On Running & Self-Trust

On Running & Self-Trust

Unless yr Sean Bean. Then you look like sex in motion, obvs.

 

I’m doing a half-marathon on August 3. It will be my second. This makes me sound like more of a runner than I am. I’ve done a handful of races but I really don’t like races. I like training for them more than I like the actual race. I really don’t like running around other people. I think I’ve spoken about this before. Anyway.

I’m going to do some posts on running because I had a big turning point in my training this weekend (did my first significant long run) so what seemed to be heading toilet-wards is now going in a better direction than I thought.

Running has taught me many things. Fitness and health aren’t the things that I’m thinking of, though. The closest thing I can think of about physical benefits has to do with trust.

I went through puberty early and since then, I’ve been distrustful of my body. If it could freak out and get its period and boobs at age 9, then Jesus Christ, what the hell else was it going to do? From an early age, I didn’t look like who I was. I don’t know if that makes sense but I can’t explain it any other way. I was a tomboy and cerebral and silly and childish and suddenly I had giant boobs and had to wear giant maxi pads and it was gross and awful and I hated it and I hated my body and I was mad at the fucking world for making this happen.

I don’t know if there was anything to be done to prevent this. It just happened. But my mother kind of looked at me like I was growing horns, of course; the whole thing perplexed her just as much as it did me, I imagine. Why is my cute little child changing like this? It seriously was like I’d swallowed a magic potion in a cartoon or something.

This experience gave me a generous helping of self-loathing. I didn’t believe anyone when they spoke positively about my appearance. I thought they were crazy; I still do. I don’t want to talk about it. It brings up gross feelings and doubts and I want them to shut up. I can’t believe in myself, physically, really. I don’t trust my body like I trust my brain.

Running has restored some of that lost trust, though. Not all of it. I will probably always feel sort of ripped off and unsettled in my own skin.

But now I know some things about my body that I didn’t realize before:

1. I’ve got good lungs.

2. My heart does its job very well, too.

3. I can rely on my thighs when shit gets difficult. Those fuckers know how to handle anything.

4. When something hurts, I don’t have to quit; it’ll go back to normal soon enough.

5. After 38 years, there is something in me that might be labeled ‘tough.’

 

4 Comments

  • Carrie Mesrobian on Jul 07, 2013 Reply

    Funny how we resist that what feeds us and makes us better, huh? If I could capture the high and good feeling and pride I have after a run, and bottle it, and rub it all over me while I’m busy making excuses about why I can’t put my shoes on and just fucking GO, goddamn, I would. I feel like a dummy bc I have to keep learning this one dumb lesson, over and over.

    Tomorrow: get the shoes. Then report back and I’ll put mine on and we’ll go get it done together.

  • Carolina Valdez Miller on Jul 07, 2013 Reply

    God. YES. I get this. This is me. Hello.

    I’m a small person who has dealt with a lot of ugly shit that makes me feel like an even smaller person. Running makes me feel a little bigger, I think. And yet, often, I find reasons not to do it. Like my running shoes got toasted in a mud run in May. So. Yeah. It’s an effing battle, so easy to slip into losing. Like your whole life.

    Funny though, I was just saying today: tomorrow. Tomorrow I will buy new shoes.

    At this moment, I trust that I’ll do it.

  • Carrie Mesrobian on Jul 02, 2013 Reply

    “I loathed my body and felt like I was a broken bridge suspended between two selves.

    beautifully put.

    it’s amazing how vanity is so de-motivating, isn’t it? it’s the deeper issues that push me, not vanity. though I remain vain as hell.

    Glad to hear you are seeing this in yourself. It’s pretty goddamn great.

  • Syntax and Salt on Jul 02, 2013 Reply

    This is how I feel about lifting. I recently did a 12 week heavy lifting routine after years of doing a lot of nothing. I also hit puberty at 9 as a bookish tomboy. Suddenly, bra snapping, snide comments about my body and how I must be using it. I loathed my body and felt like I was a broken bridge suspended between two selves. So when I started lifting, unable to even complete a real pushup, bad knees aching, I had very little expectation. And then one day I did 30 pushups. Not on my knees. I didn’t even vomit. It stopped being about the aesthetics as much being pleased with what my body could do. It’s a beautiful thing, in my thirties, to finally feel some semblance of confort with my body, when I haven’t since I was a child. And all it really took was my brain putting together that I did real. fucking. pushups.

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