Blogging and the art of conflict resolution

Good Morning! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and I’d like to explain why.

When I started blogging, I found this great community of healthy living bloggers, runners, and people who did a lot of the same activities as me. Yay! Good! New friends! “WIAW (what I ate wednesday)” posts appealed to the voyeur in me. I loved reading people’s year end recaps and seeing the amazing accomplishments they had, cheering people on, and trying to encourage them when they hit a slump or an injury.

All these things were great. I loved them. I’d hit my bloglovin feed every morning to catch up with everyone while I drank my coffee. And then the comparisons started. “Blogger X loves smoothies? Maybe I should try them” or “Blogger Y ran 50 miles in one week? I need to step it up!”. Despite the fact that the comparisons were all in my head, and totally unintended by the bloggers themselves, I started trying to keep up. Have the healthiest eating habits. Run the farthest. Work out the most. Sometimes it gets easy to forget the simple things in life because you’re focused on metrics.

When I kept trying to run despite a few stress fractures on my left shin, I started to realize I had a problem. I switched my workout plan to let myself heal-and despite my greatest fears and strict monitoring, the sky didn’t fall. Birds didn’t fall out of the sky. And most of all-I stayed at the same weight and level of fitness. I started realizing that maybe pounding the pavement for 35 miles a week had been making me miserable. And then, a friend sent me this article. I saw a lot of myself in there, and I didn’t like what that meant. I’ve complained a lot in my life about falling into the comparison trap. But what I’ve come to realize is that I was walking into it. And after over 20 years of some kind of diet or exercise obsession or the other, I am just plain tired of it. I’ve treated my body as the enemy for far too long. I bullied it into being something I thought was “perfect”, and shamed myself when it didn’t. So I’ve started trying to stop myself when I have a negative thought. I think, “if you were having a conversation with your friend, would you say those words to her? Would you post this thought as a Facebook Status or Tweet?” and if the answer is no (and it almost always is), then I need to be my own best friend and knock that bitchy inner voice off my shoulder. Tell your demon to finally shut up:

Recently, my Mom has started to mirror my running habits and has developed a pretty terrible hip injury as a result. I’m trying to help her, but she’s in the place I was 6 months ago. It’s hard to watch her go through this. We’ve been in a strange competition all our lives, and I know she saw the weight loss I achieved and wanted to mirror it. But watching her now, I don’t see a healthy attitude. I don’t see a strong, independent woman. I see someone desperate to keep a measly 5 pounds off by running their limbs into the ground, no matter the cost. And I cannot become that person again-nor can I let her continue to be that person. It almost makes me relieved that we’re not having kids because I can barely teach myself a healthy body image-how the hell would I teach a child to love her body?

Try to stop caring about what people think:

well, this may be a good place to start…

This morning, I watched the documentary “thin” and it broke my heart. So many people are consumed with body image disorders-too thin, too much exercise, too much food, whatever. It seems like those with healthy attitudes and weights are the anomalies these days instead of those with the “perfect” bodies. And while thankfully my issues are a drop in the bucket compared to what those women were facing, I think everyone can watch that show and recognize at least one thought they’ve had before in regards to their body image. 

The world’s a funny place. We’ve advanced so much that more people die from an abundance of food than from the lack of it. We’re given a dollar menu in one hand and a photoshopped cover girl in the other and expected to balance them and stay sane. We’re basically sisyphus trying to balance the rock on the hill. It’s never been more important to find your happy place-whether that means following a strict diet or a loose one, boycotting media that glorifies retouched images or recognizing that it’s just as much art as the print on your wall, and keeping vigilant in your war against negativity. And for that reason, I’ve stopped blogging as much-if I don’t want to tempt myself to undo the work I’ve done, what’s really left to talk about? My life is not glamorous, wild, or particularly noteworthy. I don’t plan on being an insta-celebrity. So until I can find a happy voice on a subject that doesn’t put my toes on a dangerous line, I’ll probably be pretty sporadic in my posts. After all…

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4 thoughts on “Blogging and the art of conflict resolution

  1. Thanks for sharing the posts and the insights 🙂

    You know this is definitely something I have struggled with as well, and don’t think that we are ever fully recoverED from body image and eating issues. For most of us, our body changes throughout the year and from year to year in a variety of ways (moreso for women), and since we have to eat every day these are things we need to deal with all the time.

    As for blogging … I totally agree. I have found that as I have stepped back from blogging (actually transferred back to writing for other people’s tech sites) that I have also stopped reading and commenting as much on many sites … and much of the stuff I either embraced, tolerated or just accepted I now find annoying at best. I had one person I have stopped reading basically because of how they seemed to be me-too’ing their way through things, and launched into 2015 doing one of those ‘don’t call it a cleanse’ cleanses … ugh.

    I have a draft post I might actually post this week … or not 😉 Either way it is cool.

    I look at it this way – I ran for more than 23 years, lost all kinds of weight, and set myself up to the most healthy eating habits of my life all BEFORE I read my first running / healthy living blog. And in the time since I have stepped back … I still do my avg 55 miles/week, do planks, eat well, and so on. So I’ll be fine just scanning most blogs and commenting when I feel like it 🙂

    • I had a great conversation going on with this blog on FaceBook the other day. A girl mentioned that I was her fitness inspiration, and instead of hoping this new journey inspired her, my first instinct was that I need to setp it back up to give her something to look to! But ultimately, when we compete with each other, it’s usually against someone who is totally unaware they’re running a race. Person X doesn’t realize I’m comparing flat stomachs and hours at the gym; she’s too busy loving her pilates class and wishing she had my booty. Ultimately, my husband, my mom, and my readers can tell me I’m awesome until they’re blue in the face. But if I look deep down, it’s my own approval I’m seeking and until my gut reaction can be “I’m awesome the way I am”, I’m never going to be satisfied.

  2. Glad you’re doing well. You sound hyper competitive! I’m kind of the same way – when I see someone else that runs more than me, it makes me think I gotta step it up. But we’re all different.

    • You know I’m competitive! My husband was just noticing last night how much I compare myself to, well, everything. I’m trying to compete with myself for the prize of eternal happiness, but I’m trying to make the competitive work for me in the meantime.

      Ultimately, we are all different. And running x miles is great for one person, and gives the other one knee problems or whatever. Just like how the girls at work look at me like I’m crazy when I mention what my boot camp class is like. Trying to beat you at what I hold in highest esteem doesn’t work.

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