I'm still sad, confused and scared from the outcome of the story of Sherry Arnold. I didn't know her and in all likelihood never would have met her. Her death has had a profound effect on me though. After reading SUAR's post and the news of Sherry's death I started to see the bad out there. I saw it everywhere. SUAR can concentrate on the good, but I was having a really hard time. I refused to go for my morning run, convinced that someone "bad" was out there. When I ran a short run in broad daylight, I had pepperspray in hand, ready to shoot it at anything that looked menacing. Basically, I was living in total fear.
I hate violence against women. I abhor it to a degree that makes my blood pressure go up anytime I hear of a woman (or child) being hurt, maimed, killed, tortured by some asshole who has mommy issues. I don't know that my feelings are all that unusual, but I also have personally been a victim of violence directed at me--I was an easy target at the time; 5'2"; 90 lbs; and a need to try to "fix him" so he would "really love me." I know, totally stupid, but I was 19 and in love for the first time. For 5 years, I accepted the unacceptable hoping that THIS time things would be different. He would change or I would change enough that his temper would get better. I finally walked away with my dignity in shreds.
I am not wanting to make this a post about "ME ME ME" but the news of Sherry struck a nerve. We were both the victims of violence and her death has unfortunately effected my day to day life. I no longer feel that I can simply run in my quiet neighborhood. I feel on edge. I feel that I must carry pepper spray, my GPS, my phone and maybe even a handgun. A little overboard, but I feel as if I am a target-- as if ALL women are targets simply because we carry two X-chromosomes.
When time came for my satuday run, I couldn't do it. It was broad daylight outside; 10 a.m. and chilly. I had the excuse of a sick child, but in reality it was difficult to motivate myself. Unlike several other bloggers, I am not brave. I didn't go out running. I stayed home and sulked.
Sunday came and I tried to find an excuse to not run. I didn't want to leave RugRat#2 since she still wasn't feeling well. Husband was going out of town for a Crit (bike race) and would be gone all day. I ate my breakfast. I sat and looked at my shoes and running clothes. I was supposed to run 10 miles. I stared and contemplated my life, Sherry's life and how random violence against women could horribly effect generations of a family.
Then something weird happened.
I quit thinking and put on my running clothes and laced up my shoes. I got my IPOD, my GPS, my water and my MACE. And I went for a run.
I won't pretend that I wasn't frightened, or that there was some sudden freak bravery that came my way; or that I was Forrest Gump trying to outrun the pain of Jenny leaving him.
I ran because I didn't know what else to do. Running is who I am, and I would be damned if that was taken away from me because of idiots who happen to share the world with me. I had my MACE in my hand the whole time I ran. When my GPS read "5 miles" I did an extra half mile--I might say that I did it for Sherry-- but I did it for myself as well. I wanted to have 11 miles under my belt for the day.
Am I brave? No. Am I stubborn? Hell Yes. I will still run outside as much as possible. With trepedation and fear, but I will keep doing it, MACE in hand, 911 on speed dial of my fully charged phone. If I need to carry a handgun in my waist pack to feel safe and run, I will do it. But nobody is going to take away my ability to run. Nobody--not even myself. I won't let my own fear stop me.
One final note: Fuck those hillbilly asshole evil-doers that are hurting people. Fuck'em!
This is my own personal reaction to the story of Sherry and I realize that it may be totally out of the ordinary for someone else.