So I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve thought about blogging about a day in my life at Metro Caring or about the experience of church shopping (which I might do someday) but these blog topics were all a way of avoiding what I really needed to blog about—so I’m finally going to do it.
Denver has been filled with challenges. I expected the challenges that came along with my agency placement, the challenges that came with applying for food stamps, and I even expected and felt prepared for the challenges of living off of a small stipend each month. But I did not expect the physical challenges that have come with being a Denver YAV.
The first big challenge came with the 14er hike that we did as a house. I would not have made it up if it weren’t for Michael coming slowly along with me and would not have made it down if it weren’t the only option. I felt accomplished afterwards, but also felt like I did not need that experience to make my time in Denver memorable. (I also lost a toenail due to the fact that I was in denial about the size of my feet when I bought my hiking boots).
The second came with my staff retreat to a high ropes course where I was forced to confront my fear of heights, but also the fact that it does require physical fitness to actually do the challenges once you get up to them. And as someone who works at a wonderful place with very physically fit people who have made it their mission to make a difference in the health of Denver, I didn’t want them to discover how out of shape I am. Due to a wonderful coworker, I was able to complete one of the challenges even though it was terrifying from a height point of view as well as physically. I was glad I did it, but would have rather not been confronted with the challenge in the first place.
And the third challenge came on another community day where the plan was to complete the Manitou Incline—a 2,000 foot elevation gain in less than a mile. This time I did not make it to the top like the rest of my housemates. There are no pictures of me smiling triumphantly as I reached the top.
I have never been a physical person—the only time I have ever exercised consistently was when I was trying to lose the freshman 15 the summer after my first year at IU. I was always the girl who dreaded the mile run in gym class and would even find ways to avoid other gym class activities (I once cleaned the weight room instead of playing kickball one day—Thanks for that opportunity Mr. Reed).
I would do anything possible to avoid confronting the fact that I was non-athletic and even overweight at times. I would do anything to avoid feeling like the fat girl in gym class.
Increased age and maturity has taught me to be comfortable with my body the way that it is and to enjoy certain physical activities, but ever since moving to Denver and taking on these physical challenges, I cannot help but feel like the fat girl in gym class again, especially in comparison to my housemates. And when the thoughts start coming, they do not stop and I cannot help but wonder what the point of these physical challenges are?
While being in nature is always a good way to remind me of the beauty of God’s creation, I don’t feel closer to God on top of a mountain or strapped into a harness or when I’m looking at all the uphill steps that need to be taken, I just feel really bad about myself. I hope that by the end of my year in Denver this will change but for now I will continue to be at the mercy of my housemates and employer and all the physical activities they plan for me.