July 10, 2013

On Bodies

**DISCLAIMER: I wrote this post back in March but never posted. I've since acquired a bike (hurray for craigslist!) and am enjoying biking around DC this summer in place of my beloved running. I'm posting this anyway, because I felt the rest of the thoughts were worth sharing.**

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If you know me, you know that I have not a single athletic bone in my body. You might also know that this is WHY I love running. Because if I stink at running, I don't let my whole team down, like you do with other sports. And if I rock at it, it's ALL me, baby. I started running for fun with an old college boyfriend and was surprised to find out... I actually enjoyed it! We ran on treadmills at the Field House (And then we'd practice our layups after. Or rather, he'd put up with my lame attempts to mimick Lebron's latest moves.), we ran on the streets in the Avenues. We ran through sun, sleet, and even snow. (Oh, how I loved running in the snow! It was, weirdly, my favorite!) The summer before I left on my mission, I struggled to find work after I moved home from college, and I ran six days a week, sometimes for an hour or more. It was glorious! (But maybe that's because northern Utah in such a beautiful place.)

If you know me, you may also know that I... can't run right now (on account of my back acts like it's 80-years old these days, and it really sucks. Yep, I just said sucks. Because it does.) For a while, I just couldn't run very far or for very long, but right now, I can't run, period.

If you know me, you probably know that I really, really hate this.

As I've dealt with what feels to me like a ridiculous, frustrating, and pointless health issue (I mean, it's not even worthy to be called a "health issue." I know it's very minor compared to real health issues that other people face), I've developed a love-hate relationship with my body. My body and I, we were mostly all right while I was growing up. I remember hating my skinny ankles and not-as-skinny thighs (I thought my legs looked like chicken legs), and sometimes, we had our down days (don't we all?), but we were mostly OK, my body and I.

We had some ups and downs in college. I wasn't quite... done (for lack of a better word) developing when I left for college, and it was bizarre to be an "adult" and still have my body going through changes. I went up a pants size freshman year, not because of weight gain, but because of womanly curve gain. But whatevs. We dealt with these changes, my body and I. We fluctuated some, here and there. One time, we fluctuated a lot... But then we fluctuated back... especially after I started running. I could eat whatever I wanted, and it didn't really matter, because I was running so much. I remember my clothes were falling off of me when I left on my mission, and it was so surprising, because I hadn't been trying to lose weight. I was just running, because I liked it, and I had nothing else to do that summer. But I remember thinking that if I hadn't been spending so much $$ on a mission wardrobe, I would've actually needed a new normal person wardrobe, because I didn't even have to unzip my cargo pants (Ha! Cargo pants...) anymore to pull them on and off. When I came home from my mission, even with all the delicious Latin dinners, I somehow returned smaller than when I left.

Four years later, it's a different story.

It's frustrating when your clothes don't fit the same way because you can't do the one thing you enjoy doing to keep your body healthy. It's frustrating when your proportions change, and not for the better (imo, at least). It's frustrating to want to do something about it but have the only options be options you hate. (I can't express strongly enough how much I loathe gyms. Loathe! Sweat everywhere, smelly people, public showers, half (or fully) naked people in locker rooms... Pass!) It's frustrating to look at someone else's body and think... I want to look like her (especially because I recognize how unproductive these kinds of thoughts are). Mostly, I find it frustrating to NOT be in control.


This year, I'm really trying to focus on improving my relationship with my body.

On being grateful for the health I do have and trying to regain what I don't.

On being grateful to have two legs, two arms, and two hands that work, instead of thinking of the things that don't work about my body... Like how blind I feel without my glasses or how I can't wait to be done with Invisalign (Seriously... all those awkward moments with braces/glasses that y'all had a decade ago? Yeah, I'm living them now...)

On cherishing the milestones and successes my body and I experience together, instead of focusing my attention on what other people look like and what their bodies can do.

On taking care of my body and helping it be healthy -- not skinny, or tight, or thin, or tiny. Just healthy.

It's hard sometimes, especially when I compare myself to others. But I'm doing my best. And my body is doing its best. That's all anyone can ask for, right?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think it's really rare to find a woman who doesn't have issues with her body, and yet we're constantly comparing ourselves to others, convinced that if we were only taller/smaller/blonder/darker, etc. we'd be happier.

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