Surrendering to Looking Stupid

I started running about a month ago. It's something I did when I was younger, and I have always wanted to start again. I want to be an "active mom", so I've gotten into the habit of running a few miles every day. It makes me feel great, and I know it's good for me.

The trouble is, my body hasn't exactly morphed into what I think a runner should look like. In fact, I pretty much look exactly the same, even though I'm in much better shape. (my heart and lungs are so buff right now). But I know that if I'm gonna take this seriously, it's time to get some better running gear.

So . . . while in Seattle, my sis-in-law took me shopping to a great running store. Um. Ouch. I was so depressed as a tried on all of the cute running clothes. I do NOT look right in them. But you know what? I bought them anyway. I may not look good in it, but gosh darnit, I will wear it, and I will wear it proudly. I'm making the move towards better health, and if I look stupid doing it, oh well.
This was kind of a big deal to me, because I can be really, really shallow. I DON'T LIKE LOOKING LAME. But it got me thinking about all of the things that I avoid, because I don't want to look silly. For example, I love to dance. Before I had kids, I would take dance classes at my local community college. I was always the oldest in the class, and I started feeling insecure amongst the sea of svelte 19-year-olds. So despite really enjoying myself, I stopped signimg up for classes because I felt stupid.

My body image can literally prohibit me from doing things I enjoy. Case in point: I get so bummed at how I look in a bathing suit that I will make excuses to avoid walking around in one. It took all the positive self-talk I could muster to wear my suit in front of several friends on a recent vacation. But I can either suck it up (and suck it in), or I will end up sitting at home for half the summer, missing out on things. I love the beach. I love the pool. I may have to surrender to looking stupid to enjoy these things.
Growing up, my mom was really involved in Tae Kwon Do. (And by really involved, I mean she was a 4th degree black belt who ran her own studio. Yeah, she was kind of a bad-ass). But when we moved to another state, she stopped doing it. I remember her saying, year after year, that she was gonna join a local chapter as soon as she lost some weight. And as most of these stories end, she never did karate again.

I definitely see this tendency in myself, and I am going to try really hard to fight it. In a effort to avoid embarassment, we can stand to lose sight of doing things we love. I want my passions to take precedence over my ego. I may not show up to a jazz class in a leotard and leg warmers next week, but maybe it's time for me to find some sensible yoga pants and look at the dance department schedule one more time . . . .

And if you see me huffing and puffing around the neighborhood in my new running shorts, just pretend that I look totally hot in them.


  1. Oh honey. You look maaah-vah-laaas. Come read my marathoning blog. I won't tell you what I weigh, but it is as much as 4 of my children combined. Tis better to run and be a little fluffy than to keep sitting on the couch.

    Love, Corey
    Mom to 6, 5 Haitian

  2. sounds like my life... and i don't even have kids yet, but i hear ya. here i am doing the video that the trainers of the biggest loser put together in my living room this afternoon to avoid going running because it's too hot to wear pants and i don't like my legs in shorts. ha! wow. too much truth today. thanks for the inspiration to do things you love regardless :) best of luck with the dance class!!!!

  3. Kristen!

    yes! i love runners! there is such a thrill of completing the run and being so hot and so tired, yet feel so so good. im proud of you. please know, it takes a while to "look like a runner" but it's better to feel like one. you look great, and if i do see you running i will slap you on the butt and yell how ht you are, cause well, i think you are! is that weird?

  4. You wear those shorts with pride. Will you send some of the desire to run over to my side of the states?

    I just don't carry it.

    And I feel like I CAN'T do it.

  5. I am exactly the same way. It took A LOT for me to get in a pool this summer in Hawaii and that was with board shorts on! You go! Think of what you are choosing to pass on to your kids! (Sorry we missed seeing you guys - heard you had a great trip.) Love your blog...

  6. Anonymous6:22 AM

    Hey Kristen,

    Yeah, so glad to hear you're running. Disney here we come. :) BTW, I think the image thing is something in our heads. I've been running for a few months. You saw me in May...I'm not wasting away...I haven't lost any weight, but other people keep commenting on how I look better. Maybe I'm vain (OK, more than maybe) but that positive reinforcemnt is like a drug. Someone tells me I look good and I'm ready to go put my running shoes on.

  7. Thank you. Thank you. I've printed out a line from your post: "I want my passions to take precedence over my ego." I've taped it on my wall under a quote from Sister Corita: "Don't try and create and analyse at the same time. They're different process."

    Too often I let my ego edit my creative output for fear of looking silly--a dilettante. Here's to letting our freak flags fly! You in your running shorts (hot, hot, hot!) me with my paint brushes.

  8. We are always on own worst enemies aren't we?? You go girl. I give you an A for effort and as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, how can you not be proud of your body, no matter what you are wearing? We need to be more like the French, they eat what they want, wear what they want and don't care what anyone thinks about them while they are wearing it. Snaps for the French !

  9. I was just struggling through this myself. Ever since pregnancy with Kaitlyn I have a pesky 15 pounds that clings for dear life. I am so jealous of moms whose bodies seem to bounce back so nicely. Mine just sagged and never quite bounced. LOL! Many times there is a precious picture of me with my children but I don't want to post it cause it shows my chub... my double chin, big thighs, whatever. I have been forcing myself to post them anyway. I am trying so hard to just get over myself. There is no turning back the clock is there? I am not going to ever look 20 again... So why not just start trying to be OK with who I am now. Anyway- I am right there with you. :0) Angel

    PS I hate the swim suit thing too. UGH!!! Love to swim- hate the suit


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