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Birth is a Lottery


Yes, this is about Taylor Swift and Love.

I’ve had this discussion in depth nearly twenty years ago with a client. We were discussing being grateful for landing where we had in the years we were born. 

As to now, after that conversation, my attitude still holds. You gotta kind of be happy for other people in some way, no matter where you came from. It’s like good sportsman-like conduct. You lose, you shake hands, hug, whatever. That is how I’ve handled it 99% of the time, win or lose. I remember one time, one moment in my life I didn’t do that. And I still stand by my not doing so that evening after a competition. Otherwise, every other competitor deserved my congrats. 

My fight coach said that I was unusual (2013) because after losing a fight, I act as though I’ve won. To me, it was that I was just so happy to be able to compete. I’ve lost more than I’ve won. I’ll say that again. I’ve lost more than I’ve won. In softball, when I was aged nine (1971), we lost all our games as the "Terrible Termites," except one. And we were terrible, but we were kind. And we had fun. 

When I ran cross-country in high school, even more competition occurred. There were some real talents in my neck of the woods. I don’t think anyone in our realm ever cheated. If someone told me they had, I wouldn’t believe them. Primarily because I wanted to think the best of everyone. Some of the kids on my team were not so nice. Yes, truth. I knew who they were. Too, they didn’t wish me even their own teammate well. They envied what they thought I had. 

But one thing I knew they didn’t have was the appreciation for a together family and parents who loved them and put them on the pedestal of importance. They had those parents, and they were important in their parents' lives. I didn’t have any of that back in my upbringing in my childhood home. 

I didn’t feel loved. I was just a girl to provide help. To be the glue. To be the peacemaker for the family.

But I was grateful I had a home and that there was some food. I was grateful I had arms and legs and shoes. Even when there were holes in them. And I wouldn’t waste that.

I had two parents, one I didn’t know where he was most of the time. Or if he’d be in a good mood or not. 

And by my high school years, I’d worried as I walked or ran part the way home with fewer books to carry. I worried if I’d find my mother dead, laying on the floor, in her bed, or perhaps hanging from somewhere. Yes, practically every one of my four years in high school, I feared such.

As I was finishing my time in the Marines, I could compete more often. As my boyfriend, then became my husband encouraged, such with my running. Sometimes he didn’t, but I understood. Again, I did well getting to a National Class Marathon level before tragedy struck.

However, after gaining the fight to higher levels in long distance running. Mostly winning against the birth defects I’d had, tragedy struck (1991). It wasn’t pretty, I nearly lost it all. 

The small piece that I had was my marriage, although altered by the tragedy, remained in tact. My body, however, was broken, and no one who should have cared did. I was treated horribly by the medical community, relatives, people who used to be my friends, acquaintances, and by the running community I thought I knew. It was like I had a disease, and they were going to catch it.

But you see, I’ve always realized that is how I’d felt many times and was treated in the past. It was like having leprosy. Or in the days when no one cared to face certain terminal diseases. They just labeled, and people avoided them. I’d been there before. And now I knew to stay away. Don’t even try to mingle, but I could still feel good for others. That was my nugget. Even if they were living my dream that I’d somehow not attained.

So fast-forward to becoming an ultra-runner. I knew I’d never be cute, pretty, collegiate, and likeable. Because that was never my aim. I accepted that I would be the underdog everywhere I entered. Everywhere I went. And everything I do.

Even in business, I’d blown away co-workers and bosses and was most successful in business. I didn’t look back. I’d outdone others' denial of my success, by my hard work and my ethics. 

And as some people who’ve watched me run, some took pictures of me because evidently the smile on my face made them happy, as I’d burned in a desert race, or crested the top of a hill or when I challenged Grete Waitz (1988) in a five mile race for just over a half mile. She gave me such a look that day in Westfield, NJ, as if to say, 'Who the hell are you?' I think I smiled, as if to say 'Maybe I’m next.'

I knew I was going to lose that day. Too, give up placing in the top five. But I wanted to feel her experience if only for a few minutes. And maybe by chance, God would grant me such talent as to maintain the maniacal pace alongside her even further.

That’s how I viewed it. Because maybe, I could become a champion no matter what ly ahead. 

As I ran a business, raised children with my husband, and more obstacles that most people never faced arose. But you see, I’ve been threatened so many times in my life for doing the right thing. That only this time, I had more to protect. 

I know what it’s like to constantly look over my shoulder. Doing the right thing sometimes has that consequence. But at the end of day, I appreciate such learned knowledge. Even though I greatly dislike being forced to choose between good and evil. I still manage to find the appreciation in it all. It’s where I’ve landed, witnessing what bad choices people make can cost others. Cost to the innocent. And to those who have innocence that others envy. And there enlies Taylor Swift and those who throw envy in her direction because they have blurred their vision of hope, concussing themselves with their envy. Which, by the way, envy is the opposite of Love.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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