I thought tonight I would write about why I chose "Fat Lady on a Bike" as the name for this blog. It was in my mind as a name long before I actually contemplated writing a blog and came to me without thought, but there are actually quite a few reasons why it resonates so profoundly for me.
First, using the word "fat", which I (like so many of us who struggle) have studiously avoided most of my life, feels like an important step to taking its power away, and the shame. I try now to think of it as a mere descriptor. When my young grandchildren comment on things that they notice about the physical world, including people's appearance, for the most part they use words as purely descriptive without any baggage or negativity attached, and I'd love to be able to do the same.
Saying "lady" rather than woman, with the circus overtones, seemed to offer a bit of whimsy and humor, both of which felt very important to me. Before I decided to go with my picture from Hub on Wheels, I actually tried to find a cartoonish clip art image of a fat lady on a bicycle. But then I thought the real thing would be a more powerful image, especially in contrast to the cartoonish title.
Why the bike? I don't plan this to be a chronicle of my various rides or even of my training regimen, so why feature it so prominently? Two reasons, really. The first is that my bike has led me back to joy in movement and activity, and to pursuing, systematically yet flexibly, a long-term fitness goal. But beyond that, my relationship with my bike is a wonderful metaphor for the way I want to live my life. If you told me to walk as fast as I could down the street, even on a flat surface, I'd resent you, and walking, and be in pain both physically and psychically before too long. But put me on the bike and point me down the road, and I function quite happily at the upper end of my target heart rate, loving the feeling of the wind in my hair and the sun or mist on my face. Being on the bike, for me, is living life with joy, working hard at what I love and savoring the delight of it.
I didn't have time to go for a ride this morning, as I woke up full of energy to do a bunch of tasks I haven't been able to manage for the past week or two, which was delightful in itself. But you can bet that I'll be out there tomorrow.