As this year comes to a close I’ve read many a posts about years in review, revisiting resolutions and discussing achievements.
2013 has been a time, both good and… challenging. I started a run club and started a blog. I PR’d in two marathons, one half marathon, and two 10k’s. I adopted a cat. We got flooded out, and I saw my city pull together and rebuild (with help from the best mayor ever). I got injured and recovered. I grew closer to my friends, my parents, and my boyfriend. I’ve learned things as a runner, and I’ve set my sights high for 2014.
To close out the year, I’d like to acknowledge the various female influences that I’ve come across, that have helped ignite the spark of feminist energy inside of me, thus propelling me towards my goal of becoming a woman of both mental and physical strength. Like these women, I hope I can inspire others of any gender to set and achieve goals, persevere in the face of adversity (whatever that means in your world), stand up for their rights and the rights of others, and look at the world and themselves in an objective and curious manner.
“I want to redefine beauty and goals for young women. It’s about breaking down stereotypes, fighting against oppression, trying to save the world.”
When I first heard Janelle Monet’s music, I was blown away by her voice but also impressed with the fact that she clearly doesn’t feel the need to be 90% naked to perform (unlike some artists…). Coming from humble beginnings in Kansas, Janelle Monet’s intelligence and talent lead her to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Feeling stifled she quickly dropped out because she felt creatively stifled.
“I wanted to write my own musicals,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to have to live vicariously through a character that had been played thousands of times—in a line with everybody wanting to play the same person.” – source
She is clearly a person that does not look to societal norms as the desired path, and I love the fact that she doesn’t feel the need to be 90% naked to be a successful female artist. Evident in her collaboration with Big Boi of OutKast, Prince, and Erykah Badu, I think she is on the right path.
Coming from a long lineage of strong Slavic women on both sides of my family, Pussy Riot holds a special little place in my heart. These women present their ideals in an aggressive yet tangible manner, away from the passivity that is commonly associated with the “fairer sex”. While I don’t totally agree with their church performance (but understand their motives and meaning behind it), their arrest and trials were indicative of the intolerant nation they call home. These girls never caved, gave up, or strayed from their beliefs. Watch the doc below (warning, some NSFW parts).
My displeasure with the “fit is the new skinny” and “fitspo” trends somehow lead me to this blog and caused me to spend most of an afternoon going through post after post thinking “holy shit! It’s like she’s writing my thoughts out for me!” or “holy shit! I never thought about _____ and that makes me angry too!”. It’s nice when you find someone that you can totally agree with. She seems funny too, and totally the type of person that I would want to go for a run with then crush several beers and have some good conversations. Tons of great links to other blogs too.
Putting it lightly, Oiselle was a game changer for me. A company by women for women, supporting female runners and are taking the athletic (and fashion!) world by storm. Their team is filled with women of all shapes, sizes and running speeds supporting each other through events and social media. They promote a sense of both running and sisterhood in a time when individuality and competition seem to prevail. From them I’ve been inspired to approach running and life with a “heads up, wings out” attitude to “go fast, take chances” with love and gratitude in my heart.
I guess I should also mention that they have some pretty awesome running gear. Some of my favorites:
Distance short (Lots of pockets, doesn’t ride up)
Mio mesh top (so light and cool, perfect for hot summer days)
Lesko bra (boobs can’t move but I can still breathe. Doesn’t even feel like I’m wearing a bra)
Raglan slub (THE best white t-shirt ever. Period.)
Also an FYI, my birthday is coming up….
“Find a way”
As I’ve discussed before, this lady’s swim across the channel between Cuba and Florida really inspired me. Her three main points:
– Never give up
– You’re never too old
– Find a way (believe in perseverance)
*The final two (well, 2+) don’t have the same notoriety on a grand scale as the previous ladies, but deserve the same credit for making my year incredibly awesome and helping me grow. I’ve also put them here as a reminder to look in your immediate circle for inspiration and encouragement, and to feel gratitude for the things you have in your life. As Diana Nyad said, “it takes a team” and your team is already there, ready and willing to have your back*
*I also want to note that I have some pretty awesome men in my life too, and I don’t want them to feel left out but this is a lady-focused post. I still love you guys! (especially Dad and Dan)*
A feisty one at the top of her career game in Real Estate Development with two Masters degrees, she’s never afraid to try something new like run a marathon, climb Mt Kilimanjaro, or learn Muy Thai kickboxing (a small sample of her hobbies, btw, although she claims that she’ll never run another full marathon). Through thick and thin, my Mom has been there for me. Always the one to prod me when I need it, tell me to aim higher, be bold, brave, and remind me that she’s proud of me. She’s never given up even when we’ve had our battles, and she’s my best travel companion.
Over the past 3.5 years I have procured the best group of girlfriends I’ve had since high school. Having felt like a lone wolf for most of my young adult life, I’ve now got a great collection of ladies that I’m proud to call my friends. They show me support in all aspects of my life, and constantly remind me that I am strong and smart when I don’t feel like I am. We’ve had a great year together!
Happy New Year everyone!