Making my way through Asia (and grad school) one adventurous step at a time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Adventures in the No Body-Snark Diet...

I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Sally over at UnbraveGirl. It might be because she's a super-fun award-winning travel blogger, but I think it's mostly because we've eaten something that looks like this:

Yes, it's a giant stack of bread covered in ice cream and honey
 In a place with decor like this:

Yes, it's a giant yellow dog-man guarding our giant stack of ice-cream bread.
That's not an encounter you'll easily forget. 
In fact, it's how life-long "I'll-read-your-blog-forever" bonds are formed.

Last Thursday, Sally threw down the gauntlet and issued this 2-part challenge. It was a challenge that struck a chord with her readers, set bloggers abuzz, and prompted a gazillion* responses. 
(* Actual numbers used anywhere in this blog are always either approximations or completely made up.)

Sally's 2-part challenge got me thinking about 3 things. (I warned you, numbers around here can be a little sketchy.)

Thing #1: 

I don't usually write about deep-down serious stuff. I don't think I've ever mentioned a reason, but it's  mostly because funny stories will always be funny stories. (Well, funny for you maybe. You're not the one who had ants in their pants.)

However, unlike some types of cheese, my writing about heart swelling feelings'n'such, (cue melodramatic 7th grade diary) or issues of sober importance and solemnity (cue pretentious undergraduate essays), don't get better with age. I cringe when I re-read serious things I've written after days, weeks or years have passed. I cringe because my fiery rhetoric has mellowed, my opinions have matured, or I've realized that my 7th grade heart-throb is actually a bit of a chowder-head.

But once it's out there - in print - it's too late to take it back.

If I wrote about such things here, I'd either have to put genuine thought into them, or else I'd be issuing caveats, apologies and clarifications all. the. time. So, I try to reserve this space for lighthearted musings.

In the days ahead, that might start to change - but not too much, and not too quickly. If that giant stack of ice-cream bread I shared with Sally taught me anything, it's that moderation is key.

Thing #2: 

When Sally issued the challenge to post honest-to-goodness full-body photos, I didn't think I shied away from posting unflattering pictures of myself. (No, I won't provide a link to November 2nd, 2006. It's really that terrible. Honestly.) However, I just went through my entire archive, and realized that in the ten years I've been writing this blog, I've only published one full-on full-length photo of myself...and that was from a costume party in 2005, so I didn't even look like myself. I've always made up some excuse about why the full-on photos never make the cut, but it actually has very little to do with artistic merit, and much more to do with the fact that I don't like the way I look in them.

Thing #3:

This body has stuck with me for a loooong time, even after I uprooted it, and dragged it through 13 countries over the past 14 years. Sure, it gets banged up now and again...

Working on a campus with a great special-ed program and extra wheelchairs available had some perks when I took a spill on the ski hill!
...but that's because it agrees to let me do wonderful things like go skiing, and scuba diving, and rock climbing, and horseback riding, and kayaking, and skydiving. (It doesn't agree to let me sing Karaoke in public, but that's probably a Very Good Thing. Thank you, body.)

It even lets me enter the Run for Relief every year. Why have you never seen me mention the Run for Relief on my blog? Primarily because the plight of displaced people in Burma is a serious issue (see Thing #1). Secondly, even though I spend the entire race thinking about, and praying for, people in Burma who are forced to run for their very lives, as soon as I see post-run pictures, I immediately focus on how much weight I've lost (or gained) since the previous year (see Thing #2).  

So, to participate in Unbrave Girl's very brave No Body-Snark Diet challenge, I will:

1. Stop being a jerk to myself, and quit referring to my participation in the Run for Relief as my Waddle for Relief.

2. Post a full-on picture of myself finishing the race:

Sure, I'm disappointed that I was slower than the year before, and walked a little more than I ran...but that's not the point. It was never the point.

As I've been writing this post, a funny thing has happened. As I've taken a moment to focus on all the great things my body lets me do, I want to take better care of it. I don't want to chastise it for picking up a few pounds over the years, and shame it into shedding them. Instead, I want to reward it with tons of vegetables and healthy things. Why? Because it's an aging machine that's faithfully allowed me to do things I love for a bazillion years. I don't want to force it to be smaller so I can fit into skinny jeans, I want to keep it healthy so it will let me keep on adventuring. 

But if Unbrave Girl ever comes back to town, I'd totally share another giant stack of ice-cream bread with her.


Sally said...

I love, love, LOVE this -- possibly even more than giant stacks of bread covered in ice cream. And I didn't even know that was possible.

grettanick said...

I saw the link to your blog from sally's. Bravo. And im totally on board with honey ice cream bread too;)

Anonymous said...

Love this post!! I must follow for extra giggles in my life!!

Jodi said...

You are my all-time favourite blogger.

Janice said...

Thanks you guys! Welcome aboard grettanick and Anonymous. I'm glad you've found me. Jodi and Sally, I'm glad you guys keep coming back for more. =)

Jenni said...

Now that you've mentioned it, I feel like I've had ice cream with bread too! Love the attitude that taking care of your body results in more awesome adventures.

Congrats on your run!

Jenni said...

Now that you've mentioned it, I feel like I've had ice cream with bread too! Love the attitude that taking care of your body results in more awesome adventures.

Congrats on your run!

Jenn said...

Yay Run for Relief! Keep kicking ass :D

Priya said...

This is awesome! you're awesome! Yay for being awesome!!!!

Janice said...

Thanks, Jenni, Jenn and Priya!

Gina Hopper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gina Hopper said...

FABULOUS blog post, Janice! And what a wonderful challenge to take on. I feel inspired!

Monica said...

Found a new blog to read - now I've got lots of stalking (I mean catching up to do). And quite being a jerk to yourself!!

'k-p said...

Always love, love, love your blog! You are so good at putting us in the moment right beside you. (Well, I'm not beside you in the running one... but proud you did it!). Since I'm gluten-intolerant, can I just have the ice-cream and honey when I come to Thailand??

Janice said...

Gina! I've seen the pictures, your body lets you do crazy insanely awesome things. Keep it up!!

Monica, stalk away. Enjoy your stay.:)

'k-p, thanks - and of course we can skip the bread!

Anonymous said...

As usual, love the Janiceness! Keep it up so we hang in Canada-land -and give our love to 'Ill Cus too;-)

roce anog said...

Enjoyed this Janice!

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said...

Found you on Sally's blog ... loved this. Although not overweight - I too am hard on my body. and for what? So I don't have a six pack but really? I dive, hike, fly, swim and ... I AM ALIVE! so yeah - we really need to stop being our own bullies and become our own cheerleaders instead.

But you’re on your own for that dessert thing … as a wellness warrior … no thanks! 

Janice said...

Thanks Roce! Will I see you soon??

Sonja, I'm glad you found me. If you ever come this way, we can share a salad instead. =)

madhu bhardwaj said...

Loved this 'Sally inspired' post and came here through the link on her page.
Stayed to enjoy!

Janice said...

Welcome, Madhu Bhardwaj ! I'm glad you found me. Please come and visit anytime. =) (But I have a new address now: