When I was younger, my mother would get upset at me for taking a long time to decide what to wear to church. "No one's even going to be looking at you," she'd tell me. At the time, my 14 year old brain thought that was kind of rude. What do you mean, they're not going to look at me? Why not?
This afternoon while I was struggling a little bit through my "easy" run, I started to really think about who is - and who isn't - looking at me.
The young guy who blew past me with no shirt on - did he think "Move aside, old lady, real runner coming through?" Maybe. Or maybe he was thinking about the date he had coming up, or the ball game he was planning on watching when he got home.
The lady who is probably a few years older than I am who ran opposite me and raised her hand in greeting - was she thinking "Heh, still faster than YOU are, girl?" Maybe. Or maybe she was wondering what to feed her kids for dinner, or trying to decide if she really wanted to leave her husband.
What did I think of when I saw those two? The guy - I registered that he had no shirt on, then wondered about the black things on his legs. "Compression sleeves, no, socks? Look like they're probably socks. Man, it's nice out here. Just another half mile, though, then I'll turn around and head home."
The woman I passed - I saw her. That's pretty much it, I can't even remember thinking anything about her, really. "Half a mile to go before I get home. I should slow down. What's my 'easy' speed supposed to be these days, anyway? Man, my legs feel like lead tonight. Ugh."
I tend to think that people (I don't know who, really, just "people") are judging me, and finding me lacking. I'm slow, I'm overweight, is my butt jiggling too much in these capris, should have worn a skirt, blah, blah, negative self talk, blah. But when I see other people out, running through my neighborhood, I never judge them.
I am no saint. I judge people. Silently, usually, unless I'm with my husband and we're out playing the "Holy moly, does she not have a full-length mirror at home" game. (Horrible, I know, but hey, you know you've had those thoughts, too) Yet when it comes to running, I am judgement free. I'm just happy to see other people out, enjoying the same thing I'm enjoying. (Or not enjoying, as the case may be)
So who is looking at me? Who is judging me? Me. I am. Why is that?
I don't want to be a negative nelly, I don't want to think of myself as not enough - fast enough, thin enough, enough enough. I want to celebrate the fact that I'm better than I used to be. Stronger, faster, more capable. I want to run in a new direction.
Tomorrow, I will run to the corner of I've Got Nothing To Prove and Whatchu Lookin' At, Sister streets, and I will hold my head up ........ and stop channeling Dennis Haysbert, because I swear I was just hearing his voice just now. Those damn AllState commercials. Oh, my. Where was I? LOL
My circle of running friends is so supportive and encouraging - and they don't judge. They are just happy for me, for my accomplishments, and don't hold them up to anyone else's for comparison. They know what I'm trying to remind myself. Yes, I enter races - but not to compete against others. I enter races to compete against myself. So, again, I say - I am stronger, faster, more capable than I was a week ago, a month ago, a year ago.
Judgement is for the plaintiff! (Or am I the defendant? I confuse myself with these silly analogies. Who let me have a blog?)
Anyway. the kids are in bed. It's time for a popsicle.