2016 and Beyond
You have treated me like the last 3 years: Like an adventure. People have stated that you was the worst but honestly, I feel like I have been the same person who has been trying to improve myself as the day goes by. I learned from every mistake and grown from every experience.
People have gone on. I have grieved over the living. Been blessed with people that I never thought or desired to meet but realized that they were there when they were supposed to be there. 2016, you are not as bad as they made you out to be. When people start to take responsibility for their own shortcomings, they will acknowledge that you are just a scapegoat. A mere excuse to stay stagnant. As always, I create a bucket list because I hate resolutions. I hope that I get a lot of these done in 2017 and if not, there's always another day, another year and right timing. Here's my list:
Bucket list items do not need to be intricate. I think for me, it serves as guidelines that I'm getting shit done. I wrote 32 because if life allows it, I'll be 32 this year in June.
I thank whatever there is in this universe that's watching over me because at so many points of my life, I was told that I wouldn't be here. Life isn't perfect but the perfection is in the efforr that I put in and the people who I have been blessed to be around.
With this said, thank you 2016 for the life that you granted me. It's been real. 2017 will be here in a few minutes.
Latoya Shauntay Snell
P.S. Thank you to all of my readers who have been with me for the last several months. Thanks to you, I have been averaging 900 people a week, :). It means so much to this Brooklyn girl. Love and light. Tell me what's on your bucket list.
This week has been disastrous for my workouts. I haven't gone for a run for a few days now. Every morning, I woke up and told myself that I'm going to at least make the conscious effort to go to the gym. Guys...my FitBit said that I made under 2,000 steps on Monday. Up until 11PM last night, I told myself that I would walk the mile to Planet Fitness. It's currently 1:25 in the fucking morning. I'm not going anywhere.
I guess I should be thankful that I made a light dinner tutorial with my son but around 12 Midnight, I made a bodega run to the corner store. I had the most beautiful Haagen Daez Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream paired with Ruffles cheddar and sour cream potato chips ever known to man. I was listening to podcasts and YouTube videos with my husband and we were talking about it in great depth. Our conversations about politics and our ever changing society can run for hours in this household.
In this conversation, we talked about this interesting pre op trans woman, Blaire White and her YouTube channel. She strongly articulated her disapproval for children to take hormones and puberty blockers, in which I actually agreed with all of her stance. In turn, my husband asked me to view this video and asked about my opinion on it, wondering if I have ever had any of these statements directed at me. Perhaps before you read any further and to not clout your mind with my opinion, you should watch the video.
2016 is coming to an end and my Facebook timeline is loaded with memes, jokes and emotional warfare about how shitty this year has treated them.
Yes, this was the year that killed off celebrities like swine flu. I lost my beloved Prince. I actually cried for a week straight when he died. Like disgusting hanging boogers that don't break filled with tears and snot on a public train in Long Island City, coincidentally listening to Raspberry Beret as I read the news. This year pissed a lot of people off and allegedly Mercury is rising or some bullshit so things are falling apart.
Listen guys. Screw the year. You had fucked up days and this year may just have been more than usual. Big fucking deal. Pardon me for my lack of sympathy but seriously babes, put on your big kid undies and let's go seize the damn day. The reality of it is that people have been dying before, during and after we hit this planet in our respective years. There's great days and ones that's not so hot. The bouncer Tiny has never in his life ever been small so don't try to pass him and get beat down horrifically in front of your friends on New Years Eve. And guess what? Better days are ahead of us.
I am actually giving myself this same pep talk for 2017 as well. Don't think that I'm just using this moment solely to be a dick. It is only 30 percent true; 70 percent is dedicated to preparing myself for a new year of changes. I have a bucket list that I am creating, as I do every year, and one of the items that make me nervous is spending time with other folks than can be considered as very reliable gym partners.
I miss my most reliable gym buddy, Rayne terribly, but schedules changed and life happened. In turn, I've been a solo warrior perusing these Smith machines fearlessly but there's days that I miss having someone to vibe with at the gym. I get a bit envious when I see two people doing partner workouts and in my head, I threw so much shade in their direction but rooting them on in the same sense. And it's not like I haven't been requested frequently by random people who want me to join them. Sometimes, the ones that I want to join me at the gym aren't available the hours that's ideal for me. There's times where my mental wires aren't working properly and in turn, my impulse to get it out of the way at a specific moment takes over. But then this time of the year comes around where I am slow kissed by promises of gym commitments, just to find out that they stole my time like a prostitute taking more than just the tip. Pardon my vulgarities but Jesus, a little lube goes a long way when we planned this out for a week. You may not know but us going to the gym is like a date and you got me standing on the corner looking like a two dollar hooker looking for a warm place to stay.
In short, I'm nervous about going to the gym with new people. Yes, you may be familiar to me in real life but working out with someone requires chemistry, just as you would need with a personal trainer. Dear God, don't send me a person who isn't willing to do cardio for at least 15 minutes because I will end their existence with my sarcasm. I can feel the side eyes and tea sips as you read this post but I don't care. I don't mind having a gym partner who actually vibes with me. It's like an exclusive membership where we do secret handshakes, security clearances and you get to have the secret workout if you pass five sessions. No, it's not really that deep but sometimes it feels like that.
Your gym partner, like a trainer, becomes like your venting buddy at times. You want that person to be loyal and understanding. They also need to be honest and considerate. If my gym buddy is a bullshit artist, I will walk all over them and frankly, I don't care if that sounds harsh.
Marathon season for me is over. Shamefully, I am going through junkie withdrawals. I find myself drooling over the Spartan race website and stalking the New York Road Runner pages for the next race that I am considering signing up for in 2017. If you happen to socialize with me regularly, you may be aware that I am not much of a New Years Resolution fan but I absolutely adore yearly bucket lists. I told myself that next year is the year of the ultra marathon.
Yes, please chuckle hard. When I did my first and only ultra marathon in 2015, two weeks after the New York City Marathon, I participated in the NYRR 60K, which is equivalent to 37.2 miles. I was fine until mile 29, in which I had to use the bathroom and came out a changed woman. It was like going to the shitter made me purge out all of my delusions of considering ultra marathons easy. The sodium evicted itself out of my body like the repo man was tired of my bullshit. Parts of my body started to lose sensation and the cold affected me as I went from 12 - 13 minutes miles to a complete "Fuck it, I'm walking" pace. I managed to talk to the Devil and God in my head for 9 hours, 47 minutes and 22 seconds. Some pain is hard to forget but like child birth, I developed amnesia and here I am, talking my incredibly zany self into pursuing several ultra and standard marathons this year.
For my non running community, a marathon is 26.2 miles or 42.2K. An ultra marathon is anything above this distance. It's such a glorious hell that I am thankful for. With this thought process in mind, I told myself to continue running, even if the distance is relatively short. Consistency is key in these types of sports.
My Ass is Not a Conversation Starter
I know. Jesus, is she about to rant again?
When folks, women included, stop saying moronic shit like "those leggings make your ass look fat" or "did you dress like that for me, baby", then I can stop ranting about 30 percent of shit.
Here's the deal, especially for the gentlemen, telling me that I have a fat ass is not a conversation starter. It is why assholes like me and anti socials tend to wear headphones even when the music is not playing. I have to find a way to curve this nervous tick to not smile and demonstrate the mechanics of how high I can wave up my middle finger. Times like these make it painfully hard for me to not call you something profane but...if the shoe fits, it doesn't mean you have to actually wear it. Maybe you can pick it up and put it back down because it's not your style.
Some days I feel like a fat, frumpy blob of nothing. My heart constantly yells at me to get up, get moving and put my feet onto the pavement; the mind states otherwise. I constantly have to give myself permission to be human.
As I sat down for an interview with BuzzFeed on Monday, I was heavily intrigued by the beauty of simple questions. It's not like I haven't been asked these things before but I find that through every podcast, one on one conversation and formal interview, my responses vary. It's not that I'm trying to make my best impression. Talking to people don't make me feel intrigued to sit down with hands folded on a desk with a pseudo demonic smile that screams "Please like me or I'll bury your entire family in the Gowanas." Being honest to self is the best favor that I could have done for myself and facing others with my form of truth requires a thick skin some days. It forces me to ask myself this question: How does it feel to be a plus size runner?
Well, it's hard as shit. And beautiful. Inspiring. Depressing. Soul crushing. An evolving, graduating pink elephant in a room full of monotone animals. Intriguing. Undesirably viewed as exotic. Self defeatist. Questionable. Somewhat bipolar. Exhilarating. Layered. Nonetheless, hard.
I could have said the generic, go fuck yourself answer like "I feel like everyone else who run the course" or "I feel like I'm a part of something bigger than me." Yeah, yeah, yeah...not that I don't believe in these answers but fuck that response. I feel all of the above at any given moment.
From September to early November, you couldn't have told me that I didn't feel like superwoman. I was on a life high. Although missing my family and friends, I was traveling to different states, meeting new people and sharing experiences. The feelings are nothing short of infectiously overwhelming, in a great way. Sweating with some stranger who takes the moment to scream out "great job" or down to the one who is aiming for a personal record who is too winded to talk but pats you on the back to keep pushing through the good fight. Yes, I am a legendary bad ass baby. My weight is the furthest thing on my mind. These fat rolls adore doing the Harlem Shake on the course because I'm about to earn the Wendy's Asiago Homestyle Chicken with the large fries, extra Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and if you think I'm going for a diet anything, you must be tripping. Baby, there's nothing like going through the motions of 3 miles, 6 miles, 20 miles or allowing your feet to graze across the muddy terrain in a Spartan race and when you think you're tired, a second wind kicks in. To hell with your weight. I feel unstoppable.
Unfortunately, to every positive, there's a negative. There's days where I wake up to some troll who hasn't had many hugs in his or her life who wants to throw a bloodied tampon at my screen with poems like:
"...Fat Bitch. Have you
Running While Depressed
I cried making eggs two mornings in a row. Like pure disgusting snot filled crying and if I wasn't aware that I needed my house to not burn down, I probably wouldn't have stopped. Perhaps the egg was metaphorical for the way that my life has been slightly crashing and burning. An egg is taken away from its parent, sold to vendors, shopped around, purchased and used. When you hold an egg, you know that its shell is hard but its inside is filled with liquid. Fragile. But eggs need to be cracked most times when you are cooking them so we hit them hard until it breaks. We add further insult to their injuries by leaving them exposed in a cold bowl, maybe whipping them into something unrecognizable and we might add in variables that are foreign to them before we send them to a sizzling pan, awaiting the agony of their death to nurture us.
Was that too heavy handed for you? Well, fuck you. I feel like the egg at this moment. These feelings are very much real and my life has been riptiding horrifically for a few weeks now. So what did I do? I went for a jog yesterday despite weeks of not wanting to go outside. The weather has been changing and my seasonal depression has been kicking my ass at an all time high. My son is a type one diabetic who's been experiencing phantom pains whenever it decides to creep up. Two weeks ago was the first time I physically felt a knot on the side of his stomach thanks to his condition. And before some of you ask about his diet, his diet is pretty balanced for the most part. Also note that type 2 is nothing like type 1. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. If you're curious about it, know that it's worth the Google search. Anything, and I mean absolutely anything, can send his sugar levels to the roof, including depression. I have been losing the closest people in my life because I have been accused of being an inconsiderate jerk without emotions. You know, they might actually be right, although I beg to differ most times. I find that like humans, I have bad days and more lately than usual.
So what do folks like me with diagnosed mental issues do? Sometimes we sulk. Folks like me run. This is not another blog that will tell you that running cures your depression. If you are looking for that, please stop reading now and I apologize for wasting your time. Running HELPS but it doesn't cure your depression in the least. Some people believe in natural or alternative approaches. Some folks need medication. And that's okay. Personally, I am too scary about pills of any sort so I take the hippie approach with a modern day twist. I talk to a therapist and get my chi together by running, being active, eating less sugar and doing yoga.
Here's what running does for ME:
Listen guys. Life blows. This entry may not help anyone but myself today. The way this week has been going and as much as I'm not trying to do it, I might be crying while making dinner tonight. Regardless of what you may be going through, especially during this holiday season, I hope you know that it gets better. Self care is the BEST care that we can give ourselves. Don't neglect the mental. If anything, running certainly taught me that in my pain, I'm still breathing. The breaths may be shallow or rapid but air is still entering and exiting. Find your happy. Happy trails.
Serious Throwback: January 1, 2014, I randomly signed up for the Joe Klienerman 10K because I kept pushing off my bucket list item of running prior to my first half marathon. January 11, 2014 is the day that I learned that I didn't need another New Year's resolution to go to the dark abyss of lies that I told myself. Thank you to my fellow Black Girls Run sisters for helping me get past my emotions when I didn't think I'd get through it. P.S. I didn't get a medal that day because the real reward was in finishing.
I was supposed to run all week but I never made it. Some days, I was too tired after the gym session. Yesterday, my stomach yelled out some random obscenities at me as I exited out of my neighborhood's Planet Fitness and salivating over a meal that a fellow blogger & Instagrammer 300poundsandrunning posted on his feed. Grrr...thanks Martinus. Other days, I was depressed over some events that transpired fairly recently in my personal life.
Every excuse known to man, legitimate or not, prevented me from allowing my feet to embrace the victorious death battle with the pavement. I started to feel like a failure. You know what it's like being that one color in the 64 pack of Crayola that nobody wants to fuck with because it's ugly as hell. Like why did they even name you Split Pea Green and what kind of nut job do you think that I am to allow this color to grace my paper? After sulking and having a very emotional meltdown in my house, I said out loud, "In 2017, I'm going to cut the shit. I'm going to..." and then there was silence. I just stopped mid sentence because for some reason, I knew it was a damn lie.
Why do we set ourselves up for this New Year's Resolution bullshit EVERY YEAR? Okay, sure. It's a great motivator. What's wrong with making a list to get you off of your ass? Why are you such a pessimist? I'm not that much of a twat. Well, maybe I am. But why do we need to wait until the new year to start the change that we want to embrace? Do we truly need the new calendar to kick in for us to get the green light in rebooting our lives? I'll answer: FUCK NO!
Latoya Shauntay Snell
For my pretentious ass bio, check out the about me page but for anyone interested in who I really am, make me a good meal at your house and I'll tell you a dope ass story.
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