Happy anniversary to us! No adorable pictures because our first born babies aren’t awake yet to help me undo whatever muck-up I did to our scanner the last time I used it. The kids these days say, “Pics or it didn’t happen!” but I know for sure these last 15 years did happen. They happened and they rocked so hard! So hard that my body and soul are pretty much ruined. But we both still have our sense of humor! Good damn thing. The next 15 years are going to be even more rockin’, in part because our kids can wipe their own butts now and we can sit around and reminisce about butt-wiping and pretend that we miss those days. And then we can laugh and laugh because, while those days are lovely to think about, we both know that those were some deep trenches we were in and we’re lucky we got out alive. I’m glad to share those memories with you. I’m glad to have this family we created together. I’m glad the five of us can sit on the couch and watch Conan together. I’m glad you’re my best friend. I’m glad I’m the mother of
most of your children. I’m just plain glad to have you in my life as my husband and father of most of my children.
The next 15 years are going to fly by, I know. And there will be brand-new trenches as we watch our kids navigate adulthood and we’ll mournfully wish, for their sake, that they were babies again. For now, though, I know how lucky we are to be in this moment right here. We have the best of everything in this little family.
I’ve turned a corner in my barefoot running life. It takes a long time for someone like me to build up mileage under normal circumstances, but barefoot running requires an even slower build up, so when I completely started over with barefoot running last year, I knew it would be a while until I was back to normal-for-me mileage. Then I moved to this neighborhood full of hills and I thought I might die. Then winter came and I thought I might die in a snow bank on a hill with frostbitten feet. But I didn’t! And now I’m back to my normal. And it makes me happy.
From almost the very beginning, it was clear that I wanted the feel of barefoot running, but with some shoe-like things on my feet because I couldn’t get the hang of not pushing off of the balls of my feet in order to minimize friction and avoid blisters. Back in those days (uh, 10 months ago), Vibrams were the recommended minimalist shoes. But I think they’re ugly and, though less expensive than regular running shoes, still more than I wanted to spend. Nowadays they have these minimalist shoes, which look totally rad:
But they’re $160 and it enrages me to spend that much of my clothing budget on a single item, so I’ll probably never buy them. Instead of real minimalist shoes, I bought $10 water shoes from the grocery store. To be honest, one of the reasons I started barefoot running last year was because I needed new running shoes, but I didn’t want to pay for them. I’d heard about barefoot running so I looked into more and gave it a try. I read Born to Run and all of the foot science stuff in there made so much sense to me, unlike most things I read which leave me mostly confused. And then I read some more things. But then I switched to wearing water shoes, so was I still running barefoot? Some of the internet says yes, but I have issues with exactness so I DON’T THINK SO! I’m a minimalist runner, but that phrase isn’t heard on NPR and whatnot so I’m saying “barefoot,” but you all know I really mean “minimalist,” right? In real life I say, “Well, not really barefoot, but almost.” which is too wordy for typing.
barefooting it for a few months, I put my regular old Asics on just to wear while having a garage sale and I threw my back out. The sciency stuff about barefoot running tells me that that was because the bulky Asics affected my gait so much that my back didn’t know what to do with itself so it tried to commit suicide. So I put those shoes in the Planet Aid box and bought myself some minimalist shoes that I could walk around in and not be embarrassed by (I’m looking at you, Vibrams. Yes, you’re embarrassing. And this is coming from me. Have you seen how I dress? If I think you’re embarrassing, then you have a problem). I believe that minimalist shoes should be cheap, so I bought these:
Lovely, under $40, room for my foot to experience its whole range of motion, no bunion pain, and no back pain. I had already built up the strength in my foot tendons and muscles by being close-to-barefoot at all times all summer, so I didn’t have that part of the curve to deal with. But the amazing lack of bunion pain when wearing real-live shoes caused a happiness to bubble up within me, the likes of which I usually don’t experience unless there is some sort of good food involved. Every single time I bought a new pair of shoes, I’d have bunion pain until my foot wore down that part of the shoe. I thought it was a fact of life. Turns out, I was suffering for no reason! And then I married barefoot running. (I didn’t really because I’m not adding a 2nd husband to my marriage until ALL people can get married to inanimate objects, ideas, or even just other people who happen to be the same sex. Wait, is that the “slippery slope” conservatives talk about? Haha, so dumb.)
When winter came, I knew I had to find a way to get through it without real shoes. I put some SmartWool on, upgraded to $30 water shoes, mostly because it seemed like I needed a little extra weather protection around the bottom of my feet, but also because we had sold our house and I was feeling so spendy! The shoes and socks were perfect if there was no precipitation or melty snow on the road. In other words, that combo was perfect for roughly 4 days of a mid-Ohio winter. Wet feet + cold weather = bullcrap. So I asked the internet to tell me what to wear instead, but the internet forgot that I don’t spend big money on single items that I can’t even wear to fancy places where I never go. It kept telling me to get those awful Vibrams and whatnot. I told the internet to try again and it found Seal Skinz for me. Good internet. Now that it’s allegedly almost spring, I have some things figured out. If it’s cold and wet, I wear my water shoes, SmartWool, and Seal Skinz.
If it’s cold and dry, just the water shoes and SmartWool. If it’s over 40 degrees and dry, it’s warm enough to wear just the water shoes and light socks. And that is so, so lovely. I don’t have to, but I usually choose to wear a light pair of running socks with my water shoes because, without the socks, the smell that grows within the disgusting shell of those shoes is life-threatening. Our house is small. If my running shoes smell bad, the whole house smells bad. Also, I like socks because I usually take the liner out of the bottom of the shoes because it tends to slip around and be weird, and then my feet don’t have to cope with leftover sticky stuff. That has only been an issue with the grocery store shoes, though. The Speedo ones still have their liner and I’ve been wearing them since December.
All of those things, including the walking around shoes, come to less than $100. The only part of my combo that will have to be replaced regularly is the water shoes, and now I know I can go back to the $10 grocery store shoes because the Seal Skinz eliminate my perceived need for more weather protection. I used to spend over $100 on shoes 3 times per year. Because that’s what they told me I needed to do and I am ever so compliant. I’d spend that money and still have bunion pain for weeks until I wore down the state-of-the-art cushioning that made my shoes more expensive. Stupid!
My Fat-Talk is for Babies post is featured on BlogHer today. This is what BlogHer is, according to BlogHer: Reaching more than 20 million unique women each month BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. Women turn to BlogHer to raise their voices, discuss relevant issues, aggregate their influence and engage with a supportive community of others doing the same. With blog directories including more than 25,000 quality blogs, reviewed by humans, and a publishing network joining more than 2,500 affiliated bloggers, BlogHer is the only place to find active, authentic conversations representing the full diversity of topics of interest to women.
So that’s nice.
I know you already read it here, but go to BlogHer and read it there, too. That way, they’ll know how much I appreciate their syndicating my post (because I super do very much appreciate it). You could even leave a comment there because, I suspect that most people who read that post will read it as, “Eat donuts every day for every meal and just buy bigger pants when you need to!” which, my smart readers know, is totally not the point.
Because it’s the New Year and everybody is resolving to do All of the Good Things and None of the Bad Things, I wanted to share something with you. Here it is: It’s ok to be a woman and have a good body image.
Before Thanksgiving, this post from Psych Central showed up in my Google Reader: How to Have a Fat-Talk Free Holiday Season and I immediately subscribed to that blog because, of all of the things in the world that I hate, I hate fat talk the most. I hate that I’ve done it when the conversation has been steered that way. I hate that when I started running I would feel guilty about it around women who don’t run, and then I’d say I only run because I really like to eat when, really, I run because I like the way it feels. I really like to eat, too, but that’s not why I run. I like to eat real food. Real butter, real cream, real sugar, and I eat what I like to eat without guilt. I don’t care what size my body parts are. I don’t weigh myself. I move how I want, I eat what I want, and I buy bigger pants when I need to. And I just don’t give a care.
It wasn’t always this way. When you’re a girl, you grow up with this culture of fat talk. How much do you weigh? What size are your pants? And it seems like that’s the most important thing. You’re supposed to look in the mirror and point out all the (unchangeable) ways your body sucks. My mom dieted a lot. She looked in the mirror and sighed, but she never turned a critical eye on my body. She never gave me “helpful” advice about weight loss and she never said, “If you eat that, you’ll get fat,” and, because of that, I think it was easier for my sister and me to grow out of that self-loathing that was just a product of our culture and not really who we were. I don’t like that culture. And, yes, I said “grow out of that” because I think it really is a maturity issue. There is nothing more immature than focusing on the outside when the inside is where the truth of Everything is. The inside is where the worthwhile work is and we can’t work on that when we’re distracted by the outside bits.
The other day, Lena (11) asked me how much she weighed and I threw a little bit of a hissy fit, telling her that she weighs as much as she’s supposed to weigh, and that weight is just a number and the same number on one person will look different on another person, and it’s also just a way for women to compete with each other. Women (and girls) step on the scale in the morning and use that number to make or break their day when it doesn’t mean anything. Every body is different. She was like, “Uh…A simple ‘I don’t know’ would do, crazy lady.’” Ahem.
I can remember being just about Lena’s age when I realized that I weighed more than my friends. It had never occurred to me before, but everybody was talking about it and it was…what was it? I was going to type “devastating,” but it wasn’t that. It was…odd. It was kind of like, “Oh, ok. I’m heavier. I guess that sucks?” And then I played that role with the sighing and the, “Ohmigod, my legs are huge!” But I was grateful for my powerful legs that helped me be super awesome at sporty things and stuff. I was supposed to think I was gross, but I was glad to be strong. Again, I think I was able to focus on strength because that was important at home. Nobody at home was telling me I was fat or warning me I was going to get fat someday or restricting my food intake, not even in a passive-aggressive-eyebrows-raised kind of way. Thanks, Mom.
Way back when my sister had her first daughter in 1993, she and I made a commitment to never let that little girl hear us talking bad about our bodies. No looking in the mirror with disgust, no “If I eat that, I’ll get fat,” nothing. That commitment lead to the eventual realization that I just don’t care how big or small my parts are, but I feel like I have to fulfill this womanly duty of talking as if I do when I’m around women who do that. So I don’t do that anymore. Fat talk is for babies. I love fat babies and I’ll talk all day about yummy fat baby rolls, but if you say, “Ugh, if I eat that, I’m going to have to work it off,” I will roll my eyes and walk away. I might have a good body image, but I’m still pretty bitchy.
So, if you’re a lady type*, who grew up with the lady culture of fat talk and you feel like you’re gross, I’m going to promise you that you’re not gross and you don’t have to talk like you are just to make other ladies more comfortable. And you deserve to eat good food. So let’s all go read Eleven Body Image Practices to Pitch in 2011 and throw away those negative body image things we do. Because our daughters are watching us. And if you’re struggling with feeding your children, go ahead and check out Family Feeding Dynamics while you’re at it. Go ahead. You’ll thank me for it.
*Maybe you’re a guy type, but you still struggle with body image. I don’t know what it’s like growing up with so much testosterone that I could punch a wall, but I know that everybody could benefit from loving themselves just a little bit more.
Home is wherever I’m with you (Not you, internet. You, my family. Gosh!)
There’s supposed to be a video right here, but I can’t see it. I can see it sometimes, but sometimes not. So if you can’t see it, it’s supposed to be Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and I’m not spending any time on figuring out why it’s not showing up. I’m busy!
We’ve moved! I’m not telling you where because you’re the internet and you’re weird.