Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AM~Erica Gets Labeled

So anyway...

I have been labeled.

It's something I work hard to not have done. Many of us try not to be placed in any particular category. But somehow society can't get past labeling things & people to try to keep things organized in their own their own worlds. It's human nature.

Recently, a label was placed on me. I don't mind the label at all, either! But it's still a label.

Not sure if you remember, but I did a race that didn't go so well (read about the Blacklight Run experience HERE). Even though I got a response to my open letter, it wasn't sufficient. It was greater than just MY let was a let down for thousands!

On my way home, the night of the race, I began to ponder sending this issue to Linda Wagar at Problem Solvers, Fox 4 KC. As I backed off of that thought, I began to look thru the disgruntled comments & posts from other disappointed participants on the Blacklight Run - KC event page on Facebook. The same page that got so many, they couldn't keep up with deleting some of the feedback, and just eventually disabled the option to post. Many of the commenters were getting the same reply from "Lori" at the Blacklight Run...possibly of KC. She was offering the same weather statement & offering up 25% off a future race. But I did notice a comment from a participant that said she & her team were planning on sending the experience to Problem Solvers! *DING* That was my sign to get in on it. So...I did. I forwarded my open letter blog post. I got a response. They wanted a little more info & I forwarded Linda Wagar the response I got from "Lori."

Even though it would be a different reporter covering the story, and not under Problem Solvers, I was asked if I would be available for an on-camera interview!! So, Monica Evans came to my house to talk about the experience & she told me they had received a LOT of emails about the disappointment.

So, I got myself together, and I did the interview...

There you have it! I told them MUCH more, but they only have a small window of time to use.

By the way...I did email Mr. Bill Spata. I have yet to hear anything back from him or anyone else. Also, About 45 minutes before Monica came to my house to interview me, Bill Spata took down the Blacklight Run - KC event page. So it's no longer there to read the comments left.

Anyhoo...I told you that story to tell you this:
If you looked at my part in the interview, they gave me a label.

See that up there? Yep! It says "Runner" under my name. Weird!
No...really! Never in a million years would I ever have thought that title would be placed with my name! Because I shunned the whole running thing for YEARS!! But did get started & have kept going since then. (my previous posts about my journey HERE)

It was weird, though. My birthday fell one week after I began the journey, and all of a sudden...I got so much running stuff! I'd only been going a week. I was hoping to stick with it, but it didn't define me. Especially after only ONE week! But there it was...a label slapped onto my very being.

But the deal is...I am a runner. I've been going for over 5 months now & have done 5 races and a made up solidarity race (about that one HERE). I have more coming up. I'm making strides in my progress! But it still does NOT define me!

I'm a wife, a mother, a woman, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a granddaughter...

I'm a dancer, a pastor's wife (read about it HERE), a celebrateur (read about my celebrations HERE), recently a foodie, a costumer, a lover of fashion.

I'm an idealist, a thinker, an opinion-giver, a listener, a friend, and trying to be a better philanthropist.

I'm a dreamer, a procrastinator, a semi-perfectionist, creative-not-crafty, a choreographer, a slob, an actor, a director, a writer, a blogger, a semi-painter, baker, amateur photographer, decorator, poet, geeky-girl, bargain shopper.

I'm a lover of autumn, a lover of rain.

I'm emotional, funny, goofy, I will sing if you make me think of a song, I'm a speaker, a semi-singer, an optimistic-realist, and try to be a voice of reason, a semi-adventurist, and a homefaker.

I'm an encourager.
I'm sarcastic.
I'm a shenanigator.

I'm strong-willed & can be stubborn. I can also be wishy-washy.

I'm loud. I am quiet.

I'm a lover AND a fighter.

I'm blessed, I've been thru tragedy.

I enjoy chocolate, coffee & antioxidant-fortified Jesus water.

I'm a tutu-wearing runner.

I'm a Run JunkEe & an Idiot Runner. (notice the "I" is capitalized...for a reason)

I'm a sinner; I'm a saint.

I'm a Christian.

I'm also a failure. (reminder HERE)

Today is World Suicide Awareness Day. It's something I have become a personal advocate for. It's because of my own story & struggle, but also because of the heightened awareness of the rise of this terrible epidemic.

A few years ago, my daughter was asked to do a monologue for her high school's theater department on Elective Night. It's a night when 8th graders & their parents come to find out what is available for them to take as electives when they become freshmen the following school year. It was a big deal for her to be asked. She was one of 3 monologues & a couple of duets asked to encourage 8th graders to consider theater. It was a BIG deal! And the piece she was given spoke about a teenage girl who had attempted suicide. But how my daughter did it was so perfect! She performed it very matter-of-factly. The piece spoke of it just being a part of her, but it didn't define her. I was so proud of how she portrayed it. Because it wasn't over-the-top...but it was real. Very real.

She has not dealt with those thoughts. I'm so glad for that. And, when she was given the piece, she didn't know about my struggles. So we watched her perform it...and I was doubly emotional. This piece my daughter performed could very well have been about me.

I'm at the point where I can discuss it as a part of my story. Just another facet of my life.

And it's the reason, along with my friend Jenn & a couple others, who have brought up me being an advocate for AFSP. So, I'm looking to add this as another piece of my story.

There are folks who will see only one or a small handful of my labels to attach to me. Some will shun some of these facets. a diamond, the pressure of so many of these positive & negative stresses has created places in me for a light to reflect off of.

I plan to keep going in this life. I still fight my own struggles (HERE), but I try to keep going. I have been called to be a voice for those who feel they can't.

Part of this will be when I walk with Team SOLOS for Out of the Darkness. It's an event put on by the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) to raise funds & awareness for this very thing. I am, of course, raising funds up to the time I walk on October 4th. You can also help out! At this point, I've upped my goal to $1,500. I am currently $450 away from the goal (at the time of this posting). Today, Suicide Awareness Day, would be a great time to help out with this great cause!

Click on this pic to go to my page for my story
and to make a donation.'s what I'm saying:
I'm not a one-trick-pony. There is no ONE thing to define me. There's so much more to me than most even know. Heck...I've probably left out some of the things that describe me! Because even all of those things don't cover everything about me!

There's a song that came out several years ago. Sorry for the title, I didn't name it, but it's called "Bitch." In the song, Meredith Brooks talks about how she's a bit of everything & it can become confusing. Trust me...I get that. And my hubby puts up with a whole lot! However, the fabulous Tabitha Coffey came up with a spin on the word:


Thru my struggles, my labels, and those who totally don't get me or totally misjudge me, I'm trying my best to make my part of the world a better place. Whether you see it or not. Whether anyone only sees me in a particular way, I may have a deeper reason for doing the things I do. What seems frivolous sometimes actually as a greater meaning. And...if asked...folks may need to be prepared to have a full-blown explanation rather than getting, "Well, I felt like it." It's more than that!

I'm aware of my individuality, and no label can truly define what that is in me.

And, if you've kept up on my blog, you probably already know this. If you haven't kept up, well, take a look around. You'll figure it out.

Until then, as Ellen DeGeneres would say, "Be kind to one another."
Folks are fighting a battle that you cannot see.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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