I used to be weak.
Really. I mean, I believed that I was. I believed that my greatess flaw was weakness.
That’s sad, looking back on it.
But something changed in me, an inherent shift and now, well, I know I’m strong.
I’m not talking about physical stregth, because quite frankly, that’s easy to come by. It takes some time, sure, but it’s achievable without too much work. Mental strength, that’s what I mean. The strength it takes to raise two children and work on a university program and coach a running clinic and train and manage to get time alone with my husband and anything else I do. It takes thought to balance it all, and I think I do that pretty well.
This is a very new realization for me and it’s one that I’ve made a conscious decision to share. So often women are fearful of being confident and independant and proud of themselves, but we need to let that go. and so I boldy state: I am both strong and beautiful.
I found my strength through running. I have done physical things that at one point in my life I couldn’t dream of accomplishing. The further I move away from my post-baby body, the less it becomes about physical appearance, and that makes me happy. I *like* how I look, plain and simple. I’m happy to be lean and muscular and I’m also happy that my body is still soft and feminine. My arms are starting to get some definition, but my hips curve inwards, my inner thighs squish with a squeeze.
This is new for me, and I feel strangely vulnerable sharing it. We need this though. Women need to embrace themselves for who they are, not for who they want to be. It goes so far beyond airbrushed images (the waifs on fitness magazines drive me crazy, inparticular), but the heart of the matter is that we’ve devalued ourselves and what we do. (Or perhaps we’ve been devalued, I’m not sure, although I believe in taking ownership, so I’ll stick with my first statement.) I try to be very honest here about my shortcomings, but now I’m being honest about my strengths as well.
It’s why I love to run long distances, you know*. Because at some point during every vey long run, I am in a lot of pain. There is no choice but to keep going (well, there is, but when you’re 15km away from home, you may as well run because it’s a helluva lot faster than walking), and I do, because somewhere inside, I believe that I can.
And hell, shin splints and sore muscles have nothing on that feeling.
*Also, I’m convinced that every long distance runner is, well, a little sick.