Surrendering to Looking Stupid

I started running about a month ago. It's something I did when I was younger, and I have always wanted to start again. I want to be an "active mom", so I've gotten into the habit of running a few miles every day. It makes me feel great, and I know it's good for me.

The trouble is, my body hasn't exactly morphed into what I think a runner should look like. In fact, I pretty much look exactly the same, even though I'm in much better shape. (my heart and lungs are so buff right now). But I know that if I'm gonna take this seriously, it's time to get some better running gear.

So . . . while in Seattle, my sis-in-law took me shopping to a great running store. Um. Ouch. I was so depressed as a tried on all of the cute running clothes. I do NOT look right in them. But you know what? I bought them anyway. I may not look good in it, but gosh darnit, I will wear it, and I will wear it proudly. I'm making the move towards better health, and if I look stupid doing it, oh well.
This was kind of a big deal to me, because I can be really, really shallow. I DON'T LIKE LOOKING LAME. But it got me thinking about all of the things that I avoid, because I don't want to look silly. For example, I love to dance. Before I had kids, I would take dance classes at my local community college. I was always the oldest in the class, and I started feeling insecure amongst the sea of svelte 19-year-olds. So despite really enjoying myself, I stopped signimg up for classes because I felt stupid.

My body image can literally prohibit me from doing things I enjoy. Case in point: I get so bummed at how I look in a bathing suit that I will make excuses to avoid walking around in one. It took all the positive self-talk I could muster to wear my suit in front of several friends on a recent vacation. But I can either suck it up (and suck it in), or I will end up sitting at home for half the summer, missing out on things. I love the beach. I love the pool. I may have to surrender to looking stupid to enjoy these things.
Growing up, my mom was really involved in Tae Kwon Do. (And by really involved, I mean she was a 4th degree black belt who ran her own studio. Yeah, she was kind of a bad-ass). But when we moved to another state, she stopped doing it. I remember her saying, year after year, that she was gonna join a local chapter as soon as she lost some weight. And as most of these stories end, she never did karate again.

I definitely see this tendency in myself, and I am going to try really hard to fight it. In a effort to avoid embarassment, we can stand to lose sight of doing things we love. I want my passions to take precedence over my ego. I may not show up to a jazz class in a leotard and leg warmers next week, but maybe it's time for me to find some sensible yoga pants and look at the dance department schedule one more time . . . .

And if you see me huffing and puffing around the neighborhood in my new running shorts, just pretend that I look totally hot in them.


  1. Amen! You put that so perfectly, and I'll bet we'd all live happier lives if we kept that in mind.

  2. I recently surrendered to looking stupid after baby #2. After #1 I would always tie a sweatshirt around my waist to hide the jiggle when I would walk or jog. I recently dropped the sweatshirt and am leaving the jiggly-jiggly for the world to see! My next goal is to wear shorts out of the step at a time!!!

  3. Hooray for stupidity! I am almost... ALMOST... there myself. My thighs and buttocks are definitely ready for me to get stupid. My pride just isn't quite there yet. But... I'm just about ready to tell my pride to "stuff it."

  4. Yay, Kristen! I am so proud of you, and I am inspired to think about those things in my life that I am missing out on because I don't want to look silly. I was reminded of the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" while I was reading this post. I mean, don't we all want for our kids to go for the things that make them happy (the healthy things, not the drugs being dealt around the corner things)? Won't we all be cheering them on and dancing like crazy people if that is what they need in that moment? I have an idea ... lets be moms who model doing what we love and not caring how it makes us look, except that we show our kids how much we enjoy it!


    And if I see you in your running shorts, I will whistle really loudly and make cat calls, so don't be nervous. :)


  5. this is hilarious! ican totally relate. i'll wear something thats completley NOT comfortable to work out in just because if i wore something more work out appropriate, i would look....stupid. i don't know you, nor you me. i just happened to come across your blog. glad i did. it brightened my day. :)

  6. this is right on.
    i know i do this and my friends do too.
    just this weekend my husband suggested we go swimming as a family. i talked him into the zoo instead and it was so hot and not fun. but i realized the reason i didn't want to go to the pool was i was not up to wearing my swimsuit all day. and dealing with that insecurity all day long. and i was sick about it. i told him he was right...we should have gone to the pool.
    i want to be that healthy mom.
    that confident mom.
    the one modeling self esteem to my children by my actions.
    the artist that is proud of her work for all to see...

    it's hard though.
    baby steps.

    great post.

  7. Point in case- I have not been swimming or to the beach in over a year to avoid the "swimming suit fiasco". Let me continue by adding that I live in Central Florida-45 minutes from the beach with year long perfect weather.

    I am in the process of reading the book psycho-cybernetics which fits in greatly with the point of this post and how our self-image and imagined truths can prevent us from life.

    I am going to make it my goal to do something I've always wanted to; but been afraid of for fear of looking stupid, every month. I am going to embrace, and celebrate, stupidity and humility! I'm taking my white butt to salsa lessons in a 75% Hispanic city :)


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