I just got an email about my Oiselle Volee membership renewal, and it made me tear up.
The thought of being part of such a supportive, generous, diverse and outspoken group of women who all love running is empowering.
Because for so much of my life, I felt like an outsider with most other people. I’m a rebel in my own way; I refuse to accept many traditions as they are. Instead, I make my life into what I want it to be without apology. That attitude combined with my introversion and, as a kid, shyness, made making friends a tough enterprise. That’s thankfully changed as I’ve gotten older, but those hurt feelings still echo in my mind now and again.
With the Flock, I’m not an outsider. I’m someone other people value, and I’m with the same kind of crowd. The non-joiners, as Sally Bergesen says. That’s why I know I belong in this little corner of the world.
A reminder of this inclusion is something I need right now.
I’m still a bit of a lone wolf, but groups like the Volee have reminded me of the power of being open to other people, and how good and kind other people can be and are. The power of the flock grants me the best of both worlds: running and training alone most of the time, but with the support and joy of others at events and through social media.
A year ago when I first joined, I was certain I’d miss out. A work conflict prevented me from getting online to sign up when the window opened, but to my advantage, the website went down or was really slow and I was able to secure my spot on the team. I’ve never been so happy technology failed to work.
I also remember the feeling I had. “Wait, me? I’m in? I’m actually in?” It wasn’t about the membership so much as it was about the feeling of being included in a group of people I badly wanted to be part of. Suddenly, I was in elementary school gym class again. Except this is way better, and way more stylish.
Happily on Tuesday, I’ll renew my spot on the team. Great gear, but even better, great people. Opening the email and seeing what’s included this year was like opening a Christmas gift. And I cannot wait to order the Oiselle Volee crop top for racing.
Head up, wings out.