Group victim blaming…

Source: Group victim blaming…

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Group victim blaming…

The internet is full of memes meant to shame all different types of people, especially parents.  I think that if you have time to judge other people for who they are and what they choose to do, you probably could use that time to work on yourself and whatever insecurities you have that make you feel the need to pass judgement on to others. That’s just my opinion.

I have a teen daughter. We’ve had a rocky past few months and have gone through a lot. For whatever reason, without her consent, a friend recorded video of her in the bathroom and shared the images with a large group of people. My daughter is 15, so this is essentially, pornography depicting a minor. Not soon after, she tried to commit suicide by overdose and things have been a bit difficult from then on.

She has been in counseling and doing very well lately on her medication. She has been earning things back like usage of her technology. We have had a few bumps, but nothing as severe as the episodes that landed her in inpatient care at a facility. Then comes this weekend, where someone starts sending her ominous messages about how she will ‘ruin her’ and ‘share her nudes’. Suddenly, a boy posts the photos to social media and a group conversation turns to calls of “kill yourself” to my teen daughter and “you should’ve taken more [pills used redacted].”

So, this week, I did the right thing. I consented to press charges against the person who posted the images. This has not turned out well for my daughter, who is being called names at school and told that she is ruining the boy’s life by having him arrested. Other kids have told her that her mother (that’s me) is suing all of these people and posting things with a “#free[the perpetrator]”. This behavior is dangerous. This behavior among a group is ridiculous.

Not only are they literally blaming the victim, they are siding with the person who committed the crime here. They’re also confusing criminal with civil legal proceedings. I haven’t sued anyone. The perpetrator committed a crime and now he may face criminal charges. In a court of law. This isn’t a modern idea where people blame the victims of crimes for somehow causing the crime itself. What is more modern is that people use the internet to say and do horrible things and don’t anticipate consequences.

This is about parents looking at their own kids’ social media accounts and making sure they aren’t using them to hurt someone else. This is about asking other people in your friends or family group to follow them and pay attention to help you catch on. Raising a kid actually does take a village and if you’re so busy judging watching other people raise their kids, why can’t you use that time to offer a helping hand or at least a head’s up?

You can assume what you will about what transpired. You can even assume that I’m in the wrong, but when will we stop saying that someone was asking to be hurt by being present? When can we honestly stop saying that criminals act because their victims somehow lured them into a crime? Do you honestly think that the person who set out to hurt my daughter is sorry or feels any remorse? What if this had been someone in a much worse place and someone lost his/her life over this? Would people still be blaming my daughter if his post caused her suicide? Pressing charges may make someone else think twice before doing something so careless and wrong and I will not stop pursuing what will protect my family and potentially prevent other families from having this experience.

 

Winter is…

…a big dummy head.

That’s right. I said it. While I’m fine with donning layers of gear to stay warm, I don’t like that most of my runs are in the dark and that snow is lingering on the ground on most of my routes. Not only that, but I am coughing, sniffling, and sneezing like crazy. Then, I find myself disinfecting everything when I’m already fastidious about the keeping the house clean. My hands are like paper from constant washing and rewashing.

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Winter reality….

Stop my whining, right? I mean, I didn’t get stuck indoors from a blizzard and I have the means to get warm and out of the cold. I have modern medicine to help with the germs.

I have run outdoors every single day for at least one mile since January 1st of this year. I’ve been out with the wind against what little skin was bare felt like something crashing into my face. I ran in the piles of snow on the sidewalk that were pushed there by plows removing it from the street. I tiptoed along the shiny spots on the road that were possibly ice. I’ve purchased attachments to my shoes called Yak Trax that have spikes and other metal on the bottom to improve my traction. I’m proud of myself.

This is the first winter since I’ve started running that I didn’t take a hiatus for whatever reason. I haven’t made excuses to stop running and I’m reaping the benefits. I haven’t been hit quite as hard with the winter blues as I normally am. I won’t be complaining about how hard starting back up is in the spring. I will be ready to run when the 10k approaches at the end of March. I’m less likely to have too much winter weight gain to deal with when it gets warm again. This is a big deal.

So, while I might not be fond of some of Winter’s lesser qualities, I’m kicking it in the butt and not letting it take me down. I could find just as many things to whine about in the summer, but I’ll admit that I just don’t like being cold. Everyone has their preference and I can get cooled off much more easily than heated up.

That said, training in this weather is helping me in so many ways. I am glad that I am doing it. I have met new people who are fun, interesting, and enjoy running. I ran uphill in the snow feeling the resistance in my legs and the soreness after. I’ve put on my gear and ran when I wanted to just call it a day and go to bed. One day, I ran around the block to do my mile and was the only set of prints in the snow on the sidewalk. The next day, I ran the opposite way around the block and my shoe prints from the previous day were still the only ones there with the exception of a few animal tracks.  My commitment to fitness is stronger than my fear of pain or struggle. It is exercising my mind to be stronger in addition to my body.  So, go ahead and chuckle at my ‘streaking’ because I like to smile about it, too. Think about joining in and completing a month or more of deliberate daily fitness.

Are you getting workouts in to your schedule despite the weather? Do you find it harder because the sun isn’t up yet for your morning run and it’s already gone for your evening ones? Do you have any questions for me? Comment or send me a message! I really appreciate each reader and I’d love feedback!

Keeping it alive

You’d think that I was talking about parenting in the title. Especially since that was probably my main concern when I had my first child. You have a general idea of how to keep another human alive, and you realize that actually goes on much longer than you initially anticipate.

What I was actually referring to in the title was keeping the streak alive. My streak is running at least 1 mile per day every single day. This seems easy in the big scheme of things, but it is January and I live in the Midwest. The temperatures have been lower than frigid and often downright biting cold. I have been running in sub zero wind chills a few times. I limit my time to a mile on the days where the windchill is that low. I cover my skin as much as possible. I use layers and materials that were intended to use in the cold.

The streak has helped me already this month. I’ve had some not so great days with the teenager. One night in particular, she was spewing hateful vitriol at me and at my spouse. I was frustrated and emotionally hurt. It wasn’t the things she said that hurt as much as having to wonder why she was trying so hard to hurt me. It was difficult to have someone I love treat me with so much hatred. Watching someone in the throes of mania and being powerless to help is nearly unbearable. I had plans that night for a social and I couldn’t even think about leaving without tears welling in my eyes. My husband tried to assure me that once I got out and met with people, I’d be okay. I opted to stay home, but I went straight to my room and I put on my running clothes and shoes and I hit the road. I only ran a mile, but in the first couple minutes of my run, the tears were gone. I could feel myself relax and my mind focus away from the anger and the sadness. I came home after my quick run and I felt completely different from when I’d left.

This past week was the first in the training program that I joined as a mentor. I  volunteered to help with either 10k or half marathon. So far, I’ve been helping with 10k and I really enjoy it. I’ve been to 3 group runs so far and I just love spending time with runners. People have amazing stories to tell. I’m impressed by people who just started running and are in a program to do something bigger. I’m amazed that people who have run the distances already are in the program to get better. I’m happy to see people I’ve met before helping mentor the program. The energy is positive and I feel recharged when I’m around such an amazing group. I’m enthusiastic about the upcoming weeks and the goal races. I hope that I do well mentoring because I’ve enjoyed it so far and I hope that the people I interact with can feel how much I enjoy it through what I do and say.

Do you head out in the frosty temps? Do you find yourself reminiscing about summer running?

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, just let me know. Also, if there’s something you think I should write about, drop me a line.

 

 

Oh, so funny…

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My drawing skills have not improved at all…

We all see the memes on our timelines. You know, the ones that make sedentary lifestyles seem like they’re cool and/or funny. “If I’m running, you should run. Because something is chasing me.” I see the humor. I get a good laugh out of them once in awhile. I mean, I used to nod along with many of them. BUT, here’s the thing: If you can show pride in your lack of exercise, I can show pride in my exercise habits. I like to eat snap peas and drink lots of water. It doesn’t make me sad. I also like candy and chocolate. I’m not ashamed of my healthy lifestyle and there’s really no reason to be.

I’ve found that since I’ve started eating better and regularly exercising, I have more energy. Not only do I feel less tired through the day, I sleep better at night because I’ve used up the energy I consumed. My depression has been easier to deal with since I’ve chosen a healthier lifestyle. I’m not suddenly cured. I have the same ups and downs. I have a new tool to deal with it. I can renew some of my energy through physical activity.

It is all about lifestyle choices when you’re looking into whether you want to be active or sedentary. It comes down to how much you’re willing to try. Nobody who works out is trying to convert everyone they meet into a runner, weight lifter, or professional belly dancer. The person trying to get you to be healthy probably cares enough to want you to be around a little longer. They might even just want you to feel the happiness they feel when they work out. They may even want someone to be their buddy so you can relate to each other with this experience.

So, it is funny to maybe talk about how much we enjoy our lazy time, but wouldn’t it be more fun if the lazy time was in between lots of activity?  I mean, if you’re up and running, you really are lapping everyone on the couch. That’s funny, too!

Tonight is the first session of the 10k/Half Marathon training program I’m involved with as a mentor. For the participants, I honestly hope become converts that love to run in all of the elements. I at least hope they get to their goals and realize the pride that goes along with their choice to pursue a goal despite the cold weather and mental challenges that go along with running new distances. I’m psyched to be involved. Maybe someone in my group will come up with some new, hilarious meme one day about running in the cold or something that people like us can relate to and laugh in agreement. Until then, we’ll see your sitting and raise you a nice warm up.

 

 

Runners are crazy…

Winter Warriors program ends tonight and it hasn’t gotten into the teens in temperatures for the duration of the program. This seems like a win, and it is. With the exception of one minor thing. Next week, I start a 12 week program mentoring people to run a half marathon. I was so moved by the help I got to run my half marathon, I had to pass on the good fortune. So I’m setting aside my training goals (but not my streaking) for 12 weeks to focus on the goals of other runners. This is going to be really fun, and really cold. I am no polar bear, but I’m somehow dedicating 12 weeks to at least one long outdoor run per week. We’ll be running outside during the most frigid months here in the Midwest. I voluntarily signed up to do it.

I’m looking at it as an opportunity. I am going to get other people to the finish line of a half marathon. We’re going to freeze together and it is going to be both ugly and awesome. Runners know that it isn’t often pretty. Our noses run, we sweat, get underpants wedged in our butts, belly aches and body aches that we can’t imagine where they came from, and we somehow manage to cheerfully greet each other on our training runs. So, runners are a bit crazy. We’re crazy in a good way, though.

I am excited to pass on some of the things I’ve learned in my past 2 years of running and many of the things I learned last year during training. As a group, we did stretching before and after our training runs. I learned important techniques in catching my breath and preventing stiffness during my run. Most people are unaware of how effective dropping your shoulders and leaning very slightly at the waist can be during a run. We have an advantage of working with a shoe and apparel store for our training. We get discount days and they have the things we need for fending off Jack Frost’s bite. Also, when you’re on a long run, a buddy can be just what you need to keep going when your mind is saying you’re done.

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Kind of like this….

I think the only point that makes me nervous is that it is so bitterly cold in January and February. When I went on my run last night, the wind was blowing right in my face and it was chilly.  I think that the benefits of getting out, running, and crushing 13.1 miles will be worth the time spent bundling up cursing the wind. I also think being part of bringing other people on the longest runs they’ve ever done will be an experience to relish.

Are you running outside? Have you brought your workout indoors? Do you have a winter running tip or trick?

 

Welcome to 2016

Just in case nobody has told you, Happy New Year! I’m not one to assume that life suddenly changes with the completion of a rotation around the sun. It is nice to have a way to track where in time things happened, though. Also, I like to be able to say that by a certain place in time, I’ll accomplish something. It gives me things to look forward to, which is important for anyone, but especially for someone with depression.

When you’re depressed, you don’t see past the darkness. People tell you to just be happy and you begin to feel angry that you can’t just be happy like they say. It gets hard to want to keep moving at all. If you can set your sights on something that you can accomplish, the steps you take toward the goal can be what saves you. The steps can often be the distraction you need to pull through. It also gives you some hope for your worst days. When you think that there’s nothing to go on for, you have to go on because you haven’t hit a milestone yet. I’ve often helped myself out of hopelessness by  reminding myself that I haven’t run more than 13.1 miles yet. I’ve never done a full marathon. I haven’t gotten my sub 30 minute 5k. I HAVE to do that first!!!

Last year, my goal was to run a half marathon. I didn’t make a resolution. I just casually mentioned ahead of the first that it was my intention. Then, I held myself to it as if I’d promised to do something for someone else. It worked. Now, I’m ready to tackle more races and maybe try new events and a greater distance.

Last Tuesday, I broke a record for myself. I tripped and fell on a run for the first time since I’ve been running. It was unpleasant. I put a hole in my running glove. I busted my elbow and bruised my leg. I laughed at myself. There were sticks everywhere from ice and wind that we had on Monday. I tripped on a very small stick in the middle of the road. Thankfully, I was running in a group, so I was able to talk with someone after I got up and brushed off the road grime.

My teen daughter came home on 12/30, so she was able to celebrate the New Year at home with the family. Things have been far from perfect. In fact, it has been a frustrating and often upsetting experience each time we’ve brought her home recently. We’re expected to react in a way that can only be described as clinically to outbursts, negativity, and disagreement. If in a situation where people are emotionally charged, I feel we are asked to disregard our emotions in order to save the feelings of the teen. This creates a situation where mom and dad aren’t respected because we aren’t seen as human. It isn’t working out well, but it isn’t easy to convince someone to stop hurting you when they don’t think they are.

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This is me, except really thin, streaking.

I’ve made an agreement with myself to start a running streak where I’ll deliberately run at least 1 mile a day (or walk if I must). I’ve seen the forecast and I’m wondering why I would make myself do something so crazy. I’m hoping that it’ll work out in my favor that I’ve said I’ll do it already, so now I’m stuck with it. (BUT it’s SO COLD!!!)  It isn’t too late to “streak” with me. You can use whatever means you want to do it. I just don’t have a gym membership or a treadmill, so it’ll have to be outdoors unless I head to the indoor track across town.  I’m ready! I think…

I hope to be able to make my body look the way I want it to. Some days, I actually feel like I’m pretty close. Then, there are the other days where I wonder why I don’t get extensive plastic surgery. Most days fall somewhere in between. So maybe instead of carving out the body I love, I could love my body first.

So that’s just about all I have to say for now. I’ll be starting training again soon, so I’ll have even more adventures in running. My Winter Warriors is almost over and I’m hoping I can keep working out.

I hope you have some goals in mind and that you’re able to follow through on them. Please feel free to share your goal and timeline in the comments!