When I throw the towel in

Over the past few weeks I’ve posted a couple of times about a crazy scheme I’d thought up, half stolen, slightly adapted, and planned to implement in the run up to my 30th birthday.

My plan was to raise £30,000 to help tackle violence against women before I turned 30 – which is in March. I thought I would raise awareness, encourage people to take the issue seriously, know that it’s far closer than they might think. Violence against women is not something that happens to other people. It is not something the church is immune from either.

I was going to come up with some amazing fundraising initiatives, I was going to get hundreds of people on board, I was going to use them to exponentially increase the amount of money I could raise.

I was going to do a remote fundraising activity. Wherever you are in the world on one particular morning we would all do the same endeavour. This was my masterplan.

But I am throwing the towel in.

The worth in doing this is undoubted, the need for raised awareness: the need for raised money at a time when shelters are losing funding.

But I wouldn’t do it justice. I am exhausted, I am distracted, I can come up with a hundred reasons why I should still do it, but I don’t think I should. For this to work I would have to commit time and effort that I simply do not have.

I could drop other things, I could work earlier, I could work later. I have plenty of train journeys with time to use. That’s not what this is about. More about that tomorrow.

I also felt I was walking blindfolded into a complicated and challenging issue, I was conscious that I might say the wrong thing, back a project doing something in a way a swathe of people opposed. And this meant I stalled, I waited, I hoped it might miraculously fall into place.

I heard the passion of people who have done similar things, set themselves an outrageous goal and sacrificed to make it happen. The thrill of it, discovering themselves, finding someone on the journey. When they gave themselves to a goal this or that wonderful thing happened. I wondered if that might happen to me.

So I’m not doing it. I’m not trying to raise £30,000. But this is not about me, it’s not about my achievement, or my effort, or even my willingness to admit fault and do what I am doing now and packing the endeavour in before I have really begun. I hadn’t even settled on which charities I was going to do it for. There was no perfect project, nothing that really fitted what I wanted, I was being too picky.

Here’s some of the organisations I was looking at supporting, I’ll be making donations to each of these and I would hugely encourage you to do likewise.

Restored – Ending violence against women

Waterfall

A Way Out

Doing a good turn as I turn 30

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I sort of announced this yesterday on twitter and facebook.

Six months yesterday I turn 30 and I’m not really one for parties. I usually have to be dragooned into doing something, conforming to social norms, that sort of thing. Maybe it’s because I don’t like drawing attention to myself. Maybe I feel self conscious, socially anxious, maybe I am just stubborn.

A few weeks ago I decided I should find some way to mark my birthday next March.

I’d been reading Miss 29’s blog as she sought 30 blind dates before she turned 30. And I remembered Ally Vesterfelt’s Love Runs challenge to raise $30 000 to build a classroom in Uganda for the same landmark. I was keen to step out of my comfort zone, but I knew which one of the two I’d rather do. So a crazy, ridiculous, insane fundraising drive it is. And with a currency exchange that makes it even harder.

And at about the same time a wave of issues relating to women, gender, and abuse hit the airwaves. Taking Elizabeth Fry off the £5 note raised the question of whether enough was being done to recognise the achievements of women, a petition started, protests launched, and the bank agreed to put Jane Austen on the £10 note when that’s next changed. Alongside this narrative of protest and achievement was a shadow story of insult, objectification and abuse that swept like a tsunami towards those leading the campaign. Most notably on twitter, the abuse levelled was horrific and questions were raised as to whether enough was done to respond to the vile and criminal threats made against many women. Continue reading