Being part of an online “fitness blogging community” can sometimes cause you to lose sight of reality if you’re not looking for inspiration in the right places. There are a lot of people with blogs who focus on being skinny, having a “thigh gap” (if you don’t know what it is, Google it), having boyfriends who can lift them up — a whole lot of nonsense, if you ask me. Because, truly, truly, truly: None of these things have any bearing on your health. And, I’m sorry, but I cannot, will not, do not read the blogs of those whose main goal is to be lifted up by their boyfriend. Truth be told, I’d rather read the blogs of women whose goal is to lift up their boyfriend. (I’m comin’ for ya Mr. B.)
Now, before you jump all over me, let me say: I know I am still overweight. I know that I have about 20 more pounds to go before I’m on the high end of “acceptable” for my height. I know I’m not there yet.
But I’m not in a rush. And I do not want to be “skinny.”
Let me elaborate a little on where this stems from. And it’s taken me about a month to find the words to describe what’s happened since the marathon. Because, just as I received some of the most moving, amazing, inspiring support from friends and family — online and “in real life” — I’ve also experienced the opposite.
See this picture? A lot of people (men and women included) looked at this picture and saw the following — I know because they went out of their way to tell me:
Yes, after I posted this photo, I got emails and messages telling me how fat I looked and that they couldn’t believe I’d post that picture online for people to see. And that I should be “embarrassed.”
But, really, when I look at this photo, here’s what I see:
Oh, yeah, and did I mention, this photo was taken while I was running a marathon. A frickin’ marathon and people thought I should be worried about how I looked. This was one of the proudest moments of my life and, forgive my language, but I’ll be damned if I let anyone take away one second of the pride and joy I feel about completing that marathon because I don’t fit into their perfect package of what a woman’s body should be.
In case it doesn’t sink in for you — in case you don’t understand that this really does happen and this is real life for a lot of people (again, women and men) — please see the comments I got on the following photo:
But me? My version of this photo — and why I smile every single time I look at it, back fat and all:
And that photo? Taken after a 20-mile training run, and the first time I’d ever hit that distance.
Say what you will about me, about my photos, about my back fat. I can take it — I’m strong, and getting stronger every day. But please don’t think that because I don’t (or you don’t) look like some fairy-tale version of a woman that I’m any less worthy of love and respect. Or that I shouldn’t be proud of my accomplishments — all 26.2 miles of them. Because beauty and health are not to be found in how small your waist is or in how fast you can run. Both of them are found in your heart.
So, no, I am not skinny. And my thighs? They’re going to touch — and squish and sag — until the day I die. And I’m OK with that. Skinny is not my goal. Strong is my goal; healthy is my goal. Ultimately, happy is my goal.