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Do What Makes You Feel Beautiful - Res 36


The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.

At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.

For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.

Res 36: Do What Makes You Feel Beautiful

A little after 1 am, I slid out of wedges and collapsed onto my bed, exhausted. When my alarm went off 5 hours later I could feel every inch of my body protesting and I felt like I was in some trippy animated movie where the anthropomorphic sheets cling to your legs, begging you to not step out into the muggy morning.

Sunday – aka Long Run Day – has quickly become my favorite day of the week. Because of that, I don’t typically stay up late on Saturday nights anymore and I certainly don’t wear wedges.

I rubbed the outside of my foot and tried to shake the sleep from my eyes. My vision darted from the clock to my sneakers and back to my bed as I did the mental math in my head. If I’m running for over three hours and I want to make church at 11 I’ll have to…

I hadn’t been to my local church in over a month and I was desperately missing the family I have formed there and the peace of mind a calm Sunday morning brings. I hadn’t had any issue with doing my long run before the late-morning service but I was already on a slow start and I knew I would be pushing it. I shrugged and tied my shoes anyway and locked the door behind me.

Around 10:30, I crashed into my apartment and crawled to the kitchen for water, an apple, and someone to smile with. My roommate was washing his cat’s food dish in the sink.

“Water!” I dramatically pantomimed as I filled my now empty running bottle. We chatted as I fell back against the wall, laughing in a way that rivaled the Lion King hyenas.

I wasn’t tired anymore. I wasn’t anxious about time or going places or where I had to be. I had put in an amazing workout and I was happy. I laughed as I began to assemble a post-run meal and continued to add the numbers in my head as I watched the clock spin on.

It’s too late to walk. I could take the train or try my luck with the bus..

At 10:57, with the kind of energy nobody should have after the longest run they’ve ever done, I rounded the corner of my apartment toward Broadway and in one fluid motion, hopped into a cheap cab, destination: church.

I had traded my shower for nourishment and as I snacked on almonds and berries in the back seat of the taxi, I was fully aware of my appearance (and stench).

I slid into the back of the church – eight minutes late – and let the music wash over me as I nonchalantly stretched my legs.

A moment later, the congregation stood up to greet one another and I was met with one of my favorite women who has become like another mother to me. Usually, we forgo handshaking and go straight for the hug, but today, I insisted that she really didn’t want to hug me and mumbled a long winded apology about my run and not having time to shower but really, really wanting to be in the service today.

That’s when she smiled at me and said: “Are you kidding me? You look beautiful. Why, you are absolutely glowing.”

Resolution #36: Do What Makes You Feel Beautiful

At the end of the service, I made like a kid at a high school graduation party, making rounds to all the people and faces I hadn’t seen in a while and telling them how much I missed them and how good it was to be back.

With each handshake or hug, I felt like I had to throw in the disclaimer – comparing my sneakers and running attire to their dresses and church-appropriate hats.

Each remarked the same sentiment – I was glowing.

I hung around for a while, visiting with this second family of sorts who had taken me under their wings and provided me with so much love, guidance, and support for the past year and a half. As I walked home later, I thought about them again. They were, perhaps, right. My sweat-stained braids were a testament to the thing I love the most in the world.

I came home and took a very overdue shower and as I sat at the edge of my bed, detangling knots from my hair, I thought about how lucky I was to be able to run and how beautiful it felt to have something that makes me feel strong and healthy and beautiful. How lucky was I, to find something that makes me glow.

Love always,


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