Last week I received Tivy, the Positivity Award from Freddy and my week with Tivy has inspired me to do some reflecting and realize how grateful I am for this tribe in my life. I heard about November Project in Denver right around when it started over 3 years ago. I was curious about it, but I told myself that it was not for me and made up every excuse in the book for why I would never show up. I did cross country for two years in high school and at my sophomore year awards banquet my coach said in front of everyone, “Rachel is slow and always one of the last to finish so I don’t know why she keep showing up.” After that moment I turned in my XC uniform and told myself I would never join another team or workout group again. Unfortunately, because of my response to that experience and others I let it hold me back and keep me from showing up to NP.
Though I was pretty firm in my decision to never show up I spent some time throughout the years stalking the NP Denver facebook page and reading blog posts. More time than I’d like to admit was spent looking at all of the pictures and reading blog posts until finally last summer I challenged myself to do more things that scare me. NP definitely fits the bill so I set my alarm for 5:30am, for months…For months I shut off my alarm every time. For some reason July 20, 2016 was different and I showed up.
I remember clearly the nervousness and anxiety that I felt showing up that first day alone. I walked up to the group with my head down and not sure if I made the right decision to show up. I remember someone coming up to me and I tried to shake his hand and he said, “No, we hug here.” You would think from all of the facebook stalking I would have been prepared for the hugs but for some reason I thought I could get out of the hugging.
I was never a hugger before NP. Woody came up to me next and introduced himself, gave me a hug, and said “I’m glad you’re here.” In my head I was telling myself, “I’m not sure I’m glad I’m here and why is there so much hugging?” Then the bouncing started and my heart started racing even faster. I debated pretending I wasn’t new because I didn’t want to have to introduce myself, but I joined the newbie group and quietly stated my name. Woody made me state my name again because no one could hear me and I feared having to talk more that morning, but I reminded myself this was better than stalking the facebook page at home and never showing up.
I was depressed and in a bad place when I showed up that first day, but that day was honestly life changing. The countless people telling me “I’m glad you’re here ,” high fives, people calling me by name and encouraging me, and even the hugs that first workout was pretty amazing. It’s hard for me to describe what it meant to me to have Woody and countless others telling me “I’m glad you’re here.” Those words have changed my life. I remember leaving that workout and crying in my car because I was so happy that I just showed up. I told myself, “You just made the best decision of your life.”
NP has helped me to find my voice and begin to share it more with others. I’ve always been an introvert and pretty quiet and don’t share a lot about myself with others. Meeting all of you awesome people in the tribe has made me want to hear all of your stories and share more of my own. I’ve started saying “I’m glad you’re here” to every kid when they arrive to school at work because of the impact those words have had on me. NP has also improved my self confidence and I’ve even started dating. Before NP I never put myself out there to date, but this week I even took Tivy with me on a date! (I even contemplated keeping Tivy and starting a “Tinder dates with Tivy” blog).
Thank you all for showing up and welcoming me into the tribe from the beginning. I am so grateful for you all and the impact November Project has had on my life. If you happen to be reading this and haven’t shown up yet, please don’t be like me and wait so long to show up.
I asked Matthew and Woody if I could write this blog post since I’m trying to continue to challenge myself to speak up and share more. I would love to hear more about YOU and your story. So, I’m challenging others to write a blog post, too. (I hope this is ok with NP management).
Thanks for reading! Fuck yeah!!
Rachel Weber (I also respond to “Weber” since there’s so many Rachel’s)