I’m running. Wind in my hair and sun on my cheeks. It’s 6:30 a.m. and not only am I awake, but I’m actually outdoors. Moving around. It’s a civic holiday miracle. I begin my cooldown and start walking back toward my building when I spot my friend in the distance. She’s looking a little bleary-eyed and is standing listlessly on the sidewalk while she tries to will her dog to get it over with and just poop already.
“Hey!” I call out, waving.
She looks at me as if trying to figure out who I am. “What are you doing?” she asks. “Oh, I just finished a run!” I smile. She looks at me dubiously. Tells me I looked like a Stepford Wife. I can’t entirely disagree in my Lululemon outfit with a hoodie tied around my waist.
That’s when it hits me: I’m that girl.
That girl who’s out exercising before 7 a.m. That girl who is out enjoying the fresh air while any reasonable person would still be in bed, savouring every delicious morsel of sleep they can steal before the alarm clock goes off. That girl.
When did that happen? Well, since I took the first step in Operation Inside Out, things have started to change – and it’s shifting much more than just my muffin top.
I’ve begun to realize how quick I am to categorize myself. I’m a creative-type. I’m a vegetarian (not anymore, but a story for another time), I’m a book worm, and the list goes on. And while some of these categories seem positive, others aren’t. This is becoming quite clear to me. I never thought of myself as sporty either, let alone a runner. But I’m changing and I like it.
And it’s not just about the running. Take, for example, last weekend. It was a gorgeously sunny morning and I was drinking coffee and listening to music on the balcony with The Man and The Kitten. Blueberry muffins were baking in the oven (made from scratch, I should mention) and my heart was filled with joy. I danced around the apartment, waving my oven mitts in the air. A domestic goddess was I.
“Aren’t blueberry muffins and coffee and kittens just wonderful?” I asked The Man as I sashayed around the room (I ask him things like this – I’m that girl).
“Yes,” he replied. “Very… domestic.”
“Mmm, yes. Well I am domestic, wouldn’t you say?”
“No…” he says. “You’re more of a Sex and the City, martini-for-dinner kind of girl.”
I stop, mid twirl. Shock! Disbelief! Mouth hanging open, oven mitt drooping toward the floor.
“But I make you pies! Do I not keep my apartment clean?!” Be careful, Man. This is treacherous ground you’re treading.
“Well… yeah…” he swallows hard, eyes darting wildly around the room. He’s looking for an escape.
You probably think I let him have it (I’m that girl), but I wasn’t mad. How could I be mad? In that moment I had characterized myself as domestic, but he’s not totally wrong. The truth of the matter is that I don’t fit into any convenient box, and why should I? I’m part Martha, part martini. I’m cool with that.
I never thought of myself as a runner either. Never thought I’d be out on the street at the crack of dawn getting the comrade-nod from the lady runner who’s one part muscle, one part bone and three parts spray tan. Never thought I’d see a fellow runner’s butt cheek as he whisks past me in his (much too) flouncy shorts before any sensible person is awake.
So I’m just going to forget the categories and focus on being Sarah. The vegetarian/non-vegetarian, sporty/non-sporty lesson in contradictions. The Sarah who The Man recently described as “an incredible writer with a sensitive heart.”
That matters. The rest can just be.
Love From Sarah