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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fat Girl Thin.

Sorry I didn't post anything Monday. I spent the majority of Sunday outside, because it was almost 70 degrees out, working on my raised garden and generally getting some stuff out of my system while I could.

And then I went to bed early, anticipation quietly coursing through my veins.

Monday morning, I got up while it was still dark and dressed while Kyle was upstairs in the shower, and then I did something I've never done before.

I went for a run.

It was short, just up the street and back again, and I probably walked as much if not more than ran, but I'm a beginner and I do live on a pretty steep hill, but I managed to fit in a smidge over a mile and a half in a smidge under 20 minutes, and I was proud of myself.

I've had this impulse to start running for a couple of months now, but I rallied against it from every elementary and middle school memory I contain inside my muscles, of being the fat girl so easily out of breath, always lagging behind and causing her peers to wait, causing her peers to snark and bite and ridicule while the gym teachers tried to tell me I should be good at this, with my height and my legs if I'd just pick up my feet a bit.

So when my friends began track, I became the statistician, never once wanting to join them despite my desperate drive to fit in and be a part of the crowd. And then I found theatre and that was that.

I think my aversion to it has very much to do with that memory, the feeling of my excess bouncing against gravity and my forward motion, the fear of damage to my bird-small ankles already ravaged by years of misuse masking a deeper, more insidious fear of my very existence being non-compatible with such a simple task.

You see, I'm a big girl who lives in a small(ish) woman's body.

All of those years spent so much larger than my peers (and often my teachers) has affected the way I see myself. Sure, there were years in there where to ever call me anything even close to heavy or thick was an outright lie -- but that didn't mean that every time I looked in the mirror, I didn't see it. I saw a girl who ate her feelings and had no friends and hid in books and art and practically anything she could immerse herself in to escape the reality of her bigness, of the physical space she occupied in her world so uncomfortably, even after she starved herself so small her friends joked about breaking her like a toothpick, and every pound in between.

I have to halt myself, far more often than you'd ever suspect, from doing things like joining a "curvy girl" community or commiserating with friends who are more voluptuous than me about things like rolls and folds or even perusing the plus-size online stores for things that might fit me if I only weighed this much more than I do. Because however I feel about myself and my body, I know that on the outside, that's not how I look, and to be blatantly honest I have some natural features that a lot of ladies might find a wee envy-worthy, but that would make calling myself curvy a damn slap in the face, even if it's where I most identify.

That girl has stayed with me through a million different body changes, and though I've done things I never imagined ever possible for me, I never once thought that I'd be the kind of person to run, to hurdle myself through space as fast as I could just for the feel of it. That was for fit people, small people, people who don't give a shit about their joints and who like looking like stringy pieces of seaweed all taught and sinewy and frankly, kind of gross, and not at all for people who have things that bounce and jiggle and pinch and chafe and generally need contained just going up or down a flight of stairs nevermind effing RUNNING.

I don't know what broke -- I'm at a place where I'm happy with my weight and how clothes (for the most part) fit me and I know that while I've been smaller than where I am, I've certainly been bigger and I'm truly okay with this middle ground. Sure, I could stand to like how I look naked just a smidgen more, but I'm pretty sure everyone does.

But my body wants to run. It wants my feet to make rhythmic contact with pavement and to feel the sharp sting of winter air in my lungs and to travel distances I would usually drive for no other purpose than to say it can, I can.

And without strings or ultimatums or really much in the way of goals or promises, I'm going to try it. I'll give it my best shot, if that's what this body wants, and maybe somewhere along the concrete line of the sidewalk I'll be able to reconcile the differences of how I feel and how I present myself and how the world sees me and it will all blend together into a seamless image in my mind, where I am no longer defined by my weight or my pants size or bra size or the amount of muscle definition I either have or not, but by the fact that I am merely just me, just a woman, trying something new for herself, for the first time.

Of course, there's an app for that, so if you're on RunKeeper, look me up.

Hopefully by the time you read this, I'll have gone for my second run and will already be home again, possibly even showered before getting kids up and on buses and the like.

And hopefully, this will just keep working out for me, for my sanity, and for my self image.