Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Thoughts On the Campaign

For the past month or so, I have been ruminating over the campaign vitriol. The thoughts keep going 'round and 'round, and when they do, I know it's time to get them out. So, while this blog is usually about running in some way, it's also about me and my life, and so here it is...

I'm sad.

I have read the posts and tweets of both Republican and Democratic Facebook friends over the past months with a growing sense of unease. Each side fights with the desperation of stray dogs attacking a grimy bone in a back-alley dumpster. The growling, snarking, and biting has gotten to be too much for me to bear. It breaks my heart. I don't want this in my life anymore.

I'm sad that "Hope and Change" turned into something else. I wanted it to work out, I really did. Frankly, what choice did I have? Even though Obama was not my candidate of choice, I was proud that our country had elected an African-American president. I hoped he would bring our country together. But I haven't seen this happen, and I grieve for America. Our country is more polarized now than right before the Civil War, in my opinion. I have seen civility fall by the wayside when discussing issues on social media. The bitterness and hate with which people speak make me heartsick.

When people post things like, "Thank God Jesus wasn't a conservative Republican," I despair. I feel like a little compassion and kindness have been sucked out of the world. I'm bleak inside. Is this really what we have stooped to now, daring to label Jesus as belonging to one party or the other? The Love that died for us ALL?  Is this what the campaign has done -- driven us against each other in the most fundamental of ways? What has happened to loving each other as ourselves? The greatest of these is love?

I read an article today that claimed if Obama is defeated, there will be riots all over the country. Really? Am I that naive?? It listed things we need to stockpile, including guns. Is this what our country has come to? That we can't have an election without people threatening each other -- or even worse -- killing each other?? I see and feel the hatred and bitterness every day on Facebook and Twitter, and I've got the feeling "someone"  is eating it up, and it ain't Jesus, friends.

When this election is over, one side will be victorious and the other defeated, but what we will be left with -- in the end -- is each other. If we are viewing someone as an "enemy" during the campaign just because of their political affiliation, once the election is over, how will we go back to being friends? How will we once again treat each other with respect and dignity? I have tried very hard to separate politics from my social media friendships -- I don't consider anyone "bad" because they belong to the "other" party. But I have been attacked numerous times, had my character questioned, was threatened with ending a friendship, have been called numerous names...and I try to forgive, but I will say, it is  hard to forget. I struggle with this. What drew us into the friendship in the first place? We saw something good in a person...and we built upon that...but what has happened now? I am the same person I was before the campaign, and so are you, and can't we remember that above all else?

Lest you think I have climbed on my high horse with my bayonet pointed at the other side, I have made posts about candidates or parties that in, retrospect, I'm not proud of, either. I went back shortly after posting and deleted some of them. Some things were unfair (based solely on opinions), and others -- while factworthy -- caused so much strife it wasn't worth it to me.

Which has had me thinking....

About a month or so ago, I made the decision that I would only post those statements based in fact. But today, I have decided:  I am not going to post any more political statuses, nor reply to any.  I know it's late in the game to come to this realization, but I subscribe to the "better late than never" maxim.  I try hard (not always succeeding, I confess) to live my life based on my beliefs, both religious and personal (to me they're the same), and one of the reasons I started up my blog and Facebook page was to try to be a light in the darkness of negativity out there. These political games play into negative forces, in my opinion, and I don't want to be contributing to anything like that. I hear the Godvoice telling me to stop, to leave all this political posting, and get out of it. I have to listen.

As we have said to each other on many occasions, we have our minds made up most of the time and we aren't going to change each others'. AND if you are still undecided at this late date, you should have a lot more on your mind to figure out than to read my posts.

I'm still sad. I think social media could be a wonderful forum to exchange ideas and opinions in a civil way. I love learning new concepts and broadening my finite brain. I love to hear WHY people have the opinions, likes and dislikes that they have. I love the repartee when spirited debates are rolling quickly and each side is on its toes, flinging facts at each other. That is fun. That is educational. That enlightens me. That is hope, to me, that we can hold different positions but still respect each other and in the end, deepen our friendship from a place that we couldn't have otherwise.

Since that's not happening, I am bowing out. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spitting in the Face of Fear

I don't know what possessed me.

In a moment of delirious insanity, one of my multiple personalities, AthletiMom,  must have decided that I was perfectly capable of doing a Mud and Obstacle Run. AthletiMom proceeded to register me and then posted an open invitation on Facebook for everyone to join me. A few hardy souls took the bait.

Of course, after accomplishing this, AthletiMom turned tail and ran, not to be seen even once during the weeks leading up to the race.


I was left during that time with a --no, not a niggling fear -- but a giant, colossal, massive, SCREAMING, WIGGLING ALIEN LIFE FORM WOOLIE WORM OF FEAR that feasted on my insecurities like the Walking Dead and grew more drunken and obese by the day. What had I been thinking? I am not a Marine!! I have never done a pull up in my entire life. I RUN. That's all I do. I don't do drills, I don't do Jillian Michaels, I don't even do Zumba, for Pete's sake!! I put on some shoes and go run around my neighborhood. What in the world made me think I could do this race??
                       My fear surprised me by looking like Jabba the Hutt.

I have no answers for that. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

If not for the ladies who said they were going to run it with me, the sniveling coward in me (who occupies my body most of the time) would have backed out. But I didn't want to let them down, and more importantly, I really, really wanted to meet Kim McKinney, Joanie Ashley and Donna Klim in person. We were friends on  Facebook and I absolutely wanted to spend a fun weekend in Atlanta with them.

But a mere few days before the race, I received my confirmation email from the friendly folks at the Merrill Down and Dirty organization and saw a link to the obstacles. I'd never looked at them before. (I know, I know, I  tend to jump into things without thinking them through all the way.) Prior to registration, I had been soothed with the phrase that the race was for people at all fitness levels, and the few photos I'd looked at seemed fun. Muddy, but fun.

Did you hear me screaming??


One obstacle was an extremely tall rock climbing wall. Another was a slanted slippery wall that you pulled yourself over by ropes. There was a really steep inflatable slide. And a host of other equally intimidating obstacles.

I'll admit it -- I was terrified.

But I was determined to spit in the face of my fear. Even though we agreed we were just going to do it for fun, and we could go around obstacles that were too difficult, I knew me -- I would never do that. Give me a challenge and I will die trying to succeed.

(Hmmmmm, maybe not the mindset you want when you're a 53 year old, out of shape, weekend warrior with an irregular heartbeat.)

Anyway, race day dawned cool and overcast -- perfect running weather. My friend Laura Gallagher had agreed to come along with me to cheer and take photos. We also met up with my college roommate, Ruth Thomas, another photographer extraordinaire.

Our group, which also included Donna's and Joanie's sons, waited impatiently in the corral for our wave to begin. And then, we were off. Bounding like deer over rock and rill, we tackled each obstacle like mad dogs. I know I'm mixing metaphors here, but hey, one minute we were fleet of feet and the next we were rabid, slobbering, howling, teeth-baring maniacs. Oh wait, that was during the cold shower afterward.

Anyway, it turned out to be more fun than I could ever have imagined. I did things I never thought I could. So THERE, fear!!! Hock-tui!! And I can't wait to run another.

These photos tell it all, I think.

                       Before: Myself, Kim, Justin, Donna, Joanie, and Brandon                                  

                                                Me, looking good from behind, lol!
                                                 Made it over!
                               Definitely down and dirty. I think this is where I spit.
                                        My muddy buddy!!
                                 The aftermath....

And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance....

I hope you mud run.