Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bucket lists and Tough Mudders and Body Image Oh MY!

Ok. Let's begin with the back-story.

A Dove Commercial. 

 Late one evening a year or so ago, I'm going along with my usual ho hum nightime business, eating Oreos and searching for the latest installment of any Real Housewives episode available, when this Dove commercial comes on. It said, according to research, that by the time a girl becomes a teenager,  60% of females STOP doing physical things we ENJOY because we feel bad about how we LOOK.

I sat there, staring at my screen, Oreo in mid-air, wiping a tear in my bed. 

Because guys, that was SO me. 

I remember this one summer in particular, watching my little sister get up on water skis when we were boating on a lake with friends. I envied her ability to get up and so freely enjoy herself. Sure, water skiing looked like fun, but for my 16 year old self? No way. Imagine my thighs!! Just jiggling over the waves for all to see! And son-of-a-beez, I wanted to water ski!!!!! I wanted to get on the water tube!!! I wanted to do these things! Why oh why oh whyyyyyyyy did I miss out on all that fun?!!!  

The fact that I wasn't even overweight, ever, isn't relevant here. Body image beasts are equal opportunity destroyers. You'll never know by appearance which woman is plagued by her demons, the hateful self-inner dialogue. The merciless critic. I've talked a little bit before on the blog about my past body image battles. I feel like it was a long road towards proper mental alignment and health for me since those rather internally painful teen/young adult years. The shift towards wellness took some time and maturity, and I am still profoundly grateful that I was able to discover ways to shift my perspective and get healthier. I still work at it. I still work hard to protect myself from bad ideas, pointless media triggers, and stupid, STUPID comparisons. 

What's most crazy to me is how counterproductive our ridiculous levels of body-censorship really are. From a young age, we begin sitting still, shifting uncomfortably in our seats and checking every seam and hemline of our clothes. We don't move, we don't run, or jump, or try a cartwheel because GOSH FORBID someone sees our arm jiggle, or our breasts bounce, or 3 centimeters of our inner thigh exposed! Or cellulite. Or stretch marks. What if someone sees that?!!! We worry what people will think. For girls who suffer from the same sort of demonic thought patterns like me, it seems no matter what you do with your physical appearance, there was this nagging baseline caution that someone out there is going to think you're looking either too unattractive, or too attractive, or too fat, or too skinny, or too slutty, or blababbity blah blah hater blahhhhhhh!

So instead, we start sacrificing our body's movement in order to become sedentary and sad and lame and even, envious. The only movement allowed, is possibly, some sort of rather punishing solitary exercise routine. Next, we may narrate our lives with completely stand-still selfies, posed in just the right light with a smile plastered across our face as we suck it in or pop it out and act like we really look that way.

For me, it constantly felt like my body was under the microscope. What I wore was always under the microscope. The constant, never ending focus was always manifesting in the external. I'm so over it. Over the nasty, unhealthy, obsessive ways. 

I've found that the difference between dieting versus fueling my body for wellness, or exercising for the purposes of looking a certain way versus moving my body for enjoyment and vitality, or dressing the way I see fit for any specific occasion in comfortable and self-expressive ways (I still love me some fashion!) versus following strict rules someone else has laid out for me, isn't some silly semantics game. It's been everything for me. The former perspective endlessly trapped and tormented me, while the other perspective taught me to celebrate this amazing gift I've been given. This body! This mind! This life!

I take much better care of myself now. I want my daughters to see me move. I want them to see me having fun with my body. I don't want them to worry so damn much about all of this ridiculous body nonsense. Just get out there, girls. Respect yourself and have a blast. The rest will fall into place.

My Mom once said one of her favorite sights is to see a substantially overweight woman, in a bikini, shooting down a waterslide. Because that homegirl knows how to have a good time. She ain't gonna be stopped! 

I promise myself, and my daughters, that no matter what my body age or body weight or long as I am capable, this Mama is going down the water slides too. And I hope they'll follow. We will all be happier and healthier for it, I'm convinced!

So! One of my bucket list items has been to run the Tough Mudder. It sounded pretty fun to slop around in the mud and climb stuff like a kid again. Also, it gave me a good reason to get outside and moving. I printed off the 12 week training schedule and {very loosely} followed it in preparation. 

The event was at Lake Tahoe. The hike was incredible. The obstacles were fun/challenging/hilarious. Overall, the whole event was better than I expected it to be. 

Let the Tough Mudder photo bomb begin!:

Also, it's a TEAM SPORT! Probably the best part: I ran with some of my favorites girls. Sister friends. Special props to Ali. She happily found out she was newly pregnant but decided to still come with us (she didn't do any of the obstacles for safety)! 

Erica and Janet THREW IT DOWN on this one.


Not so much. Sad face.
I'm actually really upset about this obstacle. Lily worked hard training me on the monkey bars at the park for a few weeks before the race. Come on Mom! Don't be a wimp! You can do it! she would say and then proudly cheer as I crossed 4 monkey bars LIKE A CHAMP on her kid-size playground. I thought I was ready.

But NO!!  I let her down!!!! WAAAAAHHHH!!!!!

{"So um, hiii. My name is number 50140. Is this the part where we die?"}

{...."please tell my daughters i love them and mama died in this gas tent as an example of how to have fun with their bodies....okay? will you do that for me, tough mudder event volunteer lady?"}

oKAY then. Guess we did survive.


The WALL!!!

Least favorite obstacle award definitely goes to ARTIC ENEMA!!!

You slide completely underwater into a GIANT DUMPSTER FILLED WITH ICE. 

Lot's of climbing!

The Great Debate: To run or not run the electric shock obstacle? I opted out. I know I know. Because I really didn't want to die. I have heard legitimate horror stories that scared me enough to say no thanks.

Jacob, who was ashamed of us...tore off his shirt and, despite not being in the race to begin with, ran like a man beside his wife Erica so she wouldn't have to brave it alone....Good man. Brave Erica.


Someone is excited to be at the finish line!!!!

The hubs. He ran the race earlier in the day with his company. Around mile 8, I saw him, muddy and tired but there on the sidelines to cheer me on. Aww, shucks. Mud kiss mud kiss!

Bucket list: Tough Mudder: CHECK.

{I hope I can do it again!}

{But not make quite so many stupid faces in the pictures next time. Oh wait! There I go again!!! Censorship of self!!! Boooooooo!}

The End!

{PS. Special Thanks to Jacob for the photos!}


Shinae said...

I feel comfortable with my decision to not participate!

Rachel Haack said...

You ninnnnny!

Rachel Haack said...

Next year Nae. NEXT YEAR.

The Mrs. said...

You are incredibly awesome and brave and hilarious!!!! Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. Janet sent me pics right after she received some on her phone and I was thinking of you all the whole day!!!! xoxo

Ashley said...

This is awesome, you look great! I wanna join in next year!!