She’s a Runner, a Rebel, and a Stunner…

April 8, 2009

There are several topics that get maximum play in my daily conversations with the people of ISM; they are in no particular order of importance:

*That I do not eat any meat, YES, that includes chicken (Oh, the horrors!!)

*My proclivity for running at 6am in ‘sport costume’

*The apparent deafness of my left ear due to industrial piercing

*The occupation, salary of Bob/Dan/Jon/ the economist/programmer/photographer in UK/Belgium/South Korea (a.k.a ‘The Faïence’ a.k.a ‘Faux Dude’) and why he is not with me presently or whatever.

*Current fatness/skinniness. (For the record, this one makes me livid; my response:  ‘Oh!! [surprised look] I think YOU are fatter as well!!’ [toothy grin]


Depending on the day, I may have to give my standard answers to any or all of those related questions.  It always sends my head for a trip when I’ll be asked on consecutive days the SAME question, by the same person.


While most of the issues are resolvable, the running in ‘sport costume’ is one that continues to snag in conversations.  There is just no way, due to limited language and vast cultural void, that I can express the joy that running brings, and that it will in no way shape or form make me less female.


Anyway, the girls I work with started out horrified at my desire for ‘sport’.  Yes, they were in awe of my boldness, which I can somewhat get away with since I’m ‘American’, but they had generally never considered that they too could enjoy the benefits of running.  Which is why I’d like to champion one of my best friends in AZ; L.  She is in secondary school, (high school), likes punk rock, and Tokyo Hotel, will find any excuse sufficient to decorate her clothing with skull/anarchy sign/PUNK IS NOT DEAD/spider badges, hates boys (finally a 15 year old who isn’t boy crazy) and has made it her mission to do everything different because that’s how she is and popular opinion be dammed.  Needless to say, we have a lot in common, and have been hanging out a lot since I first moved here in ’07. (she is also the friend that was with me the day the XanimThrewDown)


But back to running.   March 5th is Sports Day in ISM (and maybe all of AZ…?) and there is a 1.5mile run held each year that starts in the (NEW) town center and ends at the Martyr Memorial.  Traditionally, meaning back to when Sports Day was first celebrated in ISM (a really long time ago.) it was only the boys that participated, the girls didn’t even watch, the mere viewing of such display considered highly inappropriate.  Fast forward to 2009.  L has, since last September, gone through the usual high school drama, with girls hating her on Mon, loving her by Tues., pledging BFF status by Wed. and then starting the whole cycle again on Friday.  Added to that, the boys-at once appalled and attracted by her bad ass attitude-spreading nasty (and that’s an understatement) rumors; its no surprise that by March L was telling me she hated school and was tired of her classmates ‘not respecting her’.  Weather it was a dare, or some past conversation that encouraged her is not known, but, L decided to run on Sports Day, not only as the first girl, but the first girl running specifically against her boy classmates.  The news, made the top gossip for at least 4 days-opinions varied, some (mostly of the adult category) were not pleased and found her decision to run the perfect time to address the decline of community values, the increase of bread prices and the mediocrity of parents everywhere (except themselves of course)-some, (mostly of the boy category) were simply happy to have another reason to tease her and some (mostly of the girl category) were in awe but questioned her true femininity.


Leading up to the race, L and I had many conversation about the tricky navigation of gossip, opinion, friendship and why doing things different was rough but likely good in the end.  While I take no credit whatsoever for L being a bold and amazing 15 year old, she said something the day before the race that made me happy.  “You are different, and you run and do sports, but you are cool and kind to us, you show us how we can be different and its OK, so I am going to run and be the only girl, why not?’


The morning came, gray, cold and typical March gloom-the runners assembled in front of the new HA museum, and L was there, dressed in white sports costume-the only non black clothing in the whole group of males-who were dressed in fashions that bounced from sport costume and wrestling attire to blue jeans and pointy shoes.   L was nervous, the boys eyed her with suspicion, a small group of girl had gathered near to watch-just close enough to see, but not too close, lest anyone think they were approving of L or even worse horrors checking out the boys.


Due to a work commitment that I was completely unable to cancel, I couldn’t watch the race, but sent L off with my best wishes and a final ‘Kick Ass’ command.


Of course she ran, of course she beat all the boys in her form, of course she made her point and of course she had a lovely 100 Megawatt grin that stayed around for a few days.


We debriefed later on in the day and L explained how she was very tried but didn’t let herself stop because ‘those boys weren’t going to beat me!’-the school ‘gym’ teacher even congratulated her and said (paraphrased) that she was only girl in the school who he thought could run and do well.


So I champion L; her courage, her speed, her boldness-may you have many peaceful moments running and in running and in life may you continue to kick the asses of all those who tease and doubt you!!


3 Responses to “She’s a Runner, a Rebel, and a Stunner…”

  1. lizzie said

    whoohoo!!! Tell L that i say congrats to her. way to be bold and make a statement. good on her!

  2. Kate said


    By the way, your reply to the dreaded question rocks
    (‘Oh!! [surprised look] I think YOU are fatter as well!!’ [toothy grin])

  3. mcmacdonald said

    L: i will, she was one of the girls that wrote you a letter for when i saw you in london town.

    k. no fuss, im bringing blunt honesty and total lack of tact back to the states with me 🙂

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