Okay, so color bombs don’t sting. At least not that I’m aware of.
Y’all have been with me through skillet cinnamon rolls and candy bar brownies and fried okra and countless loaves of bread. You’ve seen me through blog-o-versaries and publications and new ventures. But I never really talk about the seedy underbelly of writing about food, or really of writing in general: stagnation.
The business of writing is a sedentary one, where often our only activity is moving from one chair to another, or getting up for trips to the bathroom, the coffee pot, or the mailbox. Some writers walk, and truthfully, there are some who have a handle on fitness and exercise. I’m not one of them.
I’ve done my fair share of dancing and a few stints of regular Zumba classes, but when it comes to sustained activity, I’m just not into it. I often joke that I’m really, really good at sitting. That’s mostly true. I say mostly because I have terrible posture, hunching over keyboards or reclining into the pillows on my bed or couch.
This isn’t a matter of weight loss; it’s a matter of health. When I think of ways to describe my body, I think average, soft, or delicate. I never ever think strong.
My fragility, as I’m calling it, has always been a bit of a joke in my life. One of my old friends has compared me to Cameron from Ferris Bueller; always sick, always something wrong with me. Amanda calls me her fragile flower because if it’s not my back, it’s my neck, and if it’s not my neck, it’s my stomach, and so on. I’ve always made light of it, made a joke of feeling like a rickety old house in constant need of repair.
Last week, however, I woke up with a muscle spasm in my back, and I was icing my back and doing stretches for two days, trying to relax my muscles. This has happened before, usually in times of stress. There were several months in my first year of grad school when I couldn’t turn my head to the left, my muscles were so badly jammed up.
And this time, I was laid up again, pitiful and feeling broken. Friends gave me recommendations for chiropractors and acupuncturists. And the whole time, as I lay flat on my back and tried to watch TV comfortably, I swore to myself: when my back is better, I’m making a change. I’m getting in shape. I’m getting strong.
My back is better. And unlike all the other broken deals I’ve made with myself in the past, this one I’m carrying through with.
This weekend, Amanda and I registered for two races: the Color Run 5K in October, and the Tinker Bell 10K (at Disney!) in January. I’ve never been a runner; I lack stamina and lung expansion and endurance. These races scare me a little, but mostly, I’m excited. These will be my first races ever; I’ve gone with Amanda to the ones she has run, and I’ve always felt swept up in the excitement, the fervor, the energy of the race. I’m now to the point where I want to get in there and feel it for real – to do the work and run the race.
I have this one body, this one vessel to write with, to cook with, to love and live with. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling tired and weak and achy. I want that to end. I want to feel strong and energized. I want to feel good in my body.
The Other Next Big Thing
In addition to getting fit and running races, I’m doing one other exciting thing: for the month of August, I’ll be cooking offline – that means no Pinterest, no recipe searches, no comment feeds, and no quick fixes found through Google. My hope is to gain confidence as a cook and to challenge myself to cook intuitively. You can read all about my challenge here, in my article on Food Riot, and I’ll be sharing stories and recipes along the way.