Kathy of Running through shades of blue

“She Put on a lot of Weight” – By Kathy Sebright

Kathy of Running through shades of blueI ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of years on the fourth of July. It was hot and humid here. My sweaty hair was stuck to my face.

My brave little boy was in my big yellow double running stroller, the strap tied a bit too tightly around my arm digging in. My oldest son was running behind me with my husband. I was surrounded by an amazing group of people out there representing the church we attend, showing love for our community by passing out a few thousand popsicles in the parade.

My face was flushed red from the heat and the exertion of running to keep up while pushing a nearly 100 pound load and simultaneously handing out popsicles with one hand while the other steered the stroller.

I handed this person a popsicle, smiled, and offered a short, but enthusiastic, “Hey there!”

As I turned away from them to continue, I heard ever so faintly “she put on a lot of weight.”

I felt my face flame up with embarrassment. My pulse quickened like it would for an impending physical attack. I was stunned for about half a second before I realized there was no time to dwell on this. I had to keep moving and stay with my group even though I wanted to know so badly if there was going to be more to this conversation about me.

I sat with it for 2 days. I didn’t say a word to anyone about it, not even my husband, because I was embarrassed. Because I felt ashamed. Because most of all they were right. I mean yes, they were right. But in those short few seconds they saw me, they didn’t really see me. They chose to see just one thing. My weight. Not me. They only saw my weight.

I wanted to go back and tell them. All the things they didn’t see, that is. All the things they couldn’t even begin to understand. All the things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. All the things I have overcome to be here today, standing in front of them happily offering them a popsicle. All the times I almost didn’t make it. All the ways I have struggled and failed and got back up again anyhow, refusing to let that be the way it ended.

So yes. Yes. I have gained weight. And it would be so easy to make excuses and justifications.

This is what insomnia can do to you. This is what it looks like when you watch your heart and soul – your child suffer from unimaginable pain. This is what long term, chronic stress and worry looks like. This is what someone that has been on the edge one too many times looks like.

But it wouldn’t be the whole truth.

The whole truth is I have done this to myself. That’s the whole and embarrassing and painful truth. I have struggled and I have done the very best I have been able to over the years and this is where I have found myself. I have tried and tried and tried. I really have. And when all else has failed, when I have prayed and ran, and wrote and read, when I have cried and screamed and still felt the world spinning out of control in front of me, I have turned to food for comfort.

And just because I have put on this weight does not make me any less of a person. It does not mean I am not worthy, not interesting, or not important.

I wanted to go back and tell them more. Like how I just ran 100 miles two weeks ago, for the third time. And while some would attempt to diminish these accomplishments because I was not “fast”, I stand proud knowing the truth of the matter.

It takes a level of endurance and grit I never knew I had to run for a day and a half straight. It takes a hardened will, a determination to go forth despite the burning pain, the deep ache that settles in all of your bones, the beaten down body, and the discouraged mind. It takes dedication and passion. It’s all about heart. It’s a feat of strength, not just physically but mentally. And just because I have put on this weight does not mean I am weak, out of shape, or unhealthy.

I wanted to tell them all of this and more. I wanted to make them see how much more I am than someone who has put on weight. But the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it seemed. Why does it matter? Why do I care what these people think of me? Why do I look at myself in the mirror more critically after a mindless comment someone made by the side of the road? Why do we let people do this to us? Who is anyone to judge you or me that way?

Why do we dismiss a compliment so easily but let an insult stick to our ribs?

So I came to a realization and that is I need to be a better friend, to myself. The next time I look at myself in the mirror before I leave, I will not throw in a biting comment about how I look. The next time I am discouraged that I cannot zip up my favorite pair of jeans, I will not berate myself. The next time I hear a less than flattering comment about myself,  I will not let it take root in me. I will not give it the satisfaction. I will dismiss it the way it should be.

I will love myself more. I will look at myself the way a friend would. If I would not say it a friend, I will not say it to myself. As we all should. I will cut myself some slack and acknowledge that I really have done the best that I could. I will believe my own words. I will know that I have not failed anyone and that I am not a failure myself.

I will honestly and truly treat myself like a friend would. That’s what I want for you too. I want you to see yourself for how amazing you are. I want you to see that it does not matter if you are a few pounds heavier than you want to be. It does not make you any less beautiful. What makes you beautiful is you. Who you are. Not some arbitrary number. Not the way your critics may see you, but the way the ones that love you see you.

What an amazing thing that would be – to finally see ourselves the way our loved ones do. The way we should be seen. That is the hope. That is the goal.


Kathy of Running through shades of blueAuthor Bio: I am Kathy. I am happily married to my high school sweetheart, Tony, with 2 wildly active boys, Travis and Emmett.

I work and volunteer part time and probably spend a bit too much time organizing and re-organizing the same areas of the house. I am a perfectionist, a dreamer, and a lover of all things chocolate.

I am a wanna-be writer and a seriously dedicated (or obsessed as some may say) long distance runner. I am extremely driven and at times, extremely stubborn. I found my niche in ultra running about 8 years into my “running career.” It is when I am most exhausted after running for hours and feel like I can’t possibly take another step, that I feel the most alive.

I live in that space, that hazy physical punishment turned triumph and the mental weariness turned clarity that defies words and yet still makes me feel superhuman. It’s who I am.

Read more at Kathy’s great blog Running through shades of blue


 

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15 Comments

  1. Kathy–kudos to you for the 100 miles–AMAZING!! I so hear you about weight. I usually cringe a bit inside when I go to my home town and wonder if those I knew in high school are saying, ‘WOW! She REALLY packed it on, didn’t she?’ You are so right–a compliment slides off our consciousness yet an insult or whispered word seems to hang around forever. Weight is not who we are–we are unique, wonderful, strong, powerful, beautiful, fabulous and incredible women who have faced their demons eye to eye. How many can say that?

    This was a wonderfully empowering post, and thank you so much for it.

    Best,

    Jane

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy sheep dip Kathy- you run 100 mile races? Personally I consider myself overweight when my weight interferes with my life. I don’t know anyone who can run 100 miles – you can hardly say your weight interferes with anything. There are recent studies that show that heavier is not necessarily unhealthy. It is our socialized belief that thinner is better and that is flat out wrong. There have been times in history when heavier was considered more attractive than thinner. For those who are not a slave to herd thinking – weight really doesn’t have anything to do with beauty and health.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a hard comment. I wonder….have they looked in the mirror? I have a niece who was crying to my daughter over comments made about her weight. The person who made such comments was overweight himself. Who was he to talk? This is why we must value ourselves. Some people are so artificial.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t comments about us say more about the commenter? At my best I know this and also that if there were no truth to it, why notice? If there is truth to what’s said, why notice?
    Loving ourselves as we are lets these comments slide off like so much rain.
    Enjoy your running and Popsicle-sharing.
    Vincent

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great post Kathy! Good for you that you’ve found new and beautiful ways to love and accept yourself. I have found that those moments, those painful terrible hurtful comments, are really a blessing in disguise. The negative reactions we have are a chance for us to go deeper within ourselves, and find the places we are unkind to ourselves. (I used to cringe every time I looked in the mirror!)

    The reason comments like this are painful is because in our hearts we believe them, and judge ourselves harshly. For me, dismissing the comment, or highlighting my other positive attributes, doesn’t make the pain subside. Instead, I take the judgment, accept it, and then find why that particular thing is a positive rather than a negative. In this case it would look something like “Ok. I have put on weight. This hurts me because I feel like I failed to live up to the thin standard I have for myself. Do I really need to keep this belief that I should be thinner or weigh less? Would my life really be better if I were thinner? Probably not. Instead, let me find three ways that my life is better at my current weight.” This way, you recognize the truth, but you undo your judgments about it. You no longer need to punish yourself, and you no longer believe anyone else’s judgments about you. It’s a beautiful thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate the whole concept of measuring a person by how much one “weighs”. If one could step on a scale to see the true “measure” of a person – we would all be far better off! I think “that” is what was meant by “she put on a lot of weight.”! I think you are beautiful – inside and out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a brilliant post! And a 100 miles, woaaah. That is insane. I wish Im able to do that some day. I have gone from far to skinny to chubby and I’m slightly heavier than I’d like to be. I’ve gained some weight but also a top of great experiences in the mean time but people don’t seem to notice that. They’re superficial. I don’t feel like a different person just because my cheeks are chubbier and my hips are fuller. We’re women who aren’t defined by weight. We’re strong and beautiful and know how to value ourselves. Thank you for this super empowering post!

    -Ananya

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amazing post! Great attitude and great post human! You know, we kats never concern ourselves with our weight – we know we are MARVELOUS creatures just as we are – (if you don’t believe it, just ask us )!😸 So are you!

    Like

  9. Your attitude is fantastic and a lesson to us all. It’s really sad how critical we can be with one another without taking the time to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. In the end your grace under pressure spoke volumes.

    Liked by 1 person

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