Why Showing Up For Yourself--and Others--Matters

Former professional athlete, Lauren Fleshman, is incredible for a lot of reasons, but I admire her most for her honesty and tenacity. She is incredibly open about her struggles not only with running, but also with body image and food as well as her roles as a mom, a wife, a friend—and just being a woman in America in 2018.

 Even so, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed for Wilder, Lauren’s running and writing retreat. The running was easy, and, as a professional writer, I felt comfortable with that part as well. What worried me was the social aspect.

What I have dealt with, for as long as I remember, is worrying about not fitting in. I was cast out in kindergarten as “weird” and bullied in school. Until very recently—just a couple of years ago—I didn’t choose my friends. I was happy to be friends with whoever chose me. Walking in to the Wilder happy hour, I was anxious that the other participants wouldn’t like me, and that Lauren, somehow, would know that I didn’t belong.

I was nervous, and the room was warm. I started sweating in my cute boucle sweater right away. But I found someone else standing around—my friend and YBR contributor Stacy—and started chatting. This gave me the courage to meet a few other people, and soon we were talking easily about what we had in common. I relaxed. I let Lauren come up to me. Yes, I was awkward, and too excited, but I’ve worked with celebrities before and I know that this is how most people talk to them.

The next day was the writing workshop. Slowly, over a few rounds of writing and reading our work, my fellow participants and I opened up about the struggles in our lives. So many of us believe that we’re alone, so we struggle alone, and this often makes the struggle hard to overcome, and even harder to share. The truth is, I am not alone with my worries, my fears, my problems, or my challenges. Everyone is going through something. The only variable is what you’re going through, and what past shit you bring to the current shit. No matter what it is, I guarantee someone else has been there.

As runners, we show up for ourselves every time we lace up our shoes and get out there to do some miles.  When I feel anxious about walking into a room, worried that I might make a fool of myself in front of my role model, yet I walk in anyway, I show up for myself. When we finally tell our friends what we’ve been thinking, feeling, or struggling with, we show up—for ourselves and for one another. Sharing is how we show up.

When we respond to others with encouragement and support, that’s showing up too.

My weekend at Wilder taught me that I am not alone. So, at the end of the weekend, I decided I needed to show up for my inner entrepreneur. I had already told Lauren about launching Your Best Run. I walked up to her, handed her a business card and said, “I would love to work with you more—professionally, personally, whatever. You’re awesome.”

Lauren may never contact me personally, professionally or whatever, and that’s totally fine. Yet by showing up for myself, I took one more step away from the shit I still carry around with me from my past, and toward who I want to be in the future.

You can do that too.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you show up for yourself?

P.S. By the way, Wilder is super awesome. If you’re tempted to go, do it! Also, this post is in no way sponsored by Wilder or Lauren. I’m just a total fangirl.