For about a year now I have used this blog to discuss two significant aspects of my life: Being a foreigner, and being a young, fitness-minded woman. Sure, lots of other parts have fluttered in and out of my ramblings, but these two are the main focus. Over the past couple of months, neither of these were things I felt like celebrating. I could have used this space as a place to discuss the negativity I was feeling towards both, but I took the “head in the sand” approach opting to float around instead. I’ll be honest, I needed that time. But now is the time to refocus my thoughts and energy. Before I do, a word about my avoidance.
The last you heard from me, I had posted an article regarding a missing American tourist in Istanbul, a NY woman named Sarai Sierra. In a devastating turn of events, her body was found among the city walls about a week and a half later. I won’t go into the theories surrounding her murder, the loopholes in the investigation, and the answers that will never be answered, despite law enforcements’ “attempt” to do so. I find it hard to believe anything said regarding this case. And oddly enough, that’s not the upsetting part. As a foreign woman living alone and single in Istanbul, I understand the curiosity surrounding a woman’s choice to be here. However, the local reactions to this woman traveling here alone were appalling. The general consensus was that a married woman with children had no right to travel abroad without her husband and family. She must have had lovers and came just to cheat on her husband. She was trying to escape from being a mother and came to abandon her children. In a sense, this woman lost her identity and personal freedom when she got married. All chances for any personal explorations were forfeited. Come on, Turkey. We may never know what her plans were coming here. Maybe photography. Maybe a need to have some personal time away from being a wife and mother (because wives and mothers are still WOMEN at the core). Maybe something else we can’t even imagine. Whatever the reason, have enough respect for women to honor that they have the right to make choices in their lives, and do not actually lose all sense of individuality upon the signature of a marriage license.
Back to me…I really don’t know exactly what was said in the American media regarding this case. But after everything I heard and read here, I just wanted to forget I was among that population of foreign women who chose to come to Istanbul. In my opinion, the community of foreign women in this city is strong, diverse, and respectable. The country’s reaction to this foreign woman in Istanbul disgusted me.
And my avoidance to fitness? A knee injury. A very bad knee injury. It took me weeks just to be able to take my dog for his required 2-3 hours of daily walks. Running? Forget it. This is one of my favorite times of year to run in this city, and missing out on it has been heartbreaking. When I can’t run, something changes inside me from bursting light to engulfing darkness. And then just last week I was in a hurry to get back to my friend’s apartment (wine was waiting!) She just lives around the corner, so there was really no need to rush. Still, I decided to give running a try for that short distance. It felt amazing. At the risk of sounding like a big ol’ ball of clichés, I felt as if I was flying, even if just for a moment. That depression switched back into Runner’s Passion. My knee isn’t quite ready for my long distance journeys yet, but I’m going to start preparing my body in other ways for its return.
Spring is coming. This season is on *my* terms, Istanbul…