The Run of My Life…Empower Survivors of Domestic Abuse by Melissa Cairns, Race Director On My Own Two Feet
As I run through the trees, jumping over roots and ducking under branches, the only sounds I hear are the crunching of the leaves under my feet and the breath leaving my body. There are no other people around for miles and miles. Suddenly, my heart feels heavy as I reflect on my life. This is not where I planned on being. Alone. I feel so alone. And angry. And exhausted. I raise my face to the heavens and tears stream down my cheeks. I kick at the rocks. I scream at the clouds.
The trees sway in the breeze and simply smile in response. The river gurgles and giggles back. The birds sing and rejoice. In a moment of clarity, it occurs to me that the world embraces me, just as I am, without judgment. It allows me to hurt. It allows me to love. I stand still and listen to what she tells me.
My heart opens, just a crack, like the shattered light from the sun through the trees. I allow myself to scream, to kick and to cry. Then, I laugh at myself. At the ridiculousness of all of it.
A young buck leaps over the trail in front of me at a height to clear my head. Further up the hill, a flock of wild turkeys wobble across my path causing me to chase them into the bushes and weeds.
I finish my run and stand in a field, warming my face against the sun. I look around and am overwhelmed by the life around me. I am surrounded by thousands of trees, billions of blades of grass, millions of wildflowers, leaping deer, sleeping coyotes and an immeasurable amount of life.
Even in the most remote places, I am enclosed by energy and life and love. I am never alone. I was never alone.
I have been running since 8th grade (really long ago!), but just started doing ultras/marathons six years ago. I have spent soooo much time and money on running and just thought…it is time to do more. I needed something that inspired me…a passion…a cause.
There are so many people that need help, but I decided to help survivors of domestic violence. If we want to change the world, we have to start in our own homes. As a survivor of domestic abuse, this became my cause, my focus, my inspiration. As a runner, this marathon will be the start of an organization built upon empowering survivors of abuse and strengthening them physically, mentally and spiritually.
Run the marathon that matters!
Proceeds benefit local survivors of domestic violence at local shelters.
April 20, 2013 http://onmyowntwofeet.org/