Friday, November 13, 2015

Things I want to say about bodies and beauty

I ran a 30K race last Saturday. At the start of that race, I said to myself Body, whatever happens today, I love you. I left that part out of my race report because it seemed silly. But now I realize what's really silly is that loving our own bodies feels unusual, almost a radical act, instead of the default. That is so weird, isn't it? I mean, bodies are amazing. Being alive is a complicated process and all our bones and muscles and blood cells and neurons are taking care of that business, doing all these wonderful, miraculous things, every second of every day.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm good at this whole loving myself thing. I am a work in progress. Some days it's a struggle to let go of the negative thoughts and judgments. But I am willing to struggle. Because it's important. Because when I think about all the time I wasted beating myself up over all my perceived inadequacies, it's fucking depressing. And I am so over that shit.

I felt fantastic after that race. Ok, actually my stomach was a mess and I was tired. But I felt fantastic because I had run a lot of the hills and persevered through the moments of discomfort and thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful day in the woods with my friends. Then I saw some race photos and let's just say I did not look particularly photogenic. I felt a pang of disappointment at that. But then I thought, eh so what? Why do I even care about this? The truth is that I don't care what I look like. I care what I feel like. I care about being healthy and happy and kind, about being able to run all the miles and climb on all the tall things.

I give absolutely zero fucks about trying to conform to someone else's idea of beauty. I am not a race time or a number on a scale. I am the culmination of all the experiences I've had and the people I've met, a lifetime of hugs, stumbles, laughs, tears, awkwardness and awesomeness. That is beauty. It's not in a bottle of anti-wrinkle cream or in losing 5 pounds. It's in fully inhabiting your body and your life and living it up, with gratitude, compassion and wonder.

Lyric of the moment: "In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. And where you invest your love, you invest your life..." ~Mumford & Sons "Awake My Soul"

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