazy and completely unexpected this year for me, and for everyone I know, in true 2020 fashion. If you would have told me at the beginning of this year I would be going back to school and switching careers I would not have believed you. I had other goals and none of them really consisted of growing professionally. I call it maturity but you can call it adulting, maybe they’re the same thing.

I guess that brings me back to this post, and my blog as a whole. It’s something that is so special to me and something that I’ve worked hard to create. I’ve grown as a person, mom, friend, and wife since having this blog. I have grown to be more self aware and even began repairing a friendship that wasn’t as strong as it should have been. I have also met people through this outlet who I have an insane amount of things in common with. Beyond Twenty Something was a big part of my life for four years, and I look forward to keeping it that way for the years to come.

Take this as my official pledge to begin blogging again. To not trying to do too much at once, and to focus my heart and soul on this corner of the internet that I’ve created. To continue to grow my favorite little creative outlet and to share it with as many people as I can.

I plan on posting once a week and changing the types of posts that I do. Don’t worry, if you like my oversharing life stories, I will for sure keep those ups. I just also want to tackle things that other people struggle with and fun pieces that aren’t super serious and can open up fun conversations.

So thank you for sticking around for this entire post or for the four years of this blog. I am excited for the next journey in blogging.

Sunshine and anxiety

 

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I haven’t talked about my anxiety much on my blog. I wrote about it in my book I published this last December but I haven’t written about it publicly on my blog.

I have anxiety, something I always kind of figured I had but didn’t want to ever try and get help for. It wasn’t until February of last year when it got really bad that I decided to try and talk to someone and get help.

I’m definitely not 100 percent but I’m so much better than when I started my journey to get better.

Lately I’ve been working overtime to battle my anxiety.

With everything going on in the world it’s really challenging to fight the negative thoughts in your mind.

When school first got cancelled for two weeks and our track season was put on hold I was devastated to say the least. I was completely crushed for my athletes and a losing a part of my life that I loved so much for a few weeks.

I had so many negative thoughts literally trying to force their way into my mind. It was such a strange feeling. Negative thoughts in mind while my heart was trying to tell myself to be positive.

I now find myself sitting in a position where I’m hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to see if our track season can continue and my life can start getting back to normal, and I genuinely believe that it will and that we will get a small bit of a track season in the end.

I’m not just saying that, and I may be one of the few people with positive thoughts left but it’s completely true.

It’s hard to truly believe something in your heart when your anxiety is trying to fight back with negative thoughts and feelings. I feel like I’m having this internal battle that my mind is working overtime to beat.

I’ve been doing pretty good considering the circumstances. I am able to continue my grad school work, work for my job, workout, and care for my amazing family.

But today I was struggling.

I was a little yesterday too.

Not completely sure why I found myself with this awful headache and bad thoughts.

In the midst of my work this morning I found it trying to sneak it’s way back in, I decided to sweat it out.

Not like I normally do however, I wanted to take it outside.

I have these giant doors leading to the backyard in my bedroom. I could see the bright blue sky and sun shining bright, something took over and told me to do my workout in the backyard.

I ran outside with my spotify playlist, workout mat, and dog to get started.

I was having a great workout and sweating my face off.

I had all these thoughts like “see Megan all you needed was your workout” and “fresh air fixes everything.”

At the end I decided to stretch like I usually do, except afterwards I was drawn to lay down on my mat.

I found this little pocket of sunshine and found it hitting my face.

I continued to lay there with the warm sun on my face and nothing but the music in my ear with thoughts running through my mind.

It felt like the montage at the climactic point in a movie.

All of a sudden I saw my college track days of running down the track in the heat with my best friend.

I saw myself laughing on the sidelines with my hurdlers.

I saw myself running down the country roads near my old house.

I saw track meets and smiles.

The wind picked up and ran across my face and I actually smiled.

I’m not making that up to sound cheesy it actually happened.

Happiness came over me in that moment as I remembered what sunshine around this time of year usually meant. I was almost brought to tears with pure joy.

In that moment I remembered that I absolutely love the sunshine and sweat running down my face. I love feeling hotter than it actually was outside.

My intentions aren’t to flood you with positivity and messages of “appreciate your life and what you have now compared to others.”

My intentions are to remind you that negative thoughts are ok.

Trying to beat them is ok.

Smiling your face off while dancing to Dua Lipa in the backyard during your workout us ok.

I felt selfish for a moment. Why was I enjoying myself and smiling while some people are scared and worried, but I was reminded that it was ok.

All sorts of emotions are ok in a time like this.

You can be scared, nervous, happy, sad, anxious, excited.

Literally, it’s all ok.

This post was brought to you by sunshine and anxiety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came in like a wrecking ball.

I am very type A.

I know I’ve mentioned it over and over again but that’s because it’s true.

Have you ever seen that episode of friends where everyone gives Monica a hard time about leaving a pair of shoes out? She lays in bed at night and can’t sleep because she wants nothing more than to move the shoes where they’re supposed to be.

She even considers moving them and getting up early before everyone else and moving them back?

Hi, hello, it’s me…I’m Monica.

I like to have everything figured out, planned out, and color coded. Some may say that I’m being a “control freak” but it honestly makes my soul so happy.

I’ll happily wear a “hello my name is control freak” name tag.

I came in real hot for the start of this year. I had wanted to do all of the things. Seriously.

There were so many things that I wanted to do and it was so overwhelming.

I even changed my word for the year because it was stressing me out. I had to admit that I was wrong and take a step back. I was forced to take just a few things to work on this year that were the most important to me.

You see..it’s okay to want to do so many things..but that stuff gets to me. My favorite quote is “you can do anything but not everything” and it hits home for me so hard.

I find myself getting caught up in this idea that I need to do A, B, and C…and D, E, F, and G for good measure. If I don’t do everything that I’ve set out to do, I am a failure.

It was January 1st and I was already stressed out from all of my goals this year.

I talked to my husband and told him I was overwhelmed, that I could already see myself just hating all of these things that I wanted to do so bad. He asked me what I wanted to do the most and to focus on those things.

So that’s what I decided to do.

I changed my word, made a new vision board, wrote out a new workout routine and set out to have the best year ever.

The first full week of 2020 was amazing. I had prepped these amazing lunches for work with the help of my dad and his amazing cooking skills, I was crushing my workouts, and I was going to bed after reading a chapter of a book. All things that made my heart happy.

I had even started to write down what I was thankful every morning. I purchased a journal and every morning as I drank my pre-workout I would write down what I was grateful for and my intention for the day.

I was seriously killing it.

Until Sunday January 12th happened.

I woke up with a sore throat and it progressed as the day came to a close. Monday morning rolled around and I had to call out sick for work, and for Tuesday as well. I tried to go in on Wednesday but only made it half of the day. I couldn’t even go in on Thursday. Friday finally came around and I was able to drag myself out of bed and go to work.

I was so frustrated.

I had let myself down.

The week before went so well! I was positive, motivated, and ready to crush anything that came my way.

So why was everything completely turned upside down the very next week?

I have only done a handful of workouts since getting sick, I haven’t read my book all but a few times, and I haven’t written in my gratitude journal since the day I got sick.

Why am I giving up?

Why do I have to force myself out of bed when just a couple of weeks ago I hopped out of bed ready for the day?

I have been feeling so off since I got sick, and I am at the point where I realize it and I’m not happy with it. I’m ready to be the version of me that started out the new year strong.

Whenever I’m feeling off I read some of my best friends old blog posts. I can’t explain why, but they make me remember why I started writing. They remind me that I use to just write to write. That I wasn’t trying to make a post that people would “want” to read. That I wasn’t trying to come up with fluff pieces because that’s what everyone else was doing. That I love writing because it’s my outlet, it brings me happiness. I want my blog to get back to that. To be my happy place.

I took this from my best friends blog today and I’m going to use it as motivation for the rest of the week.

This morning, I could have hit snooze. I could have rolled back over, spent my morning off cozy in bed without the worry of an alarm. This morning I chose love. I chose to get my butt out of bed, hit the yoga studio, then hit the trail for some miles before the sun came up. This morning, like many others I chose to start my day off with something I love. And I am happier because of it.

It’s crazy how something she wrote on February 15th 2017 can be so incredibly relevant to me now almost three years later.

So here I am saying I’m going to snap out of this funk and get back to being me. The me that I love and the me that gets stuff done.

As far as my blog goes? Expect more posts like this. More posts talking about things that I love, things that are hard, and me trying new things. I turn 30 this year, and I won’t do it quietly.

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Halfway through 2019.

Hey! It’s me!

Long time no talk!

I haven’t seen you since December 8th 2018.

How have you been?

This year has been amazing so far, and I haven’t blogged about any of it.

I turned 29.

Started a podcast with my sister.

Watched my athlete take 3rd at the state meet in the 110 meter hurdles.

Visited Disneyland and Harry Potter world with my family.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss it, because I do, but I don’t miss how much pressure I put on myself to write blog posts and make them as perfect as I could.

I put a lot of pressure on myself with everything I do, and my blog is no exception.

It would lead to poorly written, or forced blog posts that I wasn’t proud of. I loved it when I first started blogging, but hated it towards the end.

It became a chore.

The one outlet that I had made for myself was becoming a chore.

It was also taking time away from the one goal that I had for myself.

The one thing that lit my soul on fire just at the thought of.

I wanted to write this book so bad.

I just kept telling myself that I didn’t have time, and honestly, I really didn’t have a lot of time.

Between being a mom, wife, daughter, coach, and full time employee there wasn’t much time.

I just made time.

You know that feeling?

When you want something so badly that you’ll do anything to get it?

That was me.

I knew that I had to write this book this year.

I knew that it would mean getting to bed a little later and waking up a little earlier.

That I would have to stay off of Netflix and write instead.

Which if you know me, is extremely difficult.

Quitting blogging helped. In fact, if I hadn’t stopped I honestly don’t think I could have done it.

It wasn’t a perfect process though.

It was hard.

There wasn’t a single day while writing my book that I didn’t worry.

I worried that no one besides my immediate family would read it.

I worried that it would be awful.

I worried that I couldn’t do it.

I wish I could tell you that something just clicked and reminded me of my goals.

Or that I had some life changing event that made me push through the negative thoughts.

But I didn’t.

I just kept going.

I listened to those negative thoughts, realized that my fears were real and fine to feel, and kept going anyways.

That’s the thing about fears, others peoples opinions, and negative thoughts.

They don’t go away.

Maybe some of them do eventually, or a large majority of them if you’re lucky, but they’re always there.

Don’t let anyone fool you, there’s no magic cure for it.

You just have to keep going.

I realized recently that fears aren’t always bad.

Worries and negative thoughts aren’t the end all.

They don’t mean that you’re broken.

They’re there to challenge you.

To remind you to keep fighting.

I was reminded of that this May.

To fight, and to always keep fighting.

From a really good talk with a really good person.

And I kept that with me throughout the end of June, when I finally finished my book, rough draft and all.

I definitely grew throughout the entire process.

Going back and reading chapters I can see how my thoughts evolved and grew the more I wrote.

It was one of the scariest and most rewarding things that I have ever done.

Going towards the directions of my dreams, regardless of the fears that surrounded the path to it.

I turn 30 this year.

Well not this exact year but my next birthday on February 8th 2020.

I’ll be 30.

I wanted to make this last year in my twenties a special one.

A way to reflect on the last ten years of my life.

Ten years that completely rocked my world.

Ten years that taught me every single lesson I could possibly think of.

With the help of my grandma and some inspiration from the very first blog post I ever wrote, I did just that.

Reflected on the last ten years.

I decided to write a book about the twenty lessons that I learned in my twenties , lessons that turned me into the person I am today.

Someone who broke a heart, found love, had cancer, dreamed big, and learned how to be a friend.

This book is my entire heart.

Literally.

It’s all in that binder that my sweet husband is currently going through editing.

It’s scary though.

He’s reading what I wrote.

He could hate it.

He could love it.

It’s officially out in the universe to someone.

I said back in December that I would share what it was about when it’s done so here it is.

This is normally where I would say something like “you may not care” or “if anyone even reads it” but it’s time I start accepting my accomplishments and taking pride in them.

I’ve written this book that I’m extremely proud of and it’s very special to me.

You’ll have your hands on it sometime in the fall, so get excited.

I quit.

 

I’m quitting.

You may care.

Or you may not.

But I’ve decided to quit blogging.

Sort of.

It was one of my resolutions for 2018 to start my book.

I’ve talked about it a handful of times on this blog.

But it’s my biggest life goal.

(Besides visiting every major league baseball stadium)

This whole “Blog to 2019” challenge felt very forced this year.

That should have been my first sign.

I had trouble coming up with blog post ideas.

And when I did, I didn’t want to do any of the ones I came up with.

Except the ones that were posted so far.

Those were all special to me and I wanted to do them.

They weren’t supposed to go up until later this month, but I wanted to write them.

I made a decision to follow through and post those ones but quit after.

And that’s what this post is.

It’s my notice that I’m quitting.

I interviewed my grandma last week.

When I asked her what she wanted from me in life, she said she wanted me to write my book.

It hit me.

Hard.

Despite what I want to think, my grandparents won’t be around forever.

And if she wants me to write this book.

I’m writing this book.

So she can read it.

I’ve had one idea in my mind for awhile.

Then another.

And a third idea.

I never told anyone those ideas.

When interviewing my grandma I mentioned that I had a few ideas floating around and she said something that I’m not going to repeat.

She said something that gave me my final idea.

She inspired the theme of this book.

And I won’t tell anyone.

No one knows except me.

And it’s going to stay that way until it’s done.

If she remembers what she said, my grandma might know too.

I’m going to be stopping this blog challenge early to write my book.

I’ll keep writing for my blog.

But they’re going to be monthly book writing updates.

That’s about it.

I have a strict timeline in my mind and I have to get to work.

Sorry if I let anyone down.

If anyone cares.

But it’s whats going to happen.

I’ve made a “word” for the year.

A word that I’m going to live by, and a word that’s going to help me reach my goals.

And that word is pursue.

I’m going to be 30 in a little more than a year.

And that’s crazy to me.

I only have one more year of being a twenty something and I need to make it count.

This blog made me so comfortable with writing.

It made me never want to stop.

I can’t believe that people like reading it and care enough to keep reading it.

I hope you’ll read my book too.

I’ll update everyone on here as my book comes.

This blog won’t go away, it’ll just be taking a mini vacation.

I don’t want to completely disappear from it without an explanation.

So here it is.

I’m quitting my blog to pursue my dreams.

Bye for now. ❤

A letter to you.

It’s been awhile.

8 years to be exact.

It never gets easier.

We just get stronger.

I could say that we miss you, but that would be an understatement.

It’s not the same without you.

I know everyone says that, but it’s true.

Our huge family gatherings on holidays, don’t exist anymore.

Maybe that would have been the case if you were still here.

Maybe with age, they would have just faded.

But I believe you were the glue that held everyone together.

You spent the later half of the evenings asleep in your chair, but you were still the rock for our family.

You always made sure I ate all of the food on my plate.

Always made sure I gave you a hug when I got to your house, and when I left.

And never put up with anyone’s crap.

You always told it like it was.

But were so sweet and kind.

Everyone who met you loved you.

You were “pops” and everyone knew it.

Constantly making people laugh.

You were such a presence.

I see so much of you in my dad.

And of my dad in me.

Thank you for that.

I wish I was able to know you longer.

I’m still so thankful for those 20 years, but it should have been more.

I would have asked you questions.

I would have asked to hear stories.

I would have asked for advice.

So much I wish I could have done.

It makes me thankful that I had those years.

That I have the memories of your suspenders and flannel shirts.

Of you in a Santa hat handing out presents to all of your grandchildren on Christmas.

The smell of burnt coffee and the image of you at the kitchen table.

I’ll always cherish those.

I just wish you were still here.

And I know that in a sense, you are.

I know that no matter what I go through in life, you’re right there.

So many things have happened.

I know you’d be so proud.

I graduated college, I know you would have just loved that.

I got married.

God I wish you could have met Jason.

Everyone loves him.

You’d probably think that no one was good enough for me.

Because you were protective like that.

I just know you two would have gotten along so well.

And I have a son.

He has your name in his.

Ian Kenneth.

And every time he’s trying to jump off of a couch or push my limits and I call him by his full name, I think of you.

You would have gotten a kick out of him.

He’s the most stubborn, loving, and free spirited kid you’ll ever meet.

Just like you.

Dad’s the head coach at McKay now too. We all coach with him.

Me, Janelle, and my husband Jason.

We’ve created such a family and such a great program.

I know you’d love that.

You were always so impressed with our running.

Telling us we got it from you.

That you held records back in Ohio, that you ran on a dirt track.

Thank you for that.

Thank you for telling us to “run like the wind.”

I got a tattoo of that, right on my foot.

Every time I laced up my shoes for a race I would see it and smile.

I know you’d absolutely disapprove of the tattoo and probably threaten to scrub it off.

But in the end you wouldn’t, because you usually let me get away with stuff.

I don’t really know why I’m writing this.

It’s not like I can share it with you, or show you.

But I like to think you’re watching.

Losing you definitely made me question some things.

Like why the good ones have to go.

It still doesn’t make sense.

But if I believe that you’re up there watching over us all.

It makes it a little easier.

I hope I’m making you proud.

I know you’re checking in on us.

After drinking a few cups of coffee and reading the newspaper.

You’re here.

I know you wouldn’t miss a thing.

Especially with your family.

You loved us all so much.

And we loved you.

After eight years it definitely doesn’t get easier.

I just look at your picture and know you’re still watching.

Smiling and looking over us all.

I hope you remember we never stop thinking about you.

And I hope you never stop thinking about us.

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Two years.

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Two years ago I decided to do something.

Something that I had done once or twice before.

Something that was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Sharing my feelings with the world one blog post at a time.

Without knowing it, my best friend inspired me to start this blog.

She inspires me to do a lot in life.

Thanks best friend.

I think of the girl who started this blog two years ago.

The new mother.

The wife.

The twenty six year girl, who despite what she thought, was really just starting to figure things out.

Crazy how that works huh?

You always think that you know everything at your current state in life.

When in reality, you’re always learning.

You’re always gaining these new experiences in life and meeting these new people.

You’re constantly growing.

You’re still making mistakes.

I thought I knew it all.

20 years old and I swore I knew what love was.

22 years and I thought a college degree meant that I knew everything.

24 years old and planning a wedding.

26 years old and becoming a new mother.

28 years old and finding out I have skin cancer.

Life absolutely blows my mind.

It’s beautiful really.

Just when you think you have it all figured out.

Just when you get comfortable.

Life comes up and gives you this curve ball.

It decides that you need to grow more.

That you’re doing just fine, but you could do better.

You could choose to dwell on it, or you could choose to do more.

You could choose to see it as an opportunity to grow.

You could choose to take it as a time to learn.

Even at 26 years old with a new baby boy I still thought that I knew it all.

Scrolling through my blog posts I can see so many examples of ways that I’ve grown.

I can see so many memories that make me smile from ear to ear.

So many new faces that were brought into my life that make it worth living.

I am so deeply in love with my life.

I’m so thankful for those heartbreaks I had growing up.

Those relationships that broke my heart in a million parts, helped me fall so madly in love with myself.

The millions of memories I have with my sister that could fill up an entire night sky.

The most loving and supportive parents a girl could ask for.

Those moments where I was so sad I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, make me remember why I pushed through the dark.

The five years of coaching the most hard working athletes. Seeing them at their lowest lows and their highest highs, makes me not able to even imagine them not in my life.

The moment I realized I loved Jason, the one moment that I was the most sure of anything in this entire world.

The moment I met my son and could feel my whole world coming together at once.

Life is so stunning.

It really truly is.

There are moments that will try to make you think differently.

They will try and change your mind.

With thoughts of self pity and sadness.

They will try and break you.

Don’t let them.

Remember why you’re still here.

Remember who you love and who loves you back.

Even if it’s just one person, it’s still love, and it’s still beautiful.

It still makes life worth living.

The love from one soul can change your life.

When I was younger I was so obsessed with the thought of love.

I thought the love from a boy would validate me as a person and would make me whole.

Little did I know that I had all of the love I ever needed right under my roof.

I saw this quote once that really stuck with me.

“Were all just walking each other home.”

In the end we all want the same thing.

We all want someone.

We all want love.

To make sure we feel comfort and protection.

To give us a hand to hold in the darkest of times.

To love with everything we have.

These two years of my blog are just a small portion of my life, a life that I am so in love with.

So thank you.

Thank you for reading my blog posts.

Thank you for allowing me to share my feelings with you.

Thank you for keeping up with my rambles fueled by LANY songs and coffee.

It fills up my heart knowing that you take a few minutes of your day to keep up with my thoughts.

Lets keep it going shall we?

DFSP

I’ve always been such a good kid.

Seriously

Don’t believe me ask my parents.

I mean, they probably don’t understand just how good I was growing up.

I never snuck out.

Never went to any parties.

Got as good of grades as I could.

Even in college and growing up since then.

I’ve never smoked or done anything illegal.

I hardly drink alcohol.

I call my parents at least once a day.

The one thing I do is have the mouth of sailor but whatever….

You could say I was “one of those good kids” or “sheltered” but honestly it was my choice.

Try telling that to my college boyfriend.

But it was.

I honestly wanted to be that good kid.

I wanted to make my parents proud.

I wanted to follow the rules.

That’s what made me happy.

That’s what makes this so hard.

I always thought bad things happened to bad people, and the other way around.

I’ve lost people in my life that have made me question that theory but for the most part it’s been true.

That’s why this is so confusing to me.

That’s why none of this makes sense.

This last month I went to my doctors to get these bumps checked out.

I’ve had one on my lower abdomen for a few years now, but I noticed two years ago that I was slowly getting more.

I finally told Jason I would get them looked at.

I’ve had them for so long I just got use to them.

Figuring nothing bad would happen to me.

I never even told my parents about them because I didn’t think they were a big deal.

The first doctor I saw told me he thought they were “keloids” which are a type of scaring, but he referred me to the dermatology department just to be sure.

I got a call to schedule an appointment that next week.

Going in with no real expectations I just assumed she would confirm the keloids and it’d be over.

You could imagine my sudden rush of emotions when she told me she needed to do a biopsy.

My heart sunk.

But I just had to keep telling myself that it was going to be ok.

That it was just a precaution.

I found out that I wasn’t going to find out the results of the biopsy for one to two weeks.

I remember joking with Jason that I could google “skin cancer” so many times in two weeks.

I was at home on my lunch break a week later when I got a call from my dermatologist. She told me the one thing I honestly didn’t think she would.

I had skin cancer.

She informed me that I have Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans, or DFSP. Which is a very rare form of skin cancer.

It’s a soft tissue sarcoma that develops in soft layers in the skin. There are roughly 1000 cases a year.

My heart sunk.

It’s slow growing, DFSP, so I’m not in a situation where we’re rushing to get them removed or anything.

But don’t worry I’m getting them removed next month.

And the surgery I’m having has a 98 percent effective rate of getting rid of everything.

With DFSP however, there’s a chance it can come back, but we won’t think about that.

But it’s still scary.

Cancer is still cancer.

It’s still awful.

You never want to hear that word.

I’ve never considered anyone close to me having cancer, let alone myself.

And then it actually happens, and you have no idea where to even start.

There were definitely moments where I thought to myself, that I must have done something wrong somewhere in life.

That has to be why this is happening.

You see the thing with DFSP is, no one really knows why or how it starts.

There are a few theories floating around but no one knows for sure.

And for someone who needs to know anything and everything, not having a definite answer is annoying to say the least.

I’ve juggled between different emotions.

Being mad, that this cancer chose me.

Sad, and thinking about the worse case scenario.

Positive, remembering everything I’ve done since I found that first bump a few years ago.

And content, knowing that as much as I want to, I cannot control this.

It’s not happening to me, but it’s something that’s happened and I now have to overcome it.

Thinking that this is something I have to do by myself scares me most of all.

I have the worlds best support system.

My family, husband, and forty something kids that I coach.

They’re all cheering for me.

But this is something that I have to go through.

I went to the doctors the other day and it was surreal walking to the room.

I left my husband and went behind these doors, by myself.

I passed all of these signs with the name of the surgery I’m getting.

Special seats to wait in before the surgery.

It all seemed so surreal.

You see, especially with a twin, I haven’t had to go through much in my life without someone by my side.

My mom, dad, sister, husband, friends, I haven’t done much alone.

And that’s scary.

But this is mine.

This is that thing, that I have to do by myself.

I obviously will continue to have my amazing support system by my side.

But this is all me.

And I can’t control much of anything.

But I can control my attitude.

I can control the fact that this won’t stop me from living my life like I do on a regular basis.

That I can go about as normal as I want.

But that I won’t let things scare me anymore.

Small things.

Big things.

Things that hold me back.

Like driving on the highway.

I drove on highway 22 between Dallas and Salem the other day.

If you know me at all, you’ll understand what kind of triumph that is.

I remember thinking that I could take the easy back road like I’ve done before, but then I remember asking myself why.

Why take the safe route.

Why not do something that scares you, regardless of the size.

Why not just take a deep breath and tackle it.

So I did.

I faced a fear of mine.

Because I feel like I see things differently now.

I feel like I have this new little perspective.

That I can’t hold myself back, because of these imaginary fears.

These “worse case scenarios” that I imagine aren’t something that I should be wasting my time on.

I should be living a little more.

Doing more.

Smiling more.

Finding things I love and investing so much of myself into them.

This cancer isn’t holding me back from anything and won’t hurt me.

If anything it’ll make me better.

Writing has been such an outlet for me.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to tell this story and writing about it definitely seemed like the best way.

I’ll definitely be updating everyone as the time goes.

But for now, I leave you with this.

Be nice to people.

Do great things.

And don’t let stupid fears hold you back.

 

Do something that scares you.

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They always say to do something that scares you.

To live outside of your comfort zone.

That you’ll be better for it.

Well I hate to break it to you, but it’s true.

You don’t need to do it all of the time.

You’ll be just fine if you spend most of your time your comfort zone.

That’s okay.

But if you want to grow, you need to get outside of it every once and a while.

Do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Do something that scares you.

If you know me well, you know that I hate flying.

My stomach turns as I’m approaching the airport.

I get nervous at any sign of turbulence.

There’s just so much that gets to me.

I hate it.

I’ve gotten better, but it still makes me nervous.

I put myself in a situation to fight this fear on Friday.

My best friend lives in Missouri, and I haven’t seen her in a year in a half.

I talk to her here and there but we haven’t gotten to spend time together in quite some time.

I found myself really missing her this last spring, and with some push from my husband, decided to fight one of my biggest fears to go and see her.

Flying by myself.

Just the thought of it made me so incredibly nervous.

We all have fears in life, and this is one of my biggest.

I looked for the only nonstop flights that were available, and booked my tickets as fast as I could.

For the fear of doubting my decision.

I put if off in my mind.

I let the excitement of seeing my best friend outweigh the thought of flying by myself for the first time in my life.

The more I didn’t think about it, the faster the day approached.

I packed my suitcase and tried to leave behind every worry I had.

Saying goodbye to my husband and son was hard, I tried to fight back tears as they left.

I felt a certain sense of accomplishment as I made it through the security line, it meant I had moved one step closer.

I sat in silence waiting for our plane to board.

The fact that we boarded 20 minutes late didn’t help my nerves, but meeting a nice family in line to board did.

I snagged the first window seat I could find and was joined by two super nice people.

There were only a few minutes between sitting down and the plane taking off, that seemed to help.

The woman who sat down next to me could tell that I was nervous, she kept asking me questions and talking to me as we took off.

Her genuine kindness made me forget about what I was afraid of.

Once I popped in my headphones and turned on 13 going on 30, I kind of forgot about everything.

It was such a smooth flight.

I looked out the window as often as I could, in awe of what I was doing.

I couldn’t believe that I was up in the air, by myself, doing the one thing that scares me the most.

The smooth flight was almost a sign.

A sign that I didn’t need to worry.

After a little more than three hours, we landed in St. Louis Missouri.

I was over 2000 miles from home.

I walked out of the terminal with so much pride in myself.

And I was reminded of why I did it when I saw my best friends car approach me outside of the airport.

I got to have such a fantastic weekend with my best friend in a brand new state.

I touched the St. Louis Arch.

I went a baseball game and crossed a 5th stadium off my list.

Most importantly, I got to take a peek into her world.

See where she has called home for two and a half years.

It was one of the best trips and I’m so incredibly thankful that I went.

That’s what happens when you step outside of your comfort zone.

You get rewarded.

You learn a little more about yourself.

Cross items off of your bucket list.

Make memories.

And face your fears.

You won’t overcome your fears unless you do those things that scare you.

I was so happy when our plane landed in Portland yesterday.

I’d be lying if I said that it was a good flight.

It sucked honestly.

But it didn’t matter.

I had done it.

I had done the one thing that scared me the most.

I flew across the country by myself.

And had such an amazing time.

So remember.

When they tell you to do the things that scare you.

Do them.

You won’t regret it.

A letter to running.

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Dear running,

We met each other young.

I was just a girl who loved to run and be active.

It was fun, and I was good at it.

It was something my sister and I could do together.

We spent so many days at track meets.

And people were starting to know our names.

You took two twin girls and gave them a bit of magic.

Those days of running when I was young turned into hours spent at my high school track.

Day after day I ran and ran.

Whatever Coach asked us to do, we did together.

You made me feel confident and gave me something to be proud of, in a world where everyone was trying to find themselves.

You brought me to new heights, and allowed me to realize that I could do anything I believed possible.

I know when I was 17, I took you for granted.

I didn’t care about you as much and I forgot about why I fell in love with you in the first place.

I’m forever sorry.

But I know you forgave me.

It was a hard journey back to where we left off, but we got there.

You taught me that with determination and persistence, dreams can come true.

You took me to College.

You helped me meet some of my best friends and took me to so many new places.

We didn’t get the results that we wanted right away.

In fact, it took until my last year.

I finally let go of everything that was holding me back and just focused on you.

And with that, you allowed me to fully believe in myself again.

We didn’t hold anything back.

We stood on that starting line together, took a deep breath in, and just ran.

I did so much that year.

And it’s all thanks to you.

You gave me something for not only me to be proud, but my family.

I was always a good kid, never got in trouble, and had good grades.

But you gave me that one thing that put me over the edge.

My grandma went to as many races as she could, my grandpa bragged to everyone about his granddaughters, and my parents were my number one fans.

There were definitely times where I wasn’t sure if I was doing life right.

If I was making the right choices and making my family proud.

But because of you, I knew that I always was.

Life after college was weird.

My structure was gone.

No one was telling me that I had to run anymore.

They don’t tell you after your career ends how hard it is.

We ran together here and there but never really knew why.

It wasn’t until the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013, that we finally realized what we were running for.

Something bigger than ourselves.

We laced up my shoes every day for six months training for that marathon.

We had set a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, and we missed it by just a few minutes.

That’s okay though.

We know that we’ll do it one day.

Along the way of training for the marathon, the coolest thing happened.

I started coaching.

We could use our knowledge of running to help others.

I joined my sister for what was going to be the most rewarding thing in my entire life as we helped coach the cross country team.

She introduced me to the head coach, who just two years later, would become my husband.

In 2015 my dad joined us and became the head coach of the track team.

You helped me start my family and bring me even closer than I already was to the family I had.

You helped me in a time where I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I was lost, scared, and thought that I had lost everything.

But you led the way.

Because of you, my life is the way that it is.

I am strong.

Passionate.

Confident.

Brave.

Because of you, I know how to work towards what I want in life.

You were there for me when I was lost.

You were the one thing that I could always rely on.

You never let me down, and taught me so many life lessons.

When I fell, you were right there to pick me back up.

And you’re still here.

After sixteen years, you’re still here.

We run and we run.

As far as we want to.

You’re always right there and you always will be.

And I hope that I can make you proud.