I woke up in an absolute horrid mood. I had not slept well. Ben was up a few times in the night. I had, and still have some decisions to make. Icky decisions about the future and my role in the family and running a household and making the most of the money and possibly making some of the money. I wanted to stay in bed and hide from it all.
But I couldn't. My brain just kept on... going. So I stuck with the plan that was formulated last night during a happier time and got up, braved the cold and went to the gymn.
Today, this morning, I was a runner for just over 2 minutes. The rest of the time I walked or ellipticalled (pretty sure I just made that word up) and I sweat buckets and loved it. My face is still red from exertion and I don't care. Because I feel so much better! I could work out some anxiety and read words from people that are much smarter than me. My mind finally, almost effortlessly wrapped itself around some things that I really needed to figure out. One of them being the shame of exercise.
Yep, you heard me right, the shame of exercise.
I grew up feeling less than most of the time. Less than in talent, looks, popularity, etc. I was deeply self-concious about anything I did to stand out. The more I blended into the crowd the better. I always at in the back row if I could because then no one would be looking at me, judging me and all my extensive flaws. Exercise, or any outward sign of trying to improve myself was just not something I could handle. In fact the exercise I did get consisted of situps in the privacy of my own room and walks in the black of night that only living in the country can give you. I'm certain that I would have died on the spot had anyone walked into my room when I was doing the situps. I'm certain they would have laughed and mocked me for trying to be... pretty? fit? look like the popular girl? Of course it was ridiculous and would have never happened, but the feelings were still there.
I don't know why this was. I have tried and tried to figure it out. I used to think it was tied to my parents somehow, but I can't find anything solid that would make sense. I do remember some people being criticized because they were "too into" their bodies. Some at the expense of their marriages. But it really doesn't hold water now since I know that those marriages were doomed from the beginning. Exercise became a way for one or the other to finally do something for themselves so they could feel good about something in life since the marriage and everything surrounding it was going to pot!
Still, I've downplayed the role of exercise in my life. I've felt a need to justify it: it's the only way I can stay awake long enough to read a book/study; I do it because it helps my back feel better; it staves off depression; I ate way too much last night so I'm just making up for my lack of control. I'm certainly not doing it to improve my body or feel better about myself as a whole, ya know cause only popular? fit? pretty? people do that. I'm not really fit. I'm not really pretty. Messed up people! Messed up.
There are a million reasons I could give, all of which have some degree of truth but none that really speak to my authentic self. The deep down to the core dirty truth is that I exercise because I like it! I like the way my body feels, all capable and stuff. I love doing something for myself. I love that my skin feels better in my clothes. I love the side benefits of clearer skin and a clearer mind. I love that I'm getting muscle tone in my arms (though I think that's mostly thanks to The Ben and his almost 20 lbs that spend a good deal of time in my arms). I honestly am a better person when I exercise. I am a more patient and loving wife and mother. I feel more balanced. I feel... better. Why on earth should I downplay that!
So today I am owning it a little at a time. My sweat. My red face. My capabilities. Myself. I, Lora Sullivan, am an exerciser.
What's something that you love and are not ashamed to claim?