On Sunday, I ran my second 5K. Wearing a tutu.
It was a great race. I beat my last time by almost FOUR minutes. I remembered all my technology this time (as opposed to my first race where I left my Garmin and my iPod with my perfect running playlist!) and got up extra early to have plenty of time to eat, pound some coffee and wake up. The race started at the state capitol, and wound through the streets of downtown Sacramento. It was super fun to run through the (closed) streets — I felt like a less-pretentious Kelly Bensimon (although, that was easy, because has there ever been a more pretentious human?),
gliding huffing and puffing through the city. I felt strong, and ran more of the 3.1 miles than I ever have. I set my personal best on a mile time (under 13 minutes!) and had a great time. The race was well-organized right down to the insane number of porta potties — no bathroom lines before a race. Runners will totally appreciate the rarity of that!
The interesting thing about this race was my tutu.
Did you know that people have really strong feelings about tutus? Me, either. At my last race, it seemed weird if you didn’t have some sort of flare situation happening. At this race, I was literally the only person wearing a tutu. Some people were sweet and adoring, complimenting me on the tutu and as I ran by some spectators, they’d call out sweet things. Other people were completely horrid about it. There was eye-rolling, whispered comments, and audibly rude comments. One woman looked me straight in the face and told me, “God, I hate people who wear tutus to races.”
I am somewhat outgoing, but I really dislike moments when I’m in the spotlight (even inadvertently) in a manner that’s out of my element. I will act a fool in my own classroom where I am 100% comfortable, but I will not, under any circumstances, stand up and dance alone at a concert. You can imagine how I felt being the sole wearer of a neon colored tutu that absolutely screamed, “LOOK AT ME!” People stared. I…looked at my iPhone a lot, and even though I was alone, I’d scan the crowd every few seconds as if I were waiting for a friend to show up. It was awkward.
I’m going to turn this into a healthy living metaphor because OF COURSE I AM. But truly, one of the most difficult things about this healthy living journey has been the reaction of other people. Most of the people in my life have been wildly supportive. My family is amazing. I could not ask for a more supportive partner than Andrew, who not only cheers me on, but helps me deal with the more “emotional” side of things, and never makes me feel anything less than beautiful, even when I come home sweaty from yoga. The majority of my friends cheer me on and don’t complain when I want to go to healthy places and never make me feel left out when I don’t drink alcohol or order dessert.
There are the friends/coworkers/random internet commenters who choose (consciously or not) to be detractors — the ones who make me feel less fun when I’m not drinking, or pressure me to order dessert. Someone recently reminded me “it’d be okay if I didn’t follow through” when I mentioned that I was signed up for a half marathon, and insinuated that since I’m not getting crazy fast yet, I must not be good at running, so I shouldn’t keep trying. Others comment on my food choices in a negative manner or roll their eyes when I talk about the things I’m working on. It feels weird, and hurts my feelings, and quite honestly, it just baffles me.
It seems like they don’t like my tutu, if you will.
I definitely considered ditching my tutu behind a bush after the first few comments, but then thought, “EFF IT” and wore that tutu, PROUDLY, the whole damn race.
I feel the same way about this whole healthy living journey. It would be easy to cave to pressure or comments. I mean, look, it’s not like I don’t want the dessert or the wine or the pasta. TRUST ME, I WANT IT AND I MISS IT. Like the deserts miss the rain. But I’m trying to do something here, and it’s working.
There will be always be naysayers and people who cannot be supportive of me (or you!) in life, be it on a healthy living journey or any other kind of life change. But what I’m trying to accept is that their reaction is about them, not me. I’m not doing anything to them, or for them. I’ve maintained from day one that this journey is for me and my own health, end of story.
I’ve been on the other side of the journey — so many people I know have done amazing things to get healthy, and I know without a doubt that I have had moments of eye rolling, jealousy or feeling annoyed. It was uncomfortable for me because they were taking steps to be happier, healthier and stronger, while I was staying stagnant. As I’ve progressed on my own journey, the more I’ve wanted to be more supportive of the choices the people I love are making, because I know how much that support matters. Conversely, when people are less supportive, I’ll be honest: I want less of that in my life, because a random comment from a stranger is one thing, but people who are in my life for realsies that are unsupportive? That’s unacceptable.
So whether it’s regarding my tutu or the healthy choices I’m (attempting) to make every day, haters, you’re on notice.
How do you deal with those who detract from your goals (healthy, or otherwise)?