Category: family

Crazy hair and a red face

I was thinking a lot during this morning’s run. It was the last day of my eight-week Beginner 5K training plan, and it was my “race day” … the day I was supposed to run five kilometers, or about 3.11 miles. I’ve finally progressed past the point of having to concentrate on how I’m placing my feet, whether my shoulders and neck are tense, and if I can possibly get more oxygen in/carbon dioxide out. (Well, okay, I still think about that last one a lot toward the end.) Even with my obnoxious running music playing in my earphones, my brain still starts to wander and dwell on stuff that’s been going on in my world.

Today I thought a lot about an article a friend linked on Facebook. It’s about some images the author feels are six of the most irresponsible “fitspiration” images that get shared on Pinterest and other image sharing sites. I’m sure you’ve seen them or something like them — women or men with almost nothing on, sweat dripping from their ripped abs and defined arms, with some sort of hardcore slogan about endurance and persistence.

I hate a lot of fitspiration images. The reason I hate them isn’t as much the text about persistence and endurance, although I do agree that a lot of it irresponsible thinking. (Listen to your body. You do have an edge. Don’t hate your own self.) I hate the unrealistic imagery and the accepted sexualization in so many of these pictures.

Last week I linked my RunKeeper posts to this blog. After I finish a run, the run details, any notes I make, and a “featured photo” (if I have one) post automatically to Treacle.net. If you look at the posts on the main page, on Facebook, or follow me on RunKeeper, you’ll see a spectacularly lovely picture of me at the end of the run. It kind of started as a joke between me and my husband, who started a half marathon training plan around the same time I started my 5K plan: “Who has the worst post-run face?” We live in Houston, we’re running in the summer, and we both turn beet red at the slightest amount of heat. I did have another agenda with those pictures, though.

Earlier this summer, my five year old son didn’t want to wear shorts because he thought he looked silly. I’m not sure what made him think about it that way, but I do know that was my first big reminder about my kids’ body image. I’ve been really big on not getting clothes that I think will convey unhealthy images — super short shorts for little girls – I mean, really? I want to pay more attention to practices I don’t even notice but could affect how they view themselves, their standards of beauty and attractiveness, what they think is healthy.

So I take ugly pictures of myself after running, and I put them out on the internet for everyone to see.

I want my kids to know that sweat is SWEAT. It is not sparkling or glowing or dewing. It is not glamourous or in all the attractive spots at the right time. It is in my hair, on my arms and legs, it is dripping in my nose when I bend over for a cooldown stretch. It is healthy and it is evidence that I have done HARD WORK TO BE HEALTHY.

I have crazy hair and a red face. I have occasionally run in make-up because I’ve run after work or on a break. I’ll probably wear some level of make-up for the Disney race because it’s part of the costume. EXERCISE DOES NOT REQUIRE PERFECTION. You don’t have to look like a Disney princess to start exercising. You won’t look like a Disney princess after you exercise. But you will FEEL like you have vanquished all kinds of villains when you finish.

I have a mommy body. My once size 2 or size 4 frame is at least a vanity-size 8 or 10. I have a stomach that quite obviously (if you ever saw it) was stretched out to grow three babies. I have breasts that grew during pregnancy and extended nursing. There is nothing taut or cute … or is there? You will not know, because it is NOT ON DISPLAY. Exercise is for ME. It is work, and it is for MY BENEFIT, NOT SOMEONE ELSE’S PERCEPTION.

But I won’t hide my body. I will wear what I feel is comfortable and appropriate. I will take real pictures and put them on the internet. This is what my exercise reality looks like. Someone else may really always look like a Disney princess when she runs. I am proud of that woman. Not because she looks like a princess, but BECAUSE SHE IS RUNNING. That is the real achievement – she and I are both doing something for our health. What we look like is incidental.

I want my kids to know that healthfulness is habitual. It is hard. It is a choice. It is not usually glamourous. It is not about bottled perfection. It is about getting out there, doing your thing, and not being ashamed of who you are. It’s about making YOU better, not you into someone else’s ideal of you. I feel like the best thing I can do for them, body image-wise, is to model being comfortable with my own body and being real and unashamed. Crazy hair, red face, and all.

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Life in 5 Years

Day 8: How do you envision your life in five years?

It better be in the same house, first off. I’m over the packing and moving and unpacking business, so unless there’s some really incredible offer to get us out of it, we’re not going anywhere. Hopefully it would be an incredible offer and not a horrible circumstance.

Seth will be 10 years old, which makes my heart stutter a little bit. I can see us going around to whatever activity or activities he’s settled into that make him feel good – art, music, gymnastics, martial arts … I’m not sure that I really see him as a sports player. It’s not that I don’t think he can, it’s more that I don’t think he’d really be interested in team sports. He’s a lot like me in the independent thing (aka “lone wolf”), so maybe I’m projecting. We’ll watch and see! I see him getting more into school-related things like science and math.

Nora will be 8. I’m sure her inner diva will be in full force. I’m hoping that she’s in dance or gymnastics and loving it, and I hope she’s enjoying school too. It will be very interesting to see what she gravitates to or enjoys … I could see her getting into art classes and dance in a big way. I’ve wondered if she’ll end up in gymnastics and cheerleading. I know, I know, but let’s be real. We’re in Texas, she’ll be tiny, and she has no fear about stunts.

And Jude. My tiny baby boy will be starting kindergarten, and I don’t know how I’ll handle that! We haven’t decided yet if he’s our last baby, but if he is then I expect to be a full-on mess. That means the chapter of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers will officially close in five years, and I’ll be sad! I know every age and stage has its fun, but I love the baby and little kid stage so much. (Except for the temper tantrums. And potty training.)

As for Will and me … We’ll have been married almost 12 years. Hopefully we met our tenth anniversary goal of running a half marathon in Hawaii or some other exotic location! I hope his business has reached the point that he can have a few employees. One of his goals is to be able to offer apprenticeship or employment to people who need help getting back on their feet, and I really hope we get his business to that stage. I’ll likely still be at my current work place, probably doing something very similar to what I’m doing now. I’m hoping that by that time I’ve added quilting to my crafty catalogue… And that we’re able to travel more freely on our kids’ summer vacations! Actually, that’s probably what we should do in five years: one last hurrah before Jude starts school! Disney World, anyone?

Pink Taste is my favorite!

In the car, picking up Nora’s antibiotic from the pharmacy:

Nora: Oh, it’s pink! I love that taste!

Seth: But you don’t know, you’ve never tasted it.

N: Yes, I do. It’s my favorite taste!

S: But you don’t know!

N: Yes I do! I love it!

S: But how can you know?

N: Because its pink and it has pink taste. That’s my favorite taste!

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