I completed my second 100% bare run. It was a quick little trip to the school parking lot and back. I even left the iphone at home. Me, alone, running in the urban nature. I felt that I could begin pushing my turnover rate. I felt as though the pavement was tickling my feet. I contemplated routes that would supply rougher surfaces to build upon my tolerance. I began to contemplate routes that would let me show off.
I wish I could complete this post with a story about how I was trying to show off but managed to trip over a crack in the sidewalk or discovered that I’d put my underwear on over my shorts because those would be funny stories to tell. Instead, my story is one part arrogance, one part (maybe two parts) boring, and one part sad.
For many years, I have run through town without crossing the paths of other runners. Just this past spring, I would occasionally see a group of women running going in the opposite direction. They are headed into town; I am headed home. We nod or say hello. I wonder who they are, where they start, where they go, did they notice the VFFs, etc. They just keep running by.
This morning as the conquering barefoot feeling built within, I thought I’d like to cross paths with those women to show them I am a serious runner. After all, only a serious runner would consider going barefoot. (This is not to say that you have to be barefoot to be serious, just that a passing fancy runner isn’t likely to try barefoot) I could change routes to increase the likelihood I’d cross their path. But, the elitist takes over and reminds me that I am part of the Run Smiley collective. It isn’t or shouldn’t be about showing off. It should be about The Run. So, I stay on my course and delight in private at the ease at which I am tolerating the rough pavement.
Five blocks later, I see the group of women round a corner entering the street that I am running on, in the same direction, only several blocks ahead of me. I could try to catch them. Instead, I slow down. It’s easy to think I want to show off when I am alone but when given the opportunity, I back down, lacking the confidence I need to just plunge ahead like any other runner.
The sad part of the story is realizing that the lack of confidence didn’t stem from being different and barefoot. It came from seeing them as a group and fearing that I would not be accepted by the group. I feared that they would not validate my belief that I am a real runner.
Runner…beautiful… good mother…special…smart…sexy… any one of these words and more could be substituted into that sentence. Like the sixth grader I once was, I fear that my peers will not validate that I am any one of those things. This fear of abnegation keeps me from sharing Me with anyone. This fear destroys my confidence and feeds the obesity beast in me.
In an effort to get more control over my behavior, especially towards food, I am making it an objective to put myself at risk for validation with the people in my life. As an objective adult, I know I can deal with dismissals. Now I just need to get my inner child to believe it.