Society State of Mind

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Society State of Mind

As a child, I remember the overwhelming excitement that would consume me on my birthday, when I would get to pick out a new pair of shoes.  It was such a moment of joy because purchasing new items did not happen often in my world. My parents, who worked extremely hard, always had to find ways to save money so each of us five children would have what we needed. The most common way to save money was the classic hand-me-down. While I loved the clothes and backpacks that were handed down from my older sister, nothing quite beat the moment when I got to pick out my very own. That moment of knowing I had picked something out that was just for me, something that no one had owned before me and still had a tag on it, meant the world to a young kid.

As I got older, resentment started to build in me that other students had so much more than me; a new back pack each year, pencils with their names on them and more than one pair of shoes in their closet. One night, my freshman year in high school, my father took me with him to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items for dinner.  While we were in the store, my father stopped by the deli counter and ordered an eight piece chicken meal with family sized sides of mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and corn. He even ordered rolls. I remember thinking that my mother was going to be so angry, because she was cooking dinner at home and here he was purchasing a whole new meal. As we got into to the car, my father handed me the bags of food to hold and then we began to leave the parking lot. He stopped the car next to a man in dirty and tattered clothes at the entrance to the parking lot. My father then asked me to hand him the bags of hot food. Confused, I handed my father the bags and he passed them to the homeless gentleman. He told the man to have a good night and a warm meal. I sat in shock that he would give away so much food when I knew we didn’t even have the money to buy me a new pair of shoes for school. My father then explained to me that there were people in the world that had far less than we did. He told me that the meal he purchased would not only feed that man, but probably several friends that the man would share the meal with that night, because even a man with no roof over his head would share his food with another hungry person.

This moment in time began to form within me a desire to help those that were in greater need than me. I joined the Future Business Leaders of America soon after and helped raise enough money to purchase gifts and food for two families in need. When I brought home the goodies we had bought for the families and my father saw how few toys we were able to purchase, he told me that no child should have so few presents. He put on his jacket and left immediately. When he came back, we had a small mountain of toys to wrap for our delivery the next day. Again, my father showed me how we could always give a little more to those in greater need than ourselves.

Since high school, I have continued to find small ways to help my community, but had not found a way to extend my reach. In 2015, I was invited to join the Junior Service League of Woodstock. There I found a group of women with the same heart to serve as myself, but with deeper connections and the ability to execute that turned a desire into a plan. In early 2016, I reached out to a local organization called Give a Kid a Chance in Cherokee County to see how the league could help. They informed me that they needed a group or person to help head up their Backpack Liaison Board Chair. I happily accepted.

The board position came with its fair share of difficulties and gave me several opportunities to learn how to better the quality of life for the residents of Cherokee County. This particular project spoke to me because of my experiences growing up. As I began gathering these brand new backpacks, I knew the excitement these children would feel as they chose their very own bag, new with tags. They may not show it on the outside, but I knew the relief they would feel when they got to walk in on the first day with something new, filled with the items they would not only need, but be proud to carry. This project took on an extremely personal tone for me.

This project took five months to complete. In those five months we were able to gather 2,900 backpacks, 8,000 pairs of new socks and underwear, and over 8,000 books. On the day of the event, the smiles I saw, as children looked over the thousands of backpacks to choose from and found one they loved, made every minute of hard work worthwhile. My favorite moment was when a young boy going into the sixth grade came up to choose his backpack with his hands full of Harry Potter books. As we helped him load his books into his new bag, he told me how excited he was because he knew his mom couldn’t afford the books and they were always checked out at the library. As he spoke, his mother stood behind him with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. This moment encapsulated the very reason I wanted to be a part of this project.

In all, we served 2,500 students in our community, but each one of those students has a story similar to mine and that young boy. The committee has already begun preparing for the Give a Kid a Chance program in 2017 and I look forward to being a part of program again as the Backpack Liaison Board Chair. I believe we can change the world one act of kindness at a time. If we work on improving our own communities and spreading acts of love and kindness, we can slowly start to make the world a better place.

For more info on the Give a Kid a Chance program, check out their website:  http://www.giveakidachance.org/

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Dear Amy Schumer

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This last weekend I got really excited to find out that model Ashley Graham was going to be on the cover of Maxim. In my excitement to find this copy of Maxim to see how beautiful a woman who was close to my size to could be in a “man’s” world, I stumbled across the Glamour special issue of Chic at any Size with Ashley Graham on the cover. I quickly snagged the magazine and bought it without a second thought.

When I got home and began flipping through this magazine, excited to see how models that were similar body shapes to me were being dressed in these gorgeous clothes, I see they have included articles about inspiring women. Women who stand up against this notion that beauty is only to be had by those that are under a size 4. I saw your article and my first thought was “awesome, she’s such a bad ass chick, I love that they included her” and read the article. It talked about how you make no apologies for not fitting this Hollywood cookie cutter size and how much we all love you for it.

Then, just 4 days after purchasing my magazine that I was so excited about, I see you bitching. Oh no, they put you in a magazine that is aimed at those girls that are a bit chubby. Here you are, talking about how we all have the right to be who we want, but then you turn around and pitch a fit because you (after mentioning your size, cause that is obviously what matters most to you) have been included in a magazine that for plus size people.

How dare Glamour not run to you to tell you how inspiring they find you that they thought their readers might benefit from hearing the words of a woman who is incredibly and wonderfully comfortable in her own skin. How dare they learn from you that beauty is everywhere with you having found out about it first. How dare they include you in a segment with a multiple Grammy winning singer, Adele, an Oscar nominated and Emmy winning actress, Melissa McCarthy and a model who has broken all barriers by being the first plus size model on the Sports Illustrated cover and Maxim cover, Ashley Graham. How dare they.

I think it is time for you to check your ego. I have always been inspired by your attitude towards weight and beauty, but now, I’m not interested in much that you have to say. I see that you are mortified to be associated with plus size. By the way, saying there is nothing wrong with being plus size while complaining someone called you plus size is like starting a sentence with “no offense but…” Never mind that the magazine never called you plus size, simply inspiring. Never mind that Adele is only a tad larger than you and she isn’t complaining. Never mind that you are in show business and you know that in modeling a size 8 is considered plus size (right or wrong, that’s reality).

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to go home and I’m going to read more articles in my Glamour magazine. Why? because I love it. I love that the pictures of the models give me a better idea of how that exact look is going to look on my body. Then, I’m going to re-read the articles of the inspiring women. I’ll skip your article this time around though, I don’t really think inspiring is the word I would choose to describe you any longer.

The Importance of Day 1

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Day 1.  The day of any challenge, goal, or obstacle that we use to measure our success against.  Day 1 is our “worst”day.  The day we are the weakest, the day we are at our lowest level.  At least, that is how it is typically viewed.  I say that is bull.

Day 1 is the strongest day you will ever encounter.

Your day 1 could be the day you go back to the gym and it takes you 25 minutes to do a mile, because you  have to walk the entire thing and you can’t run.

It could be the first day of your college degree, where you know nothing and the idea of learning everything is daunting and overwhelming.

Day 1 could be the day you stop smoking, stop drinking, stop whining, stop judging, and you are struggling with it at every moment.

It could be the first day after a break-up, and it takes everything inside of you to not run back.

Day 1 could be the first day of your new life.

 

Whatever your Day 1 is, it is also the day you decided to step forward and do something.  Day 1 is the day you went against your norm and changed direction.

Personally, I think of my Day 1 as my strongest day.  The day that I step onto a brand new path and push to go down it.  Eventually I will look back on my Day 1 and use it to measure my progress, but I will never again look at it as an embarrassment.  Day 1 is amazing.  It is hard.  It is worth it.

Thanks for reading

Rough and Tumble Rugby Tackles

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I am in pain.

I have not played an entire game of rugby yet, but rather have been a sub or in one game I had to come out due to an injury.  I am not complaining, just stating,  So, come Sunday, when most of the girls on my team are complaining about soreness, there is very little I can say.  Especially if I was only in for 20 minutes or less.

This last Saturday was one such game.  I was the only forward sub, but our team was lucky enough to spot a former player on the side lines.  She was awesome enough to come in and play on our team as one of our forwards.  I am glad she was there, because I can not play as well as her and I was happy to see her take up a position on the field.  However, we did lose our game.  The girls on the other team were hard hitters (and as most people on my team are saying…dirty hitters), and for the few moments I was in the game, I was terrified of getting hit.

You can’t have that mentality in rugby.  You will get killed or you need to quit.

So, yesterday at practice, our main coach came back and forced us to practice hitting.  He stated that if we couldn’t deliver or receive a hit, we would get hurt and lose our games.  He told us we needed to scare other teams in the same way we were scared this weekend.  So we lined up and ran at each other full speed, one of us with the ball, one as a defender.  Then the goal was for the defender to stop them from moving forward, while the offense was attempting to score.  I hesitated, due to that fear of getting hit at first, but after trying it a second time I hit my team mate and felt like I had run into a brick wall.  I was the defender and she knocked me flat out and ran right over me.  We went a couple more times, and although I never got her down, my tackles got slightly better.

When it was my turn to run with the ball, I made a rookie mistake of running with the ball out in front of me, not tucked in.  That is stupid.  Don’t do it.  I ran again with the ball and hesitated at hitting a team mate.  Our second coach came over a reminded me that I am a big girl, I need to use that power to run through people and not let them stop me.  We kept practicing and I was finally able to use my power to push through those trying to stop me.

I feel better about taking the hits, but still need more practice.  I am better at delivering the hits, but I need more practice with this as well.

Rugby hurts.  Today I am so sore, I have bruises, and I can feel more bruises getting ready to surface.  However, these bruises make me feel like I earned them.  I feel more like a rugby player now than I have before, cause I got the crap knocked out of me and then I stood back up.

That’s important part, the getting back up.  Here is a quote that really clarifies rugby for me:

“It’s not how hard you can hit, it is how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”

So keep moving forward.

Crutches are still the devil….but people are not

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So I did a whole lot of venting and whining in my last post…this will be more on the positive, happy, rainbows and butterflies kind of blog.  So here goes.

Here are the good things about being hurt:

1. You learn to truly appreciate the time when you are not hurt.

2.  Once you have become active and get hurt, all you can think about is being active again.  I learned that I really do like being active and it bothered me to not have the choice.  It make me so happy to know that I could heal up and get back out on the pitch.

3. People are amazing when you need them.  When I was on crutches, people were jumping up to help me. One girl in my first class helped me take off my backpack and even offered to get my stuff out of it so I didn’t have to struggle.  Then, a friend refused to let me carry my backpack from one class to another, while two other friends also walked with me at my slower-than-turtle pace from one side of campus to the other.  After my class one of those women called the campus parking people and had them bring a golf cart to the building I was in so that I could ride and not have to walk back across campus.  Then I went to lunch and another one of those women walked around the lunch room with me, carrying and placing food on my plate.  She also brought me drinks.  She had to leave before me and when I got up from the table a random guy I didn’t know offered to help me take my plates in.

4. I found ways to still be active.  Swimming is awesome!  If you get into a pool and actually swim back and forth, you will be amazed at how many muscles you can feel working.  Plus, I had an excuse to go to the pool a lot, double bonus.  And now I love Ryan Lochte even more.  Who knows, maybe I have a chance with him since we have the pool thing in common.  Okay, maybe not….let me dream.

So, all in all, being hurt is not the worst thing in the world.  It took me two weeks to heal up and tomorrow I will be playing in my second rugby game.  I pay a little more attention to the signals my body is sending me, but I refuse just quit.  I was surprised at how nice everyone was, but thrilled at the same time.  That is my silver lining, and those are important.

So next time something horrible happens to you, whether it is an injury or not, find the good side. Cause I promise you…it’s there.

It’s been awhile….also, crutches are the devil.

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This post will be about why it sucks to have a knee injury that stops you from being overly active, tomorrow I will post what I learned while hurt.

1. You are finely getting to really enjoy  sport, but now you have to sit on the sidelines and watch other people play it.

2. Crutches are terrible.  Seriously.  My hands have never hurt as much as they did after using crutches for just one day.  Plus, while in crutches, you can not get your own food at meal time, you have to rely on the kindness of strangers.  You can barely open a door for yourself and it takes you almost 3 times as long to get from point a to point b.

3. When you try to roll over in the middle of the night, you feel like some small little gnome is stabbing you in the knee with a hot poker.

4. You realize just HOW MUCH you use your knees.  You use them for everything.  Which means, when they are injured, you can do NOTHING

5. Working out while injured consists of the following exercises: wall Push-ups, Shoulder presses, bicep curls, and crunches.  You can’t use a bike, treadmill, stair stepper, elliptical or do squats, lunges, burpees, leg curls, or regular push-ups.  When you play rugby…you need to do those things.

6. If you are like me and you have been trying to rebuild your cardio levels, hurting your knee is really damaging to your goals.

7. When you are stepping out of the shower…you are scared for you life.  You have to make the decision of what will hurt less…falling in the tub or hitting the floor.  Or you can sit on the edge of the freezing cold porcelain tub and swing you legs over.  All of these options are terrible

Rugby for Real…Round 1

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I knew the game would be interesting when it started almost an hour late (no ref, no start of game) and then that was followed up by a 5 minute monsoon that drenched everything and everyone there.  I found out at the start of the game that I was a substitute.  I was really upset at first and disappointed, but quickly changed my mind when the woman who played the position I thought I would be playing just absolutely kicked ass.  There is no way I would have been able to achieve the same outcome for my team had I been in her position.  She even scored a try.  Instead I found myself just cheering the team on and bringing them water when needed.  I was able to go in for about 5-10 minutes in the first 20 minute period and it was awesome!  I was terrified to get hit by anyone, but when I finally did I didn’t even really feel it.  I was warned by one team mate that my endorphins would be raging and I wouldn’t feel much until that night or the next day.  She was right.  I was pumped up and that first hit was more annoying than it was painful.

After just a few minutes I was pulled back out and again stood on the side cheering on the team and getting a chance to see a real game with my own eyes, up close and personal.  It was intense!  I allowed the reality to set in on me that I was not prepared for this and it was a very, very good thing that I was a substitute.  However, it also made me want to be better so that I would be prepared to play an entire game as quickly as possible!  I was able to go in for a part of the last period of 20 minutes and when the game was called to an end, I must say I was extremely disappointed, I definitely wanted to continue playing.  This game is so addictive!  I can now understand why the women on this team are so hardcore about the sport!  It was a great ending to the first game though, we won 22-10!

I woke up the next morning sore and found a couple of small bruises, but energized and ready to get back into it Monday night at practice.  Unfortunately I was injured before practice (it isn’t even a rugby injury!) and will be off my feet for a short period of time.  I still plan on finding ways to workout and keep myself in some sort of healthy state so that I am ready to go for the next game.  I want to make my teammates proud and get out there to kick some serious ass on the pitch!

I must say, I am really proud of how much I have learned over the last 3 weeks.  If asked 3 weeks ago about rugby, I would not be able to tell you anything.  Now I can talk about it with some confidence and find myself searching out videos to watch and learn even more.  If you want to learn about the game there is a great website called rugbydump.com…. it has videos and all sorts of stuff to watch.  I also hit up YouTube and type in things I want to see.  Great resources, but nothing beats actually being a part of a game and seeing/feeling it with your own eyes/body.
Thanks for reading, will update again when I find out exactly how many practices/games I will be missing…wish me luck in healing! (I have a strained ACL in my knee).