That Pink Shawl & White Tank Top
I remember the first time someone commented on my body. Middle school. We were in the hallway. I was wearing jeans, a white tank top, and a pink tie-up shawl. A boy (that I liked, of course, making the situation worse) called out to me. He told me that I shouldn’t be wearing the white tank top & pink shawl combo, because I was too fat. The boy and his friends laughed down the hallway; I quickly entered a classroom and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. But, of course, it did happen.
I never wore that pink shawl again. I had picked it out at my second favorite store (Aeropostale) and looked in the mirror numerous times. I thought it made me look good (and slimmer). My mother even confirmed it was a good outfit. It was difficult to explain to my mother, why I never wore the pink shawl again. It was tossed into the back of my closet and later donated to Goodwill. I just tried to claim that I didn’t like it anymore. I never shared the whole story. (Sorry, mom. I apparently wasn’t ready to talk about it).
I still recall this whole experience with a very clear memory. I know this about how it’s impacted future experiences. I still avoid white tops and shawls….which I may have just realized. Now, that I’m older (and wiser?), I have more a “f**k it attitude,” you can either accept me as I am or not. Which is exactly what I told the boy that asked why I didn’t have 6-pack. Because, I accept myself and body as it is, right now.
It’s interesting how it’s taken becoming a runner and yogi to accept my body. Research supports this; just 30 of minutes of exercise can change how you see yourself. 30 mins of exercise and you’ll feel stronger. Now, I am more focused on what I can do rather than how I look. My goals will always be focused on wanting to be stronger, run faster, be more flexible, etc., rather than just looking good. It’s important to be present and accept myself in this moment.
Lane 9 Project
I recently came across the Lane 9 Project, which really resonates with me. The Lane 9 Project is a community of active ladies and lady activists speaking out about women’s health, nutrition, fertility, and running. I support their mission and follow them on the social media. Being a part of Lane 9 makes me feel like I can talk about my own body image and health issues (look for more to come). Last month, we (Lane 9 in Chicago) had a meetup in coordination with the Sports Bra Squad Day Run. We ran, walked, and coffeed. We talked about body image, running, and nutrition.
P.s. I’ll be hosting another run and meetup in Chicago next weekend. If you’re in another area, check out the socials for other meetups. Also, sign up for their newsletter, it’s loads of fun! The memes are my favorite.