So the other morning I was out on a run/jog. It was a Saturday morning. Maybe 9ish. I was wearing a shirt that said, “Eat Clean/Train Dirty”. I was well into my running groove. I was sweating and working. Then as I rounded a corner I noticed a car driving toward me. I work with teens and immediately dismissed the car as a teenager car. Eventually we crossed paths and I jogged in place as they drove by.
I got that very distinct and crappy feeling that I was being made fun of. You know how you can just tell? This is not my paranoia or me thinking something that was not. I work with teenagers daily and I am mostly deaf in one ear. I often consider myself an expert in body language and lip reading.
I imagine the conversation centered around my shirt or my body. I have no idea. I know it centered around the guy in the car. Because whatever he said he found himself quite amused with as I could tell by his wild head tilting laugh. That isn’t what made me realize entirely the laugh was at my expense.
But what did was the eye contact and smile I gave to the sweet blonde girl in the front. She too laughed and as she turned toward me I smiled and gave a gentle wave. Immediately I saw her face and embarrassment covered in shame. She felt bad for whatever was said. She bowed her head no longer laughing. The guy in the car looked at her face and did the standard “Imma keep laughing cause it is funny, right?” And immediately noticed she wasn’t laughing any more and his head and face turned toward me again. I smiled and gave another gentle wave and I got a half smile of regret.
I could just tell. And I was okay with it. Maybe I deserved that. Maybe it is easy to judge when you don’t see how far someone has come. Maybe it is just teenagers being teenagers. I imagined for awhile the things I believe them to be saying. I even tried to convince myself maybe it wasn’t about me at all. And who really knows.
But I wasn’t going to let it slow down my stride because I don’t care. It was clear I made the better choice that morning. I was choosing kindness in the face of rejection. I waved even though I could feel and tell what what happening was being directed at me.
I haven’t really thought about that moment much since it happened. But I did yesterday as I sat in the doctors office. I have saved my own life. I have been told that numerous times. It sounds dramatic and maybe it is. But the path I was headed down was a dangerous one that was littered with self-inflicted harm.
That isn’t a path I chose any more. And even though others can’t see that path or witness the beauty of the transformation that has been happening that just pass me by on the street. I can say the numbers, my life and my body doesn’t lie and no one can take that away from me. EVER.