Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I interrupt your day for a message about BODIES

Wow, you look really thin. (Is this even a compliment?)
If I had your body I would... (Really?! Why not try not objectifying me and take a look in the mirror.)
You are so lucky. (Because I choose to run A LOT and eat healthy?!)
I don't know how you do it. (I choose to.)
I hate running. (That's great, I love it.)
I just don't have the time. (You think I do? I get up at the butt crack of dawn.)
I wish I could look like you. (I wish I had a million dollars. You will never look like anyone but you.)
I wish I had your strength/dedication/determination. (It is a daily effort, get to work.)
Do you need to eat something? (I eat all the time. Didn't your mama teach you manners?)
I have bad knees. (No you don't, unless you injured them recently. Running is great for knees.)
It's just too hot. (Or too cold. There will always be an excuse if you make one.)
I can't run. (Are you human? Do you have legs that work for walking? You can run...with practice.)

What is it about taking on a new life activity, particularly a healthy one, that people feel the need to excuse their own behavior or make comments about your choices? These are just some of the statements I hear quite frequently. Some seem harmless enough, but mostly they are remarks that are either intrusive or not really complimentary. Definitely not encouraging or supportive.
The body comments are the worst.
Why people think it is ok to ever speak to someone about their physical appearance is a mystery to me.
Are you a physician?
Am I seeking care from you?
No...then back off please.
Thankfully my mama taught me well enough that most days I just take it in stride.
Sometimes, though, I go home and cry about it.
Because that is what my brain does with not quite compliments and unwarranted commentary about my behavior and my body.
I mull it over.
I wonder why you said it.
Do you not like me?
Did I do something to offend you?
Did you mean it as a compliment or an insult?
The body comments always stand out. Always.
And not because I am insecure. I have no qualms with my body.
It's just that it is...

MY body.

As a woman society continues to attempt to tell me it is not really mine. My 3 year old asked about bras the other day, because mommy never runs completely shirtless like daddy. He accepted the explanation that the babas (his word from when he used to breastfeed) bounce when mommy runs, and this is uncomfortable. Then daddy went on to explain that mommy would not run without being covered up anyway, because it was a law. This completely confused my toddler, who sees human bodies as nothing more than completely normal extensions of what makes us...human. We are not shy about nudity. The body is the body. We name things correctly, we teach about body autonomy. There is no shame that is needed. Our bodies are to be cared for and we do this by moving and fueling healthfully. Male and female bodies may be different, but this is all completely ok.

But mommy's body is shameful. At least that is what I must teach my son apparently.
And eventually what my daughter will learn...from society.
Cover up, don't cover up.
Shame on you for having a woman's body.

Would you ask my husband that?
Is he too thin?
Are you concerned with whether he is eating too much or too little?
Do you tell him to cover up? Or to stop being a prude?

I know he doesn't leave the house to run without a shirt on and think about it like I do.
Wondering if someone will think that just because I am only in a sports bra I am inviting unwanted attention. Not that it is simply too hot and humid to wear so many layers...
Anticipating honks or catcalls. Or worse, some asshole yelling out his car window at me.
Because clearly I am just some sexual object.

There is a lot of talk about bodies these days, particularly women's bodies.
I wonder just how much of that talk is being heard.
Because my kids are listening, are you?


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Where will you be?

8.1 miles

I made it. I set a goal of 8 miles before July, when marathon training begins, and though it took monumental dedication t get here again...I freaking made it.

Anxiety be damned.
Poverty?  Running is free.

I came home and there was no whining or crying for mommy, just a delicious plate of food made for me by my husband. My biggest support. My coach. My partner.
And smiling kiddos.

WE made it.

Today's run was brutal. As any long run around here goes there were more than enough hills. And I even braved running on the road in long stretches without sidewalks. I typically avoid this, but there will come a time in my future distances where it will be unavoidable.
I trudged on mightily. I talked out loud to myself.
I am a runner.

The real moment of the run today came at about 2 miles in. I passed an elderly woman jogging a long, she beamed at me and I smiled back and said hello. Seemingly no big deal...

Except by elderly I mean she was easily 85+. And JOGGING.
Shit, let's give it to her...she was running.
She was amazing.
I smiled for a while after that, thinking of how awesome it is that she was out there.
Big ass headphones, bright white sneakers.

How many 85+ year olds do you know that could come close to that?
I know of none.

I realized then that I know how she feels. There she was breaking the mold. Seemingly oblivious to the constraints society places on elderly humans. The long list of should nots and cannots.
I know what that is like, I have heard those naysayers too.
These days most of the naysaying originates in my own negative self-talk, fueled by anxiety and self-doubt. But it is still a constant battle of mine. Even after overcoming and accomplishing so much. Some days are simply a test of will, who wins today?
Negative Jess or I Got This Shit Jess?

I want to be like her when I am beautifully wrinkled and aging with great grand-babies. I want to be moving, oblivious to what I am supposed to be doing. I want to climb on the playground with those great grand-babies and show the world why moving is essential to life.

"...an object in motion stays in motions..." Thanks Sir Isaac Newton

Yea, I will carry that moment. Humans are capable of so many amazing things. Even telling the naysaying in my head to take a hike becomes possible. One breath at a time, one step at a time.

One short 8.1 mile run at a time.

#runstrong friends, #runstrong