What Are We Here For?

I am the youngest of four children, and both my parents have told me on separate occasions, (in differing tones), that I was a “surprise.” That explanation screams, “miracle baby” to me!:) Truthfully, I know I was a pain as a kid. I caused a lot of frustration for my parents and siblings, and went through years of therapy, but I also know that from a very young age I was crystal clear on my identity:

I am a woman, writer, and athlete.

Those three traits continue to be the signature ingredients in my special sauce, they are what put the “T” in Taryn, and are what energize me every morning to rise up and get after it. My goal is to grow to be better at every single one of them, every single day.

 Thanksgiving, 2012. One of my favorite photos of me and my dad. 

Thanksgiving, 2012. One of my favorite photos of me and my dad. 

An early example of my exploration into the significance of being a woman and athlete, was in the 6th grade when I was the only girl on our school’s flag football team. I played Safety, and racked up the most interceptions of any player that season. Nevertheless, football was merely a carefree distraction from the true love of my youth, soccer. I was a better-than decent goalkeeper and played for club teams up until high school, but the joy of the game was completely sucked out of me at that point, (please see mention of therapy above). Luckily, just around that time I discovered an even deeper crush, and ultimate life-partner, long-distance running.

 November, 1994. Climbing reservoir hill on the famed Mt. Sac cross country course. 

November, 1994. Climbing reservoir hill on the famed Mt. Sac cross country course. 

Meanwhile, throughout high school I wrote stories to keep the writer within me thriving, but honestly, they were all pretty terrible. No matter what, even the ones with a murmur of potential, were equally bludgeoned by my mother’s English-teacher wielding purple pen. However, when I ventured off to college I took a creative writing class that blew my mind and confirmed that there was a pulse in my obsession to write.

My instructor was this hipster-hottie grad student named Dave, and my most cherished comment he gave to one of my stories was, “I just dig this story.” It was an awful example of prose, but he still felt something from it, and that encouragement was all I needed to keep going. He also said, “Writers need to write 1,000 pages before they write anything good.” That mantra gives me hope that most writers need to work at it, practice, and that not every story is magical after the first or forty-second draft. I am approaching the 1,000 pages mark; in the mean time, I appreciate your patience.:)

Therefore, I get my kicks by constantly pushing my physical, mental, and emotional limits everyday to be better than I was the day before. Whether it is running, cycling, swimming, writing, producing, parenting, partnering, etc., I am the only competition I really pay attention to. I am both my biggest fan and greatest rival. I remember in high school when I ran for student body President, I was unsure if I should vote for myself, I thought that was a vain, selfish thing to do, until my mom said, “If you don’t vote for yourself, than why should anyone else?” I voted for myself, and won the election.

 Spring 1996. Giving my speech to win over the entire student body of Claremont High School,

Spring 1996. Giving my speech to win over the entire student body of Claremont High School,

That lesson hit home that it’s okay to have self-confidence and not be a jerk about it. I am not saying I am the best, I am saying I am trying to be my best. And you know what? It’s a great way to live.

I know why I am here. I know what my reason is to keep livin’ and breathin’ everyday in this glorious land we called earth. Here it is…. I believe it is my purpose to stand up and say it is okay for me to be me first, so I that I can be my best for everyone else. And when I say me, I really mean us. In essence, I believe it is necessary to be selfish in order to be selfless.

 Ready or not, I am giving my first Talk and Book signing on Sunday, April 30th at 6:30PM at Joi Cafe.

Ready or not, I am giving my first Talk and Book signing on Sunday, April 30th at 6:30PM at Joi Cafe.

I hope to see you there!!