Here’s the thing: When I’m running, I feel so alive, so strong. I feel the sweat trickling down my back and the endorphins slamming into my cells. I feel like I could do anything. Like solve-the-Middle-East’s-problems anything. Now that I’m semi-fast runner (8.30 min/mile), I love dodging and weaving and making my way forward. During a recent 15K race, I actually thought to myself, if this is how fame feels to Kim Kardashian, then I get it. Grease my ass and snap a picture; I will judge nevermore.
If I run more than 30 minutes, I start to envision my body lean and fat-free. Like a Kenyan. I picture myself long, graceful, lithe. I get a tremendous amount of pleasure during these extended visualizations of my gazelle-like legs propelling me ever onward.
Then, I see a picture of myself running.
Is that how I really look? It’s not AT. ALL. how I picture myself. Body dysmorphia aside, I look sort of ungraceful. And way thicker than I feel when I’m actually doing it. I know I’m not supposed to say that as a feminist, a mother of a daughter, a survivor of bulimia/anorexia, an over-educated woman in this culture moment, an Oprah fan (including, inter alia, Super Soul Sunday). But, it seems I can’t help it.
Just like the ice bucket challenge, I loved the moment, but the picture drags me into a nasty vortex of body shame/hating. Makes a girl start to think she should stop looking.
Also, it’s not easy to run with your arms making the touchdown sign. And what’s that guy on my right (your left) staring at? Has he never run a race next to a mother who just spotted her children on the sidelines?