Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Power Struggle

A few days ago, I was assaulted by a group of teenagers during my evening commute from work. Though the physical damage was minimal, the psychological trauma is going to take a little longer to overcome.

Though the kids were young and not very big, they outnumbered me, and their behavior was very threatening. I didn't know whether they wanted just to rob me, or if they intended to inflict pain. Despite my shouts and my obvious distress, not a single passerby came to my aid. I felt alone...defenseless...helpless...powerless.

I never want to feel that way again.

I don't know why I was chosen as their target, but they seemed to be amused by my size. They mocked my "fat ass" and laughed as they urged me to "run, bitch, run!" I refused to put on the show they probably wanted as they recorded on their cell phones, and kept my brisk walking pace all the way to the train station. I didn't run because I didn't want to give them more of a chance to mock me, but also because I knew I couldn't get away from them if I tried. In my current shape, there is no way I could outrun a bunch of healthy teenagers.

I couldn't fight them off and I couldn't run away. Even though I escaped the situation mostly unharmed, I am acutely aware of what COULD have happened, and what could still happen in the future if I don't make some changes.

For too long I have convinced myself that getting into shape could wait because I'm not suffering any negative health consequences yet. Though my weight is possibly the highest it has ever been outside of pregnancy, it's not keeping me from doing any of the things I normally do. I thought I could take my time and start eating right and exercising gradually when my schedule permitted. This approach might have worked, if Monday hadn't happened.

But Monday did happen. The assault did happen. Those misguided kids thought it would be fun to terrorize an innocent woman, and they picked me. Maybe it was fun for them, but for me it was a nightmare. They took away my sense of security in ordinary activities like going to work. They took away that bubble of blissful ignorance (and innocence, perhaps?) we all live in when we haven't been a victim of a violent crime. That bubble, once popped, is gone for good. I don't believe they fully took away my dignity, because though they tried their best to humiliate me, I didn't give them all they wanted.

But they did take away my power. I know now exactly how weak I am, and the strength of my will cannot overcome the weakness of my body.

Here's where you and my blog come in -- I want to get my power back! I want to be strong and I want to be fast and I want to be capable of defending myself against most attackers. I want to know that I'm physically tough enough that I don't need to be afraid to walk down the street. I have my work cut out for me, but I have already begun.

As soon as I can, I plan to take some self-defense classes. In the meantime, I've started doing some ab/core exercises, which will soon be followed by workouts for my upper body/arms. And this evening, about 48 hours after the attack, I laced up my good ol' Asics and went out for a run.

Wow. I am out of shape. Like, really really really out of shape! But I'm on my way back, and I've never been more motivated. I don't care what I look like, or what size I wear. I don't even care what races I may or may not run, though I'm sure I will revisit those goals eventually. For now, I just want to be strong and fast and POWERFUL.

And I will be.

Thanks for your support!