My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Empowering Identifiers

I've found the flip feature on my iphone and the right spacing to hold my arm out to get me in the picture and seem to be having fun taking probably very unattractive pictures of me to post for all to see :).  After one of our long runs last week I had to dash in quick to get ready for work.  I put all of my clothes into the wash including my running vest.  Oops.  The letters on the front fell off in the dryer.  We will sew them back on.  (do you like how I say "we" :)  So sorry Shannon.  She made me this special vest when we were running, and I treasure it.  The memory of her giving it to me before our first 1/2 marathon together in St. George will always be special.  On the back the letters are still intact so I have still been wearing it.   I laughed telling my friend as we were running -- sorry for the confusing label on the front of my vest.  We might get some strange looks.

It has me reflecting on labels/identifiers.  I throw this vest on proudly with its identifier.  I am a runner that is blind and having a vest that identifies that aspect of me is helpful to me and others. I don't associate anything negative with this identifier/label, at all.  I forget its even on.  When someone cheers me on I realize they are referring to the vest.  I thank them and acknowledge my amazing friends.  I couldn't do it without them.  Their vest could read ... willing to watch out for potholes not only for self but friend, willing to run at the same pace as someone else for a really long time, amazing runner, etc.   

I laugh remembering when I first  began wearing it ... Shannon, I don't think I'm an athelete.   I know its good to wear -- are you okay if I wear this?  :).  Fast forward to now.   It is empowering.  I don't think twice about throwing on this vest (that needs some tlc now).    

This vest with its label identifies an aspect about me.  How someone attributes that identifier is up to them.   I don't have to worry about that.  I just get to run and feel good about my journey.   This vest is visible to others. I acknowledge that each of us have vests that we put on ... sometimes difficult that become part of who we are in time that can also be empowering.  Sometimes we are wearing a vest that no one is aware of ... these are not easy vests to wear and sometimes we don't get the support we need with an invisible vest.  We often  wear a vest that others may not understand.  We really can't understand someone else's journey. 

I would hope that no matter what the vest is that someone puts on 'blind athelete', experiencing anxiety today, going through a very difficult loss, ... the list could go on and on, we could embrace and cheer them on.   

Whatever your vest is, I hope you have support around you who acknowledges you have the vest, who is helping you sewing that vest, cheering you on to wear it, while you are wearing it someone recognizes it isn't easy and supports you,  if it gets thrown in the wash - someone is there to help you resew on the letters, and so forth!   

7 comments:

Beth Finke said...

Ha! This reminds me that a friend once suggested I use a familiar phrase we all hear onboard a plane as a topic for creative writing: “Put on your own mask first before assisting others with theirs.” I amy just assign that topic now --- thanks for the thoughtful blog post, Becky!

Karen said...

That was a wonderful post Becky and makes me think of the vest you wear and want to try and be more thoughtful and caring for the indentifiers of others - thinking of family members first.

Love you

wendy said...

Loved this.
We truly DO all have VESTS.
I loved your analogy here.

dogstwentyfourseven said...

Thanks again for a thought provoking post written from the heart.I don't seem to get regular updates from you? I have sent you a few messages too.My name is also Becky and I write a dog blog and have two yellow labs.
I think you would enjoy my posts on all things canine.I am a dog walker and board dogs for families when they go on holiday.
I have you on my blog roll for others to experience your great writing :) Best Wishes Becky

dogstwentyfourseven said...

Thanks again for a thought provoking post written from the heart.I don't seem to get regular updates from you? I have sent you a few messages too.My name is also Becky and I write a dog blog and have two yellow labs.
I think you would enjoy my posts on all things canine.I am a dog walker and board dogs for families when they go on holiday.
I have you on my blog roll for others to experience your great writing :) Best Wishes Becky

Fran said...

You so deserve all the good friends who love and support you! So much to be grateful for in this life!! Glad you're one of MY friends!!

3 labs 4 me said...

Creative writing Becky. Have you ever considered sharing these thoughtful posts in book form?
Think about it.