Anything But A Victim

Today was my last day at job number two.

I think.

Kind of.

I mean, I carried my box of stuff out of the little folding table that serves as my office in the corner of someone else’s cubicle.

Over the year I was there, I went from an office. To a cubicle. To a folding table shoved into the corner of someone else’s cubicle.

Very illustrative of the declining amount of time I was spending there.

Tomorrow I’ll officially shift into full time at job number one.

So, I won’t really be working job number two anymore.

Except for when I do…

It’s complicated.

Like my past…

And I’ll miss it.

The people.

The kids.

I call them kids. My kids. But most of them are grown. Most of them have kids of their own.

But they’re kids.

My kids.

A few days ago, the other case manager and I were struggling to understand why these kids, my kids, seem to fight so much.

How do we get them to see that losing your job, your home, your children because you couldn’t walk away from a fight is insane?

Why do we have to convince a 20 year old woman, kid, to let shit go? And not be baited into a physical altercation?

And why are they so damn proud to come in and tell us about it? Whether they kicked someone’s ass or got their ass kicked. The pride in the act of not walking away from a fight is there regardless.

And when I asked one of my girls yesterday, for the third time, why? She sucked her teeth and said, “Because, Ms. Sunshine. I can’t just let her get up in my face like that in front of everybody. Duh.”

And then she smiled her beautiful smile at me.

And I couldn’t even be angry about the “duh.”

And then it clicked for me.

She’s me. They’re me. Just in vastly different environments. But with the same underlying motivation.

I mean, I fought a few times in high school. But that was almost exclusively over basketball.

For real.

I get very invested in my basketball teams.

I’m a pretty obnoxious fan.

And am fully willing to get my ass kicked over them.

And I did.

A lot.

I probably had those beatings coming.

But it wasn’t part of my identity. I don’t ever remember boasting about it. And I never risked anything other than a few bruises in those fights. I never risked anything real.

That’s not how we’re alike.

No.

What I get is the need to be seen as a badass. As strong. As anything but a victim.

It’s not the only reason I take on challenges. But it’s the biggest reason I start to feel…I don’t know, anxious maybe?…when I’m missing out on them.

B Major called me and Fall Risk out on her blog today. For not going to what sounds like a ridiculous level cardio workout at PlayFITStayFIT yesterday. Just the kind of ridiculous I love to whine about.

I watched some videos of it in our Facebook group.

I am legit angry and resentful that I missed it.

A couple of y’all have asked what my next challenge is.

I’ve got nothing until Iron Mountain at the end of the month.

And that’s only 16 miles.

Badass Walters made a comment at Jarmans that Rogue and Tiny Brazilian and I were getting into some level of ridiculousness daily.

And that was pretty true. Until this week.

This week, and the next few, I’ll be readjusting my schedule and engaging in very few physical activities.

It’s devastating.

Skratch asked how many loops of North Mountain I was doing today. Joking. (I assume. Because the world knows how I feel about that damn mountain.) And I was sad that I wasn’t even getting out on that ugly ass mountain.

Sad. About missing North Mountain…

That’s the level of addiction I have to this need for badassery.

Because as long as I can be a badass out there on the mountain or in the gym, then I can’t possibly be a victim.

No one can say I’m not strong. No matter what else happens or what else I’m struggling with or what else has happened in the past, you cannot tell me I’m not strong.

And that’s all these kids, my kids, are doing really. My girls. My boys, too. But my girls. My sweet, strong, desperate girls. They’re refusing the victim label the best way they know how. In environments where they are facing near constant challenges. In a society that’s telling them they’re too poor, too uneducated, too unqualified, too loud, too ghetto, too unworthy.

They’re just demonstrating their strength.

Finding some sense of power.

The only place they can find right now.

I would love, so desperately, to bring them along on my adventures with me. Let them fight through physical challenges. Experience a new, perhaps not less physically damaging, but certainly healthier expression of their strength.

A strength they can truly start to build on.

And maybe someday I’ll be able to convince them to.

For now, I’ll turn to my new role. Trying to help different kids. In a different way. And maybe these will become my kids, too.

But damn. I’m gonna miss my girls.

And for real. If I don’t get out on a mountain again soon, I might lose my damn mind.

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