Years ago, when I was just a wee Apprentice Company member of the theatre where I work, an Alexander technique teacher spent five minutes with me and then told me that I “walked like an apology.” When she said it, the other baby apprentice in the room and I both immediately started to cry. Recently, a friend of mine who knows that story told me, “You don’t walk like an apology anymore. You just dress like one.”
So, the other day I tried on my bridesmaid’s dress for my dear friend’s upcoming wedding, and my partner couldn’t get it zipped up. And, guys, I beat myself up about it for the rest of the day.
UGH. I HATE THAT SO HARD.
IT’S JUST A DRESS, RIGHT?
Except we know that it’s not. That bitchy zipper is every voice, subtle and unsubtle, that implants in us over time that we need be constantly, actively, fervently in pursuit of becoming smaller.
I am not a small person. I have been (kindly!) compared to a Great Dane puppy in a theatre review more than once. I’ve always been tall, but around last summer time, I also put on some weight. All of a sudden (at least, that’s how it felt), my clothes didn’t fit as well, and I caught myself hugging my dinosaur purse tightly against my belly even while sitting at a restaurant, because I felt embarrassed of it’s jiggliness.
I felt the need to hide for being not-small. To apologize.
Here’s the thing. I think a lot of things may have contributed to my weight gain, and I am working really hard to undo my brain’s narrative of those things being “my fault.” Because I didn’t do anything wrong or bad. I started a new medication, of which weight gain is a side effect. I got busier at work, and stopped going to yoga class quite as frequently. I live two blocks from the best doughnut shop in town.
Schedules change, bodies change, doughnuts are great. Things happen, and no one is bad because of them.
Still, I can’t deny that a sneaky little hope crept into my heart when I started training for the Star Wars half. “What if this makes me smaller?” Oh, I imagined myself taking the cutest selfies at Disney, wearing crop tops and single-digit-size shorts.
Wanna know what half-marathon training did? MADE ME HUNGRY ALL OF THE TIME. I left no bagel unturned during those training weeks!
And my selfies at Disney were still cute! So cute, in fact, that I just couldn’t resist last week when registration for the 2020 Princess Half Marathon opened. Which means that I’m re-visiting my “Why’s?” WHY DO THIS AGAIN? IT WAS SO HARD.
WHY I’M DOING A SECOND HALF-MARATHON:
- Okay, honestly: Because every day that I’m not at Galaxy’s Edge is a day that I’m dying inside, so I need to plan a 2020 Disney trip ASAP.
- Because my BFF/runDisney-inspiration Julie recently reminded me of a moment around mile 10 of the Star Wars Half. We were coming up on a photographer when she said, “Act like you’re having the best day ever!” And I said, “I AM having the best day ever!” Yes, please to more best days ever with best friends.
- I was super proud of myself the first time, and I want to feel that way again.
- I liked the structure that training brought to my life and schedule.
- I look cute in my little Nike running hat, I think.
WHY I’M NOT DOING A SECOND HALF-MARATHON:
- To become smaller.
Running is great exercise, and I would never disparage anyone for including half-marathon training in a weight loss plan. But I don’t think it’s for me. Not now. Whether it’s the bagels or new muscles or my medication or getting older or a million other possible things, I would like to find peace in my body as it is. Because, this time, I already know that my body is capable of finishing the 13.1 miles. And that’s cool as hell! I was so proud of my sweaty, sticky, squishy, gangly body when it crossed the finish line, and I think I will probably run many more half-marathons just to keep chasing that feeling of pride.
I think the chances are pretty good that your body is also already capable of doing the thing your heart wants to do. Because our bodies are amazing, and no one else gets to decide for you what yours can/can’t or will/won’t do.
I will not run like an apology. I’m going to be a motherfucking Princess.