Eres chiquita pero ‘jodona.’
As you know, the NYC Marathon was cancelled to focus on post-Hurricane recovery efforts. Less than 24 hours before the event was officially called off, Maru decided to defer her entry to 2013 for reasons mostly unrelated to the storm, the details of which are included in her final blog below.
All contributions will also be deffered to next year. As a final gesture of appreciation to supporters, Maru will make a donation to help those most impacted by Hurrican Sandy.
Referring to my tenacity, my mom likes to say, “Eres chiquita pero ‘jodona.’” And as moms often are, she couldn’t be more right: Indeed, I may be small but I am ‘jodona’ or relentless. While this phrase is almost never intended as a compliment, I often take it as one because it’s that very spirit of tenacity that drives and sustains the social justice work I do- particularly in the face of challenge and adversity.
But my propensity for relentlessness has also gotten me into trouble. Determined to succeed “against all odds”, I’ve been known to push myself too far, ignore warning signs, and bite off a lot more than I can chew. Indeed, pride, fear of judgment, and deep-seated feelings of inadequacy often cloud my purpose: I don’t always listen when I should; I keep going when I shouldn’t; slowing down is seldom an option.
Despite being diagnosed with a serious knee condition two weeks before the New York City marathon, I vowed to move forward with resolve and determination, refusing to let a bad knee get the best of me- even if it meant ignoring doctor’s orders and risking further damage. Rather than listening to and working with my body, I wanted to work against it. But for what purpose? What did I have to prove?
Fortunately, my perspective shifted just three days before the marathon during a doctor’s visit to review the results from my MRI scan. “Running a marathon”, the doctor warned, “could be fatally catastrophic…you’d be setting yourself up for knee replacement surgery at age 36.”
“Fatally catastrophic” and “knee replacement surgery”: it took these words to shake me out of the self-indulgent, pseudo-competition I had foolishly created for myself. With open ears and a humbled heart, I finally listened.
Needless to say, I have decided to defer my entry until next November, barring the possibility of further damage. The good news is that I’m relatively young and received an early diagnosis, affording me the opportunity to recover without surgery provided that I refrain from running and other weight-bearing activities for at least six months.
While such news has served as quite the wake-up call, it brings with it the promise of a full recovery and the opportunity for continued self-growth.
Indeed, life isn’t a competition and success doesn’t always mean crossing the finish line. Things often don’t work out the way we expect and what we want isn’t always what we need. But the universe speaks to those who are willing to listen and our bodies send us messages that our prideful minds often try to ignore.
So I’m making a commitment to slow down, to be more present, to allow room for mistakes and to listen–relentlessly–with my heart, mind and ears wide open.