|Day 13 of 31 at TWT!|
I'm not sure why I can so easily call myself a writer but find it so hard to try on the identity of "runner".
Partly, it feels like I should be good at something in order to own that title. I know I'm good at writing. I've gotten feedback throughout my life that I'm good at writing in a variety of situations, so I know other people also believe I'm good at writing. Therefore, I'm a writer.
I'm not particularly good at running, although I'm not overly bad either. (In fact, I've even gotten encouraging feedback that I run like a runner!) But with running, I feel like I need to achieve some sort of objective accomplishment to claim the title of "runner". If I can run an __-minute mile, I'll be a real runner. If I I can run a 5K someday, I'll be a real runner. Right? Yet, I don't feel like I need to publish a book to call myself a writer. I don't tell myself that because I "only" write blog posts, I'm not a writer. I don't believe there's some sort of objective number of posts per week that I have to write in order to be a writer.
I don't do that with any other title I claim. I don't feel like I'm not a reader if I don't read a certain amount of pages every week. No matter what, I'm a marching band girl, even though the most we've participated in the Alumni Band lately is a couple of parades.
Ultimately, I think the difference is that writing has felt like a piece of my heart for so long that it really is an integral part of who I am. I pretty much can't not write. As long as I can remember, I've kept a notepad by my bed for those times when I wake up in the middle of the night with a burning idea that I JUST HAVE TO WRITE, right then. I often decide to write "just a short post" and find myself coming up for air an hour and a half later, shaking myself back into the real world like I've been in some kind of haze. I've always been a writer.
This running thing is new. It doesn't pull at my heart like writing does. I certainly don't wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden urge to go running! Sometimes, I look ahead and think, "Ugh, I have to run again tomorrow." But even as I think that, I'll flex my muscles and feel a slight pulse, like my legs and arms are saying, "Let's go!" I'll feel a little tightness in my muscles or notice them getting stronger and more defined, and I'll stand up a little straighter and walk with a little more pride, wishing I was wearing a sign that said "I'M A RUNNER NOW!" so everyone could see the small differences I feel. I'll start to feel bogged down with the stress of school and life and my thoughts will shift to, "Oh good, I'm running tomorrow!" as I anticipate that glorious clear-headed floating feeling that's an added bonus to just plain running the knots out.
So I suppose it pulls at my heart, but differently. I have to make myself run... but I sometimes have to make myself write, too! That just means it's hard, not that it's not part of who I am. It's a newer part of who I am, but I watch students become readers and writers in my class every year, and I don't discount their new identities. If I feel moved to write poetry about it, it has absolutely taken hold in my heart.
I write. I am a writer. I run. I am a runner.