Spring in my step

Hello!

It is high time for another post. Don’t think I had forgotten!

Today in Boston it reached 70 degrees. Do you know what that means? Everyone was in full-on tanning mode, in shorts and t-shirts like it was mid-July! I’m so happy that it is finally getting nice out – it’s been a very long and harsh winter! Cheesily, I must remark that this long and harsh winter’s melting away into a late spring mirrors my own senior year. Basically, after spring break’s sunshine and acceptance into law school, I am emotionally pounds lighter than I was in the winter!

What I want the rest of my senior year to be.

What I want the rest of my senior year to be.

My training thus far for my upcoming 10k has been going really well – I have been consistently faster and stronger than I have been in the past! If you recall I have run a 10k before, so this will be my 2nd one. I have been doing really well during my speed workouts, and even set a new (indoor) 5k PR for myself! I can’t say exactly what my goals for this 10k are at this point in my training (besides finishing with relative ease and comfort), but I would really love to come in at under 10’00″/mile. I know that doing that with my 5k is one thing, but twice that distance is another for me. By the time the first mile or two have gone by, I’m rapidly slowing down if I’m running off a treadmill.

That said, I was able to get in the longest run I’ve been on in a while outside today with the gf because it was so gorgeous. Maybe even too gorgeous… I was so thirsty! I have a great Nathan hydration belt, but I discovered it doesn’t work very well on my body. I think those things are really meant for men and women with curveless bodies, not someone with a lot of junk in the trunk but a small waist! Luckily, my gf fit much better into the belt, and we were able to bring along much-needed hydration for our 6 miles. We felt great afterward! Running outside again is key for me, as I haven’t been able to do much of that until recently, and the uneven surfaces, dips, and inclines are something you can’t do as well on a treadmill! As I type this I’m goofily wearing compression calf sleeves under my jeans 😛

Evidence of spring - finally!

Evidence of spring – finally!

The Rec Department at my college also adorably hosted a “Spring Day” today, and there were so many cute dogs (we all know about my animal obsession… right?). They had fun little crafts and activities, so the gf and I went to say hi to friends and grab some free swag because I am like a Depression-era grandmother in my dedication to free things. Included in our swag were green Wellesley rec sunglasses, little gym towels (perfect for sweaty old me), and tons of energy bars (Luna bar, Clif, and Kind) and even a Gatorade table with free gel chews packs and drinks. More snacks are always a necessity for me – I always get hungry at work between lunch and dinner!

Speaking of food, because I am a totally obnoxious “foodie” who Instagrams pictures of her food, I need to share pictures from last night’s date here. Yes, I know I am a tool. No, I will not stop OR give you a bite! That means that I can provide you delicious pictures like the one below from last night’s date with the lady:

Korean stone bowl with tofu, rice, veggies, a fried egg, and slightly spicy and sweet sauce drizzled on top. Don't tell me that's not internet-worthy!

Korean stone bowl with tofu, rice, veggies, a fried egg, and slightly spicy and sweet sauce drizzled on top. Don’t tell me that’s not internet-worthy!

I’m going to have a busy day tomorrow – lots of homework to do, and I will be participating in the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s Walk for Change in the AM! Pictures and a recap to follow.

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

Moments of Tranquility

Hey there!

I just have to share this with you. This is the view from an evening run this week. Just as I was cooling down and heading to the gym for an arm workout, I stopped and stared at the sun setting from the lake. In all seriousness, I have no idea how long I stood there. I kept staring at the water and the beautiful sky as these two geese cut across the water and came to shore. I forgot where I was for a while, until I was pulled back to reality minutes later when I realized that other humans could see me and that it was actually getting chilly rather quickly.

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Here’s to hoping that you all have moments of tranquility, nature-inspired or not! In the midst of a crazy week back after spring break, it was nice to have that moment of absolute breathlessness… That mental clarity and euphoria is why I run and work out! I’m the kind of person who has to tire myself out to clean my mental slate. I am a huge believer in the power of endorphins, obviously!

See you on the interwebs again very soon!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

(Trying to stay) Zen Friday

Hey sweets!

I am writing this totally excited and a little lottle bit nervous about the rapid succession events coming up in my life. My schedule right now is looking kind of crazy (remember how I hadn’t been posting regularly?) because it’s filled to the brim with exciting stuff. In addition to law school decisions scheduled to start trickling in (*shudder*), we are less than 2 weeks out from spring break! And a much needed spring break it shall be – there is still snow here on the ground in Boston and it makes me want to cry.

How I feel about this whole "14 degrees while I'm trying to ride at the barn" thing.

How I feel about this whole “14 degrees while I’m trying to ride at the barn” thing.

Regardless, I am suuuuuuper excited about tonight and tomorrow.

1. Tonight is the debut of a homegrown Vagina Monologues -spinoff! Myself and a group of other like-minded students wanted to distance ourselves from the original (tattered, tired, old, racist, obnoxious) Eve Ensler script, and instead let Wellesley peeps speak for themselves.  We have a small but mighty group of students performing their own monologues OR their friends’ monologues. A wide and incredible range of talent and insight. So, so proud of our entire cast! All proceeds go to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, so this is a really really personally important event for me. 🙂

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2. I also have my first race of 2014 tomorrow!!! If you recall, I will be running the St. Pat’s 5k in my beloved downtown Providence. I believe the course starts at the State House, so it should be a total blast. There’s even a St. Patrick’s Day parade (a few days early, but hey! Rhode Island, no rules.) afterwards, so it should be really cute and fun. Hoping to beat my 5k PR and run faster than 9’48”. Ideally, I will run 9’40” or below, but I’m not sure how I’ll fare. I wanted to get more hill workouts in, but was really unable to do all the training I wanted to because of shin splints and also absurd amounts of snow and cold temps (I went running in 20 degree weather once and felt frozen and had a runny nose the rest of the day. Don’t care, treadmill it is until it is a minimum of 32 degrees outside. MINIMUM – I still resent it.

Speaking of which, temperatures for the race are actually looking pretty OK!

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46 degrees – basically tropical weather for New Englanders tired of winter. I think I won’t even have to wear a jacket! But I might wear gloves and an ear warmer. We’ll see!

So today I’ve just been relaxing and resting up for the race. I did this “yoga for runners” sequence I found on youtube, and spent some quality time with my cute little foam roller to ease my shin splints. I think that after this 5k I’m going to take at least a week-long break from running: I didn’t give myself proper time to heal.

In other news, my girlfriend just told me that she ran a 1 mile PR of 7’55”, and I responded, “Wow! You’re a real speedster!”

…What’s wrong with me.

Stay tuned for updates!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

 

A very reluctant post about the now infamous “naked man” statue at Wellesley College

*TRIGGER WARNING*

Before I add to the insanity of the Wellesley-Naked-Man-Statue controversy, let me first assure everyone that I am doing so with extreme reluctance and displeasure.

Wellesley, my dear alma mater, is renowned for being an elite, historically women’s college that has produced and continues to produces bright, inquisitive students coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences… At least in some circles. The students of Wellesley are known for being passionate, fearless, and extremely active in their political and social critiques.

The infamous statue in question, "The Sleepwalker", by Tony Matelli.

The infamous statue in question, “The Sleepwalker”, by Tony Matelli.

It is of course no surprise that the above statue, installed suddenly by the on-campus Davis museum, caused a stir at dear old Wellesley. Driving home from work I, like many others, thought it was a real man and nearly crashed my car.

At best, the statue is an aesthetically unpleasing traffic block. At worst, critics say, it is a lethal trigger for painful memories/threats of sexual assault.

Those students who have taken a decidedly anti-statue stance have asked that the work be removed from its very public position on a campus where the vast majority of students, most of them women, live and eat and study. A petition was started, in true revolutionary Wellesley spirit, and as of now I believe that it boasts upwards of 500 signatures.

Naturally, fierce debates have ensued. Art, its definition, sexual assault, and our duties to survivors have been the topics of these highly charged discussions.

My heart goes out to the Wellesley sibling(s) who do not feel comfortable with this statue around. To those of you who are survivors of sexual assault and/or violence, I am also so sorry that you have been made to feel unsafe or even betrayed by this sudden installation.

Things have been tense. Sometimes passion can become harsh, even alienating, regardless of intentionality. But recent media attention have made debates even more polarizing.

That is why I feel compelled to write. I first saw the statue and was startled. I thought it was a real man. I thought perhaps it was a performance, or a bizarre photo op. I thought of my grandfather, who towards the end of his life was at risk of escaping the house and wandering the streets in his pajamas, in a state of utter confusion brought on by the Alzheimer’s that had begun to eat at his mind. I found, and still find, the statue to be creepy and, frankly, bizarre. But that is unimportant.

I am taking a deep breath, because I am about to come out in a very public way, despite the fact that maybe 3 people read this blog: I am a survivor of sexual assault.

The statue never triggered me personally. I never found it to be menacing. I am of course able to speak only for myself, however.

What has driven me to the point that I write out this absurd, long, post is a lot of the discussion surrounding sexual assault and survivors. This damn statue has become something of a litmus test – “You aren’t anti-statue? So you don’t care at all about your siblings who are survivors?!” I’m paraphrasing here, but those are the kind of comments I’ve been hearing/seeing all over social media.

You know what triggered me? People constantly telling me that the statue was triggering. I can’t escape this horrible statue – people are writing about, talking about sexual assault, triggers, violence, male privilege… It makes my head spin, to the point that I think I really need to wait things out and not access any social media for a couple of days. And this is coming from someone whose job is focused on researching sexual assault and violence.

The fact that I didn’t feel triggered bothered me, gnawed at me. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, and still am only able to vaguely begin to hash out my feelings about this.

I was never triggered, and became so upset about the discourse around this statue because nothing that was being said was true to my experience as a survivor.

Like many other survivors, my assailant made me feel weak, powerless, inhuman, and dirty. As is the the case with many other survivors, my assailant was someone I knew. My assailant was not a balding, middle-aged man, taking young students by surprise (although Wellesley has dealt with flashers/fondlers in the past, this is important to note). My assailant worked his way into my life when I was vulnerable, and then he took my humanity.

What has disturbed me so much in this is the vague “stranger in the bushes” assumption that has been resurrected in a lot of the discussion about the statue with regards to sexual assault and survivors. The outdated idea that a rapist is someone in a dark alley, a stranger with a knife. Most of the time, that isn’t the case. It’s the reason why Take Back the Night is simultaneously so powerful, and so fundamentally flawed: because we need to take back more than just the night.

This is not a means of dismissing the hard work that a lot of my siblings on campus have been doing. People are working very hard to support one another in a time when Wellesley has, to my great displeasure, become a seat of uncontrolled international (but actually) media frenzy. This is simply one survivor’s story, and her relationship to this godforsaken statue. This is a gentle, tear-stained request that you be careful, no matter what position you do or do not take on the statue, not to lump survivors’ experiences together.

Please do not claim to speak for survivors. Instead, amplify the voices of those who wish to be heard, and support those who wish to be fought for. Please do not co-opt my experience, no matter how good your intentions. Please do not claim to save me from the naked man statue, because I do not wish to be saved. Survivors are just that – survivors. We are strong.

We are strong, but we are all different. What I want and need is not what every survivor wants and needs… And that extends to their wants and needs vis à vis the statue. I ask only that you remember to keep your activism and your feminism nuanced, and that you respect the diversity of experiences of survivors on and off of Wellesley’s campus.

One last thing: don’t read the patronizing comments under news stories. You know they are inevitably going to be some dude saying some variation of “they need the D” and so forth. In my opinion, this is not even worth our time and mental health.

Love,

G