A Needed Reminder

Today, I ran two miles.

I know that probably isn’t a big deal to a lot of people. For this second-helpings-loving curvy woman, it was a major deal, because I know how beneficial running is and I have always wanted to improve myself physically, even if that shaped up to be me living a healthier, more active lifestyle yet staying at the same weight/body shape I am now. I’ve always just wanted to be active so that if someone invites me to come play a pick-up-game, I know I can. If I want to study abroad and walk everywhere, I won’t be afraid that my body won’t make it. And if I want to eat good food, I can, without guilt. I’ve always wanted to make that transition, but I never have. I always talk myself out of it. Today, I knew that I wanted to go for a run when I woke up, even though I hadn’t planned on trying to start any new workout routine. I almost talked myself out of it and I’m not even sure what switched and caused me to throw on some tennis shoes and go instead of climbing into the shower like I was inching closer to every passing minute. But I went out there and I ran and it felt awesome, even though my body is now sore and it hurt to walk up the stairs on my way to work and I still find myself struggling to breathe slightly because I’m just that fit, friends.

I wanted to run for 30 minutes. 30 minutes sounded like an achievable goal that would also be an achievement, in my eyes, if I ran the entire time. I made a playlist with seven songs that matched my time goal and anytime I felt myself wanting to quit, I would whisper, “C’mon, one more song. You can do one more song.” Granted, my pace wasn’t much faster than a snail, especially after the first song came and went, but I still did it and that’s all that matters. Regardless of how fast I ran, by the time I reached song five, my pace had dropped even slower and I’m pretty sure a snail did lap me, laughing as it passed. And even though I knew I was too stubborn to give up after I started, I was struggling. My diaphragm had started cramping up and my body was starting to feel the affects of actually being purposefully active for the first time in months and I knew the last two songs were going to drag and it was going to be miserable, the endorphins I had released when I started dissipating as my brain took over, derailing my heart.

And then I saw it. Brushstroke Monarch No. 7 ... Original by KathyMortonStanion:

A monarch butterfly launched off from where it hid amongst the trees and flew over my head, accompanying me for a few steps before flying back into the trees.

You may not realize how powerful of a symbol this was.

Monarch butterflies have a very special meaning to me. They represent hope. They represent the beauty in life. They represent perseverance. They represent God and the reminder that while life can get hard sometimes, I’m doing pretty darn okay. They have this association because of my Grandmother, who was given hope during a rough time when she was undergoing chemotherapy when a monarch landed on her steering wheel after an appointment. Ever since then, any time I see a monarch, I have a weird association that I saw that butterfly purposefully; that I was meant to see it in that moment, that I was meant to be reminded that no matter what, I got this. Perhaps that’s a silly association. But it doesn’t change the fact that every time I see one now, my spirits are lifted and I offer a small prayer of thank for that reminder; for that representation of faith and hope and strength showing up at the times I need it most.

Today, I also ran just a little bit faster.

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

10 responses to “A Needed Reminder

  • Becky

    I love this post! I’ve also recently started to run again and I also use songs to motivate me. I love the story about the Monarch butterfly – it gave me goosebumps. 🙂

  • Jessica M

    As a firm believer in that all things happen for a reason, your reflection made me smile. There are no silly associations, and you know that you are loved (:

    ps. Running is addicting. Okay, so I don’t run anymore, but I still feel random urges to just go for a run. Because despite the burn, it really feels great. And I’ve heard it’s good for stress. The aches afterwards, though? Ehhh!

    • Nicole Evans

      Hey, a post that made someone smile is a post I think I can label a success. 😉 It is addicting. And I think I am actually enjoying it this time around instead of dreading it because I’m not running solely and firstly to get skinny. I’m reading to help release stress, so I actually get excited about it. Granted, today I fell and banged up my knee, so that was a nice adventure. 😛

      • Jessica M

        Ohnoes! I hope you didn’t scrape your knee up too badly. Nothing you can’t handle, I’m sure. Scars don’t show without being the wiser for it. And you needing to get skinny? Get outta here, you’re looking quite skinny in your profile picture! The running will do your mind good, it’s a great motivator. I wish you all the best despite the upcoming cold weather.

      • Nicole Evans

        Oh Jess, you are seriously way too sweet! My knee is sore and looks like a bastardization of a bruised fruit, but I was able to run today no problem! And while I may be skinny in my head shots, my muffin top begs otherwise. Ha! Thank you!

      • Jessica M

        Just a flesh wound! Well if it’s the muffin top you’re working on, then running is definitely the way to go. I’ve given up on my jelly belly, I’ve convinced myself it’s a lost cause. I’m not 20 anymore anyway! At this point in life, I just watch my diet and make sure I’m eating healthy. My part-time job keeps me on my feet for 7 hours, so that’s my “workout!”

      • Nicole Evans

        Honestly, losing weight would really be a side benefit. At the moment, running is an outlet for stress and anxiety. Getting rid of this muffin top would be a bonus! And jelly belly and all, I know you’re as gorgeous of a human being physically as I know you are intellectually and emotionally. 😀 I’d definitely count that!

      • Jessica M

        You are too sweet ❤ I'm okay with all these "flaws." It took a lot of years and tears for me to not stress about my looks or concern myself anymore about other people's opinions or society's definitions. Personality really does play a big role in appearance. I don't need to meet you in person to know that you are beautiful in every sense of the word! (:

      • Nicole Evans

        Same, my friend! There are still days that I struggle with what I see in the mirror, but I have come so far and so close to actually accepting myself exactly as I am, without the pressure of trying to confront to ridiculous standards. I’m glad you’ve conquered, as well, and even happier that we’ve connected here! 🙂

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