Define yourself.  After taking a considerable amount of sociology and psychology classes in college you would think this would be a much easier task.  I don't know how many times I had to define the difference between authentic and fictional self.

The authentic self is who you are at your absolute core; the real, true genuine substance of who you are.  Your authentic self isn't defined by your job, function or role.  It is the sum of your skills, talents and wisdom.  Your fictional self is the person you become when you try to fill the roles your family and friends expect you to.  Essentially it's the you the world wants you to be.

I'm beginning to realize that I live my life as my fictional self: employee, public figure, girlfriend, daughter, friend. I invest a lot of time and energy into filling those roles to make other people happy.  But who am I at my core?

Photo via Idaho Sports Pics

I'm a runner.

I've been asked countless times why I run.  The truth is if you have to ask, you'll never quite understand but I'll try my best to explain it.  I believe Oprah was training for the Chicago marathon when she said "Running is the greatest metaphor for life.  You get out of it what you put in to it."

I ended up running because I didn't excel at anything else athletically.  I was bad when I started.  Heck, I couldn't finish the 2 mile middle school course without walking.  It took my dad bribing me with $20 to make me want to hit that goal.  I'm sure some of you will consider that questionable parenting, but it helped me set my first running goal and after that it was a waterfall of goals.  Make varsity.  Place at districts.  Make the "A" 4x800 relay team.  Go to the State meet.

As I got older (and inevitably more injured) those goals changed since I just wasn't fast anymore.  Run 8 miles.  Finish a half marathon.  Finish a marathon.  I was able to reach those goals because of me and only me.  The beauty in running is that other people's opinions don't matter.  It's not a popularity contest.  It's you against the clock or you against the distance.  You either run the time or you don't.  I get such a high from seeing how far I can push my body and achieving those goals.  The results aren't handed to me, I worked hard for them and I'm proud of them.

To me, it's been such a part of my life for the last 15 years that it's second nature but I hope that seeing my posts about running encourages other people to give it a try.  It's never too late to start to start seeing what YOU can achieve.  You don't have to win age group awards in your local road race to be a runner.  Getting off the couch, lacing up your running shoes and taking those first steps is already a personal win if you've never done it before.  I'm so flattered and so much more interested in other people's running stories than my own.  It's a warm fuzzy if they say they started or tried harder because of me.

Michelle Heart/TSM Boise

I'm Passionate About Charities

Someone suggested that I volunteered to help at charity events because I like to be in the spotlight in front of people and I'm so taken a back by that.  The charities I support, specifically the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Girls On The Run, have special meaning to me.  I got involved in LLS through their Team in Training program where you train for an endurance event while fundraising for blood cancer research.  I did it in honor of an alumni from my high school who survived lymphoma and went on to defy the odds by competing in the US Olympic trials in the Shot Put months after treatment.  I did it in memory of my Great Uncle Joe, who short of my parents, was the person in my family most interested in me doing radio as a career.  Since completing my season I've encountered the inspirational stories of other cancer survivors in the Treasure Valley and watched a best friend from high school's husband battle blood cancer from afar.  I couldn't be there in Ohio to offer any support, but if I could use my position as a public figure to inspire fundraising locally I knew that the money raised would go toward developing the drugs and treatment to help keep him alive.

Girls On The Run is program for girls in grades 3-5. Their goal is to help the girls develop healthy bodies, minds and relationships.  At the end of their 10 week program, they run a non-competitive 5K and move on with skills for making smart eating choices, saying no to drugs/alcohol and standing up to bullying.  When I was picked on growing up running track and cross country helped me feel more confident about myself.  I wish I had had access to something like Girls On The Run before I was in high school.  It's such a positive environment that I'll do whatever I can to help make it successful!

Photo via Idaho Wine Run

I'm Unapologetically A Nerd

I spent years trying to fit in with the cool kids, trying to be the hot girl and trying to be society's definition of desirable.  The truth is that's just not me.  I'm a nerd.  I find pleasure in the things I love and am tired of feeling like I have to hide those parts of myself to be what others want me to be.  I'm a huge college football fan so you're going to go deaf sitting next to me at a BSU game, and if we're watching a game on TV in public?  Don't expect me to hold back.  Same goes for Steelheads hockey.  My dad is a huge Boston Bruins fan so I grew up on hockey.  That might not be something your average 27 year old female is interested in but whatever.  I love old school video games.  I'll kick your butt at Mario Kart 64 and I have no problem spending a date night at Space Bar or Amsterdam playing PacMan, Dig Dug or Frogger.  I love beer and it's not because I have a drinking problem.  I've done the World Beer Tour at Old Chicago 2.5 times and have enjoyed getting to know the difference between styles of craft beer, the story behind the local beers and developing my personal preferences.  Some people think that's nerdy, but when you ask for a beer recommendation, I'm the first one to throw several at you.  I've got many more quirky parts of my personality and every single one of them makes me, me.  I don't want anyone in my life who can't respect that and love me for them.

Michelle Heart/TSM Boise

Music Is My Life Blood

Whether people want to believe it or not, I'm a musician.  I've played the piano since 1st grade and cello since 5th grade.  I've got 8 years of orchestra under my belt.  I played with a classical string orchestra, pit orchestra for musical, our high school's nationally acclaimed symphony orchestra and a wedding quartet for my church.  At 27, I'm so busy with my career and other hobbies that I don't get to spend enough time with my instruments but when I do...I get lost in it.  I can sit and play the hell out of some Kelly Clarkson on my keyboard without realizing you walked in the room.  And there's something about running my fingers up and down the fingerboard of my cello that just takes me to another place.  I get lost in the music.

And it isn't just the music I play, it's the music I listen to as well.  I remember listening to the radio CONSTANTLY as a kid and memorizing the words to my favorite songs.  I'd perform them in the shower like I was performing them in concert.  As I got older I fell in love with three of my favorite artists: OAR, Matt Nathanson and Eric Church.  Their lyrics are so beautifully written and often can explain the way I'm feeling better than I can put into words.  Their words are essentially the soundtrack to my life.  The concept that every song is the sound track to somebody's life is EXACTLY why I got into radio.  If I can introduce you to a new song that helps you through something or inspires you to be great, I feel like I've done something great.

Plus I like to dance...even though I'm really bad at it!

I'm also loyal to the point it hurts sometimes.  I constantly question if I know how to be a successful adult.  I try standing by the beliefs and morals I was raised with but sometime struggle with making the right decision.  And I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my career with the happy ending I eventually want to have one day.

So, who do you think you are?