Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ferris Bueller, You're My Hero

As many of you may have noticed, 2015 has been the year of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. Olympic great and former doormat to Kris (secretly wishes her name was still Kardashian) Jenner, Bruce announced earlier this year that he actually identified as a woman, and then revealed the transformation on the cover of Vanity Fair looking absolutely fierce with the headline "Call Me Caitlyn". Two things about this before I get to my point. First, I think its really funny that Kim Kardashian tried to break the internet with a picture of her ass, but her step-dad stomped all over her looking classy as hell. Second, I don't know if it was an intentional jab at the Kardashians, but I like that Caitlyn isn't spelled with a K. Anyway, this announcement and the following photoshoot made the internet go absolutely nuts. Everyone has something to say about it, and the most interesting argument that I've seen is whether Caitlyn is a hero or not. There are some who are applauding her bravery and calling her a hero for anyone who is transgendered or questioning their identity, while others are on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, saying that she is absolutely not a hero and if we want a true definition of bravery we should look at soldiers because how fucking hard is it to put on a dress and a wig? A lot of these angry thoughts are accompanied by this picture, with a caption saying these guys are the true American heroes. I have some issues with this.

When did bravery and heroism become a competition? I'm not saying that soldiers aren't heroes, because they absolutely are, but I don't understand when they became the only ones who were able to hold that title.  My mom is my hero, and she has never served in the armed forces. I don't even know if she's ever held a gun. But she is still a hero to me, because as a single parent she raised both my sister and I to be strong, confident and independent young women. She also runs marathons and rides bikes up mountains. I have friends who have lost siblings, and they are my heroes for handling one of the worst things that can happen to a person with absolute grace, and going on to have happy and successful lives. I know people who are my heroes for having the bravery to come out as gay to their families and friends. My grandpa and one of my dearest friends have both battled and conquered cancer multiple times, and for that they are my heroes. But these people have never gone to war for their country, have never faced grenades or gunfire, still have all of their limbs and no PTSD, so are they not true heroes? Is their bravery worth less because their situations aren't life threatening? Absolutely not, because the term "hero" is completely subjective.

Caitlyn Jenner may not fit the conventional definition of the word, but she is a hero nonetheless. She is a hero to the transgendered community, a hero to people who may not have had anyone to look up to, and a hero for those who are struggling with their own identity issues. I have never had any sort of struggles with my sexuality or gender identity, and I can't imagine the courage it would take to come to not only your family and friends, but also the rest of the world. She is a hero, my mom is a hero, soldiers are heroes. It doesn't fucking matter. Oh, and that picture of the soldiers? Its not even real. Its part of a World War II model that a guy built as therapy to help him after he got beaten into a coma because some guys found out that he was a cross-dresser. Let me repeat that, this picture that people are using to bash a transgendered woman and say she isn't a hero was actually part of something built by a man who was almost beaten to death because he was a cross-dresser. 

Just let that sink in for a minute.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hannah Runs A 5k

In what can only be described as a sign of impending apocalyptic doom (hope everyone has their shit planned out), I have started to run. Now I know the question on most of your minds is "Hannah, do your legs even work?!" Valid question, my dear reader. As most of you may know, I do not have the greatest track record when it comes functioning as a normal human being on land. I have had one major surgery per leg, one involving a lot of broken bones in my ankle/foot area (the word "shattered" was used) and the other involving the rebuilding and replacing of an entire ligament in my knee. Feet, ankles and knees are incredibly vital to the running process, so its been a little bit of an adventure. But other than a slightly confused Achilles' tendon and one quad being smaller than the other, my legs are pretty much down to clown.

So considering my medical history and the fact that I have repeatedly made my dislike of running known throughout my entire life (my mom is an intense long distance runner, like casually ran a 50k type of intense), why would I start? Good question. The easy answer is that I was just really bored and wanted to see if I could do it, but I'm starting to think it may have also been a subconscious effort on my part to convince my mom that my entire life isn't a confused mess. So a couple of months ago, I jumped on a treadmill at my work. And you know what? I fucking hated it. Seriously, that first mile was the goddamn worst. My knee hurt, my ankle hurt, and I was about 97% sure that my lungs were going to explode and I had just spent the final 10 minutes of my life on a stupid treadmill. The worst part was that I didn't even run the entire thing. Ugh. But I went back. I kept going back and huffing and puffing until I could successfully run 4 miles without stopping. Once I hit that milestone (which was actually a pretty huge moment in my post-injury life) I decided that it was time for me to climb my Everest, also known as running a 5k. So I found one that sounded cool (the Starlight Run), convinced a guy that I work with to run it with me, registered and hoped for the best.

The day of the run came and I was so nervous it was embarrassing. My only goals were to run the entire thing and to not trip and fall down. The run wasn't until 7:45 that night, so I distracted myself by making the greatest Wonder Woman costume in the history of ever. Seriously, I channeled all of my nervous energy into the shirt and it was magical. I met up with the guy I ran it with (he dressed as Aquaman, it was great), we grabbed our bibs, went to the starting line and were ready for business. Now this is not a tiny run. There were an estimated 8,000 (!) participants, and it was right before a parade so there were a shitload of spectators. The airhorn went off and we started running.


In typical Hannah fashion, I was deeply unprepared for this undertaking. The only thing that I had taken into consideration while "training" was the distance that I needed to run. All I cared about was being able to run more than 3.2 miles. Know what I didn't think of? HILLS. Yeah. I forgot to take any sort of topography into consideration, and downtown Portland is not flat. The run started by immediately going uphill and my only thought was "oh goddammit". The second thing that I forgot to consider was air temperature. Running in a gym where there are fans is completely different than running outside. Even though this was an evening run, it was still like 75ยบ out and I was immediately sweating my ass off. To make it even worse, I was wearing wrist cuffs as part of my costume and my forearms became the hottest and most uncomfortable part of my entire body. This is a weird body part  to be acutely aware of, but all I could think of while I was running was my freakishly toasty forearms.   One nice distraction was the crowd. There a bunch of little kids, and I think I gave about 75,000 high fives. One little girl was like "MOM I JUST HIGH FIVED WONDER WOMAN" and I felt like a celebrity. A very tired, very toasty celebrity. Right around mile 2.5 I was like "nope. I am so tired and so hot and my forearms are hot and I'm so tired and there are so many hills and I don't want to do this anymore".

Now I know that you're hanging on the edge of your seat, so I'll end the suspense for you. I didn't walk any of it. Mostly because John (Aquaman) kept yelling at me, but also because I was like "HANNAH 3.2 MILES ISN'T EVEN THAT FAR YOU DUMB BABY". I ran the whole fucking thing in 32 minutes, and  I even picked up the pace and ran really fast across the finish line because I wanted to beat a lady that I had decided looked stupid at the starting line. Plus I didn't fall down, so Team Hannah basically crushed it. 3.2 miles may not seem like much to most people but I'm really proud of myself. After my ankle exploded the doctor and physical therapist were both like " probably won't be able to run again", so being able to do this was pretty cool. You know the craziest part of the entire experience? I am really, really excited to do it again, and possibly run even farther distances one day*. Does that mean I can call myself a runner? Oh my god, I'm turning into my mom.

*It should be noted that my right Achilles tendon is not on board with my desires to run any sort of long distances. It made its displeasure known by locking up all day after I ran which was unfortunate.