Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunday morning. 7 am. The alarm on my cell phone is ringing LOUDLY in my ear right under my pillow. Miraculously, I hit the snooze key on my cell phone with 1/2 an eye open (yes that's talent). Lord Jesus, I don't want to get up. Ahhhh, sleep is so good and I am so in love with my Sealy Posturepedic in size Queen with the 400 thread count cocoa sheets. As soon as I drift back to sleep and feel that total weightlessness that comes in those first moments of sleep, the damn CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP of my alarm is at it again. Damnit. Wait. Is that a pain in my back?? I can't possibly be expected to get up if my back is hurting. I lay there and try to rationalize my excuse to stay in bed. However, reality steps in and reminds me why I need to get up this early on a Sunday morning in the first place. Breast Cancer.

Earlier in the week my girlfriend DeeDee sent me an email, asking if I would join her and her family to walk the Breast Cancer Walk. I was having an absolutely shitty week (hence my last blog entry) and really didn't pay any attention to her request. When I spoke to DeeDee on Saturday, I was still in the midst of my navy blue funk but decided on the spot that I was going to do it. Her mother is celebrating her 30th year as a Survivor of Breast Cancer. I thought how easily that could have been my mother battling Breast Cancer today or 30 years ago. The least I could do was walk 5 miles. Yes FIVE MILES. How bad could it be?? So Sunday morning, I got myself up extra early, threw on the only sweatsuit I own and a cute gym t-shirt, pulled out my damn near new with no dirt on the bottom gym sneakers, and made the trek to Queens, and made it to DeeDee's house at precisely 9:15, the exact time time she told me to be there (aren't you proud of me?! LOL).

As we walked to the starting point at Queens Borough Hall, I was engulfed in a sea of pink. Everyone's mood matched the sunny weather. There were so many people gathered. While we were waiting to begin the walk, I people watched. Some people were walking in memory of someone, others walked as a means for their organization to raise money for and awareness about Breast Cancer, and others. like me, were walking in support of someone who had beaten the disease. All Breast Cancer Survivors were given pink t-shirts with the word SURVIVOR emblazoned across the back. They were also given Miss America style pink sashes with SURVIVOR written on them as well. I half expected Survivor by Destiny's Child to come blaring through the speakers. I noticed a woman by the Survivor registration table picking up a t-shirt and sash. Ignorantly, I assumed she was picking it up for her mother, aunt. somebody. Until I saw her put them on. She had to be in her late 20s, maybe early 30s. I watched her for a while, adjusting her daughter's pink hat in the stroller, talking to her friends, absently playing with her sash. I thought to myself Damn that could easily be me. Here I was complaining, and I couldn't imagine walking a mile (or five) in her shoes. I felt ashamed for proclaiming I had such a shitty week when compared to what she obviously had gone through.

During those FIVE MILES in the unseasonably warm weather, I continued my people watching. I laughed at the teenagers who started dancing in front of the music store. And yes I danced with them. I admired the older women walking together in front of me (and then put a pep in my step because granny and her crew should not surpass me) Our group's conversation covered everything from religion (it was Sunday)to politics to college days to the food we were going to eat later to celebrity men who could "get it". But every now and then I would see the young woman I saw back at the starting point pushing her stroller or my friend's mom walking with her best friend and it brought it all in to perspective.

When I reached the finished line, I felt accomplished like I had just ran the New York City Marathon, of course without the blisters and chafing my friends experienced last year when they ran the marathon (SIDEBAR: I don't care if Chris Webber was waiting for me at the finish line butt ass naked with an engagement ring, pigs would have to fly through the ice in hell before I would EVER run a damn marathon! LOL). I should feel accomplished, I've walked other charity walks before but this was the first one I completed (sorry to those who sponsored me before. ) I felt invigorated, energized, rejuvenated and days later, sore as hell. But it's all good. Sunday reminded me to take life all in stride. I realize how precious and how ugly life can really be, but somehow we survive. And we learn from it. And we continue on. What other option do we really have?

I went to put my sneakers back in my gym bag today. I couldn't help but smile at how filthy they are and the story behind it. I see life not perfectly but differently through the dirt on my sneakers.


rashad said...

Excellent entry. My ladyfriend just did the same type of walk two weeks ago.

Makeba said...

Girl just think I am doing the Diabetes walk this Sunday! It is these life experiences that we can think about our complaints differently and say to ourselves, dayum I don't have it that bad do I? Excellent entry, it definitely speaks to my emotions of the current week and it definitely brought me back to reality and I can say get out of the funk and take each day, one day at a time, like those strides you speak of.

DeeDeeJones said...

Hey JaJa,

Thank you for a lovely recap of the walk. Yes, all you faithful readers, Janelle not only talks the talk but she walked the walk..all 5 miles with a smile. My mother appreciated her support and it meant a lot for my new sister gal to be there with me also.
Five miles is really a small journey compared to what the Survivors have been through. Once again we were blessed with a beautiful day with family and friends by our sides.
Early to rise, a ride on the M60 with sweats & sneakers...you are a doll. Smooches!