Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

October 06, 2007

a running story

Mackenzie is a long-distance runner and she's not at all envious of young athletes who have the support and adulation of family, friends and the world at large because she's known from the age of twelve that when nobody cares you can still achieve and excel.

"I gained my very first insight about 'nobody caring' when I started high school at the age of twelve and attended the first of the school's sports carnivals," says Mackenzie.

"The sports carnival was being held out of town and for some unexplained reason a bus had been hired to transport us to the venue but we had to make private arrangements to get home."

"Just about all the kids had a parent attending the carnival," explains Mackenzie, "but my mom made an excuse for not attending and said she'd pick me up afterwards."

"It wasn't as if she was working or had anything more important to do that day," says Mackenzie. "She just wasn't interested in being my cheer squad."

"I felt very lonely that day - being a long way from home and not knowing many of the other kids and their parents," says Mackenzie. "But I performed well and won a few ribbons."

"When the carnival ended, all the kids went home with their parents and I was left with a teacher and a few other kids who were waiting for someone to pick them up."

"One by one, the remaining kids were picked up. It was getting dark, I was the only kid left and the teacher with me was getting impatient."

"She kept on asking me 'are you sure you told your mom where to pick you up?' and I felt awful - even though I wore the ribbons of a winner."

"Finally, just before the teacher decided to take me home with her, my mom arrived."

"Mom wasn't interested in hearing about my sporting wins - she just complained about the traffic and the inconvenience of having to pick me up. When we got home, dad and my big brother weren't interested either."

"I just went to my room - pinned up my ribbons on the dressing table - and told myself that it didn't matter that nobody cared."

"I wanted to be a runner - no, I wanted to run - and it didn't matter whether I won a race or not, or got to the Olympics or whatever. It just didn't matter. I didn't need a cheer squad. I didn't need anyone to care."

"I cared and that's all that mattered."

"When the following sports carnivals came up, I avoided being humiliated by arranging to travel home with a girlfriend," says Mackenzie.

"And when I entered races outside school events, I rarely told anyone. I just turned up, participated, and got myself home as best I could."

"I'm working now and everyone at work knows that I run before and after work, and at weekends," says Mackenzie, "but nobody cares!"

"None of my girlfriends or roommates are into running - or interested in attending any of the races I enter - and only one of my boyfriends has ever bothered to be there for me when I crossed the line in a race."

"Strangely, I've never made friends with other runners," says Mackenzie. "I think we are a solitary - or at least a stoic - breed and we don't seek the limelight or the social life that goes with other sports."

"The lady who works at the local deli saw my name and photo in the local newspaper the other day and made a great fuss of me," laughs Mackenzie. "I felt embarrassed because nobody had ever cared about my achievements before."

"She told me it's a shame that my family and friends don't admire and support me," sighs Mackenzie. "And I suppose it is a shame."

"It's true. There have been times when I've participated in big races and felt disappointed that nobody - not even my current boyfriend - offered to be there for me, or just to get me home safely. Anyway, I long ago came to the conclusion that there's something about solitary sports like running that turns people off."

"It's nice to know that someone out there thinks I'm a star," laughs Mackenzie, "but I'm hardly likely to get a swelled head from the first bit of encouragement and adulation I've ever received."

"Like I said, I run for myself, not for anyone else," says Mackenzie. "And if someone 'cares' that's nice, but it's not a vital ingredient for my self esteem."

"If I judged myself by the number of people who turn up to cheer me on at races, I would have no self esteem at all!" laughs Mackenzie. "So, needing a cheer squad - or being part of one - is probably an unhealthy way to be."

Labels: , , , ,

Copyright 2006-2014 all rights reserved Stepfamily Issues