Although I admittedly suck at staying in touch with them, I am blessed to have a number of inspirational people in my life, and I wanted to give them some of the recognition that they deserve. These individuals have each inspired me to push myself beyond what I thought possible, to grow spiritually and mentally, and try everyday to be a better person. While I would love nothing more than to recognize each of them by name, I want to respect their privacy, so I have changed their names. I hope that each of them will be able to see themselves in this post and understand how grateful I am for the impact they’ve had on my life.
Three and a half years ago I started my journey towards becoming a black belt. One of my first new friends was a woman named “Rachel,” who was less than a year away from earning her black belt. Although I participated in sports in middle school, I’m definitely not what you would call a naturally athletic person. In fact, I tended to be awkward and a complete klutz, which was my biggest concern when I decided to start training. Rachel and I bonded over some similar struggles that we shared, especially when it came to the frustration of not being able to get your body to do what you want it to do. But watching Rachel earn her black belt was what made me finally start to think that it would be possible to eventually earn my black belt. As fate would have it, the weekend I finally tested for my black belt, Rachel was testing for her second degree black belt. It was a rough weekend for the both of us. I couldn’t breathe for most of the first night (later found out that I had un- diagnosed asthma), and was unable to complete one of my board breaks. Rachel struggled with her knee. After the first night of testing we vented to each other about how frustrated we both felt with the results of all of our efforts. But the following night, we stood together and received our new belts. Rachel proved to me that the impossible was possible after all.
I was fortunate enough to work with “Christine” and “Marie” for a few years. I was going through a lot of stress at work, combined with finding myself growing away from some of my friends. Christine and Marie allowed me to vent and offered sympathetic ears. I alluded to Christine in one of my previous posts (Depression Does Not Equal Pity Party) as someone who has been through more than I can begin to imagine. Marie has also had a number of personal struggles, especially within the last year or so. But what makes them both so amazing is that they are still the first to offer that sympathetic ear if a friend is having a problem. Beyond that they both demonstrate what it means to go through struggles with an indefinable grace. Christine is the one who keeps it all together; who is able to keep a brave face and continue to push through. Sometimes it’s important to put on that brave face, and that’s one of the lessons I learned from her. Marie, on the other hand, is not afraid to ask for help–to admit that she can’t always do it alone. It was Marie who gave me the name of the therapist I started seeing. As a stubborn overachiever, sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing to do, and what I admire about Marie is that she reminds me that no one can do it all alone and there is no shame in asking for help when help is needed.
There is one more woman that I need to mention- let’s call her Lucy. She was a classmate in high school, and although we didn’t have any classes together we had some friends in common and she was always nice to me (I was a bit of an outcast in school, so I never forgot the people who made me feel like I fit in). Lucy was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. While I was just starting to pick up the pieces from my depressive episode, Lucy was getting ready to undergo surgery and chemotherapy. No one who have blamed her for cursing God and curling up in a ball under a blanket. Instead she started a blog, and has been documenting her fight. And believe me, she’s fighting. Depression was enough to make me a barely functional human being, and here is Lucy, her posts showing that she hasn’t lost her sense of humor. She was, in a way, one of the reasons why I decided to ask for help–I figured that if she could handle a cancer diagnosis with such a positive attitude, then there was no reason for me to continue to allow depression to suck the life out of me. In fact, I have to give Lucy credit for the title of this blog post. On her birthday, when she was thanking everyone for the Facebook birthday wishes, she said she wanted to name 2014 the Year of the Warrior, for all of the people who were fighting obstacles. And I also have to admit that I totally used her idea to title my goal poster that I mentioned in my last post.
I cannot possibly begin to explain how these four ladies have changed my life for the better. I consider myself honored to have them in my life, and I hope that one day they can understand how much of an impact they’ve had on me and how grateful I am for that.