Rachel Coughlin - Grade 10, Chaminade Julienne High School
Get Up, Never Give Up
My legs burned and my breath heavy, as I ran on rugged grass through a forest of trees. Glaring determinedly at the girl running ahead, I never stopped thinking of the finish line at the end of another cross-country 5k. While closing in on her, a creek sat waiting for us to jump over. She did and I followed. My foot landed on a muddy puddle and I slipped. A pack of girls passed me as I fell...
At birth, everyone gets a book, containing empty pages, to fill with their stories. The question is what stories will we fill these pages with? September 27, 2014, I filled a page with a story that mirrored my past based off of a single choice. Fallen, knowing many girls had passed me and I would fail beating my fastest time of 20 minutes and 52 seconds, I battled between whether to stand or not. My mind flashed back chapters of my life to 2011. There lived a different girl at age twelve, being fat, eating unhealthy, suffering from candida disease, insecure, lonely, a crier, getting C’s in school and suffering from depression. Here I had fallen, deciding whether or not to stand.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The pages from age twelve were wasted on self-pity and pain. I became tired of the shame of falling and eventually chose to finally stand. Flipping the pages, now fourteen, I was overweight with insecurities, but smiling, making friends, getting straight A’s and freed from my disease. No longer was depression leading, for I had outrun it, leaving it behind. High school was coming and I wanted to make a final change by being healthy, confident and having new friends. I became a new person, running away from my old life. I craved wholesome foods, tried all new things and made friends. Beginning freshman year, I was nearly thirty pounds lighter and joined the cross-country team.
...As I lay fallen in a race, I wondered what runner I was going to be that day. Would I run to win, run to finish, or run in a way as to win in order to finish? Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live today as if you will die tomorrow. Learn today as if you will live forever.” Rather than quitting, I scrambled up and kept moving, step by step. Though life pulled me down, I kept running until I outran the fears and pain that kept me from “living”. I ran like this was my last race, lived like there was no tomorrow, and learned from mistakes like I had forever to live to share all I learned. Rather than wait for change, I became the change that I longed to see by writing a new chapter. I did not finish the fastest race, but I did my best and wrote a new page that showed all the possibilities I now have because I finally learned to stand.