We Belong Here - Pt. 2

March 9, 2021

[Chapter 2 of three-part series by Samantha Pruitt (Chaski Pride Leader)]

Read Chapter 1 of We Belong Here.

In this three-part series, I challenge you to join me in recalibrating your own true belonging. We ALL belong here. My hope for you, me and all of us together is that we can find freedom and love within ourselves so great that we radiate belonging. It is only truly possible for us to help others feel like they belong and to create communities that hold belonging at their core center if we ourselves know that WE belong. -Coach Sam

March is Women’s History Month where we are asked to study and celebrate the vital role that women play in America. March 8th is International Women’s Day where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and rally for equality. So as wonderful as this is… I believe we should be doing this every day and month! After all, women are the Mothers (literally & figuratively) of our families, of businesses, of communities and of society.

Additionally, girls are the young women of our future and hold more power and influence over change today than ever before. As important as recognizing these facts are, I am here with you to talk about investing in women and girls through running, endurance sports and outdoor adventure opportunities.

From both personal experience, as well as from coaching hundreds of women and girls, I truly believe that their (and my) mental health, physical health, social resiliency and personal agency over their own bodies and lives is massively empowered using these simple free tools.

More than ever in the history of our world is it imperative we recognize, invest in and support the female humans who are and will continue to change our world for the better. Endurance sports and the natural outdoors are places where we women and girls have huge untapped potential for positive growth… a growth that will allow communities to thrive rather than simply survive. BUT first they have to feel safe, feel welcome and empowered here. They need to know and feel like they BELONG.

To All Others,

BELONGING starts with an invitation. Outside of our families we all form friendships and build community. In order to do that we each received ‘invitations’ that are sometimes non-verbal, but always have a positive welcoming energy attached. Contrary- making someone feel not welcome (like they don’t belong) carries negative energy. Often this too is a non-verbal message. Why this difference is important is that often these non-verbal messages and energetic ‘vibes’, intentional or not, make both women and girls question their place in male dominant groups, sports, environments and places. Commonly men do not give it a second thought and often just insert themselves confidently.

As a 51 year old female endurance athlete, I can’t tell you how many times I did NOT feel like I belonged. However, times are changing. In the last year, between the #metoo movement and then equality and racism conversations taking front stage, it became prime time for all of us- no matter our political beliefs- to do a personal inventory in order to ensure our values align with our behaviors towards others. I believe most of us are on or ready to join ‘Team Humanity’ and value the humans we are connected to above all, beyond sex and race. Therefore I also believe the majority of us humans need be be more aware and fully engaged in building spaces and communities that not only welcome all sexes and races… but in fact encourage, uplift and celebrate each unique human so that we ALL can explore our full potential.

Bottom line- let’s build a place and then hold a space for women, girls and all humans to feel welcome and VALUED. It is there that we as Team Humanity can all thrive and evolve for the greater good.  

To My Female Counterparts,

I see you. I hear you. I know you. We women are often behind the scenes building families, businesses and our communities. Over the evolution of human kind (not man kind) we have been the sex who generated life inside us, birthed our species and raised our leaders. We are stronger than we know. Each of us holds our own story of becoming and belonging. Through struggle, suffering, strength and over coming we have continued to march forward in the direction of our dreams.

Our history, as well as our future, are the reasons we must forever continue to do hard things that forge new muscles of mental and physical development. Honestly, we are the ultimate role models and mentors for the entire world. Therefore we need to own our own lives and bodies to the best of our abilities then teach others the same power. I want you to self invest and become your best self. The world needs you more than ever. It is our time to be the leaders, the players, the game changers we know in our hearts we can be. It is time not just to believe, but to do. You belong here and EVERYWHERE.

To All,

Creating places, experiences and communities where women and girls can BELONG is not that hard. Believing that women and girls deserve and need mental health, physical health, social resiliency and personal agency over their own bodies and lives is obvious right? Let’s GET BUSY! Here is how WE do it:  

To Women & Girls:

  1. We women and girls must be BRAVE and show up
  2. We women and girls must have the courage to take risks and lace up
  3. We women and girls must develop the curiosity and perseverance to feel what our bodies can do & explore the untapped potential within
  4. We women and girls must speak up when a place, person or experience makes us uncomfortable for ANY reason so that it can be changed
  5. We women and girls must have honest conversations about our training, our safety, our bodies, our needs and our wants with the world so that others can learn from us  
  6. We women & girls can radiate BELONGING by first wholeheartedly belonging to ourselves and then mentor other females on the path with us  

To All Others:

  1. Feeling safe is NOT something everyone takes for granted so your role is to ensure that is the case
  2. Creating group dynamics where inclusivity is #1 should be your daily focus
  3. Allowing for dialogue about awkward or hard things is what you should strive to facilitate and have an open mind about  
  4. Be aware that non-verbal vibes, as well as inappropriate words, can often create a non-welcoming space  
  5. Supporting the efforts and goals of your female life-family mates and female team counter parts is something that you should do on a regular basis so they reach their potential
  6. Expressing your love, pride, and respect for the females in your space is a sign of strength and equality

— Samantha Pruitt

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