I actually got mooed at one day while I was running.
I had just managed to pull myself up the hill on Market Street by Chatsworth Elementary. I was changing my stride to coast down the hill and prepare for the next hill.
Then I heard it coming from a boy at the top of the hill hanging out with friends behind Chatsworth Elementary.
“MOOO!” Giggles. “MOOOooooo!!” An explosion of raucous laughter.
It was probably a good thing I had just exerted all of my energy on the hill because my temper doesn’t tolerate things like that very well.
I have no delusions about how ridiculous I must look doing my fat-person shuffle around Chatsworth in my quest to be healthier. I didn’t need some little twerp pointing it out.
I had chosen a harder route that day, one with hills to build my strength. I was proud of myself as I topped that hill and was determined to make it up the next one, just a few yards away.
At first I was quite indignant. I wanted to jerk the 10- to 12-year-old boy up by his ears and make a spectacle in front of his friends who had been so quick to laugh at his pathetic joke.
I just kept shuffling instead.
I’d like to think that incident didn’t bother me. I’m a tough person, my own authority and full of self-confidence — until I’m exercising. Then I’m self-conscious about every move I make and if it’s making me jiggle somewhere. It’s the reason I don’t feel comfortable going to a gym. I’m sure it’s the reason many of you don’t feel comfortable jogging or working out where people can see you either. We’re afraid of others judging us for not working out sooner.
I have a friend who tells me to be proud of myself. It doesn’t matter what I look like. It just matters that I’m moving.
She’s a great encouragement and motivator, but her voice doesn’t drown out the one in my head that says “People are looking at you. They are thinking ‘Yeah, she should be running. She is fat.’”
On warmer days now, I notice the sidewalks are filled with walkers and runners again.
I know it’s intimidating for some to get out there. People around town aren’t judging you negatively. They are probably thinking “Wow. Look at that person being healthy. I need to do that instead of eating ice cream for dinner.”
As I drive down Green Road in Chatsworth, a popular area for walkers and joggers, I want to roll down the window and yell encouraging phrases. “Don’t give up!” “You’ve got this!” “Just a few more feet and you’ll be up that hill.” I don’t, though, because then I’d be the crazy lady who drives around town shouting at joggers.
There are more out there giving encouragement than there are mooing at you.
Now, if only I can remember that next time I lace up.
Murray County native Misty Watson is a staff writer and photographer for The Daily Citizen. You can contact her at email@example.com; facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN; or on Twitter, @mistydwatson.