In the park last night, Alex and I were jogging past the basketball court when a kid on the bench, Taco Bell spread out in front of him, jeered ‘run, Chubby, run!’
At one point in my life, it would have hurt me. I would have been red-faced, huffy (and not just from jogging), and would have used it as an excuse to stop, to go home, to wrap myself in a mantle of indignation soothed only by copious amounts of chocolate and shame.
Last night, however, I was only slightly embarrassed- and faintly amused. I mean, I couldn’t possibly take him serious when he was pretty overweight himself, shoving fast food in his face, and making smart-assed comments in efforts to amuse his friends.
It’s been an awful long time since I was called a name to my face, and it got me thinking about all the other names that he could have used- ones that would have hurt a lot worse. My thoughts turned to some of the labels that I’ve seen people apply to themselves, and the way it made me feel when I read them.
There are three words that I have always had a fierce objection to …likely because I didn’t want them applied to myself.
They definitely could be (and probably often were) applied to me. In fact, they defined me.
Of course, there are better and worse options…beefy, big, brawny, broad, bulky, burly, butterball, chunky, corpulent, elephantine, gargantuan, heavy, heavyset, hefty, husky, large, obese, oversize, paunchy, plump, plumpish, ponderous, porcine, portly, potbellied, pudgy, rotund, solid, stout, thickset, weighty, and whalelike to name just a few (thanks to Thesaurus.com for those).
But those those first three just sat so uncomfortably with me that I cringed whenever anyone else used them, even in self-mocking, about themselves. They triggered a response in me that left me squirming and uncomfortable.
See, I hid for so long inside of my own protective shell that I refused to acknowledge just how much I had let myself go, and anything that threatened to crack the tenuous bubble of my own creation was immediately denied and discarded.
While those three words- and all of the others- could still be applied to me, I find that I am more comfortable using them for myself when I think of how I used to be- because it’s how I used to be.
I can look back at the me of before I started paleo (and at nearly any point in my life) and apply any one of those adjectives from the comfortable cushion of having made permanent and lasting changes in my life, to my body, to my health.
I’ve discovered that while those words might have applied to me once before (and may temporarily apply to me right now), I can replace them with new ones. Positive ones. Truthful ones.
So to the kid in the park thinking he was clever as he yelled out ‘run, Chubby, run’, I have a message for you.
I may be chubby, but I ran.
And I lapped your gordita-munchin’ ass 3 times.