Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Team RWB

Over the last handful of years I feel like my identity has morphed into something I never expected.  When I was younger, I had this black and white plan of what my life would look like along the way -- I'd achieve a certain level of education, I'd become an integral cog in one of the government's hush hush agencies, I'd quickly move up the ranks in obscure positions I'd happily leave to other's imaginations and I'd generally be seen as a successful, glamorous person -- but the unexpected began to happen and suddenly my future became what my compulsive organizational behavior had fought so long to prevent: grey.  

I don't say that in any negative sense, but rather as more of a acknowledgement of my former rigidity and as an acceptance of the control I simply do not have.  Since 2009 I've weighed my options and made assertive choices to step away from "The Plan" in an attempt to "let go and let God" do what is right for me and, more to the point, my family.  I acknowledge there is a certain degree of passivity in this lifestyle outlook, but I'm tired of trying to force the square peg (plan) through the round hole (life) when there is a more simple way...  I am not what I expected, but I am passionate about what I've become:  

I am the wife of a veteran.  I am a mother of two.  I am an endurance runner.  I am a type 1 diabetic.   

As random as this topic may seem, I bring it up because today was a big day for me where I felt like all of my "new" pieces melded together in one cohesive positive direction.  Typically my being feels ripped in twenty directions -- the mother in me needs to be cuddling or cleaning something, while the wife in me ought to be packing a lunch in the kitchen or showering more often, the runner in me should be at about mile seven already and the diabetic is reminding me that, oh yeah, you still haven't finished your coffee.  But today, today I was cohesively all of those things at the exact same time and for a bigger purpose than myself...  let the ramble about Team RWB begin. 

A few weeks back, right after the Boston Marathon bombings, HB and I were introduced to a veteran's support organization that works to build communities and combat PTSD through physical activity and positive social interactions.  Side stepping the dingy VFW bar scene, Team RWB validates the modern American veteran and their families by connecting veterans to one another, creating a common purpose and a positive post-active duty group identity.  It acknowledges the hardships OIF/OEF veterans have endured and by placing one foot after the other actively defies the social stigma that disabled vets cannot do for themselves...  Team RWB bridges the gap between all of the well intentioned civilian non-profits that act on behalf of veterans, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the veterans themselves by bringing simple person-to-person "let's go do something" humanity back.  


Given that HB and I are out running all the time anyway - we're gearing up to start our marathon training after all - it took next to no effort to get a weekly Team RWB 3 mile run set up in our area.  For the past several weeks it's just been the two of us with our incredibly patient duo in the Bob stroller, but, as I already said, today was different - someone came!



With one new member, the group is still dominated by my family, but I feel elated that it took one step in the right direction today.  I'm so hopeful that with time and persistence I'll be able to grow the local team and that one day we'll have ourselves a vibrant, constructive, healthy community for vets in the Rappahannock area...  I mean the reality is, folks, that PTSD is no joke and with 22 new vets committing suicide a day there is something that we as a country - as a community - are doing wrong.  Many of our current vets joined the military when war wasn't just a possibility, but a given and to transition back to civilian life after all they've been through is a truly daunting mission.  

Not only does Team RWB give them an off base, non-VA Clinic place to find support and camaraderie they loose when no longer "in," but it gives people like me a chance recognize what they've done and lost by doing what I'm already doing: living the life their bravery and sacrifices have enabled me to live.


So, today, I was every bit of me and then some.  I jacked my sugars up a bit, took my insulin pump off, laced up my minimalist shoes and went running with my husband and kids; and all to support our vets.  Next week I'll do the same and the week after that and the week after that too.


That's who I am.  Who are you?

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