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Second Chances: Off the Pavement

Joined: 4/1/2016
Posts: 1
When I was a kid, I ran care free. There were bumps in the road, some of which I hurdled over, some I’d fall and scrape my knee. To me, those were no big deal; I just got up and kept running.

It wasn’t until high school that running became a race, and with the race came obstacles. Stress induced panic attacks and all the self-hate that came from not meeting my expectations pressed down on me like a 100 lb backpack. With this weight I worked with half the efficiency but twice as hard, just desperate to stay in front of the pack.

Then college came. The stress and the self-hate became amplified, because not only were the deadlines breathing down my neck, but my peers had surpassed me. I was constantly stumbling, my eyes bleary and my throat dry, desperately trying to cling onto some excuse as to why I couldn’t keep up with the pack. And perhaps, as I saw the backs of my peers disappearing into the distance, the biggest weight of all was that in this time, I felt utterly and desperately alone.

So I dropped out of the race. For the first time, I pressed the pause button, and allowed myself to breathe a little bit. I packed up my things from college and decided to take the semester off.

I needed to do some serious soul searching, and I’m not talking about travelling around Lithuania in a van full of hippies (although that could be very educational, it’s just not what I needed).

I started with the weights that held me down so much for the past five years. In trying to unravel them I came upon Brene Brown’s idea of the difference between shame and guilt. The notion of guilt implies that given a second chance, I wouldn’t make the same mistake because I’ll learn from this one. The notion of shame implies that I’m not worthy of a second chance because no matter what, I am a mistake and that won’t change.
I realized that I’ve been living my whole life in shame. It’s why those weights had me spinning my wheels but going nowhere. I found it nearly impossible to pick myself up when I had fallen down because I felt like I was never worthy of that second chance. I only trudged on with my weights out of fear that if I didn’t, everybody would pass me.

But that’s the thing; life doesn’t just pass you by. You don’t just miss it and then it’s gone. Everyday I’m given a second chance to improve who I am and to work to where I have the potential to be. I’ve got two legs and a beating heart, and that’s all I need to pick myself up off of the pavement and keep running.
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Comment by David_Hinolan

Joined: 4/8/2015
Posts: 9
Two thumbs up! Great job and good realization. Keep on writing! :-)
Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2016 6:29:04 AM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Be the Change essay being chosen as one of our finalists in the running for 1st place for our Feb./ March 2016 teen writing competition. Be proud of your accomplishment!

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners, and naming the 1st place winner from the narrowed field.

We will post all winning essay results by April 30th. You can check this page for the results after April 30th:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2016 10:34:26 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Feb./ March 2016 Second Chances essay being selected as a tie for second place!

You can check this page after April 30th for all the writing contest results::

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 9:01:46 PM
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