#YesAllWomen

By this point, if you’ve been on the internet, I’m sure you’ve heard about the shootings in Isla Vista, California. I’m sure you’ve heard of the reasons behind all this stemming from a man’s (and I use that word loosely) opinion that he was entitled to a girlfriend and attention from other women.

And hopefully by now you’ve heard of the hashtag on Twitter, #YesAllWomen.

There will be people who are able to and will speak about this movement, about this hashtag far better than I could. There will be those who are able to put words together to eloquently and adequately express just why this is important. I’ll leave that to them.

But I have to say something about this.

Because it is important. Because all women at one point of another have been on the receiving end of harassment, of judgment because of their gender, of gas-lighting from someone who thinks they’re reactions are “too emotional” and “probably due to that time of the month.”

What I feel is nothing new, it’s nothing unique. And yet it is still dismissed so easily by so many.

#YesAllWomen because my pre-dawn run on Tuesday was filled with anxiety and a conscious effort to not give 100% in case I needed to get away from someone.

#YesAllWomen because ignoring catcalls on the street somehow makes ME the bitch, makes ME the one in the wrong.

#YesAllWomen because I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I haven’t been raped.

#YesAllWomen because I don’t go running after dark unless my fiance is with me. Because I look every single man I pass in the face and note his clothing in case I need to identify someone later. Because I am uncomfortable running in just a sports bra in case someone feels it’s an invitation.

#YesAllWomen because I am terrified to have a daughter for fear of the type of world she’d have to grow up in.

#YesAllWomen because of the number of times I’ve been asked to “prove” how much of a fan I am of sports or my team or whatever just because I’m a girl.

#YesAllWomen because of the fact that I love kickboxing not just because of the workout, but because it taught me how to throw a good punch. Just in case.

#YesAllWomen because I have these “just in case”s.

#YesAllWomen because explanations of spending two years in a relationship with someone who so damaged me mentally and emotionally that I STILL, ten years later, find myself reacting strongly to certain things is still met with “Well, he was just young and stupid then” and “Why didn’t you just break up with him?”

#YesAllWomen because it shouldn’t be a surprise or unique to be with someone who validates every feeling I have.

#YesAllWomen because my no should be good enough and shouldn’t be an invitation to call me a bitch or try to persuade me to say yes. Because my engagement ring shouldn’t be more of a reason for someone to back off than just me saying “I’m not interested.”

#YesAllWomen because the “friend zone” is bullshit. Because I should never have to read about men I respect saying that being with a jerk boyfriend is a girl’s fault for having “friend-zoned” all the nice guys. Because a woman has the right to say no for whatever reason.

#YesAllWomen because no should always mean no.

#YesAllWomen because we are people too. We’re not just someone’s wife or mother or girlfriend or daughter or niece. We are people, and we’re worthy of respect. We should be able to feel safe at all times because we are human beings, not because we’re in some way related to a man.

I am tired of having to explain that my being a feminist does not mean I hate men, but that it means I would like to be seen as equal. I’d like to be seen as more than my physical attributes. I’d like to be seen as a successful scientist and a runner and a sports fan WITHOUT the label of “female” before it. Because it shouldn’t matter that I’m a woman.

I am tired of learning about the abuse, physical and mental, that my loved ones have been put through. I am tired of the implication that somehow they deserved it or were asking for it or were somehow at fault themselves.

I am tired of misogyny and tired of the attitude that as a woman I am somehow “lesser.”

I am just tired.

#YesAllWomen

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I’m Just a Girl

I mentioned last time that running and I are at an odd place, and it’s been that way since before the GO! half. It’s not like this is the first time it’s happened. I believe that’s very well documented right here.

This time is turning around differently though.

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to take part in the Girls on the Run 5k. The organization “[P]rovides pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences.” To be honest, I’m surprised it took me so long to even run one. That’s a philosophy I can absolutely support.

gotr

Admittedly, the reason that I ran this race was because a 5k fit into my training plan for Ragnar, and the start line was six blocks from my apartment. It’s very difficult to not run races that close to my apartment (bonus of living downtown).

And yet this race became my favorite race.

You see, these girls of all colors from all walks of life showed up on that bright and sunny Saturday morning for the same reason. To run. To finish what they’d been working so hard towards. To prove to themselves and everyone else that “Can’t” wasn’t an option.

The words I heard the most along the race course were “Finish Strong.” Not “fast.” Not “before everyone else.” Strong.

That’s what running’s all about, isn’t it? I mean, that’s what LIFE is all about.

Running with these girls and parents and coaches and siblings and the general public just out to support them has brought me to tears on more than one occasion. It was precisely the reminder that I needed for why I go out and put my muscles and my body through hell and back.

When the coach running beside me mentioned to her girl, “It’s just a hill, we’ll go steady all the way to the top,” it was a reminder that so much of this is mental. So many times it’s not a body shutting down but a mental refusal to go any further. I needed that reminder that sometimes the difficulty of a race is all in my head. I can get to the top. I can make it further than I ever thought. With Ragnar less than a month away, holy moly I needed that.

There were the parents holding on to the hands of their daughters as the girls got tired, as the race became more difficult. It was a reminder that even though I’m an adult myself, there will always be a parent there to support me through the hard times and hold my hand if I need it.

The finish line was packed on both sides with supporters, almost more than were at the finish line of the last half marathon. Sometimes even strangers can be proud of you. If someone who doesn’t even know you can be proud of you, you can absolutely be proud of yourself.

And then there were the two girls who couldn’t have been more than ten. One was hurt somehow, limping a little bit, yet the finish line was only a tenth of a mile away. The friend had her arm around her, speaking words of encouragement into her ear. “You can do it, we’re almost there. I know it hurts, but just a little farther.” If I wasn’t already choked up that close to the finish line (I was), this did me in entirely. Sometimes you need a reminder that things can be hard, and you can be hurting, but if you’re lucky you’ll have a friend who will push you to your limits and be there for you every step of the way. Or at least make you actually run the last mile of the longest half marathon of your life.

Walking away from that finish line, away from the continuous cheers of support and the smiles of pride on the faces of the girls, I found myself reinvigorated. This was everything I needed to get out of my funk.

Yes, sometimes running is hard, but it is worth it. It is worth it to have a sense of pride in yourself, to have a healthy outlet for stress and frustration.

It is worth the aches and pains and blisters and on some days flat out exhaustion.

It is worth it to feel like we can do whatever we set our minds to.

It is worth it to feel strong. To finish strong.

To be strong.

To be a girl on the run.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Well, it’s official.

princess

In just eight short months I’ll be heading back to Orlando to run through some Disney parks. This time there will be quite a few more people and definitely fewer miles.

Kind of.

I’ll be short by 7 miles or so. Basically the same amount I walked in January. Works for me.

10k Saturday, half marathon Sunday, and the whole weekend with some absolutely incredible ladies!

I can’t wait!!!

 

Check out some of those awesome ladies!!! Lo, Kelly, and Angela.

It’s Been One Week

I ran a half marathon yesterday. Today I didn’t go into work. Not because I need to recover from the race, but because I need to recover from this week.

Well, the last week and three days.

Last Friday my girl Steph flew into town. Since then my budget and liver have both taken the most severe of beatings.

Let’s recap! I can’t believe how long this is going to be.

Friday was the final Blues home game, where we celebrated Steph’s birthday and her arrival into town, met up with bunches of fun peoples, and just enjoyed the evening.

Saturday was a Blues meetup for the final game of the season, some spectacular company, an unexpected introduction to a boy, and several rounds of delicious, delicious beers.

Sunday, being Easter, I actually spent down with some of my family, who are awesome, and then there was an unexpected late night ice cream date (!!!!). Yep, a date. I’ll call him Goalie Cop, since he is both of those things.

Monday I met up with my marathon girls for beers and to watch the Cardinals game, and we sat around laughing and drinking and joking about just how poorly all of us were going to do on this race, given how much all of us had slacked off on our training.

Tuesday two of those marathon girls came lifting with me. That’s right. We actually did work out. Go figure, right? But then we had cocktails and watched Goon, and we spread the love of the movie to Goalie Cop.

Wednesday was another date night (!!!!) followed by a meet up for the first games of the NHL playoffs, which kept all of us out late. Thanks West Coast. Thanks a lot.

That’s when shit starts to get crazy.

Thursday was round one, game one for the Blues playoffs. It was the first playoff game of any kind I had ever been to, and guys? I love playoff games. So very much. After the game, the marathon girls (sans one) and I went to a bar where it was ladies’ night and successfully killed 17 martinis between the three of us. No big deal.

Friday was the Cardinals Home Opener with April, which was followed by too many Irish Carbombs at the bar after, but I got to meet Miranda (WHICH WAS AWESOME) and seriously, even though we stood in the rain for hours, it was all so worth it.

Saturday led to some traipsing around the city looking for appropriate balloons and naps, but then more tailgating and the second Blues game of the weekend.

Yes, those are tall boys.

We did great and actually went home and to bed that night. Go us, right?

Sunday we got up far too early and went out for marathoning. Steph and I realized that we had incorrectly thought the race started at 730am. Nope. 700. At least we were there on time. The race itself was ok. I ran with Steph, who was dealing with stress fracture issues, so we didn’t finish at a time I’d expected, but I’m ok with it. We spent the entire race discussing hockey and quoting Cool Runnings, which was thoroughly entertaining to those around us. Now, however, it’s time to focus on Ragnar.

Highlights of the race? Around mile eight and a half, running through the SLU campus, Steph and I at the same time started batting at each other. Why? Because standing on the side of the road were Blues captain David BaCkes and goalie Brian Elliott. We definitely yelled “Let’s go Blues!” at them and got in return some head nods, waves, and smiles. Being that I’ve loved BaCkes for just about forever, I swooned a bit. Running while going weak in the knees is difficult.

AND THEN. Then there was Mile Nine. The bestest mile in all the land. Not only were we floating because of having just seen two Blues, but then we got to the Darth Vader balloon, under which April, one of her friends from grad school, and Goalie Cop were standing to hand us frosty Budweisers. Yeah, we had a beer stop during our run. Best. Idea. Ever. Mile Nine was a good mile.

After the race there was the delicious lunching, the epic napping, and the staying up far too late to watch West Coast playoff hockey games.

And now here I am. Sitting at home, having done just about nothing productive (besides taking Steph to the airport). It’s noon.

I am exhausted and swooning my ass off and wondering just how much of my budget I’ve trashed this week and already missing Steph and wishing April could have stayed longer and finding myself beyond fucking hopeful about this guy. I will elaborate later as I don’t want to jinx this, but allow me to just say quickly that I don’t think this one’s going anywhere any time soon. Not if I have anything to do with it, anyway.

Phew. The upcoming week seems almost boring in comparison to the last.

Until Friday, when I head up to Chicago with April for a reunion with the girls we went to Vegas with last year.

Shit shows. I’m getting really good at them.

Life is really fucking good.

Don’t Hate Me Cause I’m Beautiful

Within the past few days, a couple articles have come out that have caused some tremendous backlash against the author. The U.K.’s Mail Online (admittedly not the most reputable of news sources, and quite possibly filled with inane garbage) published two articles written by a woman named Samantha Brick.

In her first article, Brick laments just how difficult her life has been when dealing with other women because of her looks. She details the ways her life has been positively impacted (getting stuff, attention from men, a general ease of life), but then continues on to describe the “fact” that all women she come in contact with essentially hate her because she’s beautiful, a feeling she states lies entirely in jealousy. She peppered photos of herself throughout this entire article.

I’m sure you can imagine the backlash, and most of it was attacks on her physical appearance.

Just a day later she posted a second article that, in a nutshell, says, “See? I told you.”

This whole debacle (she was discussed on Good Morning, America today, from what I hear) has been incredibly thought-provoking for me.

I have absolutely no issue with a woman being confident in her looks. I think it’s incredible if she can stand in up in the wake of the media onslaught of what is considered beautiful and STILL believe she is gorgeous. Having that self-confidence makes a woman more attractive to me.

What I find off-putting is her sense of arrogance, entitlement, and an over-arching assumption that just because someone is being a bitch to her is because of the way she looks, or if a man does something for her it’s because he thinks she’s hot. That type of attitude is incredibly unattractive. Not only that, but there is a certain air of “if this doesn’t happen to you, obviously I’m prettier than you,” as though physical appearance is a competition among any and all women.

I don’t think so, Tim.

It seems as though she’s failing to realize that beauty is one of the most subjective qualities out there. I think Olivia Wilde is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I know multiple people who disagree with me. Brick saying that all women dislike her because they all think she’s too pretty is such a blanket statement that it indicates a lack of awareness about how people in general view things.

From my own point of view, I know that there are people who find me attractive, having been told so (which, I will admit, is an ego boost). I also know that there are people who will disagree with that sentiment. Honestly? It doesn’t matter. How I view myself is in no way related to how others view me, and how I view myself can change from day to day.

My friends would say the same about themselves (and some did this morning when I asked them what they thought about this topic).

The thing is, my female friends are incredibly beautiful. I, as they say, roll with pretty bitches. They can walk into a room and instantly command attention. You know what, though?

They are compassionate and down to earth and friendly and loyal and absolutely hilarious.  They are confident and well-spoken. They are well-liked by women AND men because they aren’t stuck up, they aren’t self-centered, and they aren’t treating any outing we all have together as a competition over who can get the most free drinks from guys or who can intimidate the most women.

Maybe Brick needs to be more aware that her attitude, the self-serving way she views the world might be why women dislike her. It could possibly be that she seems to sneer down upon those she considers less attractive. I find her unattractive due to her arrogance and what seems like an unwillingness to even consider the possibility of other reasons she’s treated poorly.

I will say, though, this type of thing makes me incredibly grateful for the awesome friends I do have. They truly are incredible.