My name is Darcey Ann Marie and I am a Detourist.
My detour came after the death of my mom in 2010. I found myself 38 years old and an orphan, at my heaviest weight of all time and profoundly unhappy. My mom’s death left me the most alone I had ever felt in my entire life. After her death, I walked naively into a courtroom with my siblings as the baby in a family of 8 and I walked out a grown woman, stripped of the illusion that anyone would ever take care of me. In the courtroom I became the unfair target of a 20th century stoning from a glass house; and although we all know people in glass houses should not throw stones, everyone in the courtroom just sat silently by and watched me defend my name and my heart. But that is a story for another day.
Suffice it to say my mom’s death ripped our family to shreds.
I moved shortly after her death for my husband’s job and was living in a brand new place for the first time in my life. Upon moving, I gave up my business, For the Love of Lizzy Candles, named after my daughter Elizabeth, after having built it for nearly a decade. I felt incredibly lost, lonely and grief stricken. It was one of the lowest points of my life, but as I have often found, it is, at times, in the sinking to the bottom that we finally rise.
I started running as a way to try to get in shape as I crept up on 40. Running not only helped me get stronger physically, but it also helped me find my confidence and voice and eventually my passion; writing. It was through running that I was able to face some of the trauma of my childhood.
As I ran, my body got stronger and stronger. I could finally start to feel my muscles as I shed the nearly 60 pounds of protection I had accumulated through the years. My weight had kept me safe, or so I told myself.
I started feeling powerful, a feeling I had never felt in my whole life. The shy, weak, pathetic little girl who couldn’t pick a side? Powerful. The cowardly little girl who took the easy way out and shook her head yes? Powerful. The terrified teenager trapped in the bathroom that could not find the courage to scream when faced with a 300 pound 40 year old man? Powerful.
As I shed my armor I started to feel so many feelings I had buried.
I ran through anger.
I ran through rage.
I ran through fear.
I ran through loneliness.
I ran through profound sadness.
I ran through grief.
It has taken me 27 years of fear, a multitude of unhealthy relationships, 60 pounds of weight loss, running miles and miles and more miles through the pleasure and the pain, one marathon, 3 trips to the West Coast, and most recently a friend to lovingly but pointedly say to me, “Call it what it was. You were a rape victim. Acknowledge it.” for it to finally hit me.
“I don’t want to be a victim,” I stubbornly replied.
“You WERE a victim,” my friend repeated.
And in that moment it hit me. Past tense.
When you are finally able to acknowledge you were a victim and had absolutely no control, you take the first step toward knowing, I mean really knowing, in that deep place that has held your goodness under lock and key, that it really was never your fault.
Embracing my detour has helped me fulfill some of my biggest dreams. I’m currently in the process of writing my first book, a memoir written through the lens of the marathon. It’s the story of how a little girl living in the last house on a dead end street finds her way to the starting line of her first marathon at 42 years old.
As a little girl, I used to look out my bedroom window and dream of the West Coast to escape my circumstance. Living on the East Coast, it was the furthest place I could imagine at the time. My godfather lived on the West Coast and he used to come visit me and share stories about what life was like there. He was successful and kind and he represented how I thought life should be. This was in stark contrast to the life I was living at the time. Being a poor kid, I also vividly remember him buying me my first pair of Jordache jeans for Christmas! I know, I am really dating myself sharing this 😉
The West Coast became a vision and dream I could focus on. It represented my independence. I was certain, as I looked out my window watching the sunset, that if I could somehow get there, I could live the life I always dreamed.
Fast forward to my mom dying many years later in that same house. Again, I found myself dreaming of an escape to the West Coast. As I laid there with my head on the pillow next to her as she laid dying, I promised both of us I would get there one day.
I have gone three times since her death.
I flew alone for the first time in my life. I connected with an editor for my book, attended an awesome writing workshop and hooked up with some friends I had met through my running group and blog. I also had the opportunity to road trip down the coast finding some much needed inspiration, clarity and confidence along the way…. In addition to some of the best clam chowder and beer I’ve ever had!
I did it. I got that little girl to the furthest place she could dream.
The sunsets I finally experienced were spectacular and so much more than any I imagined from that bedroom window.
My biggest lesson out of my detour has been one of hope. Never lose hope. Dream big. Love big. Accept life’s detours. Stay open. Trust and pursue passionately all that you love and it will eventually lead you to exactly where you are meant to be.
And that’s why I #lovemydetour!
Darcey is a PR writer and writer for her blog, www.darceyannmarie.com, Running Thoughts: Running, Writing and Reflecting in the Second Half. She also owns her own business, For the Love of Lizzy Candles www.lizzycandles.com. You can connect with her on social media at: www.darceyannmarie.com and Google Plus – Facebook – Instagram – Twitter.
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Safe travels, Detourists!
Watch an inspiring TEDx talk about getting through any “detour” in life! #LoveMyDetour [click to tweet]
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