I have no idea how I did 38 miles this week. I don’t even know what day it is. Between the Polar Vortex, school being closed, switching to second shift, and just everyday madness, I have no idea how 38 miles even happened. Magic, I guess. And a lot of help from the treadmill.
This week I got into a bit of a rumble with some running bloggers, over nonsense, of course, but the rumble allowed for some dialogue on the difference between disorder and dedication. Because sometimes, especially with women, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two.
Because of my history, I have a general tendency to gravitate to disordered thinking and people. Birds of a feather and all that. There’s a subculture of exercise addiction and exercise bulimia in the running/fitness community that makes it very easy to be active in disordered thinking while having a community of people cheering you on and pushing you harder. Oh you ran 20 miles yesterday and ate a salad? Well I’m about to run 25 and only eat a pickle. So it becomes this competition and one upsmanship into how you can be more of a hot mess than the other hot mess. Back in the day, we would all carry our ‘thinspiration’ binders with Kate Moss pasted on the pages…now we have blogs.
We’re all disordered to an extent. Nobody looks in the mirror and sees the person the world sees. I’d guess that 90% of us have a disordered view of our physical appearance. Someone called me ‘tiny’ the other day and I about fell on the floor. I’m a giant moose with even bigger feet, lady. I wasn’t even a tiny infant.
So as I’m talking to people about this issue, I took some inventory of my own house. Is my commitment to health and wellness, about disorder and control, or is it about dedication?
I asked myself this question:
Am I motivated by joy or fear?
And my honest answer?
Both. But the fear has changed a bit.
In the past, my fear was imperfection. Anything larger than a size 6 was obese, and I had to be the best of the best of the best. Nothing else mattered. It didn’t matter that it was unhealthy, and I had to resort to drastic, insane things to achieve my sense of ‘perfection’…what mattered was that I was afraid of anything less, or failure. So that motivated me. There was no joy…only pain.
Now? I love the quiet meditation running gives me. I love the challenge. I love using it to connect with people. I love racing. I’m a size 6, and there’s a humming in the back of my head about it that will never go away, but it’s a quiet hum. I’m not building my day around self loathing and punishing myself while living on stimulants, broth, and Diet Coke. Running is a way to deal now, rather than a way to avoid.
There is fear there, though. But it’s different. It’s more about the legacy before me rather than ‘being gross and fat’. My father dropped dead in his 50’s. His brother at 42. My mother has been in terrible health for the last 20 years. Because they were/are disordered. Nobody lives to be older than 60 because they’re their own worst enemy. I was on that path. Sometimes I put a toe back on that path, but now there’s such a paranoia in me about it as I get ready to turn 35, I fear it for my destiny. When my mother was my age, she spent an entire summer in bed while two teenagers cared for her, a preschooler, and the rest of the household. The thought of that being passed down to my kids gives me cold sweats. No way is that happening.
But the common denominator is that my basic motivation is to be the best me I can be. I seem to be craving balance, and finding something that works for me and my lifestyle. I think this year’s 1000 miles is going to be more about balance than pounding pavement for the sake of pounding pavement. It has it’s place, that’s for sure. However, it isn’t everything. Yoga’s been amazing to come back to…walking…hiking…it’s all appealing.
Living is appealing. More appealing than ever.
So I’ll go ahead and put one in the ‘dedicated’ can for now. I’m running towards something. I’m not quite sure what that is yet, but I do know that it’s not away from anything. Change is good.