I ran less than 10 times this year.
Me, a runner, and I barely ran.
I worked out even less.
I tried, though. I really did. Printing out new fitness plans, finding interesting yoga videos, penciling workouts into my calendar. Motivation, decision, action. For a day or two, then I’d fizzle.
It’s those old thoughts. Those ugly messages shaping my shape. Defining my beauty. Telling me I’m not quite, not yet, not nearly. That I need to be there, not here. That, not this.
I was 12 and my uncle told me, You look like you’ve put on some weight. What?? I was still climbing trees back then, skipping across the yard, drenching my pancakes with syrup, and his words told me to look at myself. My size.
So I did.
In a country where “gorda” is a compliment, to me “fat” became a negative. And over the years his heartless words were reiterated, falling out of other mouths until I had a whole file folder crammed full of them. A file I deceivingly named Motivation.
Aerobics were challenging and fun. Running took me outdoors. Push-ups strengthened my arms and planks firmed up my belly. And the comments that pushed me kept repeating.
But my efforts this past year kept fizzling, so I stopped. And decided to step back and look at how I really view myself. What is my motivation for working out? Who gets to define my own beauty?
I haven’t stepped on a scale for over a year. I don’t know how much I weigh. I am saggy and poochy and soft. And when I look at myself in the mirror, I smile at what I see. These legs can take me miles down the beach beside the comforting presence of a good friend. These knees bend and sit cross-legged on the floor to listen to the pain pouring out of a hurting soul. These arms hoist heavy bags of groceries into my home, and wrap my kids in loving hugs. This body houses me. The strong and courageous and scared and hesitant me. The adventuresome, daring, fun-loving me. The quiet, compassionate, pensive me. The giggling, smiling, creative me.
And as a new year climbs the steps and lifts finger to doorbell, I am deleting that Motivation folder. Because I am already the perfect shape, the right weight. I am already beautiful. And sometime this new year when I dust off my running shoes, charge my playlist and step onto the track, I will run because it’s fun. because I simply love to run.