March 9, 2011

Running: my fight against negativity

In lieu of International Woman's Day yesterday, I have a rant. I don't usually rant alot, unless it's something I feel strongly about. And this is something.

I was watching the Today Show Monday morning, and was lucky enough to catch a performance by Avril Lavigne. And I say lucky, because it reminded me how much I hope my own writing and own life can affect women positively someday.
Now, several years back when I was in high school, there was a time when I really loved the punk pop-rocker. But that only lasted a year or two, as most fleeting loves do when you are young. On Monday, she performed her new single entitled "What the Hell." I'll admit, I was curious to see what this song was about, but once she started singing, I was in awe. And that's a bad awe.
Essentially, the song is about a boyfriend who is still in love with her and wants her to stay, but she would rather mess around with his friends. In fact she sings, "You're on your knees / Begging please / Stay with me /But honestly /I just need to be a little crazy .../ All my life I've been good but now, woah, I'm thinking what the hell / All I want is to mess around and I don't really care about /If you love me, if you hate me, you can't save me, baby, baby /All my life I've been good but now, whoa, what the hell."

WHAT kind of message is this sending to young girls today? That it's ok to be good for a certain amount of time and then suddenly, it doesn't matter? Go ahead and mess around with lots and lots of boys and don't even think about the consequences: sex before marriage and a hurting heart don't matter. Let alone the risk of STD's and pregnancies? SERIOUSLY? I mean, I am still a newlywed and children are not in our future anytime soon, but sometimes I think I don't even want to bring kids into this world, let alone a girl because of all the negativity and the way being "good" or a Christian means you're a dud or a loser or something negative. I just HATE the way the world looks at life, and that if you aren't rich enough or pretty enough or skinny enough or won't put out, you aren't someone.
That's my rant. I'm still in shock.

I just, I hurt for the world a lot. Especialy young girls. I know that as a woman myself, I have been through hard spots in life, and I can only pray that when I'm blessed with children, God will help me teach them to grow up in faith and to ignore the views of the world. And this is why I run and swim and bike. This is why I'm an athlete. Because it makes me feel strong. It makes me know that I don't have to be what the world wants me to be because I can run for miles, and I can finish a race. God has blesssed with with a strong heart and a strong body. And  all He calls me to do is finish.

I think this is why I have such a heart for two running programs, Girls on the Run and Fit Girls. Both are programs that train school aged girls (3rd - 6th grade) to run a 5k, while simultaneously teaching them about confidence, courage, and being a strong woman. (Fit Girls also adds in the element of literature and strong female heroines.) It's programs like this that give me hope. If there are woman out there willing to teach their girls that life isn't about what you look like, what guy you are dating, your choice to say no to peer pressure, etc, then maybe girls today will grow up with a more positive view on life, and stay clear from at risk behaviors.

In a few short weeks, we will finally be relocating. And I've just discovered that Girls on the Run has a chapter in Springfield, close to us. You can bet I'm going to get myself out there and volunteer to coach those girls.
I've also contemplated sending off to start my own Fit Girls where we'll be living. It's a much cheaper program, but it involves literature... so of course I'm hooked. But, I'd like to get to know the town a bit, especially the library, rec centers,  and maybe even grade schools if this is something that can work out. As with most things these days, I'm trying to let go of it and just let God work.

Or maybe someday I can even start something of my own that will bring my faith into it. Or at least write a book.