I have moved 35 times in my life; coast to coast, north and south, across 6 states and the District of Columbia. When people ask me where I grew up, I say on the East coast because at least 4 of those moves occurred up and down the Atlantic corridor before I was 11. I was always the new kid in class. I think I went to 2 second grades in two different states.

When people ask where home is, I used to say Baltimore because that is where my biological family (and my accent) is from. The truth is, I only lived there for a cumulative 14 years of my life. Today, when asked where home is, I say that I don’t have one, that I only ever felt at home in my father’s house wherever he lived at the time. He died many years ago, and that was that. For some of you, this may be a sad story. For some of you who have never had the opportunity or desire to uproot beyond the place you were raised, it may be an exciting story.

I developed an insatiable wanderlust. I travel every chance I get and will go anywhere. Once I stopped by a local shop on a Saturday afternoon to look for fabric. Thirty minutes later I walked out with silk Ikot curtains that I could not afford and a trip to India with the owner of the shop. We just met. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I have life-long friends as a result.

I have been accused of being fearless and I bristle at that. Fearlessness suggests that the decisions I made and continue to make are easy. They are not. Instead, I say that I am brave.  I didn’t know that as a kid. I just went along and adapted to my circumstances and the dictates of my parents. Although I miss them dearly, and in the Spring, I am filled with nostalgia for “home”, I am grateful for this journey and how it brought me here, to you.

Last week, Renny Run put out an “I am Brave” shirt for a young girl and her friends who needed some emotional support through a very difficult and life-threatening time. We are building a brand, and this kind of broad message goes against what I originally conceived for Renny Run. I hoped we could always be much more specific.  I am a Scientist. I am a Pilot. I am a Dancer. It is a social experiment to see that if children say the words “I am….” whatever that is for them, then they might develop an extra dash of confidence as they venture into the world.

I had to think long and hard what this change would do for Renny Run and what we are trying to build. Turns out, this decision was on point because it was more important to adapt to the circumstances in front of us, a request from a friend in need, than to stick with what was safe.

I wish that I had an “I am Brave” shirt for those days when I was the new kid in class again. I think that it would have helped me at the time because after all, no matter our age, we are on our own at some point.

Check out “I am Brave”.  It’s a beautiful shirt. It is slightly off-brand both on message and design, but for me, it is in character. I need to stay brave, listen to the world, and adapt just like I always have. Here is a song that brings me inspiration. Ray LaMontagne singing "Strong Enough".


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