“The pursuit of normality is the ultimate sacrifice of potential.”  Faith Jegede.

Let’s just get something out of the way.  I watched an episode of The Kardashians.  I don’t ever watch that show; you can choose to believe me or not.  But somehow the episode on Bruce Jenner discussing his struggle with gender identity called “About Bruce” was on my TiVo.  Within a few minutes of the episode starting, Bruce is recounting his Olympic days and running career, and he says, “They don’t know the struggle on the inside, so I just literally ran away from it.”

Pause, rewind, listen again.  Goosebumps.

I watch the entire episode, then immediately go on my computer and look up his interview with Diane Sawyer.  For some reason, I can’t figure out how to pause or fast forward it on my computer, which means I am up watching the entire show with commercials on my little laptop.  I am not tech savvy–at all.  The fact that I have been able to set up an entire blog on my own is almost miraculous, but I digress.

Three hours of Bruce later, it is past midnight, and I tip-toe upstairs to crawl into bed.  The next morning on my run, I think about why I was riveted.  According to Bruce, in his effort to deny and suppress the part of himself that he calls “Her”, he immerses himself in running to the extreme point.  He runs away from “Her” and becomes an Olympic champion to declare his manhood.

I’ve had such a positive experience with running, as I have been running towards myself, that it hasn’t really occurred to me that some people out there are running away from their true self.  Am I going to start to look at every runner who passes me differently?

He is running away from “Her”, trying to prove to the world that he is a man.  I am running towards figuring out who I am and what I want to do; I am trying to prove to no one but myself that I can.  He was competing against others, I’m not competing with anyone.  Who else out there may be running away from who they are….trying to prove that they are something that they are not; competing and climbing to validate themselves, attempting to bury their insecurities or true self.

It takes until his 60’s before he decides that he “can’t die and not experience ‘Her’.”  He was too worried about what people would think, disgracing his family, hurting his children, to let himself allow “Her” into his life publicly earlier.  Gender identity is very complicated, and I do not in any way mean to equate the magnitude of that struggle with the ones most of us have.  I can not even imagine what it would be like to go through life being in the wrong body, but how many of us have parts of us that we are suppressing due to fear, expectations, or thinking it’s too late.  How many of us have a “Her” that we are not exploring….that “Her” can be anything we want to do but are afraid to do, and not have anything to do with gender identity.  Are we willing to wait until our 60’s to run towards it rather than away from it?  Is it ever too late to run towards your “Her.”

For most of us, once we run towards that “Her” that we are so afraid of exploring or pursuing, the world doesn’t fall apart.  Rather, we find out who our real friends and supporters are.  Our loved ones keep loving and encouraging us; outsiders admire us for being brave to take on a new challenge; and the work that we need to put into this new side of us, while it may be time-consuming, all-encompassing, and take over our life, doesn’t feel like work when we are running towards ourself.

Do you have a “Her” that you have suppressed, put on the back burner, or denied?  It’s not too late….let’s not run away from it….let’s not look back at time that we’ve lost…..let’s not fear it….let’s make time for it…… let’s run towards it.

**This post was completed just a couple of hours before the release of the Vanity Fair cover of Caitlyn Jenner.  I’m so happy for her.


About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

19 comments on “Her

  1. Hi Paria joon
    I love your blogs, it’s everyday things that we all have and ignore on daily basis, you re inspiring me and lots of your friends by your writing, I m so proud to know you in my life azizam xo

  2. What a great post! I was also riveted by the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner and I just saw the cover of Vanity Fair. I get chills hearing her story and I am in awe of anyone who has the strength to stop running away from who they really are and start running towards toward their authentic self, especially someone in the public eye. It’s pretty amazing the tremendous gains I’ve seen in my short lifetime already for the LGBT community and it’s only going to get better! It makes me so hopeful for the future.

    I definitely let fear hold me back far too often and I need to start running towards my “her” and away from that voice in my head that tells me I can’t do big things. It’s difficult but Caitlyn’s story is proof that it’s possible and the outcome has the potential to be quite beautiful. 🙂


    • Ahh! So many typos! I meant to say, I am in awe of anyone who has the strength to stop running away from who they feel like they need to be for everyone else and start running towards their authentic self, especially someone in the public eye. 🙂

    • Typos just mean that you are passionate about what you are writing about! I’m so happy to be raising my children in a time of more awareness and acceptance! Continue to be yourself, and you will do big things! And thank you for the handwritten note card….no one does that anymore, and it makes an impact:)

  3. Great, thoughtful post. As open minded as I am, I won’t lie, I’m struggling a little bit with letting go of the Olympic champion that we all know and accepting this new image. I even said to my husband tonight, why can’t he just run it off? Clearly, he couldn’t. Can you imagine the pain he has been in? Well, we all want to live our lives with no regrets. I hope he is at peace with his.

    • That’s just the thing, Wendy…I don’t think any of us can imagine what she has been living with. At 65, she has a lot of years of happiness left to look forward to, and she is inspiring others to live their truth…that is a true champion.

  4. It is amazing to hear her story, or any other LGBT story for that matter, of the struggles to suppress who you are on the inside. And the positivity, release and radiance that can come from embracing your true self. Thank you for writing this to shed more light and honesty on this sensitive topic.

    I found the comment about running away from it riveting as well. Something I’ll share here based on my limited teaching experience in the movement realm:

    A pattern I observe in most of my students who first come to class is the WHY is usually the physical aspects gained through exercising (healthy lifestyle, getting to a certain size, wearing that awesome dress, stress reliever). However, for the ones who stick it out over a long period of time, the WHY changes. Usually it’s looking for something deeper within and you’re trying to find answers to something… anything.

    As I say, it’s a pattern in most, not all. As with anything in life, there are exceptions. There are always more perspectives to look at something than you think. When you think you know it all is when you also find out there’s more to know… learn.

    • That WHY statement and it changing….I completely agree with that….what started as a quick way to get in some exercise for me seems to have taken on a life of it’s own:)

  5. Just found your blog, Paria, and I love it!!! Am so impressed that you have the time, energy, and passion to do all that you do. Need to find the inspiration to make the same leap in my own life…perhaps this is it? Looking forward to seeing more!

  6. Love this! My frustration with so many’s people negative comments towards the Caitlyn Jenner is the lack of understanding they seem to have. No, many of those same people will never understand HER specific struggle. However I’m sure that feeling of holding back, or hiding is something many people CAN relate to. So to, at the very least, be sympathetic to that feeling of suppressing somethign, that’s what I wish more people could focus on. As always, your posts are crushin’ it!

    • Thank you!!! This post got so much response, both here and on my Facebook, etc…. By the way, when is your first ultra?? Has it happened yet? Keep me posted!

Leave your thoughts/comments