I just don’t feel like it. I know said I wanted to make sure I ran today, but I am just so angry! It’s hot outside. I feel like lying down. I have worked hard today. I don’t feel like getting all sweaty. I just ate. And I am angry! Then I remembered when I first complained about training for my first half marathon to my dad and what his advice to me was. “Alissa, the key to training for distance running depends completely on how you talk to yourself. Are you filling your mind with excuses or inspiration?” I sighed and went got my running shoes on.
Yesterday when I heard the news of the school shooting in Georgia (where I am so thankful no one was injured!) I had little emotion. I felt pretty numb. I have felt this reaction before and understood myself to know that my body was in a state of shock and that as time went on, I needed to prepare myself for one strong storm I knew was soon to follow. Once my sweet girls were off to a dear friend’s house for the day, I sat down at the computer and began to look up what exactly happened yesterday. I watched this worried mother, who had been waiting three hours for her six year old boy, talk to her husband on the phone. That same mother moments later was shown finally reunited with her missing son. I turned it off. I needed to be informed. I needed to understand. I needed a break.
Then the true anger began stirring inside of me. I called my mom because I needed to let it out to someone and I knew she would understand. I immediately began sobbing as I poured out my frustration to her. “I just don’t understand. Our children are innocent and so vulnerable. We all understand they are the easiest targets for those who want do the unthinkable. We all know they pick them because it is shocking and easy. And yet WHY aren’t we changing anything?! Why are we allowing them to be easy targets? I just don’t understand! I just don’t know how to fix it!!” My mom just listened and supported me the way I knew she would. I told her I felt like writing a blog post about all that I was feeling, but I knew I was in no mood to be appropriate.
I came home from running my errands and I started to allow myself to calm down a bit. I was feeling much better and then I received a phone call from the coroner’s office. It was the medical examiner calling to set up an appointment for me and Robbie to come in and discuss Emilie. My stomach tightened and I felt a strong anxiety fill my body. I got off the phone and started to think of that mother I had watched earlier on the news waiting for her missing son. I was that mom, with a bad ending. Then the anger came back inside of me. It is always difficult when I let myself go to my daughter’s last moments of life and what that must have been like for her. NO ONE, especially a CHILD, should ever have to go through that. And as I sat there frustrated and not knowing what to do with this anger, I remembered about my goal to go running for the day. After my long inner dialog battle was over and I went on my run, I was able to use my anger to get in a good workout.
On my run, I began to think about all the things I wish I could do. I wish I could make all the schools in this world a safe place for children. I wish I could stand up to all who want to harm our children and fight back. I wish I could do it all on my own, but the reality is I can’t. I can’t do it all on my own. When I talk to those who want to help and want to make a difference, it is usually followed with roadblocks and excuses. I know all these reasons well. They are what have kept me up at night now for months. These hurdles and excuses we all say that prevent us from action.
There are two ways for people to help protect our children school: 1. To be inspired to work for change and 2. To be educated with the right tools. If my story can touch you or inspire, I will share it. If the things I have learned or the experts I have worked closely with can provide you with the education and information to help you know HOW to act, I am willing to give it to you. So my challenge is simple….to all you readers…. the parents, the teachers, the principles, the youth, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the conspiracy theorist (I know you know how to contact me)….email me your questions. All of you. Email me what your concerns are. Tell me what prevents you from making a change in your local schools. I want to gather all your questions and get you the answers (even if it takes me a little time). Maybe, just maybe, if we all fight to help protect our children, we can make a difference. We can all stop filling our heads with excuses and act instead. Let my hindsight be your foresight. Let’s send a message to those who want to use our children’s lives for their own selfish agenda. What if we all put on our running shoes and get moving…. Send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org!