Throughout my childhood, I was teased and bullied quite a bit. Being one of only two Persian kids at my elementary school (my sister being the other), my ancestry and name (among other things) were the source of many playground taunts.
Growing up in LA in the 90s—during Desert Storm—being from Iran wasn’t the illest thing an American kid could be. I remember kids laughing as they shouted, “I-ran home,” in the not so clever way that kids curate insults towards other kids.
But you know what? I did run home. In tears. All the damn time.
Today, as a proud child of immigrants who has served in the USAF, a single mom of 12 years, and the creator of my own flourishing business intended to help womxn rise, I still run.
I ran when I was preparing for Air Force Basic Training. I ran when I was pregnant with Isaac. I ran with him in his jogging stroller when he was my little boo, almost 13 years ago.
And I run because I can. I run to be a better athlete. I run sprints on the local college track. I run on the beach when the tide is out and the sand is packed and the sun sets audaciously over the Pacific. I run in the mountains with Chris, who always beats me—but it’s okay because he’s super fast and extraordinarily good at trail running (and also I really love him).
There have been times when I couldn’t run due to my two herniated discs and the pain they caused, and in those times I felt a distinct loss—something missing in my soul. But now that I’m fully functional, running is something I never take for granted.
When I feel fast—when I feel strong—I feel like there’s not a single thing I can’t do. I can build a business from the ground up. I can write a book. I can take care of my baby. I can change the world, simply by showing up as powerfully and unapologetically as I possibly can.
Those playground taunts can’t hurt me now. Hell, they played a significant role in making me the bad bitch I am today, and I’m proud of that person. Proud to run. Proud to lift. Proud to be a first generation Iranian American woman, standing in the fullness of her power