Ok here’s a happy one…. for the crying masses.
I do not believe in coincidence and think all our encounters and interactions support our purpose. I don’t believe our purpose is fixed but rather morphs into our own time and space. Sometimes our purpose is a small micro-step of the overall journey and other times it is more significant like a unveiling of a bequeathed gift. My purpose has changed throughout the years but as a youngster, my purpose was to run, and like Forrest Gump, I ran everywhere. I was fast and used my speed to get out of a number of predicaments. I ran from the cops once when I was in seventh grade, no way could they catch me. I ran from my brother when he was in angry pursuit and if I could use my low to the ground momentum to outmaneuver him, I could escape. I ran track in high school and college and paid for a good chunk of my school doing so.
I attended Adams Elementary School in Eugene Oregon for third grade. It was a tumultuous year with a lot of drama at home. Mrs. Wilson, my teacher, was a blue haired old lady who and had a lot of energy. She liked me and used to call me “spunky”. She was one of the teachers who helped create the positive environment that helped make school my sanctuary away from home. There were short lived moments in the day when this sweet old lady would get a reprieve from the high energy of her 30 third graders and we would go outside and try and burn as much energy as possible. PE and recess were two these glorious breaks for both she and I.
During recess, the popular game of the day was “catch ‘em and kiss ‘em” but for me it was like shooting fish in a bucket. I was faster than any of the 3rd grade boys so my romantic interests were always dictated by the speed of the young man, he who could best give me a run for my money, so to speak. Louis Garcia was always a target because, if he was smart and tried to run me into a playground pole, sometimes he could shake his predator. Most of the time he wasn’t that lucky and he had to suffer the humiliation of a girl outrunning him and then adding insult to injury by kissing him.
On one most glorious day, our PE teacher decided that we would have an Adams Elementary School Olympics that centered around track and field events. Everyone was so excited. After all this was Eugene, tracktown USA and these were the days of Steve Prefontaine, who was frequently seen running through the wet asphalt hills of the city like a pied piper gathering a long stream of little fans behind. Finally, I would get my chance to show Coco Webber who was boss. Coco was a 6th grade girl who found no charm in my speedy playground antics as it was rumored that she was the fastest girl in school. She was nervous that I might dethrone her. She was rude and obnoxious and she and her friends would throw nasty words and spent apple cores at me during lunch.
As expected, the final heat in the girl’s 60 m dash included both Coco and I. I knew it was my day, I knew she couldn’t beat me. The gun exploded and we took off like lightning, neck and neck for the first 10 m, but I soon left her in the dust. My purpose was clear, to run and rise above the bullying of a dumbass 6th grader and to kick a little dirt in her face while doing so. My purpose had created a space all my own; a space to shine and excel. It was one of the main reasons I stayed in school and changed the trajectory of my path. It was a beautiful day.