Girl on Fire: Achievement is a dream itself

Diva Dash[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, September 19, 2013]

My feet hit the concrete hard as I ran past a Japanese garden and gazebo overlooking the Des Moines River, then ran up to a bridge crossing the water.

The breeze cooled me off while I ran in the Diva Dash 5K in Des Moines over the weekend. I occasionally saw my mom, sister and aunt on the path, and waved at them if we passed each other.

I loved running the 5K, and even got a sparkling medal from it, but the coolest thing about the Diva Dash wasn’t the face paint, or the temporary pink hair dye. It was the theme of the race.

The Diva Dash was a strictly female 5K, and the bridge we ran over was dedicated to all “women of achievement.” The bridge is called the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge, and is part of the Principal Riverwalk near the capitol building.

I smiled when I saw the sign at the bridge. It really hit home with me, because I am a woman, and I’m trying to achieve something.

Looking at Miss America’s crowning Sunday, I’m disgusted by the reactions of so many people. Many people called Nina Davuluri an Arab and terrorist, despite the fact she was born in New York to Indian parents.

Even though I never want to stand in front of a crowd of millions in a bikini to earn a crown, I applaud those women. They have all accomplished something amazing in their lifetimes. Originally Miss New York, Davuluri is planning to apply to medical school. Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, is in the military. Miss Iowa, Nicole Kelly of Keokuk, has a goal of earning a master’s degree in theater management.

I want to achieve something in my life, just as these women have. Miss America may not be high on someone’s list for “achievement,” but it’s something. It gives the women the power to speak out for what they believe in and create ripples to start something.

I never expected the Diva Dash to become so personal to me. Three miles of cool air, pounding music, robin’s egg blue sky and water sparkling like diamonds, and I never thought I would be thinking more about what I wanted to do with my life at that point than I had in the past 10 months.

I’ve always felt, living in a small town all my life, I would leave, get a job at some high-rise publishing company in some city that houses hundreds of thousands of people, make friends, climb the social and career ladder and get married. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize how much work a dream like that actually takes.

That’s my dream: to achieve something. I want to succeed in what I set my mind to. I want to create something good, something lasting, so people will appreciate life and what it has to offer. That’s what I want to do, my dream, to achieve something.

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