This morning I went for a walk that even as short a time as a month ago, I wouldn’t have contemplated for a second.

So why now and not then? Because the thought of going for a walk with a group of fit, healthy, strong women, comfortable in their skin and happy with where they are, would have been painfully embarrassing to me. I would have imagined myself puffing along behind them, getting left far behind, as they chatted happily and occasionally looked over their shoulders in gentle or not so gentle pity.

And I would have missed out. Have missed out many times as my imagination pulled me away from potentially embarrassing or confronting situations. I’ve politely refused more invitations than I care to remember, just because I couldn’t bear the thought of being ‘the fat kid’ at the party. It’s not that I don’t love to be with people, I do, but like many people, I like to be in situations I feel comfortable with, doing things I know I’m good at.

This morning I went for a walk. I met two women at the water’s edge, only one of whom I knew, both fitter than I am yet, and we walked together and it was good. I wasn’t as fast as they were and I did have to slow down and I was puffing and my feet did hurt but….

Today I felt confident, included and welcomed. We began and ended the walk together and in between, they sometimes slowed to match my pace and sometimes ran ahead and came back for me but always there was a sense of welcome and inclusion and it made me think.

How many times do we(I) hang back from things because we think we won’t fit in, or we won’t feel as capable or competent or because we don’t want to try and fail, or look stupid?

Today was a walk that didn’t pass me by, today was a time that I met people I liked. Today I plodded along and finished the distance. I’ll remember it for next time I’m about to say no to something I think I might not be good at.

Oh, and there were pelicans πŸ™‚

20140218_114937 20140218_115012