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Cattle Baron’s Ball Shocking Honoree

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2015 by runmyssierun

A short while ago, I got a message via facebook to meet over coffee from a good friend. While sipping coffee at Starbucks, she ever so gracefully mentioned honoring my mother and I at this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball. I’ll admit, I was stunned and didn’t know what to say or do other than keep the coffee from spurting out of my mouth and onto her impeccably styled self and just nodding my head up and down.

Cattle Baron's Ball Trifold Yep, that's my family in there.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Trifold
Yep, that’s my family in there.

A few years ago, when Momma was first diagnosed with cancer, she was named REALTOR OF THE YEAR by her fellow Realtors and members of the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors.  I remember her hanging her head low shortly after accepting the award and shared a rare moment of doubt with me.

“They feel sorry for me because I have cancer. That’s why they voted for me,” said whispered to me.

“Momma, this wasn’t pity. We all admire you. Not everything is about cancer.”

She forced a smile on her face and gave me a hug. I knew I did an awful job of convincing her that it wasn’t pity. I wish I could go back in time and tell her something else… something eloquent, profound and full of wisdom, poetic and strong enough to have made her believe what I saw and admired in her.

Oh how hindsight is so 20/20!!! How I would do things differently if given the chance.

Momma was an officer for GMAR (Greater McAllen Association of Realtors) for several years and was President elect the year that she was diagnosed with cancer. No one told her to – but she removed herself from the position to tend to her treatments. She was never the type of person to not give %110 and she thought that her treatment away at MD Anderson would diminish her effectiveness as a leader for this organization that she loved so much.

She did an awesome job of teaching me by example to never half-ass something important to you. You do it %110 or don’t do it at all until you’re ready.

What Momma either forgot or didn’t realize at the time was that this group of Realtors, friends and co-workers had all admired and trusted her enough to make her their leader even before cancer was in the picture. And I failed to remind her of that fact.

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

She was Realtor of the year, Rotarian of the year, Woman of the year (and many others)… and in the back of her mind, I think she doubted whether she deserved all these incredible awards by merit or if they were given to her by cancer pity. And I think I did a terrible job of convincing her of her true worth and value to her community. I should have done more when I had the time to do so.

So now here we are in present day and I find myself in a similar situation and guilty of feeling undeserving of this honor.  See, I’ve never HAD cancer. I live a healthy life. I don’t suffer the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgical removals of organs and body parts. I don’t have to miss work or family time because I’m away at hospitals being poked and prodded for experimental treatments. I don’t have to schedule Real Estate open houses and viewing appointments around the times I know I’ll be vomiting. I just have to run or swim or ride a bike. That’s all. Why does that make me so special? I’m really the under achiever of the family.

I mean… I’m not even one of those amazing athletes that qualifies for Boston. Or Kona. Or… anything worth qualifying for.

They should have picked someone else for this award. And cancer should have taken me instead.

Yes, this is how I truly feel.

BUT… these last few years really have changed my outlook and I refuse to let myself mope around in my dramatic pity parties. Regardless of how I feel on the inside, these last few years and experiences have taught me that although honors AND criticisms are directed towards me, much of them have little to do with me. I was chosen for this because of the love I have for my mother, the admiration I have for her and all that she went through and all that she did when she could. I made a promise to raise awareness and funds for a disease that I am not stricken with and being noted for it. I made a promise to do my best to take care of the health that I was blessed with and not take it for granted and I don’t do it alone, I am led, pushed and followed by countless others….

So in essence, who is really being honored here is not me but my mother, my family, my friends, my community, my teammates, my supporters, donors, sponsors and especially the victims of cancer, their families and caregivers who know all too well what it is that my Mother saw and desperately wanted to remedy.  Little actually has to do with me and so much has to do with everyone else.

I bow down to you, the deserving – the ones who have loudly and silently confided, cried, comforted and competed with me. I bow down to you, the fighters, the lovers, the haters, the cheerleaders, the sick and the healthy… for YOU are the ones that I’ve always wanted never to endure what we did. It was her wish and it is my promise. And neither of us are quitters.

I will accept this honor on my mother’s behalf and bow to you… because we are all deserving to live in a world without cancer.

For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball this year on September 19th at the Boggus Ford Event Center in Pharr, TX, would like to attend and/or sponsor it, please call the RGV ACS at (956) 682-8329. Once they update and finalize the website, I’ll post a link here.

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Let your light shine!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2014 by runmyssierun

“Is that you Myssie?”

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I had just gotten out of the pool and finished my run/swim brick when I saw an old friend and greeted him with a big, wet, sopping hug. It had been a few years since we had talked and caught up quickly under the beating sun by the pool.

“I was worried for you for a while. Just a few years ago you were on top of the world in Real Estate and at Rotary Club.” He beamed a huge smile when he said that.

“But then it was like the weight of the world was on your shoulders. And you bounced back. I see it every day but you probably don’t. You have touched so many people with what you have done. Don’t ever forget that.”

He went on to tell me that he’s heard of so many women who had similarly taken a back seat to their family once they reached a certain age or pivotal point in their lives. He also said that those same women saw what I was doing and challenged themselves to attempt their own similar goals regardless of their age or athletic background. His words were so validating to the laps I had just finished and the goal that swam around in my head. THANK YOU PATRICK!!!

Most of my life (with the exception of my pageantry years), I sat on the side lines in the stadium stands cheering on those I loved and taking photographs of them doing awesome physical feats. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be doing what I’m doing today. I am lucky – seriously lucky – that I entered this journey with some highly experienced athletes that had incredibly generous, patient hearts. They understood my personal goals. They respected them and never once tried to alter them. They were MY goals.

I had a goal many years ago to become Miss Texas and then Miss America. I was fixated on it. In four years, I entered 22 pageants and won or placed finalist in 20 of them. The only 2 that I didn’t place or win was Miss Texas. I was really really good at winning. I was uber competitive. So much that I became another person. I was constantly checking out the other competition, reviewing their stats and videos, finding their weakness and making that my strong point. I became that wicked evil girl that pageant reality tv shows spotlight for the drama and ratings.

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And that really wasn’t who I was but it was quickly who I was becoming. Thank goodness for Julie and Noe who both sat me down and opened my eyes about their friend they missed inside of me. Noe’s words in the courthouse parking lot will forever echo in my head… “Why are you ALWAYS comparing yourself to them?”

I aged out of pageantry, retired and hung up my heels but went on to “train” countless winners successfully with that lesson in mind. “Don’t compete against the others. Compete against yourself. Make yourself a better person.” And that’s exactly how my pageant trainees won.

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These women didn’t find a characteristic about another contestant to make fun of while saying it was all fun and games. They didn’t use passive aggressive antics to play with the minds of other contestants nor spread gossip and innuendo around the contestants. They won on their own merit… not by trying to dim the light of the others.

Your light does not shine brighter by dimming the light of others.

Long story short(er)… I understand that some people thrive on competition. I, however, DO NOT. I do not like who I become when my ruthless, competitive spirit emerges. It takes great effort to muffle that person that I did not like within myself (nor did anyone else like).  I am a goal oriented person. My focus is on MY finish line… not someone elses. My goals are measured by me, internally, by small incremental babysteps that go in one direction… FORWARD. So that when I fall, when I fail to achieve that step I was planning on, I know how to get back up and keep moving because I’ve been there already.

Larisa, my Matron of Honor, at my wedding almost 20 years ago!!!

Larisa, my Matron of Honor, at my wedding almost 20 years ago!!!

On Tuesday, I was able to put those mental blinders on my Matron of Honor, Larisa, as she ran two miles with me for the first time. She was inundated with the same fears we all have.

  • I’m too old to run this fast
  • I’m too old to run this far
  • I’m too fat to run this fast
  • I’m too fat to run this far
  • I’m too out of shape to run
  • I haven’t run since high school
  • My knees hurt
  • My ankles hurt
  • My hip hurts

I stayed by her side the entire time and put my iPhone on my arm with the speaker towards her. “Keep the pace of the music and we’ll be just fine. Pump your arms and keep your hands above your waist at all times otherwise you’ll get chorizo fingers at the end of the first mile.”

“YES!!! I do get chorizo fingers!!!” she exclaimed. That’s when the light bulb turned on and she gained faith in that I knew a little bit about what I was talking about.

“Ok, we’re going to jog from here to the light pole and then walk to the next but still keep our hands relaxed and up. You’re going to feel yourself losing your breath. That’s ok. Sing or whisper Mary had a little lamb. Trust me. I know it sounds crazy but it will get your breathing back to normal.” Ya, I think I lost her trust on that one.

I kept her stride short like the marathon shuffle and the conversation shorter so she didn’t feel pressured to talk and show the embarrassment of losing her breath to me because I know I am embarrassed to hear my own gasping breath. I needed her to finish this with strength and confidence to come back and double what she did today the following week.

Those last two light poles she hit the fastest pace she ran the whole time! She ended her two miles strong and fast and our conversation ended with the topics of glide and sports bras. SHE DID IT! SHE DID IT! And then she joined the rest of the gang for a beer. *I went home 😦

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It doesn’t matter what your limitations are. With the right people around you who understand and share and/or respect your goals, anything is possible. A few people can do this all by themselves. I am not one.

Like I said before, some people thrive off of competition. I do not. I thrive off of the positive energy and enthusiasm of those around me who also have big goals. There is a BIG difference.

If you are considered a friend of mine, please, know that I will never compete against you. If you try to force me to compete, I will either distance myself from you or let you beat me by not putting forth effort… or both. Beating you is not my goal. Beating CANCER is. 

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So to clarify, my next event is not including fundraising for a cancer organization. It is to make myself a better person inside. I am still healing and thankful that I have found a healthy outlet to do so for myself and my family. I have to do this one for myself so that I can know that I can keep moving forward. I fell off the horse at CapTexTri. This is me getting back on the saddle again. I gave my goals to my coach. In a nutshell, my goal is just to finish it.

That’s all I need to make me happy with myself again. Just finish it.

And then I’ll get back to my promise to Sissy and Momma in the right state of mind, love in my heart and surrounded by good, supportive people.

 

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