Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm a Creep, I'm a Weirdo

It's dark and cold. I like running in the dark and cold, I'm feeling good. I have my headlamp on, my reflective pants and neon jacket making me more visible. It's a good run. 
I'm heading back home, just a little over a half a mile away, when a beat-up van pulls into the parking lot directly in front of me, parking at a weird angle less than twenty feet from me, almost blocking my path. The driver, an older white man, tries to get out of the car quickly. Something is off about this, my fight or flight instincts kick in. I choose flight.
I am sprinting as fast as I can, praying cars continue to drive by on the street, praying I can make it across the intersection before the light changes. My cell phone is in my pocket, I simultaneously fumble for it while focusing on GET AWAY RUN, RUN, RUN.
When I cross the street, I take a second to glance back. The man and the van are gone. I slow down, my heart in my throat, finish my run as fast as I can. I am shaken and nervous now, no longer enjoying the solitude and the darkness.

I like to consider myself a strong and fearless woman. I try new things. I take care of my own damn self. I am bad ass. I fix stuff. I use power tools.

I have never felt as small and weak as I did in that moment. I feared for my life. Someone might say, how silly of me to be worried over a man in a late model van, but I am telling you something was not right with him. For a second, I felt powerless.

I should not be afraid to run in my neighborhood. I should not even think for a second, "oh crap, that person is going to hurt me." It's awful.

That is what it's like to be a woman runner/walking alone on campus/walking out to her car after work/heading home from the bar/walking the dog...the list goes on and on.

There is something super fucked up about that.

8 comments:

  1. I totally agree. As a big-city native, I've always been on the lookout for creeps. My spidey senses are incredibly acute. But moving out to an urban area has made them even more so. I rarely see creeps now, but when I get in a situation that there COULD be one, it really gives me the willies. The fear is real...and I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. We should not have to feel like that, especially in our own neighborhood! Glad you're ok!

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  2. Oh sweetie. I'm sorry you had an encounter like this. I'm glad you had your wits about you though. If something if off, trust that gut. Maybe see if you can change your running schedule up a bit next time. This is always stuff I used to worry about when I ran outdoors. I do not feel safe in my neighborhood any more so all my work outs are done at the gym from now on. (((HUGS)))

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  3. I just teared up reading this, thank GOD you were paying attention. I live in a neighborhood you couldn't pay me to run in, and I have to drive 15 minutes away to a safer spot when I want to run. It pisses me off because I should not have to do this, but here we are. I am so glad you are okay.

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  4. Wow! That would have totally freaked me out too. I completely agree - it is just NOT right on any level. Thankful you were aware and are safe.

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  5. Oh gosh, I'm so glad you're okay and listened to your instincts! It sucks that we constantly have to be aware and thinking about these things.

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  6. I agree. There is absolutely something screwed up in the world that we have to think like this and yet we do. Good for you for trusting your instincts! I'd definitely report that to the police so that they know to keep an eye out, particularly if other women are having the same experience.

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  7. That ducks that you had to go through that. I'm so glad you listened to your instincts and got out of there fast. Do you carry mace or anything?

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