The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mental Strength

Well I’ve done it. I finished my first ever marathon. I may have gone slowly but I succeeded in completing my goal—to finish. There are so many people who can go much faster than me but there are many others who say that I’m crazy and that they could never complete a marathon no matter how slow they went. I disagree with them because as my dad put it, “Amy’s never done anything.” What that means is that I’ve never played sports nor have I ever run before. I have never been an active individual and yet I ran a marathon. What it comes down to is having determination and commitment. It’s not about leg strength or body size…it’s about preparing yourself mentally. And preparing yourself to complete a distance of 26.2 miles is no easy task. Since July 2010 I gave up my Friday nights to get proper rest to wake up sometimes as early as 3am to meet my group Saturday morning to run. In addition, I ran two evenings a week. Both of these chores were done no matter how hot/cold the weather was. I’ve run outdoors in 110 degree sunshine as well as 27 degree cold. The point is that I did it. I did it and so can anyone else who makes up their mind to do something. It’s all about dedication. It is definitely difficult to be so dedicated to something but the reward for doing so is what keeps me going. I like a good challenge, it makes me feel good. And running for me isn’t about speed or physical strength. It’s about mental strength and internal drive. Some people run to compete, I run to prove to myself that I can do things I never thought possible. And I hope by me doing so, others will see that they can achieve their goals as well no matter how farfetched or difficult they seem. With the right mind set ANYONE can succeed. I definitely didn’t finish first but I finished. And that small fact feels really good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Different Spin

I am saddened by the events that took place in my home town of Tucson on Saturday, January 8, 2011. I am saddened by the obvious reason that innocent lives were taken, but I am saddened by much more than that. Everyone is so angry and quick to view Loughner as a monster and to put all the blame on him. I disagree. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way feel that he should not have to pay the consequences of his actions. He most certainly should. There were a lot of lives affected that day by his actions. Not just the slain, not just the injured, but hundreds and thousands more who were there and who feel their safety has been jeopardized due to the violent acts of Loughner and any others who may have the same psyche as him. What he did was wrong and with that comes consequences.

However, there is another person I feel sorry for—Loughner himself. Yes, you read that correctly. I am a believer in the thought that there are no evil people in this world, just evil acts. But no one commits an evil act (or good act) without it seeming to be beneficial to them in some fashion. I won’t go into great detail about this unless you would like me to, but it is a strong belief of mine. With that being said, I do not believe Loughner went on a shooting spree because he is an evil person. What I do believe is that he was a greatly misguided individual who no one seemed to care enough about to seek help for him. He was only 22 after all. Do you think his “craziness” started with his 22nd birthday? I highly doubt it. Chances are he was a depressed and disturbed individual for most of his life. Why didn’t his parents notice this? Why didn’t others? Did no one care enough to try and give this child the life he deserves?

Many of you reading this may strongly disagree with me and that’s okay. Let me explain where I am coming from on this. As a child I was very depressed and miserable. I hated life and just wanted to die. It brings tears to my eyes to read past journal entries of mine expressing such hatred for myself and welcoming death. The part that is the saddest to me is—why didn’t anyone notice? You would think that as miserable as I was someone would have picked up on it and tried to intervene in some way…but that never happened. Instead I intervened on myself once I was older and found the strength to do so. In all honesty, not many EVER find that strength. I’m not saying this to speak highly of myself either. In fact I’m really not even sure how I got to the point of wanting to better my life but I can say that it didn’t really begin until age 24 or so. And then following that year it has taken MANY more to get to a state of happiness and control of my life. It has not been an easy road to travel down though and it’s one that takes constant dedication and effort.

Again, I am not saying that what Loughner did wasn’t his fault. And I’m not saying that his actions don’t disgust me, because they do. What I am saying is that I get very affected and saddened when a child “slips through the cracks” and grows up so misguided. I get affected and saddened to know that there are so many out there that don’t know what to look for nor how to handle a child who is struggling so badly on the inside. This is why it is my goal to help troubled children. I know what it feels like to feel hopeless and confused and I know how quickly that can spiral into insanity and disillusionment. I’m not asking that anyone feel sorry for Loughner, especially right now when there are so many innocent people to feel for. I guess I’m just asking that you think about what I said and realize that in a way Loughner was a victim in this mess too. A victim of no one caring enough about him to be involved in his life and thoughts…a victim of being alone and misinformed about how wonderful life can be. Unfortunately he did nothing to help himself and in turn ruined many more lives. Please, if you have children, love them. If you have children, know them, care about them, hug them, and always be involved enough to guide them. Do not ignore cries of help from others, even the silent cries that can be deadly, as proven here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Best

I can’t believe that 2010 is already over! This last year went by faster than any other year so far. Interestingly, it was probably my favorite year as well. That’s what tends to happen though…time stands still while you’re miserable but goes by much too quickly when you’re having fun. Not all of 2010 was fun but there really isn’t much to complain about…

I got dumped a couple times. Once via facebook email…yeah, you read correctly. And the other time wasn’t really a “dump” per se but more of a “part time” romance until I decided I deserved better. I also dated a couple different people in-between these two relationships. I learned a lot from doing that and it reiterated to me how much I HATE dating. Some people like to meet new people, get free food, and just go out and chat with others. I. Do. Not. I don’t play the whole dating game and this usually doesn’t work to my advantage. People become attached super fast and sometimes they’re hard to get rid of OR the exact opposite happens and my bluntness and up-front-ness freaks dudes out and I never hear from them again. Where is the happy medium?? Guys either fall in love with me after date number one or they treat me like I’m a guy and act disgusting and rude without second thought. Yes, it’s true that I can hang like many guys but I am in fact a lady and would like to be treated like one from any potential mate. I don’t understand why this concept is so hard for people.

Anyway, besides my interesting dating experiences many fun things happened as well. I had the funnest trip to Vegas I’ve ever had. Kacy and I went in April and our sole purpose was to party. And party we did! Hangover-free too I might add. There was no walking up and down the strip for endless hours, no time spent pissing away money in the casinos, and no site-seeing to be done. This vacation was perfect and so was the road trip there and back. Luckily we took plenty of video footage to commemorate the trip. I still will watch the videos at random times to put a huge smile on my face. We were truly free of all drama that weekend and it was simply awesome. This was the only real vacation I took in the year 2010 so this year I think I need to schedule some more.

In 2010 I lost some friends (not to the Grim Reaper but to personal differences) but I made many more. I love my friends so very much and so I’m always pleased to grow this population. To show my appreciation I threw a party in their honor! I had my first official “Friend Appreciation Pary”. I rented a wet bouncy castle and a slip and slide. Food was grilled, jungle juice and beer were served and everyone who attended had a really fun time…I know I certainly did! Hopefully I’ll be able to throw another party like that again in the future. I know I can never tire of telling my friends “thanks” so I’m sure this will be arranged.

2010 was the year of new fitness activities for me as well. I got into Bikram yoga and running. Both are very challenging for me which is why I love them so much. I will be running my first marathon on January 16 and I plan to continue joining running groups to further train myself and get into shape. I also plan on continuing Bikram yoga as well. I have already written a whole blog in its honor so I won’t repeat myself but if you like a challenge and want to heal your body from the outside in, you should try it!

Despite the recession we’re in, the company I work for has continued to flourish and grow. I am very thankful for this and realize just how lucky I am. I see so many people suffering right now and I have continued to do well for myself, saving up money in case a rough patch does happen to come my way. Due to my company’s continued success and spike in work I was able to help out others who weren’t so fortunate. This felt good to be able to lend a hand to those I know really appreciated it.

Probably my biggest accomplishment in 2010 was getting my bachelor’s degree. I finally finished school after working tirelessly to get there. I started in Fall 2004 and went straight (minus two split semesters off) until I achieved my goal. It would have been nice to not have to work during that time but that wasn’t an option for me. It feels good to know I am the first in my family to finish college. I’m sure I’ll end up getting my Master’s but for now I’m going to enjoy some off-time and just focus on work for once. Actually, I may start volunteering with a youth program of some sort to get a feel of what is out there. I hope to one day open my own organization for kids.

And lastly I have finally entered into a relationship that I feel has some real potential. I won’t go into too much detail about that right now but I will say there is something to being friends with someone for years before giving dating a shot. Either way, he makes me happy and I’m always guaranteed a good time. Those are the things that are important to me right now and I don’t see that fading anytime soon.

Well, if you made it this far you can see that 2010 was a very good year for me. There were definitely some lows and I am still in the process of bettering myself (will be for life) and learning how to become a happier person but for the most part I was smiling all through-out the year. I’m curious to see if 2011 will be even better…it has definitely got some stiff competition!

Happy New Year to all my wonderful friends and even those of you who hate me who might be reading this…because that’s how I roll :)