I started running about a month ago. It’s something I did when I was younger, and I have always wanted to start again. I want to be an “active mom”, so I’ve gotten into the habit of running a few miles every day. It makes me feel great, and I know it’s good for me.
The trouble is, my body hasn’t exactly morphed into what I think a runner should look like. In fact, I pretty much look exactly the same, even though I’m in much better shape. (my heart and lungs are so buff right now). But I know that if I’m gonna take this seriously, it’s time to get some better running gear.
So . . . while in Seattle, my sis-in-law took me shopping to a great running store. Um. Ouch. I was so depressed as a tried on all of the cute running clothes. I do NOT look right in them. But you know what? I bought them anyway. I may not look good in it, but gosh darnit, I will wear it, and I will wear it proudly. I’m making the move towards better health, and if I look stupid doing it, oh well.
This was kind of a big deal to me, because I can be really, really shallow. I DON’T LIKE LOOKING LAME. But it got me thinking about all of the things that I avoid, because I don’t want to look silly. For example, I love to dance. Before I had kids, I would take dance classes at my local community college. I was always the oldest in the class, and I started feeling insecure amongst the sea of svelte 19-year-olds. So despite really enjoying myself, I stopped signimg up for classes because I felt stupid.
My body image can literally prohibit me from doing things I enjoy. Case in point: I get so bummed at how I look in a bathing suit that I will make excuses to avoid walking around in one. It took all the positive self-talk I could muster to wear my suit in front of several friends on a recent vacation. But I can either suck it up (and suck it in), or I will end up sitting at home for half the summer, missing out on things. I love the beach. I love the pool. I may have to surrender to looking stupid to enjoy these things.
Growing up, my mom was really involved in Tae Kwon Do. (And by really involved, I mean she was a 4th degree black belt who ran her own studio. Yeah, she was kind of a bad-ass). But when we moved to another state, she stopped doing it. I remember her saying, year after year, that she was gonna join a local chapter as soon as she lost some weight. And as most of these stories end, she never did karate again.
I definitely see this tendency in myself, and I am going to try really hard to fight it. In a effort to avoid embarassment, we can stand to lose sight of doing things we love. I want my passions to take precedence over my ego. I may not show up to a jazz class in a leotard and leg warmers next week, but maybe it’s time for me to find some sensible yoga pants and look at the dance department schedule one more time . . . .
And if you see me huffing and puffing around the neighborhood in my new running shorts, just pretend that I look totally hot in them.