When I think of where I am now, I realize everything started with Sarah Weaver.
All of this — Fellow Flowers, me becoming an entrepreneur, me recognizing how and why stories matter in the lives of women, me really understanding the significance and importance of women having spaces where they can show up and be honest and give the true version of who they are without fear of judgement — all of this, all of my path, comes from a moment when Sarah decided to be brave.
It goes back all the way to the origin, the start of putting a flower in my hair. All the way back to 2011, when a group of women decided to run a race together.
At the time, there wasn’t really social media or Facebook groups, and texting wasn’t really even a thing. So we communicated by email. We did not all know each other either — in many ways, we were just an ordinary group of busy women who said yes to running a race in honor a dear friend we all loved. When this journey started, that was the thread that connected us. I still remember getting that heartfelt “thank you for saying yes to my birthday wish!” email from Tori and feeling a sense of excitement to training for and running this race with all these women.
And that could have been enough.
But what Sarah did — and what changed the trajectory of EVERYTHING for me — is she hit ‘reply all.’
And she said, to a group of women, some of whom she did not know, “Hi, my name is Sarah and I want to tell you why I said yes and I want to tell you why I am running.”
When I look back at this moment, I’ve realized how incredibly defining it was for our entire journey, and for me to understand the importance of showing up with your story. She did not have to do that. She did not have to hit reply and share her story with any of us. But in her story, in her bigger story of who she was — particularly in that moment of her life where she had given so much of her energy to fighting and being an advocate and being a parent to her daughter, Nora, who had been dealt a hand that was so unfair — Sarah’s whole journey of being a mother had taken priority.
And this invitation to train and run this race became a moment when she realized, as much as I want to save Nora and protect Nora, I also have to save myself. I also have to remember who I am. And maybe if I can show up strong and confident and capable, no matter what Nora’s journey is, she will know and she will see and she will remember her mother in this way.
For those who don’t know the story, Nora is blind in one eye and has very limited vision in her other eye. And I remember Sarah writing about how she wanted Nora, if she does go blind someday, and if she cannot see someday, in that moment be able to witness and watch her mom in many ways take her power back and be brave in her own journey and celebrate all that she had overcome, all that she was as a mother and a woman.
And I remember reading those words of Sarah’s, and everything changed for me.
Suddenly, it wasn’t about running a race anymore. It was about, I wonder if I have a story here too. It allowed me to consider that there were things within my own journey that I needed to explore or uncover or take some time with.
Here I was thinking that it was just going to be about miles and a finish line and training and checking the boxes of a training plan. And what Sarah did for all of us was she extended this invitation to think of it as something bigger.
Sarah helped me realize in that very first email to this group of women that when you run, you attach it to something bigger.
There is an intention. There is a purpose. There is a why.
There is a reason that you go out there and you put one foot in front of another. And if you don’t pay attention to that why and that reason, you miss it. You miss the whole purpose of being out there as a runner. You go through that whole journey and you miss THE BEST PART.
That’s what Sarah did for me as a runner. She did that without even knowing it. And she did it by simply showing up as herself, speaking her truth and sharing her story. And I will never ever forget how that changed me and what it kind of woke up inside me that I too was a woman with a story.
So, Sarah, thank you. Thank you for being the brave one. Thank you for being that brave woman who realized that for that journey to matter, and to be something, your story had to be a part of it.
And because you shared your story, you created a ripple effect for the rest of us to share ours. To discover ours. To realize that we had a story and, most importantly, that our stories were worth telling. I am forever grateful for you and for Nora for giving me that.
Registration for our Believe virtual run is now open. And stay tuned for more on Sarah and Nora!