12 May, 2021


When there is absolutely no way to invisible repair the clapotis, repair it boldly. The patch keeps the same pattern, but sets it at an angle, and adds an extra corner at the bottom because why not

And! Nearly a year after tearing a hamstring, I'm back road-running. The healing period was spent running laps up, around, and down the 7 flights of parking structure, which kept the cardio and let things heal and made other things stronger. (Of course I did not rest.)

I also changed my gait completely, a mix of necessity and intent, which I'm given to understand one shouldn't do? Or something. Whatever. I am far happier than I thought I'd be to be running again. I look forward to it, even.

And! It doesn't hurt. I had forgotten what that's like.

I came late to running--in my 30s--because I'd always believed I wasn't built for it. I pronate pretty badly on a heelstrike, which is my "natural" stride, and end up pulling my body weight forward, rather than pushing off from the ball of the foot. Turns out I could, and did, muscle my way through for a while, with a scattering of IT and piraformis injuries (treated with months on an elliptical). But the hamstring, boy howdy. There was ouch and then there was ouch and then there was literally unable to touch my toes. Like, could not. Pain override.

It was the yoga that clued me in, hard. I couldn't do things I'd always done. A quick search told me what this was. Torn hamstring! Tendon?! I had to let that heal. And that meant I was going to have to stop running.

I was terrified. There was no gym access! Walking isn't enough! I'd get...well...fat.

And here let it be said: this is not about fat-shaming. This is about body dysmorphia and eating disorders.

When I was, like, 11 or so, a pediatrician alerted my mother that I was overweight, and were something not done ricky-tick, I'd probably only get heavier in puberty. My mother leapt into action. The weight came off. (A combo of exercise and Weight Watchers cooking--Dad was on a remote tour that year, so we could dispense with the meat-and-potatoes format and measure portion sizes.)

But I emerged from that experience not triumphant, not pleased, but terrified. I became obsessive about counting calories. After Dad came home, and the Weight Watchers stopped, I had to be vigilant. I could get fat again, and that wouldn't do.

The exercising, that was easy. We moved to Colorado right after Dad got back, and I got my long-awaited, much anticipated dog, and we walked. Hours. Miles and miles. But the specter of getting fat remained. I compared myself to every woman I saw. Did they have that curve, were they flat where I was not? Clearly the failure was mine.

Brief brush with bulimia in high school, but nothing extensive. Not because I wasn't worried, but because I was--that I'd be caught, and oh ho ho that wouldn't go well for me. I just ratcheted down on the calorie counting and reading articles about weight loss (everywhere, when you're a teenaged girl), and looking at other bodies. And comparing.

Somewhere in there, between 11 and 21, I learned to see myself wrong. Not wrongly--wrong. Like, the body I see in the mirror does not match the body everyone else sees. Reality split.

I wonder sometimes if I'd seen catalogs with models in them like you find in Athleta or Prana now--women of various sizes, various shapes--when I was younger, if that would have mattered. I said as much to Nous the other week, pointing at one woman. When I looked like her--I began, and he said, You never did. You were never that size.

I spent years and years in yoga classes, pilates, studios surrounded by mirrors and other bodies, and I learned to be mindful of things other than reflections. I learned to dismiss the feelings of fatness (0f unworth, of grossness), to brazen past them, name them false and not worth my energy. To see past them, sometimes. To see true? I don't know. To at least not judge, which is improvement enough.

But, but... there is always the scale. And even though our bathroom scale was a fickle thing, and we knew it--the broad trends (going up! going down!) were accurate enough. If I could not run, at least I could monitor the situation.

I found other exercise. I ran seven flights of stairs in the parking structure. Retrained my gait. Ate whipped cream in defiance of my own neurosis...and still got on that scale every damned day, because on some level I knew the whipped cream wasn't enough to do damage to whatever jacked up notion of perfection I sought in those numbers.

And then the scale broke. And we threw it out. And we haven't replaced it. And it's weird, not getting on the damn thing every morning, even if I sneered at the number (oh come on, I did not gain 3 lbs overnight!) or reveled in it (this is my college weight! I am winning (what is unclear). Just don't look in the mirror, idiot).

But I think it's good? Not looking. Not knowing. Theoretically, eventually, maybe, not caring for real.

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