In the words of my late grandmother, "I've never been much of a joiner..." She continued chain smoking into her late seventies because she didn't want to join any Quit campaigns and thought it'd be much harder than it was. Then, one day, she just quit. I wonder what might have happened if she quit earlier, or accessed support earlier... but then she wasn't much of a joiner.
One day I decided to do something very unlike me and join something. It saw me up before sunrise and running around the soccer field, a flock of pacific gulls and a white-faced heron as my training buddies. I discovered that my neighbourhood is at its busiest at this time. Other people get up early and run around in the dark too.
I started moving my body most days and remembering how good that felt. I remembered how great it felt to do something just for me. I bought a bra that wasn't designed for breastfeeding. Clothes designed for running. I giggled at the thought and was completely sceptical, a little embarrassed. But joining was what pushed me to get out of bed and stop making excuses. Paying a large sum of money forced a commitment from all of us to give me space and time.
I was worried that the owlets might see what I was doing and think that I had an issue with my body. I didn't. I never have. I've had an issue with a fashion industry that has refused to make suitable clothes for my body, at any size, but I've never had an issue with the look of it. The only time I've had an issue with my body was when I thought it was letting me down and interestingly, this led me to ignore it. I stopped caring for it. Stopped moving. I developed all sorts of pain in my joints, injured my knees, accepted a new wardrobe of dark, dull clothes. Chocolate, black, dark denim. Designed to help me blend in, hide away, disappear... Pregnancy saw me find peace with my body again. But the year or so after a baby arrives can be so taxing. It's so hard to find, to make, time to drag yourself away. I still haven't perfected that yet...
At the end of 12 weeks and the beginning of another, I'm feeling so much better. I'm less tired. I'm not in pain. I'm stronger. My head is clearer. I feel a sense of a achievement on the days I manage to get out the door and move. I've taken note of where my body is at and it's doing ok. Big Owlet commented that the biggest thing she's noticed is that my knees are quieter now when I walk down the hallway. That's something.
Instead of making do with drab, goes with everything, dark clothing, I'm also challenging myself to wear more colour. Everyday if I can. Colour that makes me feel good. Colour that matches my mood or helps to brighten it. A little bit like a Colour Dare, but for everyday. Always.
And so I begin again with renewed energy and the assurance of a body that will look after me as I look after it. Everyday and always.