Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Of Running Shorts, Tank Tops and Declarations of Independence

My Ragnar Florida teammate, Jen, writes a great blog that is a mixed bag of inspiration, motivation and sometimes, even desperation. She is an amazing success story, having lost 100 pounds through better eating, increased physical activity, and her sheer force of will.

Her blog today, The Perfect Body, really pushed my buttons, and it prompted me to write this entry of my own. She wrote about her issues with how she still sees her body, even after losing such a large amount of weight.
When I was 100 pounds overweight I was eagerly looking forwards to the day that I could sport a bikini, rock a strapless or sleeveless dress and yes, even proudly and fearlessly wear shorts. The crock o' shit is that, CRAP, I still can't wear a bikini (hello flabby post-baby, post-100 weight loss looking belly), I still don't feel awesome in strapless or sleeveless stuff (courtesy of 'wings') and well, "not everyone has legs for shorts."
That rang a bell in my own head. My first reaction was to give her a hard time about it, launching into some grand lecture about loving our bodies just the way they are, being proud of how we have made changes for the better, and not worrying about what other people might think about how we look. And then I realized that a lecture like that, from me, would be bullshit.

Who am I to say anything to her about her fears, when I sit here quietly nursing my own? Sure, I run in shorts all the time. But I've made my peace with my short legs. No, my fear rides higher on my body. I don't wear tank tops. I used to, all the time. But since I put on all those extra pounds? No way. Even now that I have lost it again and I comfortable with my body weight, I still don't wear tank tops.

The closest I have come is wearing a muscle shirt when I run long distances, but that is just because I get way too hot and any kind of sleeves bother me. But a full on, no sleeves, cut to show the arms tank top? Nope. I won't do it. I try them on from time to time here in the privacy (pronounced safety) of my own bedroom, but to wear them so others can see? Pfft. Not a chance. So there I was, reading her blog about body image fears, and I realized that I am a total hypocrite. Who am I to judge when I carry my own fears? And that's when I decided that enough is enough. I dug around through my dresser drawers, found a tank top, and put it on. Before I could think too much about it, I walked out to the front room, asked my husband to grab his camera, and headed fearfully confidently into the back yard.

And what you see below is my own declaration of independence. I will wear whatever I feel like wearing. If I like a shirt, or shorts, or even a tank top, I'm going to wear them. Those who approve can shower me with compliments, and those who disapprove... well... to be honest.... I don't care one way or the other about those who disapprove.

This is me in a tank top. And later, I'm going to run a few errands, still wearing this tank top. And maybe... just maybe... my little bit of personal bravery today will one day blossom into full on confidence.