Goodwill Unlimited

You might remember meeting Kelly Grace a few weeks ago. Since her first running steps, Kelly has consistently increased her running time over half-hour workouts. And she's cleared hurdles that would stun many another soul: she's happily run in public, in urban neighborhoods — and she got her mom to try running with her. She's been on the road lately and running wherever she goes, from NYC to LA. Kelly rocks my world. With her permission, here's her latest Facebook note.

If you have some runner's encouragement to share with her, drop it in the comments!

As has been well documented on my Facebook page, my newest passion is running. I've gone from 0:00 to 5:30 to 9:30 of running in 44 days. The changes this new habit has engendered have been mostly internal: increased stamina and energy and a heightened awareness of my heretofore unacknowledged physical capabilities.

My new passion collided with my mother's -- Goodwill hunting -- over the Memorial Day Weekend. I come by my penchant for a full closet of clothes genetically: it has been passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. During the 5 days I spent with them in Los Angeles we visited the Goodwill store near USC and the Bell Thrift Store near Huntington Park. Between my mother, father, grandmother and aunt we spent about $200 and got about 75 items: dresses, tops, skirts, pants, shoes, jewelry and books.

Treasure hunting in secondhand shops requires a full armor of patience, a letting go of rhyme and reason and a dash of serendipity. You don't so much search for clothes as you let them find you. This is triply true when you are a plus-size girl.

So this pair of pants caught my eye. Sizing them up, I had a pretty good feeling they'd fit. (I've gotten to know my body pretty well over the last 6 weeks now that I'm paying more attention to it than ever before.) That they were made of a fabric that moves with me rather than against me was promising.

I was right -- they slid on like perfection. Don't you just love that frisson of victory that washes over you when something you love fits like it was made for you?

When I checked to see the price I was doubly stunned: (1) the pants only cost $2.99 and (2) the label announced they were a size small! From The Limited, a store I have not even a passing acquaintance with as they don't carry my (usual) size. Women's clothing sizes are apparently bizarre and nonsensical. Maybe S should stand for "So What?", M for "Mine", L for "Love" and XL for "eXceLlent." Would do wonders for self-esteem, I'd bet.

Let me make this clear: my self-worth is not wrapped up in the number -- or letter, which is usually X preceded by a 2 or a 3 and sometimes 4 -- emblazoned on the hang tag. I don't consider myself (or anyone else) better or prettier or more valuable based on a clothing size, whatever it may be. That way lies ridiculousness.

I can wear one pair of size small pants. However, I am not a small person. I don't want to be a small person (not that there's anything wrong with that) or even a smaller person, necessarily. The goal of my running, now and always, is to do something new and challenging and see what good things result.

The truth is I'd love my new pants even if they were stamped S for Super Duper Gigantic.

Kelly G., runner, looking S for Splendid


Troy said...

Congratulations, Kelly.

Like Dory from Disney's "Finding Nemo" said (modified a bit for runners and not swimmers), "Just keep running. Just keep running. Just keep running, running, running. What do we do? We run, run."

Kelly G. Loeb said...

Thanks, Ann and Troy! When my mom and I ran, she was asking me things like "do we run until we sweat?" "How long should we go?" "What is our goal?" She was completely sincere about it, as was I when I responded that the point, the outcome, the goal was simply to run.