not about me

Image by Nathan Dinkerson

Image by Nathan Gray*

The truth is: I don’t like writing posts like my last one — at all. Say what? you might ask. Why?

Why? Because this blog isn’t about me.

This blog isn’t about me just like life isn’t about me — just like it’s not about you or him or her or them or those. This life isn’t about any of us; rather, it’s about all of us. There is nothing I detest more than a braggart. People who are either too full of themselves or too insecure to acknowledge the strength and beauty in others make me sick. After all, it is the intrinsic value of all of us that makes this world a beautiful place. Without that . . .

And so if my last post came across at all boastful, my friends, please forgive me. Truth be told, I am anything but. I recognize my strengths but am acutely aware of my weaknesses — in every way. I think this life is about the collective — about each and every one of us pushing ourselves to be the best we can be, and about encouraging and helping others along the way — and not about placing people on pedestals. We are all of us human. Let’s keep it that way.


“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”— Picasso


*My friend Nathan shares his gift through photography. You can find more of his amazing work here.

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38 thoughts

  1. Boastful and sinful you were – I was appalled. :-)
    I think that your blog is about you – your thoughts, your philosophy, and your life. I love that you are sharing parts of your life with us – and passing on your message of love.

    • Haha, Pat. Your first line made me laugh! Thank you so much… I guess my blog *is* about me, but generally I don’t like the topics to be. This blog isn’t a catalogue of my life. I was somewhat embarrassed when everyone was telling me “Congrats!” and “Good job!” in their comments on my last post. I wasn’t looking for praise. Only looking to share…

      And, yes. Love is what this life is all about — at least I think it should be. I’m just glad others can relate… Thank you for your continued friendship!

    • Thank you, Johnny. That’s what I was going for! Just felt self-conscious when everyone was telling me “Congrats!” and “Good job!” I wasn’t looking for praise!

  2. Sometimes it’s actually okay to brag. No one wants to stand out any more, but standing out is a good thing that can only happen if you’re A) really good or B) apocalyptically bad. Give yourself some slack, Jess, and appreciate that you did what a lot of people cannot.

    • Aww, thanks Matt. I guess I just felt self-conscious because I really wasn’t looking for praise. Yes, I am proud that I accomplished what I thought I could not… Thank you so much for your kind words.

  3. To me, this blog is about you.
    Perhaps this blog *should* be about you; your poetry, self motivation, travels, struggles, and such.
    People are seldom motivated by “all of us”, and great causes are never started by “all of us”, but rather by individuals. We’re here for you, not for all of us; we’re here for your story.

    I was just listening to Dr. Ravi Zacharias – I’m sure you approve – and he was speaking on this very subject.

    Thanks for using this photograph. I wonder how it applied for you?
    You know, my name is Nathan Gray. ;)
    Dinkerson is something I pulled out of my ass. :)

      • Oh Børge… Thank you so much. I’m glad to know that everyone seems to have liked it… And my poetry — I know! I’ve been slacking. I promise I will write more soon. :)

        Hope you’re having a lovely day!

      • Dear Jess, I’m very happy to hear that! I was afraid you were gonna stop writing!!

        My day is calm and relaxing. Just like the autumn should be :) Hope you’re having a lovely day as well Jessica.

    • Hey Nate. Sorry! I knew your last name. But I must admit that in the moment I forgot…

      Hmm. Yes, I guess it’s true that this blog is about me. It’s about my thoughts and questions and perspectives. I guess what I meant by that is that I generally don’t like for the *topics* to be directly about me. I don’t always post pics of myself and wouldn’t have done so in that post if I thought they didn’t add to the story.

      I’m also sure you’re right that people are seldom motivated by “all of us,” but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be. This world and human nature teach us to look out for ourselves first, but the truth is happiness doesn’t is *not* the result of selfishness. You’re right that it is individuals who start movements, though. Unguided mass movements are generally futile… And if you all are here for me, well, I thank you. I’d like to think that I’m trying to be here for you, too.

      As for the picture selection? Honestly, it mostly conveyed a tone that I was trying to create. I’d originally planned to use it alongside a poem one of these days… Maybe I still will. :)

      Thank you… for everything!!!

  4. In my mind, your last post was about perseverance. If we can’t share stories about overcoming obstacles, then what’s the point? You should be proud of yourself. I know that I am proud of you. You never know when a story you share will affect someone in a meaningful way. I thank you for sharing your self and your stories.

    • Thank you, Dan. Your kind words mean a lot. There definitely *was* a lot of perseverance in my last post. Stubbornness runs in the women in my family, and I definitely got a big dose of it. I was *not* going to let that race win! So, yes, I *am* proud of myself… I just don’t feel comfortable in the limelight, I guess. I wasn’t looking for praise — only wanted to share my story! Thank you for caring enough to read it. :)

  5. I didn’t think it boastful at all.

    there are the trenches and there are mountain tops…
    when we read about your journey, running, reading alongside you
    it’s all the more sweeter.

    don’t fret and keep writing. =)

    • Ohhh, thank you, Sophia. I didn’t think it came across boastful, either, but wanted to be sure because everyone was telling me “Great job!” and “Congrats!” I wasn’t looking for praise. I’m looking for a bigger meaning that can ring true for everyone, so… Glad to hear you feel this way!

  6. Thank you for reminding me. And I love the Picasso quote. I’ve always wondered what my gift is. By the way, you did not come across as boastful, just self-confident and happy. No one would argue that you are selfish.

    • Thank you, Mario. I guess I just felt self-conscious because everyone was telling me “congrats!” and “good job!” I wasn’t looking for praise — just wanted to share my experience. And I too love the Picasso quote. Sometimes I think our gift is just who we are — our personality and the way we relate to others. We *all* have much to give.

      • I told the quote to a friend tonight and he said, his gift was the job he was doing and the people he was serving. It made me realize that what I do for people, although I hate the feeling of not being perfect, is as simple as you imply, just being ourselves and accepting that what we sometimes get stuck doing is the best we can do.

  7. Ah yes, the enemy of success – shame. You did something amazing. I tried a marathon last year and only made it 13k before my knees gave out. I wasn’t prepared. It was a sobering experience that showed me my limitations. Since then I have tried to prepare for a half marathon slowly but surely. What you did is a huge accomplishment. You should be proud. You are inspiring. I want to run a half marathon more than ever now. Thank you for being you.

    • Aww, Matt. What a sweet thing to say. I know I couldn’t have completed a full marathon the other day. People who run marathons all the time definitely have my respect. I may run one someday, but I would *definitely* have to train for it more than I did for this last run… But, really. Me? Inspiring? I certainly don’t feel that way. Most of the time I just feel like a bumbling fool!

      Anyway… Hope you have a great weekend, friend! And definitely let me know when you go for that half marathon!

  8. Love the quote and I agree with everything you’ve said. One thing I’d add is that we also should be honest with one another and tell it like it is sometimes. Sometimes a bit of constructive criticism goes a long way.

    Also, you’re so humble! :)

    • You’re right! Constructive criticism and honesty are HUGE in this life. It’s important to be able to take criticism and learn from it, though it’s definitely not always easy… And me? Humble? That’s because I know myself better than anyone else, lol… Like I told Matt above, no matter what my readers see, most of the time I just feel like a bumbling fool!

      But the Picasso quote *is* great, isn’t it? I kind of hope that giving my talent away is what I’m doing with this blog. :)

      Anyway, again, happy weekend, Mabel!

  9. Oh MY GOD Jessica! Get over yourself already! lol ;-)

    You have an exceptionally healthy self-esteem, that’s all! And you blog rather well so whoever thinks you are self-centered with your superhuman running abilities and god-like biking abilities with massive lungs (that somehow miraculously fit in that petite frame of yours!) to hog all the available oxygen from anyone…can go fall off the Embarcadero into the Bay! ;-)

    • Lol, you crack me up, Professor. My self-esteem is really not so big as you seem to imply, but if I come across as self-assured, I guess that means I’m a master of disguise!

      Anyway, thanks for your kind words. Hope you have a lovely weekend!!!

  10. Okay, so we’ll all just brag FOR you. :o)

    What you accomplished is impressive. Anytime one of us accomplishes something, it is impressive. What’s more, I think the reverse of John Donne’s thought (“every man’s death diminishes me”) applies here: “anyone’s accomplishment edifies me.” If we are a collective, as you say–and I tend to agree–then what you did betters us all, and your sharing it with us gives us each a chance to celebrate with you what amounts to an achievement for all of us. Plus, your pictures don’t just celebrate you–they show us any number of hard-working folks achieving a great goal together.

    So, I tend to agree with the Professor. OH MY GOD! :op

    • That’s a good point, Vance, and I like your thoughts about the reverse of John Donne. I agree that the efforts of one person can benefit the whole, even if only as an inspiration. In this case, the gazillions of other women who ran with me not only ran their hearts out but also helped raise more than $9 million to fight leukemia — and that’s pretty cool!

      Anyhow, enough about me and all this. Happy Weekend!!!

  11. Jess, I don’t see that last post as at all boastful. On the contrary, it was more of an isight to the person who is ‘Shift’ in real life. You shared your hobby, your feelings, that you are a real person not an alias. I say Bravo! as the petals behind (knowing) Shift slowly peel away. :)

    • Thank you, Andy. I guess I can see how that is true. I’m really enjoying getting to know you and other bloggers who are slowly revealing themselves to me and the world through their blogs, too. It’s fun!

      Hope you have a great weekend!

  12. Loved your last post, very energetic and made me think back to the races and competitions I’ve been in ~ nothing like that feeling, and the observations and challenges you had in your run were a perfect way to get a feel of the race. Enjoy the coming weekend!

    • Thank you, Randy! I’m glad everyone seems to have enjoyed it. I guess I just get self-conscious sometimes. I prefer it when the focus of my post is not on me!

      You enjoy your weekend, too! I hope it’s finally cooling off out there!

  13. I have the same goal for my blog – that it’s not about me but about all the things that “make us feel alive.” But here’s something else, and it’s why posts like your last one are OK: it is important to celebrate the successes in our lives; it’s actually quite necessary. And the fact that you did so with the rest of us just shows how truly happy you are about what you did. That’s OK. It was something that made you feel alive. You were proud of your accomplishment, and you SHOULD be! You are not a braggart.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Ted! I know I’m not a braggart. I just get a little uncomfortable when the focus of one of my posts is on me. Like you said, I prefer to focus on other things! (Although of course everything I write is from my perspective. There’s really no way around that…) I *do* agree that it’s important to celebrate our successes, too. Cuz Lord knows I don’t always succeed at everything I do!

      Thanks again for the kind words! Hope you have a fantastic weekend. :)

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