May 28, 2012

Of Titles and Name Calling

Of Titles and Name Calling

Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
~ Thomas Paine

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names
~ Chinese Proverb

On Mother’s Day this year  my mom gave me a gift certificate for my favorite running store. The card said “For your new-found passion.” As I was contemplating the cute new running skirt I had just seen in their mailer, I had this thought: My mom thinks of me as a runner.

Almost 43 years ago, and perhaps without even intending to, my mom gave me my first title: Daughter. I still hold that title along with mother, ex-wife, doctor, friend, boss and others. Mostly, I am comfortable with all of them.

Since I started running in June of last year, I have occasionally had someone call me a runner – sometimes seriously, sometimes as a joke. Mostly it has felt awkward and uncomfortable – like a thing I am trying on and I am not sure I am comfortable enough to wear it out in public.

I had a recent conversation about this with another friend who is a doctor. She didn’t understand why I was not comfortable being called a runner after nearly a year. It went like this:

Me: Do you remember how you felt when people first started calling you Doctor?

Her: (Laughing) I spent months looking over my shoulder – every time someone would call me doctor I would be looking over my shoulder for someone in a while coat. Then I would realize it was me!

Me: Right – so there was some point where it felt really weird to be called doctor – even though you had earned it and were qualified – it wasn’t quite who you were.

Her: That’s true…and then at some point it was me, and it became comfortable.

I sort of felt the same way when I became a mother. Even though I had prepared for the role for 9 months – even after I was holding my baby boy in my arms – there were a number of months there where being called a mom still felt awkward. There was a little part of me that sort of felt like I was in a probationary period and maybe if it didn’t work out someone might swoop in a take this cute little vulnerable human away from me and say “look, you tried, but the Mommy title just isn’t for you.”

Today, I could imagine not being a mom. I AM a mom.

An that is the difference. There is a place, a place that I am not sure we know how to define where we can transition from doing a thing to being a thing.

I have been running for 11 months. I definitely run. More and more I enjoy running and find it has added and adds value to my life and – increasingly – I don’t want to go without it.

When asked “what do you do to stay fit” I am very comfortable saying “I run” as the answer.

Because it is true.

I think it might be just like that one day. Maybe the answer will be “I am a runner” and that will be that. I have asked a lot of other runners when and how that happened for them and mostly they don’t remember.

In the end, maybe we don’t entirely chose. We follow the path and we see where it goes.

I am still going.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend wherever you are. I am just back from Philadelphia and promise there are picture and stories coming.




Leave a comment
  1. click
    May 30, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    I love this website layout ! How do you make it. It is so cool!

  2. Valerie
    June 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Missing your blog posts 🙁 Hope all is fine and that you will be posting again soon!

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      June 13, 2012 at 3:26 am #

      Licking my wounds – literally. And sulking more than I want to admit. OK – I’ll write. Ugh.