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
Then there's the typical "...there's no way you can be healthy with all of that weight." Being suggested to join Jenny Craig or take a Hydroxycut to melt away the fat goes from annoying to tapping into my insecurities. Most days, my personality is hard to penetrate with bullshit. If you send me an atrocious message, I am most times exceptionally amused by horrific grammatical errors. My crude sense of humor naturally manifests the most profane "your mother..." jokes. My mind works intensely as if I'm auditioning to be on Def Poetry Jam meets Saturday Night standup. Don't catch me on a day that I'm ready to throw bullets with my hands because I don't want to go to jail because I'll fixate my petty little heart into your email for fifteen minutes, chopping down my keyboard as if I'm a Fruit Ninja. But, there's days... There's always one email or personal interaction that will catch me once in a blue. It's usually the really pretentious, witty types with a decent IQ to fix the world but they shifted all of their energy into thinking that they can fix you. Those tend to be the ones who mess with me the most. I take the ones who don't say primitive shit to me exceptionally hard. Those hurt horribly.
Let me break it down for my non athletic audience a step further. The days that bother me the most is when I wake up feeling like pure shit and then I have the audacity to look into the mirror wishing there was someone different looking back. There's moments when I'm hurt that my fat rolls won't move. Or the week before my menstrual when my PMDD wants to be a complete twit swelling my body into Godzilla's little sister. Painfully enough, there's moments that I don't like to admit that I look at other athletes who are running alongside me and I notice their weight loss and question if my congrats to their progress is genuine. I know in my heart that I am truly proud of them but the doubt creeps into my head, questioning what the hell am I doing wrong. Frivilous comments about running 30 miles a week but still fat that held no weight a few days ago shift into my psyche and plays with my self esteem. At times, I am my own worst critic.
Goddamnit, those moments hurt me to my core. Yes, I cried for hours at times. I self loathe into a bag of chips and have tried to justify my bullshit. I will weep as if I'm mourning death in my own artificial ideals for life. But you know what? I get the hell over it.
You kidding? Even in my emotional and mentally weak moments, I am still a damn athlete. I don't want to be the best plus size athlete. I want to strive to be the best athlete that I can be. Nothing wrong with competition but I am an army of one. This is my body and I love every ass dimple that chose to pay rent on this skin. How does it feel? In-freaking-credible. Tiring because I have to defend my body to the world when it doesn't belong to them. Exhausting to have to justify my right to call myself an athlete because society says otherwise. Inspiring because I get to show all body types that your brain is the hardest muscle to train.
Dare to be okay being the pink elephant in a room that shoots water into the faces of the monotone animals in the room for attention. You are supposed to stand out. Intentionally or unintentionally, you are a damn star honey. Fat rolls. No rolls. Borrowed rolls. Maybe even some purchased rolls to fill in a few spaces to make it look good. Baby, you are perfect in your own damn right and NOBODY should have permission to make you feel less than your own worth, not even your own insecurities. When you are tired of crying, pick up the towel, wipe off your face and catch your own success. I am not always confident and some days I do feel like a hypocrite. That's certainly okay. You know why? Because we're human.
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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