By Katerina Bonderud, TIWP Student
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” –Martin Luther King
When I was younger, I had a dream of being able to fly. Every chance I got, I would jump from the highest diving board, ride my bike fast with the wind propelling me forward, or jumping as high as I could on trampolines.
But somewhere along the way, I had a rude awakening. I did a belly flop, crashed my bike and sprained a wrist, and bruised my rib when falling on the wrong side of the trampoline.
But this opened me to a new world: running. It started off with a slow walk, but then my feet began to pick up and I would run. I would sprint a mile as fast as I could, but soon I realized this wasn’t right. So, I slowed down, and went at a comfortable pace. I trained and fell in love. I could run far distances and climb mountains. I felt sunsets wrap me in her soothing arms and let early mornings shake me awake.
Then one day, things puttered to a stop. My legs grew tired and my mind unstable. I kept running, but something in me shouted at me to stop. I took a walk of shame, turning around from a mile out and limping back to my running coach. This walk of shame would come several times in the future. And each time, it became shorter and shorter, as the distance I ran would dwindle.
Soon I was in a boot, fighting with myself to heal and run again. But along the healing process I became oh so very passionate about running. Little did I know, that day when I would run and feel the sunset’s arms around my waist, hugging tightly against my beating chest, wouldn’t come any time soon.
Then I hobbled and crawled. Each step was a victory, but a slippery one. Every now and then I’d lose my balance and fall to my hands and knees, and the fear of the future became too heavy to bare.
When I was sitting in bed and told not to get up, tears escaped from my eyes. It would take me a while to recover, but it wouldn’t be long till I would stand again.
This time, I didn’t try to fly, I didn’t run, I didn’t walk, and I didn’t hobble or crawl. I spoke. And I spoke with passion. I spoke so I could fuel others in their journeys to move forward. And despite sitting in my bed, and not moving my legs, I was moving forward.
I used my voice to reach the sky and encourage others to stand.