Born To Run

“Baby, we born born to run” ~ Bruce Springsteen

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Run (vb): to move on foot at a rapid pace

 

Baby, I was not to born to run.

Sure, when I was a skinny teenager, all legs up to my armpits, I loved it and would run easily anywhere. But these days I am a 3 stone overweight, practically middle-aged woman. I have pulled muscles and lingering foot issues and running does not come easily to me. Yet, strangely I enjoy it and having not done it for so long I found myself regularly lacing up my trainers and getting out there. I knew it got serious when I downloaded the Runkeeper app.

There are 3 people I credit with me getting my running mojo back – @AlmostSenseless @Twohungrymen and @The_Lady_Sybil, two of whom I love dearly and the third I hope to share a gin with one day. As, when I was feeling in a rut and needing to do more, there each of them were on Twitter, on Instagram, going out, getting rained on, sweating, and showing that it can be done. And it was more than a little bit of “if they can do it so can I” I booted myself back out of the door.

There are great health benefits to it. I can already feel how my breathing is better, my movements are less laboured. Some days I run well, some days it just isn’t happening. On those days I walk more then play on the outdoor gym for a bit. Because I genuinely love exercise, I love the testing and pushing, feeling my body move and work.

But I don’t just run for the health, I run because I’m vain. Because I’m overweight and I hate it. Because I have this horrible voice inside me that says awful things about how I look. When I run I feel lumbering, blubbery; when I am home and I see my naked self in the mirror I don’t see my body as pleasing. I see my lines and curves making a mocking face (work it out, I ain’t posting you a picture), the sheer breadth of me makes me want to cry, especially my stomach sideways on. Though I will admit that the curve of my arse is actually uplifting. But I don’t like my body and it makes me sad that I feel that way. I have this horrible disconnect with my body as thing of beauty, of great strength and functionality. I should love all these things about myself, I should embrace them. But that voice has been doing this to me for years and is strangely hard to silence.

But I have found another voice when running; a voice that encourages me, that tells me how well I’m doing, that cheers me on to the next tree or bin or park bench. The first time I realised I was speaking to myself in a way that was positive and good I nearly fell over. I can only imagine this is what being on really good drugs must be like (just say no, kids). The idea that I could be nice to myself is the most revelatory thing that has come from running. And it may not have silenced that other voice but it has certainly given it some competition and that’s got to be a good thing.

I still can’t actually run as far as any of the people who inspired me to start running again. I haven’t ground out a 5k yet, never mind smashed one. But I’m still going and that’s what counts.

So no, maybe I wasn’t born to run, but I was definitely born to keep trying.

 

Princess

Love, actively

“It must be love, love, love” ~ Madness

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Love (vb): To have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for

 

Consider love as a verb not a noun. It’s a doing word. An action. That means our love is expressed not simply in words but what words we use, how we use them, and, most importantly, how we act.

If you claim to love someone madly yet you never ask how they are, never throw them a tender smile or proffer a gentle hug; can that then truly be said to be love?

And, conversely, even if you would never dream to say “I love you” to someone yet you send them messages of encouragement, take photos to make them smile, pause in your busy schedule to check in with them; is that love?

It can be all too easy to say we care, to say someone matters, but unthinkingly neglect them. To get caught up in our lives, our own cares, and not pause to say “how are you?” to someone and really listen to their answer. Listening, letting someone speak the truths of their heart, that is a form of love. Making time in your life for someone else and their life might only take a few minutes of your time but for that person it could make their day. 

So love actively. Choose words that express how you care and make your actions fit those words. There can never been enough love in this world; it’s what makes it go round, after all.

 

Princess

No More I Love You’s?

“No more “I love you’s”, the language is leaving me” ~ Annie Lennox

Or, as defined by my dictionary

“I love you” (phrase): An affirmation of affection or deep caring, especially to a family member. An affirmation of romantic feeling to a lover or spouse. A platonic expression of strong inclination or liking to a friend

 

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day. That day where for years cards have been exchanged, flowers sent, gifts bought, all in the name of love. And, in more recent years, the increased complaints about the commercialism and the statements to not buy into it.

I hear you, I really do. I don’t get those heart shaped balloons either.

But.

But.

I don’t get not celebrating the concept of love either. Tell someone you love them every day? Good for you. So why, for the love of Cupid and Eros, would you not do it on a day that is now set aside in the calendar for such a purpose?

You don’t have to go out, you don’t have to send flowers, to buy presents. My parents bought each other such perfect cards nearly 20 years ago that they have just exchanged them every year since. And as for going out for a meal… Well, the restaurants may inflate their prices, but a bowl of pasta and pesto with some fine green beans, cooked at home and served with a decent bottle of red, that will cost the same as it always does. If you feel like it go crazy and light a candle and share a box of chocolates for dessert.

Just don’t sneer at it. You can dislike crass commercialisation whilst still liking the sentiment. A day about love? Literally what’s not to like? A day for hopeful tentative expressions of appreciation, a day maybe enabling you to contact someone to tell them you like them. Do not dismiss the enabling power of that. Especially not if you already are in a relationship, share that love with someone. Don’t keep it all to yourself.

Because that’s the point of love, isn’t it? To share it, not to keep it wrapped up privately in your heart.

If you would say I love you or do something nice for a loved on on any other day of the year then don’t refuse to do it on this one out of principle; the world needs more love right now not less.

I love you

Princess

Lifted

“Lifted, we could be lifted” ~ The Lighthouse Family

Or, according to my dictionary

Lifted (vb): raised upwards ot a higher place

 

A few years ago I was in a rugby pub in Twickenham. It’s one of the ones where there is a badge of honour in getting your match ticket stuck to the ceiling and the only allowable way of getting it up there has to be by being lifted, no climbing on furniture or breaking out a step-ladder, it’s lift or nothing.

It’s quite entertaining to watch pissed people, predominantly men, with a great deal of strength between them, try and fail to lift anybody. Because to lift another person takes skill, strength, and more important than anything, it takes trust. Trust on behalf of the lifters that the person they are lifting won’t kick them in the face or fall on them, trust on behalf of that person to surrender their own gravity to others. Drunk people are terrible with gravity, it seems.

At this point in the pub, I was on my own. I was only mildly drunk, I didn’t know the guys next to me who were trying, failing, and laughing about it, and I have always been a show off.

So I finished my pint and approached them, “Alright, guys, I’ll do it.”

They sized me up, looked at each other, and nodded. Approximately 5 seconds later, I was hoisted into the air by 4 men I have never met before. They got hands on me in places that normally at least require a couple of dates and dinner. But we had a collective point to prove. So, straight-backed, core tight, head held high, a ticket was firmly fixed to the ceiling, and I was then engulfed in the kind of sweaty beery jubilant embrace you only ever get from rugby players. It felt good.

Great anecdote, you might be thinking, but is there any point to this.

Yes. Yes, there is. They could only lift me because I let them and it only worked because I was willing to be lifted. Have you ever tried to lift someone resistant, someone who doesn’t want to move? It’s possible, there’s a raft of techniques to help you, but it’s damn hard work. Equally, how have you responded when someone has tried to lift you against your will? Flailing limbs don’t even come close, I suspect.

But, at the right time, with the right people, with the right mindset, you can be lifted head and shoulders above the rest. You’ve just got to trust it when it happens.

 

Princess

Good Things

“Good thing, where have you gone?” ~ Fine Young Cannibals

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Good thing (n): an object, fact, or circumstance having admirable or pleasing qualities

 

Why don’t we talk more about the good things? When was the last time you contacted a friend to tell them what a great day you had, about some feedback you received for some hard work, about that really cute boy or girl you met last night?

Because I bet you were straight on the phone, on a text, online, to say when something bad happened, when someone said something nasty, when things in life went wrong.

And that’s entirely right and understandable. Our friends are there for us when things are hard, as we are there for them. Yet why is the reverse treated as so taboo?

There appears to be a school of thought that it’s not ‘good form’ to share positives, as though it’s not the done thing. Yet why should we all hide our lights under bushels? Why shouldn’t we shout it from the rooftops when something nice happens?

Isn’t there a little too much misery in the world right now? Is this not the time to share small triumphs, happy moments, the joy of life? Because they are always to found, even in the most barren of places.

So I’m calling that out. False modesty, car-park, now. Your days are over, pal.

Let us lean on our friends in times of adversity but let us also all share in our triumphs, smile at our success, and celebrate the good, be it big or small.

What are your good times? If you aren’t sure who else to share them with then drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Princess