It was 0 out yesterday. With a windchill of -25. For real.
The ocean down the street was literally steaming because it was so much warmer than the air. I tried to take a picture but my phone died as soon as I whipped it out of my pocket. So here's a picture of my feet instead.
I digress, so it was 0. And I was cold. I has run outside in my sweater to go turn the car on so it could warm up while I got ready to go. I ran back into the house and my whole body was freezing. Hands numb. So I put another layer on, along with my coat and hat and mittens. Then I began to run in place. Faster and faster until I was going so fast I started laughing. It felt...playful. The stuff on the shelves were shaking. I kept going until my legs were burning and I felt the warmth in my core radiating out to my fingers. If anyone had seen me they probably would have thought I was crazy.
While I was running in place I had memories of elementary school. Leaning back and pumping my legs to I could swing higher and higher. Borrowing my friends "Skip-it" was my jam. Jump roping. I loved jumping rope, I remembering feeling like I could do it forever. I wondered how long I could jump rope now. Suddenly, my brain was flooding with memory after memory of how I used to move. How I loved to run because it made me feel like the cheetah girl in Thundercats. How my pink banana seat bike transformed into my chariot as I raced down the sidewalk. How I loved to build forts with giant fallen sticks in the woods and swim all day long.
When did moving stop becoming fun?
When did it turn into punishment?
Why did it feel like such a chore now?
How old was I when it all changed?
When I was 7 or 8 or 9 I didn't wake up in the morning and say to myself..."Steph, you better log in at least 30 minutes of jump roping so it will count". Count for what? It made me sad and angry at the same time. How much time have I wasted as a teenager and an adult thinking movement was punishment. That in order to be forgiven I needed to pay penance in the form of running when I didn't want to run. Staying on the elipticle even though I was bored to tears. Lifting the weights over and over, doing sit-ups until I couldn't breathe and swimming the laps because it was never going to be enough to make up for the fact that my thighs still. rub. together.
Seriously. What the fuck?
As soon as I stopped running in place like a maniac in my living room all I could think about was...I WANT THAT BACK. That freedom I felt as a child to just move in whatever way that feels good. For however long it feels good to move like that. There will be no more prescribed daily movement unless I want it. It won't be to get my heart rate up or because I'm setting goals. No more something I check off on my to-do list. No more making it about weight loss. No more wondering if what I did was good enough. No more "if I'm not sweating and straining, it doesn't count".
New rule: If I'm not smiling, at least on the inside then I'm not doing it. I can't
I was not put on this earth to punish myself like this (neither were you). For so long I've had these totally bullshit ideas about exercise and it's really messed me up. It's taken away so much joy that could have been. I never thought running in place could help me finally release years of pain and disappointment in myself. It made room for some much needed forgiveness.
You know, it's kinda scary writing this all out to you. It's hard to trust that I'm going to like the outcome. I wonder how long it will take to fully heal my relationship with movement. I worry that it will take too long. I wonder if I'll go back to my old thinking. That it won't ever be right. That it's a strange duality to be sharing this while simultaneously coaching amazing women back to center in there own lives. I'm learning that it's ok to learn and teach at the same time. It can't all be candlelight and rose petal tea. If there was one resolution I did make this year, it's to stop worrying so damn much about what others are going to think and allow myself to not only submerge into my truth but talk about it too.
Happy New Year loves. It's gonna be a good one. I can feel it. Also, I love you.
Stephanie is a certified holistic health councilor who helps other women reclaim what they have lost and supports them as they heal their relationship with themselves, beginning with the food on their plate and the space in their homes. Want to learn more?
Come say hello at stephanieperkinson.com