DawnyMonster, One Year Ago - 4.15.13
Yep, that’s my nickname. An ex-boyfriend coined it and, well, both have stuck.
The nickname was a spin-off of my Twitter and Instagram names: Dawnytime. Dawnytime was used for, well, I guess, the everyday perky version of myself. And, well, as you can imagine, the other — DawnyMonster — was the not-so-best version of myself. I laugh as I type this because I now know when I become “DawnyMonster.”
But, as cute as the nickname may be, it has also been a huge part of my personal growth over the last 6 months. I have learned to let go, to let go of all things that I cannot control, and to dump all of those thoughts/emotions into my own personal mental “trash bin.” So, now, I try to be less of DawnyMonster and more of Dawnytime.
As you can probably imagine, being a runner and, more importantly, daring to run 26.2 miles, I have a pretty Type-A personality which also tees up with my choice of occupation. Almost four years ago, I migrated from the Dirty Dirty South to pursue a legal practice in Boston. Yep, born in D.C. but grew up in Louisiana.
Last week, I did an interview with my local TV station in Louisiana and the reporter asked: “Do you still identify with Louisiana?” I smiled and replied: “Of course I do. in fact, it is a great conversation starter with New Englanders because they automatically assume that I should have an accent.” But, you see, I have learned that, for me, my childhood allowed me to grow up in an environment where we were all children going to school and playing outside. It truly allowed me to grow up in an innocent, carefree environment. I would not trade that experience in for a second.
Since in Boston, life has not been 100 percent glamorous by any means. I’ve had a severe case of the rude awakenings into “adult life.” I’ve been knocked down a few times.
But, as a friend recently told me: “You always find something positive to cling onto even when things are really shitty.” Today, I think all my friends would agree, that no matter what, I get my ass back up, and I do it again, and I’ll do it better than before. Over the past 6 months, I have become a more compassionate, caring and vulnerable person. “The world needs more people like you” is the email I received from someone reading my marathon fundraising page. Unfortunately, even as recently as a year ago, my friends would probably not describe me as that person, but as a brat instead.
Without a doubt in my mind, the last year and, more importantly, the last 6 months have forever changed my heart, body and soul in the best way possible.
I know I am still here, still here with my family and friends, and I will live life as fully as possible because it could have been very different one year ago today. I have been thinking that crossing the finish line this year will represent a new beginning for me, so to speak. A chance to cross and release those painful 4.15.2013 moments, a chance to release those growing pains, those failures, all of those things that have happened that I want to leave behind (but, not forget).
Despite all the painful memories of that day, I know that without those moments, I would not be here today, on this anniversary day with a chance to live, a chance to lead a more compassionate life with a stronger heart.
#bostonstrong #weruntogether “United, we will always preserve.”
— Dawn Castillo Harper