I’m not athletic. So much so that my chances at receiving a medal in school for being athletic were nil. I remember signing up for track and field as a spare when I was in grade 8, only because I got to miss a day of school; I had zero intentions of actually running, or throwing, or whatever else you do at those things. But on this particular day, Susan got a nosebleed and I was up to run the 800 meter race! Sweet baby Jesus! I didn’t even know how far 800 meters was! I begged that the teachers pick someone else…but I was it; no other spares signed up. It was up to me and my New Kids On The Block t-shirt to run (hahaha…that’s funny) the 800 meter race. Long story short, I was last place and walked the majority of the laps around the track while people clapped and giggled and as I thought I would die from embarrassment. Oh, I also participated in cross country once and came in second last…only because my best friend Sandra had an asthma attack. That’s horrible! Oh the memories!

Needless to say, medals were never in the cards for me…or so I thought. Until the other day I came upon a bunch of speaker name-tag lanyards I have received over the years at conferences and events. And clumped together they looked like…medals. My medals. They of course are just plastic and paper, but to me they are as priceless as gold. As I looked at each one, I remembered the event (as well as I could) and said thank you to the universe for allowing me the opportunity to, a) still be on this planet, and b) to have had the chance to show people that even through the darkest times, recovery is possible.

I smiled as I hung each one back around my neck. They represent talks that I have given literally across this great country of ours. They represent healing and passion. And most of all, the represent hope.

So, as I stood in front of the mirror to take a selfie for this blog, I thought to myself, I may not ever adorn real medals like Olympian Michael Phelps and Clara Hughes, but to me, those pieces of paper sure do remind me that I have won.