At least once a week, there's someone who comments under one of my photos or see me after avoiding all of my phone calls for six years who will give me some half assed advice about running once they find out I'm a runner. In the beginning, I used to take a lot of these things to heart for all of fifteen minutes. Now, you're lucky if I take it seriously for less than five minutes. Please let me entertain you with my list of questions and suggestions that I received over the last three or so years:
1. How are you still fat if you do all of that running?
I'd probably be 400 pounds, eating Twinkies, polishing off a 6 pack of beer and my cardio would consist of frequent trips to the corner store for Kit Kat Bars. When I ran out of money, I'd ask your mother to spare a dollar.
The irony is that typically these type of questions follow up with shit advice from a person who has a host of health issues and never made an attempt to fix them. Sometimes, it comes from some "personal trainer" who has no realistic understanding of how nutrition comes into play. This scares me a bit. There are times that it is as simple as the misery loves company effect.
2. You should stop running so much. Your knees are going to be shit one day.
Thank you for worrying about my precious knees but have I told you about my back problems that drastically reduced or the spare tire that I lost about 6 months ago? Sometimes, I pick it back up and it looks exceptionally deflated.
I promise you, if all you're worried about are some fucked up knees, I can tell you a host of things you can use your imagination for to figure out other interesting ways to jack up your "knees." Some people have their vice; let me have mine.
3. I think you're running away from something. Is that why you run so much? You can always talk to someone.
Yeah, you're right. I'm running away from that time I was 4 years old and my dad beat my ass over throwing a tantrum over getting the wrong colored gum ball. Traumatized the shit out of me. Running is my only savior now. Who needs a therapist when the road is my salvation?
Listen, not all of us are running because we have suppressed daddy issues, recovering alcoholics or two steps away from going manic. Even if we fit into one of these categories, so fucking what. Is having a hour or two of solitude REALLY that bad? In a world where we live on our cellular phones, lack the ability to get as much physical exercise as we did years ago and are two steps from crazy sometimes because of inflation, what is SO WRONG about allegedly running away from something. Oh wait. You could never run because it makes you happy. Right.
4. This is just a craze. I don't understand why you don't set aside time for other things.
Damn, how could I be so delusional and not realize that I could replace those two or three hours on the pavement with watching the new episode of Bad Girls Club that I have recorded on my DVR? Why wait? I could be throwing away money on that new Facebook game with all of the micro transactions. Or I could be waiting for you to hang out with me, which that day may never come.
In short, my life is not your life. It's not for you to understand. It's not just a "craze" or a phase. Each individual have their own reason. Running balances out my weight, clears my mind and occasionally stops me from catching a court case. People who knew me prior to running can attest on my usage of "free time" or how I dealt with irrational people prior to running. Be thankful. I could be on America's Most Wanted right now but you don't want to let me live.
5. You're getting too skinny? I didn't want to say anything but your face is sinking in.
Thank you...so so much. I guess you didn't notice my obsession with skulls. I just wanted to match my tattoo but thank you for your concern.
Before you say something, ask yourself if it is coming from a genuine or helpful place. Sometimes we translate our own insecurities in forms of "concern." If you are truly concerned about someone's physical appearance, is it because it seems like there's a legitimate health issue involved? If not, you probably want to keep your advice to yourself. Just because you don't like it, don't mean someone needs to hear it. Nobody wants another insecurity induced by friends or family. Besides, it's not about you.
6. You run slow and there's no money involved. I wouldn't run for nothing.
...go fuck yourself.
People have a host of reasons on why they like to run. Don't make adding you onto the list as their list of motivations to run. Saying things like this would make concerns like number 3 valid because they will run FAR away from you. No person should feel obligated to lay out all of their personal intentions to others just to make their personal goals valid. End of discussion.
7. ...But you don't have time for ____, ____ and _____ who is secretly me anymore. All you do is run. When you do have a life outside of fitness? That must be all you think about.
Jesus, runners must be the most obsessive fitness nuts that ever existed on this planet earth. I guess after the two hours of blissful running, there's no way I can find time to hang out with you in 24 hours. Oh wait...I forgot. It has to be on YOUR time, not our mutual time at random moments.
There's no polite way to say that this sort of mentality is selfish as hell. Unless you're abandoning important obligations like feeding your child, telling your dying significant other that you just need to get in a 10 mile run or else you'll be thrown off your entire day or losing a job, it's not that damn serious. Runners are sometimes perceived as anti social, self absorbed/selfish and boring. We don't just lose our sense of life because running is important to us. We're not even angry or tired of you. Almost every person on this planet earth has something that they make as a priority. This happens to be one of them. Relax.
CHILL THE FUCK OUT!
I have a few folks who may only know me as a runner but I love cycling for miles...well before someone stole my bike back in January. All jokes aside, I am a family woman. My son takes up a huge chunk of my time. I actually have FRIENDS who I hang out with and they kinda like me. Outside of running, I love pole dancing for the athleticism and constantly seeking this black girl rhythm that keeps escaping me. Unfortunately, I have been blessed with hips that I do not know how to use without WD-40. Cooking makes me go from the Grinch to Winnie to Pooh. Making food for a group of my closest friends and family is something that I incredibly adore. Doing yoga keeps all of my anxiety down to a low point on the richter scale. These 4 goldfish that I never thought I would like in my house keep me amused for some reason. And contrary to belief, there's times that I truly love being alone. Running is just something that I'm passionate about. It doesn't mean that I stopped giving a shit about the world or the folks that live in it. If anything, I just want people to respect that this is my metaphorical chew toy and I'm not seeking for anyone to replace it for a new one. You don't need to get me a psych evaluation no time soon. Give me another five years and we can revisit that conversation. In the meantime, be easy and find your own version of happy.