Not A Worry In The World

Yesterday the universe told me I need to stop being so hard on myself, so I’m gonna work harder on that.

In the morning, I was feeling fat and gross. Everything hurt, as is more and more often the case during my aging process. I was determined to at least go for a walk at lunch, since it was one of the rare (unfortunately) sunny days we’ve had so far this spring. Getting out at lunch is really difficult. I am often handed rush projects at 11:30 and then end up working through lunch at my desk in order to complete them, and yesterday was no exception, but the work was able to wait until later afternoon. So out I went.

As I continue to rehab my weak ankle, I realize that I am much more successful as a runner if I really, really slow down. This may also be an aging thing for me, personally—I have to run like an “old man” in order to be able to achieve anything at all. I’m never going to win any races, and that’s fine. Yesterday, I felt lucky to just be able to move. I decided to do a slow jog and see how far I could go.

It ended up being one of the longest and most successful lunchtime runs I’ve had. So that’s good.

After about a mile and a half I came to the Lorain-Carnegie bridge. It’s a long, slow climb to the top and so far, I’ve never been able to make it all the way up, down to the other side, and then all the way up and back without having to stop and walk. But I had good music and sunshine, was well-rested thanks to the NyQuil I had taken the night before for my continuing sinus/ear/chest thing, and I decided to just chug slowly and see how far I could keep percolating.

I made it over the bridge, and I mean all the way over to the bottom of the other side, and back. I was beat by the time I got back to the starting point but I made myself push on and jog the rest of the way back to work. Round trip, I put in four and a quarter miles over the lunch hour. And yeah, it took me the whole hour. I told you I was slow. But as they say, a 12-minute mile is just as far as a 6-minute mile. I felt proud and grateful that my body, as beaten and broken and fucked up as it is, could do this.

I felt pretty good until I got home and saw my new swimsuit had arrived from Target. I never, ever get new swimsuits because I can’t bear putting them on. I avoid wearing swimsuits as much as possible, really, and the one I have at home is really, really old and the cups in the top are all saggy because I keep putting off getting a new one. So I ordered one online as a way of avoiding the fitting room hell that is swimsuit season. I dreaded opening the package.

Then I went to the mailbox and got the mail. A girlfriend of mine had unexpectedly sent me a cheerful card in the mail, telling me to remember how awesome I am. It was shiny and pink and bright and cheerful and brought tears to my eyes, it was so unexpected, and so needed. As a single mom, I often think nobody notices me or cares about my problems since I don’t really have anyone in my life every day (not even my son, who I only have every other week), but people do notice, they do care. The times I’ve gotten unexpected messages and gifts like this in the mail honestly have kept me afloat when I was drowning, and it’s a great feeling. I try to do this for my friends too, knowing how much I appreciate these messages.

Feeling awesome and strong, my son helped make dinner and then I stared down the swimsuit. The top actually didn’t look that bad. My rack is about all I have left in terms of good features, and part of why I decided to try to get a bikini for the first time in my life is I thought I could show off that one good feature a little better (and draw the eye away from the rest of me). I bought these high-waisted bottoms to go with, to try to hide my gross, scarred, fat stomach and hips, but I am very short, and the two pieces together were so close on my body that I looked like a stuffed animal instead of a woman. Not flattering. I put on a little skirt bottom I had from my tankini, and looked and looked in the mirror, trying to decide if I could stand to be out in public like this. My son was jumping on the bed behind me. “Ugh, I look so fat,” I said, not thinking about him being there. He stopped jumping. “No you don’t, mommy, you look beautiful!” he said. I said, “Are you sure? Like, if we went to the beach like this you wouldn’t think I looked bad or something?” He looked at me like I was crazy. I hugged him.

I will rock that two piece on the beach in a couple of weeks, because I am apparently awesome. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Luckily, my friends and family help me remember, in the moments where I forget.

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