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Last week my friend, E, who I find to be pretty awesome, went out for a run. She hadn’t run in a while. She was pumped. She had found renewed energy and focus. She was happy to be out on the streets, putting one foot in front of the other. She was just finding her groove, battling a hill, when some jackass yelled out and called her a name.
It doesn’t matter what the name was – suffice it to say, it was hurtful and demoralizing. By the end of her run, my friend was alternating between tears and anger.
When I read what had happened I was furious.
On the micro-level, I was furious that someone would belittle my friend, a woman who was working hard to better herself.
But there was a whole other macro-level of furious that boiled up in me. As the parent of a girl with autism, I know that I have become overly-sensitive to the concept of name calling. Words like “retard” make me want to grab the speaker by the shoulders, shake them and then pop ’em in the kisser with a left-cross (and my left-cross is pretty good). I usually take a deep breath, take stock of the situation. If it is the only time I have ever heard this person say it, then I usually let it go, but if it becomes a regular thing, that’s when I kindly ask them to stop. The wife actually wrote a very good post on the topic. You can read it —>HERE<—.
But I digress.
I know in this day and age, it ain’t cool to be PC, and quite honestly, I tend to think that as a society, we tend to over-think things a lot. There are a lot of PC concepts that I just can’t get behind (everybody wins all the time? does that teach anybody anything?). But the truth is, words hurt; words scar. And if you are particularly insecure about certain things, certain words can cut even deeper and leave scars that take a long time to go away.
So when I heard this story, my heart went out to E.
She wrote that it might be a while before she gets out there again with running shoes on. My hope is that she can find her inner duck and let the name calling roll off her back. When she runs, she inspires more people than she knows. She may not be fast – in fact, I think she would be the first person to admit that – but she runs, and through her running and her humor she brings smiles to faces and gets people thinking about health and fitness.
I hope she will Tai Chi the crap out of the hurtful words, turning its energy against itself, turning it into something positive. I hope she gets angry instead of demoralized. I hope she decides to take the power away from the jackass and make it her own. I hope she remembers that running is cleansing and can wash away the dirt people throw at us.
I hope to see you out there running soon E.
You can check out Miss E at – http://fromfat2fab2009.blogspot.com/