I am what I am.
I am running towards an always-moving finish line, my heart like the 20th mile of a marathon, tired but still moving. I am the first rays of sunrise, always reaching towards the heavens, hoping something brighter is coming. I am heavy panting in the middle of a long run, challenging myself even when it hurts. I am living in the space where fingers intertwine, the tension between two energies, pushing and growing each other. I am the daughter of two immigrants, a shining coatrack on which all their dreams are hung, made strong with their love but also carrying that weight. I am a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a soon-to-be-wife, a writer, a runner.
The first time I ever ran a race, I was 22. I had never run more than a few miles all through high school and college. Each time I ran, I hated every single second of it. My first 5k, I thought I would throw up in the middle, as I lumbered through the second mile my heart felt like it would explore from my chest. The only thing that kept me going was my students, running right alongside me. As we started down the hill towards the finishing one student, Cristian, cheered me on. “You got this, Miss!” he yelled as he barreled past me. I crossed the finish line and put my hands on my knees as I tried to catch my breath. A girl came over to me and congratulated me, giving me a medal. I held the fake gold in my hands and smiled. I didn’t know I could run a whole three miles! Now, I felt like a runner.
I am the exalting yell, the hand in the air at the end of the marathon, triumphant and excited about what’s next.