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Why we take the photo every week
Every Running for Resilience (R4R), we ask people to line up under the Arc de Resilience to grab a few snaps. Everyone obliges and has a bit of fun with it, but there’s an important reason we do it.
When we post our group photo, we’re telling the world that this many people support our goal of saving lives from suicide. We’re also telling the world that we believe in resilience, that we believe everyone has been through something tough, and that despite how together people might seem, so many of us have something going on in the background. More importantly, we might be telling one person that there’s a community that believes they’re in pain, but that we also believe things will get better.
Last night might have been our biggest turnout ever, and apart from more people figuring out it’s a cracking thing to do mid-week, it represents our growing belief in achieving our goal. The R4R community began with the goal of saving one life from suicide, as many times as possible, and as our community has grown, so too have our aspirations, with as many times as possible being defined as making Canberra Suicide Free.
We know we’ve saved lives already, we know that even if we’re not in crisis ourselves, that R4R has improved our lives, and we know that when we rock up every Wednesday, we’re giving ourselves an opportunity to feel better. This photo reminds people of that. It reminds people that every week, no matter what, there’s a safe space for people to exit their heads for a moment, exercise with great people, and enter the evening with a fresh perspective.
It’s also an unspoken acknowledgement… a tip of the hat if you will
I think it’s so beneficial to see the vulnerabilities shared in the rag each week, but the overwhelming majority of conversations had at R4R are your stock-standard, laugh inducing yarns. I think, and I hope that people feel comfortable to share their struggle if needed, but there’s something else going on when people rock up, and I’ve noticed it somewhere else in my life.
Whenever I’ve gone to a shopping mall with my wife, there’s that inevitable moment when we enter a clothing store, and I immediately look for one of those comfy lounges that offers me some refuge from the floral dresses and body length mirrors. Sometimes, I’ll find myself locking eyes with another bloke in a similar position, with both of us offering a wry smile and a nod of the head, acknowledging the comedy of the situation.
I think that’s what I see each week at R4R. When people rock up, they’re acknowledging the ebbs and flows of life. That it can dish out some pretty horrible hands, but at the end of the day, there’s always something to take from it, and one way or another, it gets better. I think this acknowledgment is powerful. I’ve seen the weight fall off people’s shoulders as they share their struggles to me, and when people are acknowledging a shared experience by simply rocking up, they are also sharing their burden. It’s simple, it’s subtle, it can be the start of someone dragging themselves out of the depths of whatever struggle they might be facing, and we think sharing the photo acknowledges that.