This voicemail contained some pretty substantial news: my mother [whom I’ve tried to push to the back of my mind for the past 10 years] was being released on parole for a 27 year heroine + crack//cocaine trafficking sentence. Aside from the initial mini heart attack from pure shock, I pushed her out of my head — like I always do. What you don’t think about doesn’t exist, right?
Boy, was I wrong.
Coincidentally, this was at the beginning of the start of #runCHAARG. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve never considered myself a runner [until now!]. This being said, I HAD to participate in the #runCHAARG challenge! Joining a new group means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone + trying new things.
+++ so the running began.
I started putting my foot to the pavement, + with each run, something happened. I began to love//enjoy//cherish my runs! I couldn’t wait to see how far I could go with each run. But — the most important thing that happened with each run is that I began to THINK. My mind opened up + any problems I had started flowing through my brain with a ton of answers + solutions to each one. I started to look forward to each new day: a new challenge to new miles to new goals to new PR’s to new beginnings + goals.
Before I knew it I finished a 7.0 mile run + I was ecstatic. I was so proud + excited that I couldn’t wait to call my mom [whoa — where did that come from?] + tell her. ++ then it hit me — I was able to think about her. I broke through a wall that I have only broken through a specific number of times. I can count on my hand the amount of times I have wanted to reach out to her — graduating high school, getting into my dream school [Miami U, GO REDHAWKS!], meeting Larry [I knew he’d be a keeper], graduating college, + getting my dream job in a new city.
That’s when I knew that I had changed: that running was not only a form of new exercise that I loved, but a source of therapy for myself that I never knew existed. I broke down in tears + promised myself that from now on I will be strong + fearless + not run from my problems anymore. I will eventually be able to forgive her + maybe even have a relationship with her. But until then — it is OKAY to think about her + have feelings + emotions + it is OKAY to not take any action — I will know when I am ready.
#runCHAARG gave me the clarity to face the problems I was running from ++ the faith that it will all be okay. I realized that having skeletons in my closet doesn’t make me any less strong or less of a person [it actually makes me stronger]. This past month gave me hope that my mom finds a way to stay sober + maybe, just maybe, I will be able to reach out to her + forgive her.
My mother was always a beautiful [free] spirit. Long legs, perfect abs, gorgeous hair, ++ never weighed over 100 lbs. People would turn their heads when she walked into a room! But her self esteem was always so low. She was always haunted by an awful insecurity that eventually led her to a life of drugs + things that would give her brain a quick fix. She never dealt with her inner demons + ended up in a federal prison a couple of years ago. Watching her go in + out of jails//rehab + being homeless taught me to always love myself + take care of myself — no matter what. I want to be the BEST person I can be + that means taking care of my mind, body, + spirit. I love being inspired by girls who have the same goal in mind: inspiring others to be the BEST version of themselves. I love this community + I am so blessed — I am who I am because of my past + I couldn’t be more proud of my life + where I am going ++ to be a part of such an amazing community!
Thank you CHAARG for giving me the strength to no longer run away from my problems + giving me the clarity I have been longing for.
+Alexa [@lexa_inchaarg], Virt CHAARG
#CHAARGJourney highlights our members’ amazing journeys through CHAARG — physically, mentally, emotionally. Alexa was one of the five winners of the #runCHAARG 31 miles in 31 days challenge. We could not be more proud of her realization found through running + cannot wait for her journey to continue to unfold in a beautiful way, as we know it will.