Sunday, April 14, 2013

dear mothers

Dear mothers,

You might say I have no right to claim what I’m about to claim, to admonish what I’m about to admonish. You might say that, because I don’t yet have children of my own, I have no right to request what I’m about to request. But I think it’s because I’m still only a daughter and not a mother that I can plainly see this problem.

Mothers, your daughters are listening to you, watching you. When you grimace at your reflection in the mirror, when you bitterly reminisce about how much you weighed in your 20s, your daughters see and hear you. Not only do they see and hear, but they internalize. Without realizing it, they begin to think the same, even from a young age. Without realizing it, you are perpetuating a lifetime of self-destructive thinking.

And it’s not just your daughters who hear and see this behavior. You must think of yourselves as potential mentors to every young woman, because we are always listening and watching your example. When you are constantly stuck in the past, it subconsciously makes us fearful about the future! Conversely, when you are content with your life and can value your own beauty, we have proof that it’s possible to age with self-respect, that we can be proud of our lives when we’re a little older, even if we have a few wrinkles and can’t wear size 6 pants anymore. When you show us dignity, we internalize that, too.

Despite how you see yourselves, I see you as well-versed, amazing women who have done much, seen much. I see women who should be praised for their accomplishments. The lines around your eyes tell me you’ve smiled heartily during your life. Your stretch marks tell me your body has been through feats of strength and difficulty. I respect you for the things you’ve achieved; I don’t judge you. Why do you so harshly judge yourselves?

You deserve the love you can give to yourself. But if you don’t do it for yourself, at least consider your daughters, and all the other women who learn from your example.

There are two cycles. Please work to extinguish the cycle of self-deprecation and build instead a cycle of pride. The way you treat yourselves teaches me to do the same.


(This post is dedicated to Marjorie Smith, my grandmother, who lives a fearless and boisterous life.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

round 2…fight!

IMG_2958Most of you who read this blog are friends with me on Facebook, so even though I didn’t post on here about it, you know that my official time in the 5k back in October was 30:26. I counted that as a substantial victory, because I know I lost at least 30 seconds at the beginning when I was stuck in the crowd, so I was victorious in achieving my goal! I came in 11th out of 51 women in my age group. But numbers and stats aside, that race was a win simply because I ran the whole thing. When I started training last June, I was running 60 seconds at a time, maximum. It was hard. I doubted myself even on Day 1. And when the 5k came around, I ran for 30 minutes straight! I wanted to quit several times and just walk for a few steps, but I pushed through it, and I’m so glad I did.

There’s the obvious physical benefits of what I’ve accomplished, but what has happened to me emotionally is worth far more. I reflect on last summer and on the 5k with pride and renewed strength. I’m filled with confidence when I see these photos of a moment when I proved to myself that I was capable of more than I ever thought possible, that I am capable of even more than I think possible right now!

During the winter, I didn’t run much. I discovered that I loathe running on the treadmill and, let’s face it, I’m just plain bad at it. I can run about a half-mile to a mile now before I get really fatigued, so I’ve kept some of my conditioning but lost much. This weekend marked the first lovely, warm, Springtime weekend in Nashville, so I’m confident that I can start running outside again soon and get back to my normal (strong, capable, runner) self!

The next step for me is to train to improve my time. I haven’t decided on a goal time yet, nor have I signed up for a 5k, but I’m going to start training again in a couple weeks with a Fall 5k in mind, so I’ll keep you posted.