Me, in the midst of a “real” push-up
Have you heard of this? It’s similar to what brought so much attention to ALS a couple of years ago with the “Ice Bucket Challenge” but for completely different reasons. #22for22 is bringing awareness to the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. The challenge is to do 22 push-ups for 22 days in a row. Doin’ a little math; that’s 484 push-ups, people!
So, when my good friend Steve nominated me to join him in this challenge, my first thought was “Oh NO! I can barely do 1.”
Of course, I agreed to the challenge. My lack of strength has nothing to do with bringing awareness to this cause. I was in before I finished reading Steve’s nomination.
I surprised myself on day one with the ability to do 5 “real” push-ups. (real = knees off the ground) For the rest of my 22, I did what I call “lady push-ups”. I kept this up for a few days. And then, something unexpected happened…
On Day 9, I surprised myself by doing 7 “real push-ups” before I had to tap down to the “lady” ones. 7! This got me thinking. My body was increasing its strength every day and I was so close to 10, the next day (Day 10) I went for it, and did it! 10 push ups on day 10. Since then, I’ve been increasing my “real” count to match the day I’m on.
Our bodies are incredible. The more we strengthen our muscles, the stronger they get, exponentially. Last year, I couldn’t do 1 single push up. But each day, I kept up my “lady push-ups” started to dip down into a “real” one, one inch. Slowly, I was able to do 1 push-up. And now, on the eve of my #22for22 challenge, I plan to complete this challenge with 22 honest-to-goodness push-ups tomorrow. And I know I can do it.
In addition to learning our bodies are meant to be pushed and respond to it, I’ve learned something about people and social media. On the days I’ve tagged people to nominate them to join us in this challenge to raise awareness, I’ve discovered a lot of people are uncomfortable with this. I get it. Some don’t want to bombard their social media with videos of them doing push-ups, some don’t want to bother their friends by tagging them to join in on this challenge, and some just want to view/watch from the sidelines quietly. To all of those people, I say, “I hear you”. I get it. I do. I am purely doing this to raise awareness. The side benefit of discovering my body is more capable than I realized, is pure coincidence.
But this issue is real and it’s not something people usually talk about. I amended my challenge to encourage those who don’t want to share their push-ups as a voice to this issue, to donate $22 and share the message. Suicide is not something I understand but I do empathize and wish for no one to feel so alone, they only way they can experience release is to leave forever.
Please share this message in whatever way makes sense for you. To learn more, visit www.stopesoldiersuicide.org.