This is one of the custom blogs I do for my Facebook friends. I asked if there was anything they wanted me to blog about, and I’m writing a post for Sarah because she answered.
I’d like to know how your running is coming along, has it stalled out like MY running has, how does that make you feel? How does it make you feel to be a well upholstered hipster doing athletics? I felt very out of my element. I loved that you were trying it out at one point.
This answer ended up being really long, so I’m just going to split it into two posts.
PART 2: THE FATTEST GIRL ON THE TREADMILL BAY
(click here for Part 1)
So the cat’s out of the bag, I haven’t been running since we got Pepper in September, and probably before that since there was all that drama with my grandma being sick and everything.
But, I am very familiar with being the fattest runner. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been the fattest ballerina, the fattest gymnast, the fattest green belt, and the fattest little forward on the 8th grade basketball team. People tend to assume that fat people aren’t active, but if anything held me away from physical activity as a child it was the ridicule that came with my fatness and nothing to do with my fatness itself. I’m not going to say I was a star athlete or anything. Our basketball team lost every game we played. Every game, and I still managed to sprain both my wrists and one ankle.
Even normal sized people have fears about being the slowest, or the least coordinated with the worst aim, or whatever. And that’s just silly. Exercise should be the one thing you’re allowed to really suck at. Not to the level that you’re a danger to yourself, of course, but most exercise related injuries come from people pushing themselves too hard rather than slacking off.
I know there’s an obesity epidemic and everything, but we take physical fitness too seriously. There’s so little accounting for fun in the adult vocabulary. I’m already trying to be the best at ten million other things, and that’s usually because there’s money in the deal. There was a time in almost every person’s life when movement for movement’s sake was all we needed, and I think that an effective exercise program should bring that back to us.
When I was anorexic, I would secret run in place, or in circles at night in my bedroom. For years after that I found myself unable to separate exercise from body shame. I was convinced that my feelings of worthlessness were because I was unattractive and if I could just get the outside right, I’d finally feel like I belonged on this planet. I internalized the ridicule I got as the fattest ballerina, and I tried to punish my fat into going away. Exercise held a lot of issues for me, so when I started to exercise regularly, regularity was my only goal. I started with 10 minutes a day of movement. If I was loving it, I’d do more, if I needed a break, I took one. All I wanted was to learn how to move my body without hating myself.
More than five years later I’m a little thinner than I was, and I can run up the stairs without wheezing (conditional on how recently I took my allergy medication), but the real joy of it is I love movement again! I crave it when I don’t have it, and it invigorates me when I do. It’s an important part of the way I interact with myself and the world. After all the bullshit and the fat shaming, I finally feel happy inside my skin and I take simple joy in movement without having it tied to my worth as a human.
So, what’s the significance of being the fattest runner when running and fatness are no longer correlated? Nothing! I’m here for fun, you guys! I’m not saying I didn’t have bad days. Sometimes well meaning skinnies would look at me like I was retarded and give me heartfelt words of encouragement that made me want to kick them in their superior fucking faces, or I would have a relapse and start to think of “progress” in terms of size, some days I I felt really gross and I wished I could be pretty like the other runners, but more often than not, I just wished I was as fast as they were.
But usually I was too busy having fun.