Monday, February 13

move it, move it: an athletically awkward tale with a moral.


i distinctly remember when i officially began hating athletics.

it correlated with the schedule in elementary p.e. when we graduated from the safe, sheltered world of square-dancing and hula-hooping to playing actual sports and running and push-ups and climbing that damn rope in front of the rest of the class. i quickly found myself dreading the 45 minutes twice a week that would inevitably lead to my torture and shame. being picked last for the kick-ball games (that is not even an exaggeration), cramping up during laps, bruised forearms at the pitiful attempts to get the blasted volley ball over the blasted net (which, wouldn't you know, never happened). i cannot tell you how many times i was under the complete and full belief that surely i must have asthma. please, school nurse, tell me this is true? (for the record, those of you who really do have asthma, please forgive the insensitive 9 year old version of me - for i knew not what i was wishing for). but not only did i think it would be the magic key to get me out of participating in the humiliation that was physical ed, but i also thought how sorry those p.e. teachers would feel when they knew what they had been forcing me do in my fragile and sickly condition. i dreamed of the tears they would spill when they remembered the moments they commanded, "KEEP RUNNING" whenever i had had had to slow down during laps. oh, how justifying! but no. the school nurse obviously was a cold, unsympathetic soul.

i dove even deeper into the world of art and books, for these were things i understood and things that i was good at. if i could not be sporty, then surely i would be known as the artsy girl, or the smarty pants. this thought pattern continued and grew more and more ingrained in my brain, and then my loathing for physical exertion reached the level of fiery passion-hate when my freshman p.e. teacher traumatized my sensitive, awkward, teenage-girl self. 

it had been a bad semester. i wanted to cry every morning when the second block bell rang. it was the prelude to my march of doom towards the locker room. the smelly, dark, and dank locker room. if you were not already aware of this, let me tell you that high school girls are little biatches. especially in p.e. where the strong ones create alliances and gang up on the vulnerable, weak ones and decide it is their mission to make your life a living hell. but that was not even the worst part. the worst part was this:

after months of strengthening every muscle in my spindly little arms to support my entire body weight in ten push-ups, i was prepared to show that teacher of mine and every one else how wrongly they misjudged me and then PEACE OUT. for the finals, the class was split up into pairs, and each pair would take turns counting each others sit-ups, push-ups, etc. i, proudly, pumped out those ten, bad-ass push-ups with something very close to ease. it was glorious. this was the shining moment of my entire physical education career. all the years of torment led up to this moment, and i was going out with a bang. take that, p.e. departments of the world. you didn't defeat me. as the teacher asked each person to give the final count of their partner, the warm, glowing feeling in my heart began to swell. i started to think, hey this wasn't all so terrible. i love you, teacher. i love you, mean girls. i love you, stinky gym t-shirt. then it was finally my partners turn to proclaim in front of all, how bravely and valiantly i had completed the task. ten, ms. whatshername, kalie did ten. 

and you know what that teacher said? i'm going to need you to prove it. that's what she said. 

in front of the class.

because she did not freaking believe that i did it.

the warm-glowy feeling flamed up into my red cheeks, and all that was left was embarrassment and rage. so then, so then- you know what i did THEN?! head down, i shuffled to the front of then room, and did ten more push-ups. shaky, sad push-ups. because, hello, my limit was a maximum of ten, and now i was asked to do twice as many. but i did it. and did not even get extra points or an apology.

so clearly, this was earth-shattering. okay, not so much, but it was still not good, and i was ready to turn my back on athletics for forever. to this day, i have continued to believe that i am absolutely incapable of making any type of athletic achievements. i have made it known that i do not exercise, i do not run, because, well, i can't. that is what i always say. i simply can't. and you can't make me. 

but you know, nobody is putting me in that box except for me. i am the one putting myself in those parameters. not some mean girls in p.e. not the kids picking their kick-ball team. not awful teachers telling me to do more push-ups or run more laps. i may not be naturally athletic, i may not be the star of a soccer team, i may be lacking anything resembling quality hand-eye coordination, but, BUT, i don't have to tell myself or anyone else that i can't.

so i made a decision, and this is it: i am going to start running. i will learn how to do it. i am going to begin a program called c25k (couch-to-5k) . because if there is anything i am certain of, it is that i am an expert couch potato, so surely this routine is catered to people such as myself. it is nothing grand, or scary, or olympic qualifying, but it is big to me. and i am excited. and i feel challenged. and i am happy to say that i am finally stepping out of a safety zone. i am pushing myself in a way that i have  never pushed myself before, and hopefully this will make me a little stronger, wiser, and better. i even bought new running shoes for inspiration. so, you know it's official. 

so maybe you are like me, and if that's true, i encourage you to push your limits! find something new to try, and i'd love to hear about it. maybe you are the opposite, and you are a jock super star, and you can like, play every sport known to mankind, but you think that you cannot be crafty. or musical. well, i say BAH to that! yes you can! you can learn. and maybe it's foreign to you just like moving beyond the pace of a casual stroll is foreign to me. but i think we all need to stop boxing ourselves in. we need to stop labeling ourselves so much, i think. because those labels hold us back from trying new things, new things that just might bring us joy and satisfaction.

so if you want to join me in this journey, please do! and tell me what you would like to learn to do, because i would really love to root for you.


  1. I'm so glad you found my blog because, okay, can I just say that you totally described my entire P.E. career, k-12? The sad thing too is that I was an elite gymnast until the 8th grade, but I swear to God, it all came out of sheer willpower and determination because I am NOT naturally athletic at ALL. I mean, here I was competing internationally and STILL getting picked last every P.E. class haha. It was so mortifying.

  2. debbie, my goodness, if an internationally competing gymnast struggles in p.e., what hope is there? really?? you should have gotten p.e. credits for THAT. that's how the world should really work. I'm glad there is someone out there who understands!

  3. At least we're doing it together! The sad thing is, I was always picked last, never actually did the push ups (I was convinced I would never get boobs if I did... so I guess I only have my self to thank for the hells that hang off the front of me), and I still believe I have exercise induced asthma. I'm pathetic, too. But hey!!! We'll be runnin those 5K's in no time. Could you imagine if one of us totally rocked at running?? I'd never make it.

  4. Yaaaaaay for you! I just did week 6 day 1 today...but we repeated week 3, so we've been at it for 7 weeks. It's tough, but good. GET GOOD RUNNING SHOES! That's important, I found out. So excited for your journey :) and btw we probably had the same PE teacher....I can't believe she was that mean to you. BOO to her. I'm so glad you showed her up :)

    1. kelly, i didn't know you were doing this too! that's awesommmme. oh my gosh, i know, good shoes make all the difference. i had some that hurt my feet a lot when i ran, so that was NO good. that's when i got some new ones:] and THAT TEACHER. yes, we probably did have the same one, and she was the worst to me. UGH.

  5. Kalie, this is amazing! I am on the same page with you on being completely horrible with athletics. It's embarrassing when I try to do sports, but running is one of the most liberating things to do! I've been running a lot since my winter break, but I had unfortunaley stopped because I just got really lazy. This has encouraged me to get back on my running shoes and run as much as I can :) thanksss!

    1. that's awesome jada! liberating is such a good word for running - it totally is, that's exactly what i've been feeling. it feels so good to push myself in this way! ooh girl, doo it! :]


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