I never thought that I would end up writing a blog, but I guess life has a funny way of playing out. I’ve always been very reflective and I’ve always loved to write, but for some reason, I’ve always struggled to keep a journal. Ever since I was in third grade, on January 1st of every year, I would proclaim that I would start a diary that I would write in before bed each night. I would chronicle all the events of my day in excruciating detail, convinced that in twenty years I would actually give a shit about the fact that at 4:05pm on 1/4/00, my mom made ants on a log for me and Elise Oberheu while we built a fort in the living room. This would continue for the first few weeks of the year, but by February 1st, my diary would be stored under my bed, not to be seen or thought of for another eleven months. (It’s strange—I’ve always said that my attention span has only started to diminish within the last couple years. In retrospect, this is clearly a problem I have always had).
When I was diagnosed with bone cancer when I was 12, I was the recipient of approximately 84 journals from friends and family members (this was the third most popular item that I received, after casseroles and books of logic puzzles). Everyone I knew was encouraging me to keep a record of every step of my battle with cancer, from my first chemo treatment in April 2003 to the amputation of my leg two and a half years later. They told me that I would one day look back on what I wrote and be proud of everything I overcame. This would have been a great idea, if only I possessed the stamina to stay awake through an entire episode of “The Price is Right,” not to mention lift a pen. But the fact of the matter was that I was a sick, stubborn 12-year old, and the last thing I wanted to do was put into words how awful I was feeling. Looking back, I wish I had taken the advice of my well-intending diary encouragers. I probably could have turned said diary into a book, which is most likely my only shot at becoming financially successful. But alas, I did not, and now I am forced to rely almost entirely on brown rice and canned beets for sustenance (I’m kidding…kind of).
At this point I’m sure you are wondering two things:
1) If this whole journaling thing has never worked before, how would publishing it on the Internet for the world to see be an improvement?
2) Why start now?
The first answer is simple. I have always been very much motivated by external forces, and tend to actually get stuff done when there is peer pressure involved. (Sidebar: what is getting me through cycling this winter is Computrainer class, where all of my watts, revs per minute, etc. are up on a 60” monitor for the rest of the class to judge.) My thought process is that if all three of my followers are expecting me to produce a new post every week, I might actually do it. It’s kind of like those people who upload miles from their GPS watch to a training website—if you know that other people are going to see it, you’re going to make it count.
The second question is a little harder to answer. But I guess all I can say is that I’m starting this blog at a very exciting time. I am at a great place in my life right now, and I feel like every day is full of incredible, hilarious, and inspiring experiences that I just want to share with the world. Unlike my previous journaling experiences that never really had much focus, today I am writing with a purpose, which I suppose, leads me to an announcement that until now I have only mentioned to a handful of people. As many of you know, I began racing in triathlons last summer, and have since completely fallen in love with the sport. What you may not know is that as of this year, I have made it my goal to qualify for and compete at the 2016 Paralympics. It’s a lofty ambition and I know it won’t be easy, but with so many supportive friends at my side, I truly believe I can do it.
With that said, one of the main functions of this blog is to keep you updated on my progress toward 2016, and hopefully, inspire you to achieve a dream of your own. But don’t worry: this is not a venue for me to talk about how many miles I’ve biked and what new swim workouts I’ve discovered. Rather, it will be a place for me to share stories about the revelations, setbacks, and people that I encounter on this road to triumph. When it comes down to it, this is a blog about life, and the universal experiences that we all share, whether we are athletes or non-athletes, disabled or able-bodied. It will cover the struggles that make us learn more about ourselves, and those instances of vulnerability where we doubt our capabilities. It will include the defining events that stand out in our memories, and the ostensibly trivial moments where we’re reminded of just how amazing life is. It’s about dreaming, believing, persevering, and eventually, triumphing.
I have a feeling it’s going to be a hell of a ride, and I thank you for taking it with me.