Supporting and loving

emotionality

Shared with me by Meaghan / words by Lora Mathis

 

I’ve been quiet here on the blog because I have been extremely saddened by the massacre in Orlando. I have new things I want to write about – my first extended ride on my road bike since my accident last year, trying out canoeing and stand up paddleboarding – but I’m not feeling up to it yet.

I’m overwhelmed by the layers of hatred and injustice surrounding this tragedy. The failure to address intersectionality – that the victims were primarily Latinx and LGBTQIA. The media shifting the narrative into Islamaphobia. The racism. How we aren’t talking about how toxic masculinity leads to violence. Wondering how survivors will access the care and support they need. The desperate need for gun control.

So what can I do?

First, listen, and check in with loved ones who are hurting. Remind them that I am here, and that I care. Understand that people need different things.

Love. I can love. Fight as hard as I can against the hopelessness. Believe in the good, in the power of love, in the potential for change.

And then, speak up. Demonstrate support. Engage. Discuss. Learn. My friends, particularly my friend Meaghan, have guided me in invaluable ways. Honour the emotional labour of those who educate you.

Finally, I decided to do some volunteer work. I’m getting involved in Pride events in my community. I’ll be volunteering at one of the performance spaces, and I have asked to volunteer at the Pride and Remembrance Run.

[On the subject of Pride, I thought this article about straight ally interaction and involvement with Pride events was very important.]

Many cities have Pride run/walk events to benefit community LGBTQIA groups. It is an easy way for runners to show support visibly through showing up, and financially through race registrations and donation fundraising.

You can support my friend Mandy’s fundraising efforts for Toronto’s Pride and Remembrance Run.

The 2016 Pride and Remembrance Run beneficiaries are:

ACT ’s Positive Youth Outreach Program (PYO )
ACT’s Positive Youth Outreach Program supports young people between the ages 16–29 who are living with or at increased risk for HIV. PYO supports participants in obtaining a happier, healthier life where they are engaged and active in their communities.

The 519’s “Not Alone…” Program
The 519’s “Not Alone – A Collective Response to Sexual Violence Within LGBTQ Communities” program will build trauma-informed services through a series of targeted support interventions for LGBTQ survivors of sexual violence.

Rainbow Railroad

Rainbow Railroad’s ongoing efforts provide financial assistance, information and other resources to enable at risk LGBT individuals to travel to safer countries where they can seek asylum. Proceeds from the year’s Run will directly help five asylum seekers find freedom from persecution.

Pride and Remembrance Foundation
The Pride and Remembrance Foundation is the charitable foundation responsible for the distribution of funds raised by the annual Pride and Remembrance Run. The Foundation’s mandate is to provide financial support to registered charities that benefit the LGBT community. The Foundation accepts applications for financial assistance from registered charities throughout the year.

 

Sending love and strength to you all.

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Hill advice

I wanted to start this blog on a happier note, but more importantly, I want to be honest here.

I had a very mentally difficult run yesterday. It was all the more frustrating because I felt primed for a good run. I had been looking forward to it all day. The weather was perfect – sunny and warm, with a light breeze. Sure, my hamstrings and calves were still sore from a Sunday yoga session. I hadn’t really fueled properly and had some menstrual cramps all day long. But I really wanted to make it work.

It started with getting dressed. Choosing running shorts has been a real stressor lately. It feels like I have to decide between the feel of thigh rubbing with looser, shorter shorts, or the look of sausage casing. I wish I only cared about function. Practical Brain knows that nobody cares and nobody notices except me. Anxiety Brain likes to override Practical Brain and go into a loop of loathing.

I was still optimistic when I started my run, but about 10 minutes in, something in me cracked open. All of my thoughts were negative. I wanted to quit and give up. I envisioned myself turning around and walking back to the hill in the park to forlornly watch ecstatic dogs playing. My muscles ached with every stride. Every time I glanced at my watch, my pace was about 20 seconds slower than I thought it was. Practical Brain implored me to stop looking at my watch to check a pace that really didn’t matter. I kept looking at my watch. I felt like I was almost on the verge of tears, but I knew I wouldn’t cry. Oh, so I’m failing at crying now?

Somehow I didn’t give up. And honestly? I don’t know why I didn’t give up. I even ran up the hill at the park on my last kilometer, which I do quit on regularly. As I focused on my form running up the hill, I realized it was good advice for facing any challenge.

IMG_1820

Slow down.
Take lots of small steps.
Lean into it a little bit.
Keep your head up.
Look at what’s directly ahead of you.
Don’t forget to breathe.

Maybe there’s something in me that’s stronger than Anxiety Brain. Maybe Practical Brain is tougher than I think.