Today was day 5 of my attempt at a 30 day running streak and I should be on top of the world; I’ve run 20.3 miles since Sunday, which is truly amazing, I’ve rarely ever logged that many other than the week of a half marathon. And I am pleased with my minutes and miles, to quote my friend Chris the Polecat (twitter: @polecatspeaks). It turns out my running shoes have been one to two sizes too small for five years now….my poor toes, feet, ankles, knees……all my injuries, how many caused by those shoes? But of course now I can only run forward, not back.
So what is eating Kerniec? Why is AGR sad, sensitive and emotional today? Ugh….I hate to even talk about it, my most painful insecurity (I think?), tied to my fitness, my body image, and the fact that I’m really attracted to other athletes. I was overweight and obese for about fifteen years total, and it took its toll on my body, my health, my looks. My self-esteem was already wrecked, hence putting the weight on in the first place.
So for five years now, I’ve been a runner, and I’m attracted to other runners and athletes. Being a runner is such an integral part of my personality that I feel like only another athlete, someone who puts that only after children and work for survival can understand. And that all sounds OK except that outside of my pretty face and my nicely inked back, I have severe body image insecurities.
When I meet a runner, or an ironman, or other athlete, I’m always more nervous. I’m nervous about my asthmatic breathing which I try to control in vain….my Achilles heel, my skin that isn’t quite 40 and athletic, and my extra pounds and curves that never left and crept back on. At any size, as a runner, I feel insecure every time I show up to race; I feel like my body will never live up to my face; I feel like the fraud someone once accused me of being. When I race, I feel like I don’t belong when everyone tries to help me. When I run with someone I’m attracted to, or even if I’m not, I feel inadequate, slow, fat, inferior; if they don’t want to see me again, I blame it on my appearance when it could be my personality.
Feel the feeling and release it, Kernie. I’ve been down this road before….self-loathing and self-punishment, and somehow I always go down a fork in the road where I have to face this demon again. I’m sorry, I wish I could love myself enough not to feel like I’m not good enough to be a runner, or the girlfriend of an athlete…..because intellectually I can tell myself I have so much to offer beyond perfect skin or the six-pack I’ll never see past the skin, scars and belly fat….but emotionally it is where my mind goes every time it doesn’t work out with someone.
My exes…tell me that I’m beautiful, way too hard on myself, overly self-critical, and far more attractive, naked, than I give myself credit for. When I read dating profiles of people looking for someone height/weight proportionate, I won’t message them, because I’m not. Extra pounds in the dating world has come to mean very overweight or obese, but technically I am an overweight athlete. I have extra pounds and frankly…..I look better with them, clothes off, but they suck when I run. They suck period because people don’t get it……when you lose over 100 lbs at age 35, your skin, if you’re halfway typical, sags, wrinkles, just sucks really badly.
I know this is probably TMI for many readers, but there are likely those out there who can identify with how I feel about myself, about not feeling good enough, fast enough, healthy enough, fit enough to be a runner. It can be a wonderful world where everyone is helpful and friends are made and life is fantastic, or it can be a world where you’re the girl who wants to be part of the club, part of the clique but she isn’t thin enough or pretty enough or fast enough to be accepted. When I’m tweeting, I feel like I am part of this marvelous community of people and I have made all of these connections and wondrous things across space and time. When I’m running alongside someone in my own city, or trying to run with a group, I feel hopeless, lost, inadequate, slow, fat, and it reminds me why I’m solo both as a runner and a woman.
Until I conquer this, until I can tell myself that I’m OK as I am, beautiful enough, fit enough, fast enough, strong enough, to be loved by another athlete, it’s not likely to happen. The fact is, I’ve accomplished amazing things against great odds and while being humble is important, being sad and not accepting my true value, my inner beauty(as I wrote this I wanted to delete it…..I don’t even believe in my inner beauty?), is very self-defeating. . Somehow I have to forgive myself for all of my sins in my deeds, my food intake, my appearance, my skin, my life so that I can leave this deep horrible sadness behind and self-actualize as Asthma Girl Runner.
It’s been a long time since I wrote such a sad introspective piece and I’m not sorry; I needed to put my dating and friendship specific fears OUT of my mind and on this page. I need to know if I’ve inspired anyone else to be nicer to themselves or to try to change their own negative thoughts. I would love to hear some advice, feedback…..reply away please!