Keep the Bra, Burn the Shirt

In continuing my body freedom beach week, I decided to go on a beach run without a shirt. (I know, I even shocked myself with this one.  I mean, who is this body loving girl?)  My toes sunk into the soft sand as I made my way to the water’s edge.  I popped my earbuds in and awkwardly began to run.  The angle and softness of the sand on my bare feet made running difficult.  (How did those Baywatch lifeguards make it look so effortless and sexy?  Damn you, Hasslehoff.)  I began to doubt this ballsy decision as I tried to find a pace, remembering all of my running form rules.  Then I came to my senses: “‘F’ this.  Just run, McCall.” I changed the iPod tune to our beach trip theme song.  The upbeat tempo and crazy lyrics cleared my head and I started to simply RUN.

“Everybody get up.  Everybody get up.  Hey, hey, hey.  Hey, hey, hey.  Hey, hey, hey.  
If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say.  If you can’t read from the same page.  Maybe I’m going deaf, Maybe I’m going blind, Maybe I’m out of my mind…”

I ignored the voice in my head saying I needed a pace and cadence and just ran.  The sun hit my back as I jogged and I began to find freedom in each step.  Yes, this was what running is supposed to feel like.  I got lost in Robin Thicke’s catchy (and yes, controversial) lyrics and let my body move.  I was in the moment, in my skin and enjoying every beat and wave along the way.  I may or may not have done a high kick or two in the waves.  

“But I will wait, I will wait for you.  And I will wait, I will wait for you. And I will wait, I will wait for you. And I will wait, I will wait for you…So I’ll be bold. As well as strong. And use my head alongside my heart. So tame my flesh. And fix my eyes. That tethered mind free from the lies…”

As my beloved Mumford and Sons sang to me, I began to feel how my running/exercise mindset was reflective of my old way of life.  Not all that long ago I lived by a set of self-implied rules and regulations.  Every thought and action had to be executed in a perfect and controlled manner.  I was wound up tighter than a tick 24-hours a day.  Usually my fear of not executing a simple errand list to perfection kept me from leaving my house for days at a time.  Even going on a simple run was extremely anxiety provoking.  I had to have the right shorts on and the matching top.  The shorts could not be too tight.  My sides could not hang over, which they always did according to my distorted vision.  Every little thing had to be JUST RIGHT, which was impossible.  So as you can guess, going on a shirtless beach run was lightyears from where I once was.  There was something so freeing about throwing on shorts and a sports bra and heading out the door.   (It should also be noted that I don’t think they even matched!)  No shoes, no shirt, just me.  Of course, that voice was there, but I ignored it like I always try to do.  And when those form and running etiquette urges started to chime in, well, thank goodness for Robin Thicke and the rest of my iTunes buddies.   I run to the beat of my own drum these days.  I do not run to burn calories or torture myself.  I run because it feels good to be in my body and to honor it.

“…One foot in and one foot back. But it don’t pay, to live like that. So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks. For never to return…”

It was fitting that the Avett Brothers song “I and Love and You” won the shuffle lottery as my final shirtless run song.  The Avett Brothers gave me back my passion for music, something I lost to my eating disorder many years ago.  I’ve always been a music geek, but somewhere along the way my love for real music got replaced with ‘exercise’ songs.  My playlists were filled with rap, pop and all music meant to  make you run faster and longer.  Avett Brothers’ music is real music, played with real instruments and not the manufactured studio kind Britney uses.  I actually discovered the Avett Brothers while in treatment and have been an Avett addict ever since.

“…Are you aware the shape I’m in? My hands they shake my head it spins. Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in…”

As I ended my first shirtless jog, I was reminded once again why I love this journey of recovery. The process of self discovery and growth never stops because I choose to not let it stop.  I enjoy the challenge of constantly pushing myself outside of my preconceived ‘comfort zone.’  Everyday I find another reason to love this amazing person I am becoming, the extraordinary woman that was there all along.

“…Three words that became hard to say, I and love and you, I and love and you, I and love and you.”

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  • Reply
    Sarah Louise (@sarah_robbo)
    August 13, 2013 at 3:47 am

    BEAUTIFUL words McCall <3 Power on girl xx

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