For the past couple of months I’ve been feeling like God is calling me to step my game up and stop allowing my life to be lead by my fears. As I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my birthday, I knew that instead of planning a big party or fancy dinner, I needed to do something to push me outside of my comfort zone. So, for my 36th birthday I decided to sign up for the San Antonio Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon!!!! Now, this isn’t the first half marathon that I’ve signed up for…..it’s actually like my 5th or 6th….but it will be the first one that I actually COMPLETE!
The race is in December and because of my history with giving up before I reach the goal of actually running a half-marathon, I decided to go balls-to-the-walls and I signed up for a virtual 10K with Gone For a Run…..and guess what? I actually completed it!!!! That’s right! I got up at 8am on the morning after my birthday, put on my tutu, laced up my shoes and ran around my neighborhood for an hour and a half. Well, just from seeing that time it’s clear that I did more walking than running, but the point is that I completed a 10K…..which just happens to be the longest distance I’ve ever run/walked/jogged……like EVER!!! Now, if you know me you know that I can be super emotional at times, so you might be thinking that I cried because I was so proud of myself….but that wasn’t it.
I cried because as I was looking through the pictures I had taken before/during/after my run, I realized that my day could have gone A LOT differently…..like….me not making it back home to my family, different. Here’s why…..
As I was running God spoke to me through a song that was playing on Spotify and said, “Don’t ever give up. I will never give up on you.” In that moment I looked up and saw a community of beautiful houses (probably in the $600,000 – $750,000 range) that I drive past all the time. When I pass the houses I usually think to myself, “Those houses are sooooooo nice! But I know I could never live there.” Well, today I was feeling pretty badass because I had already completed 4+ miles of my run, so I decided to run THROUGH the community instead of running PAST it. There was one house that really stood out to me, so I stopped to take a few pics, and then headed out to continue on my route home. It wasn’t until I saw the picture of the house that I started playing the “what if” game, and THAT’S when the tears started. In case you’ve never played that game before, let me share how it went….
What if…..someone saw me in the neighborhood and decided that I looked suspicious (after all, I was covered with sweat and wearing a tutu)?
What if…..someone called the cops because the fact that I was taking pictures of the houses made them nervous?
What if……the cops came up behind me to question me but I didn’t hear them because I had my headphones on?
What if……the cops caught up to me but I couldn’t prove who I was because I left my license at home?
What if….the cops felt threatened by the bulge under my shirt and thought that I was carrying a weapon (when in actuality it was just my Chapstick and my keys)?
What if….I couldn’t convince the cops that I was just passing through and not casing the neighborhood?
What if….I didn’t make it home to my family because I was killed by the cops while completing my first 10K?
As I was crying, I started wondering what the headlines would be if my life ended at the hands of the cops today. Would they talk about how I graduated at the top of my class in high school or my degrees from Spelman and Johns Hopkins University? Would they mention the fact that I was featured in the book Teach Like a Champion? Would they talk about the lives that I’ve impacted during my 10+ years in the education arena? Would they mention the work being doing with our awesome Warriors in Motion community where people have paid off over $5 million worth of debt?
Or would they talk about how I had 3 kids out of wedlock….and the traffic tickets I’ve received…and find some crazy pictures on FB to paint me as a lunatic (which, if you’ve seen my Facebook page, wouldn’t be too hard to do).
It’s really sad that in 2016 I have to worry about things like this, but as a black woman, this is my reality. And that reality SUCKS!! Now, I know that some people will read this and think that I’m just overreacting because their privilege allows them to come and go as they please without having to worry about having an unfavorable interaction with the cops. I get that. I also know that other people will read and this and immediately think of a time when they were in a situation that could have gone wrong for no good reason (and hopefully it will make them say a little “thank you, God” prayer).
At the end of the day I am really proud of myself for completing the 10K, and I am thankful that God allowed me to make it home safely…..with a beautiful picture to remind me that He’s not done with me yet. The best is definitely yet to come (and thinking about that makes me want to cry all over again)!.
(sorry the picture is so blurry…..I was still trying to recover!)