It’s been years now, two decades to be exact, that a poised mentor told me I would never be a writer, I was high school quality at best, and that I was mediocre at it on a good day. After twenty years you think I would have forgotten those cruel words. I did not. Instead, at twenty-one, I remember how much I was mortified and crushed. It was college, and I sat in my advisor’s office and cried. He was young, non-tenured, and had to play the political balance. When I told him what occurred, after pulling his jaw from the desk it had just fallen on, he bluntly said: “You’ll never see that bastard again.”
In 1988, sitting behind the dollar store, across from school, me and my two closest friends sat and read from library books. Yet, these weren’t ones from school. Instead, we had gone to the public library and picked up copies of The Handmaid’s Tale, as the boys heard is was a great sci-fi novel. They convinced me to read along, as a girl was the star and it was a story about women and courage. Or so we had heard.
By and large, since I was sixteen, I’ve gone running at least once a week. I’ve never been a stellar runner—as anyone who has ever known me a hot second will tell you—but I’ve persevered on like the best of the penguins. There have been a few extended exceptions: two surgeries (on the relative minor side I would say), the time I broke my foot the day after I turned thirty, and a couple of lengthy Lupus flares. That last one . . . that is me these days. I haven’t been running in six months, and for the first time since 2009 I haven’t done a long run race (specifically, a half marathon). To take it even farther, I haven’t done an exercise class since last spring . . . yeah.
I stood in the cold in February 2003 and voiced my mind against an ensuing war. The NYPD pushed us into barricades, to let the horses come through, and then they released us into horse manure-covered streets. My friends and I reveled in the glory of it.