Today’s guest post is by someone who we all know and love. She may not be the fastest or loudest, but damn does she have a heart. I’ve been inspired by her ever since she started coming to November Project. She’s always told us she’s not a runner, but after that first 5k, then the next one, then the next… this girl doesn’t know what it means to give up. She wrote a letter to us that she was kind enough to let us share.
Read it. Share it. Learn from it. This is why we show up every week. For each other.
Dear Angelo, Ashleigh, and Eugene,
I was so inspired by reading your stories and how November Project changed your lives, that I wanted to share my story with you (I hope you don’t mind). I have fallen in love with this amazing community of people. Hard to believe that I’ve been part of it since September…. September 26th, 2016 to be exact. That is a date I will always keep close to heart. Although it’s only been 5 months, I’ve changed so much…physically, emotionally, and mentally.
To be completely honest, the original reason I came to November Project was in search of a distraction. Flashback to April. I was in what I considered a serious relationship with a guy. I was happy and excited to be in my first ever relationship. Then I was blindsided in August. He broke up with me via text message. We went from us making plans to go get ice cream, to him texting me it’s not a good idea for me to see him. Even though we only dated for a little while, I trusted him to not break my heart. I got the impression that he never actually cared about me. The way he broke up with me took me back to how I felt growing up…worthless.
I’ve been bullied my whole life. From grade school to high school I was always told negative things. Throughout high school, girls would tell me, “Who would want to date you when there’s so many better options?” “If you ever get a guy, you’ll just be a rebound.” “You’re dumb. You’re ugly. You’re boring.” And much worse things, but let’s not get into that. The point is, that my breakup brought me back to those negative thoughts. In my mind, I felt that the way he broke up with me validated everything I was told as a chubby teenager. I was at such a low point that I wanted to keep myself busy. The busier I am the less I’ll think about it. I knew my best friend, Gezell, went to a workout group, so I thought I’d go visit. He always said good things about it. Little did I know I would attend regularly.
I remember the first time I went to November Project. It was a “ninja workout” at the San Diego Convention Center. I overslept and was late (Whoops!). I was out of breath, exhausted, and thought I was out of my league trying to keep up with all these fit people. In my mind, I decided I wouldn’t come back, but then I met Andrew. He welcomed me with a hug and was so positive! He told me to just keep showing up, so I decided I’d give it another shot. I went the following Wednesday and it was PR day…’nuff said. ‘NUFF SAID. It was a hard workout! Even though I was worn out, I remembered the beginning of the morning by the fountain. Everyone gave hugs and expressed that they were happy you showed up. At first I thought it was awkward, but it’s not.
Even though I came because I wanted a distraction, I stayed for different reasons. First, we get to work out all around our gorgeous city, San Diego. Second, our leaders put in a lot of work and sincerely care about everyone that shows up. When I was struggling with my first 5k at Presidio, I told Ashleigh that I’m not a runner. She told me “You’re running, so you ARE a runner.” Angelo, Ashleigh, and Eugene, thanks so much for all you do. Seriously. Thank you. Third, the people at November project are fucking awesome! “High school Ramona” would’ve been too embarrassed to work out with a group, but I’ve changed because of November Project. Every single person at November Project is so loving and encouraging, but they still push you to give it your all in every workout. I’ll hear “Good job Mona,” but I’ll also hear “Even if it’s slow as shit, keep moving. You got this!” I find myself looking forward to seeing everyone every week. Also, November Project does so much for our community. Lastly, I get to wake up early and set the tone for my day. A good workout where you give it your all leaves a feeling that’ll push you through the rest of your day. You start off the day with some dope ass hugs and good vibes.
So even though the reason I came to November Project was “sucky,” the reasons I stayed are more important. I have changed so much in the past few months. I feel I have improved a little bit with my running. My approach to running has definitely changed for the better. In high school, I hated running to the field for volleyball practice because I was always trailing. Because of November Project, my mentality has changed. I don’t fucking care if I’m first or last. I’m proud of myself for finishing, as long as I give it my best effort. November Project changed my life. I went thinking I was visiting a workout group, I stayed because I realized it’s so much more than a workout group.
I hope you didn’t mind me sharing my story. I didn’t think it’d be this long. I guess it’s easy to write when you’re passionate about something. I’m sure the grammar isn’t perfect, but you get the point of what I was trying to say. Thanks for reading.
Be happy. Be strong. Be bright.
- Monday, we’re at Motorboat Pond (Model Yacht Pond) in Mission Bay. It’s tagging week, so bring an item to tag! 6:29 AM. Maybe just show up?
- John Nagib and Sean Durkin are the two winners of the recruiting challenge! We got 103 recruits this month, of which John recruited 7 and Sean recruited 4! But Sean didn’t #justshowup, so he missed out on a Fu-Pang handshake, Rolflex, and his TNF jacket. Oh well!
- Wednesdays, Balboa Park. Always.
- Be bright!