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MALL OF AMERICA

MALL OF AMERICA

    Shopping. It's an activity that all females are supposed to enjoy and look forward to with the kind of excitement you'd expect from a kid on Christmas morning. However, I'm not your typical girl and shopping (especially for clothes) has always been a nerve racking experience for as long as I can remember. For one, there are mirrors everywhere...like you can't help but see your reflection a million times over the course of a full day of shopping, and of course you're going to end up scrutinizing your every imperfection before you even get to the freaking dressing room. And from there, things have a tendency to go from bad to worse almost instantaneously. The outfit/article of clothing doesn't look anywhere close to as good on you as it does on the mannequin...or heck even just sitting on a shelf/hanging on a rack. Somehow the dressing room mirrors make you look even worse than the dozen or so mirrors scattered around the store (how is this even possible, SERIOUSLY?!). And, of course whomever happens to be in charge of the dressing rooms on that particular day is way to entirely cheery, in fact everyone there seems far to happy and to be enjoying this rigorous process way too much. Like, it's not normal to enjoy the whole try something on, hate how you look in it, rinse/repeat process that is shopping. Too say I've grown up absolutely despising shopping for clothes would be an understatement.

    Quick flashback to the last time I was at the Mall of America (about 10 years ago with a good friend) before we embark on the journey of how this past Saturday's trip went. Going into this trip, I was at least double the size I am now and blatantly aware of the fact that nearly all of my friends fit into the category of being size 2/model skinny. However, for some reason or another, I was excited about this trip (my second I think?) to the mall, because I would at least have someone my own age to pal around with. And I in no way regret the decision to invite this person with me on this family outing. But, in retrospect, anyone could have predicted how awkward/anxiety producing it would be to go shopping with someone who actually enjoys the process and is the complete opposite of you when it comes to body type. At that age (and really any age for any girl in the United States today) it was only natural to compare myself/my body/my lack of enjoyment to the whole process that is shopping to that of my friend. This juxtaposition was even more painfully obvious when you looked at the purchases she made versus the ones I made. Furthermore, sitting on the sidelines well your friend can walk into any clothing store and try on any article of clothing and like the way they look in it, really highlights the fact that you're different from other girls your age.

    Needless to say, I don't have a whole lot of memorable/happy moments from my previous trip to the Mall of America. Since losing weight, I have come to despise the shopping process less, although I still struggle quite a bit with body image issues. So, at times, shopping for clothes can be a stressful/emotional process. At the same time, I wanted to be able to prove to myself that I could essentially re-live that negative experience from so many years ago with a completely different outcome this time. So, when my mom asked me this past summer whether or not I would be interested in taking a one day bus trip to the Mall of America while I would be home for Thanksgiving break, I didn't have to think twice. So, at 4:30 a.m. on Friday we left Belle Plaine, bound for Cedar Rapids, and a trip that would end with memories that I will cherish forever.

    Upon arriving at the mall and departing the bus, I found myself literally speed walking towards the Mall, actually excited to spend the next 6 hours walking in circles, trying on clothes (gasp!), and buying some clothes that I felt I looked halfway decent in. And that's exactly what we did! This has to have been one of the most fun/positive shopping experiences I have ever had. I got workout clothes galore from Fabletics, Old Navy, and Aeropostale. Some clothes I didn't even bother trying on (since most stores were so dang busy) and confidently grabbed a size medium without even giving it a second thought. We went in at least 3 candy stores, and had no problem at all picking out some stuff that caught my eye. I didn't once think to myself, "You're going to gain 10 lbs just looking at that sugary goodness, can you imagine what's going to happen if you actually get some and eat it?" I wasn't nervous about finding some place to eat lunch that had a super healthy option for me. And I didn't mind the fact that I had had to alter my gym schedule to take my rest day on a Saturday instead so I could go on this trip. I literally could not stop smiling the entire day.

    What was just as special as being able to have a good body image day on this trip and enjoy shopping, was the fact that I got to spend most of the 10 hour bus trip (5 hours each way and yes there were people crazier than me on the bus!) just talking to my mom about the craziest and most random stuff. Like we talked about how wild she was back when she was my age and how I am way, way behind where I thought I would be at the point in my life. On the way home from the mall, the sleep deprivation was really starting to kick in, so obviously our conversations got even more weird/off the wall. I found myself honestly admitting to her that I felt like I was/am ready to have a boyfriend, something I NEVER would have even talked about with her or anyone for that matter in everyday conversation. So, now that that fact is out there in the universe (and now on the Internet, yikes!!), I'm sure life is gonna be throwing about a billion curve balls/obstacles my way.

    We got home from the trip at 11:45 p.m. and I was in bed by 12:30 a.m. this morning. Then, my alarm went off promptly at 4:23 a.m. and I got up to get my morning run in and my workout down at the gym. Now, that's what I call balance. I had literally the most crazy/insane/random/fun day yesterday that didn't revolve around fitness or working out at all (unless you include the 10,000 steps we got walking the mall). I didn't eat the healthiest, and I came home super sleep deprived and ready to sleep for a good 12 hours. But, I knew that sticking to my routine and getting up at my normal time to work out is what I so craved after an extraordinary day like yesterday. So, I sucked it up and ran my 7.1 miles in the freezing cold in my new bad ass workout clothes and then proceeded to get in a decent workout with Larry down at Total Body Fitness.

    Overall message of this post: Shopping doesn't have to be a horrible/anxiety riddled experience, balance is so important (in every aspect of your life), and apparently at 21 years of age Caitlyn think she can handle having a boyfriend...just not the whole ya know asking someone out part and putting forth the effort to be herself around guys and use her words in a real life face-to-face interaction. So, here's to hopefully not being #foreveralone #single4life or that crazy cat lady in the future!


Running Mantras

Running Mantras

New 10K PR // Quick Sand or Hurdle

New 10K PR // Quick Sand or Hurdle