Thursday, January 17, 2013

Owning It

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?


  1. I am so with you on this! When I started running about four years ago I had to go EARLY in the morning 'cause I was so self conscious about anyone seeing me red-faced and sweating. Once I got used to the idea that I really can be a runner it's not so bad :)

  2. Lora, I am SO like you! I get SO red-faced and sweaty when I exercise... that usually, I just don't. Way TOO embarrassing! I have feelings like that -- people that exercise so much are WAY to into themselves -- I don't know why I think that either. I don't want to be "selfish" in that way? Don't get me wrong, I think exercising is great and so important and I admire people that do it -- I just think there's a happy medium -- I think that's what you're saying too.

    My exercise consists of playing "Just Dance" with my kids and well, my elliptical when I feel like it. I've GOT to do better. Summer's easy -- you can walk everywhere, but right now.

    I love that you love exercise -- I'm not quite there. I used to be. Lora, you are so inspiring to me. ;)

    Stuff I love and not ashamed to claim??

    Well, I think I'm an "old" grandma in a 37 year old body: I love ugly sweaters, crossword puzzles, cats, Reader's Digest, and the day old bakery rack at Smith's. Actually... I'm a bit embarrassed. Poor Zeke, I'm pretty boring.

    Oh, and one more thing.... ready.... please don't shun me... "I can't help myself"... Zoe's got me listening to "One Direction" and I actually like them. Really. Now THAT is crazy! :)

    1. I totally understand what you are saying about "Selfish" that's what I felt like, only more like a twisted self righteous thing, like "I'm better because I'm devoting my time to "x" rather than just spending time on my body." When really I was jealous that I didn't look like them and that I never would look like them and that was my way of swallowing the bitter little comparison pill.

      And this isn't about 'exercising' so much as no longer being ashamed of something that I really love doing. Like cats and crossword puzzles and grandma likes in a 37 year old body!

      I'm just tired of letting "others" dictate what I should and should not be happy in doing.

      And I PROMISE not to shun you for One Direction because I am so out of the music loop that I don't know who they are! :)

  3. I love staying home cuddled up with my husband. I love my husband...not just in a "I love my husband" sort of way, but in the "there is NO ONE I would rather hand out with" sort of way. Not "cool", certainly, but if I could take him on every girls trip, I would.