Scorched Ground


I want flat abs, and I’m not sure why.

I can’t blame Hollywood or the media or peer pressure. 

My husband is innocent too. During the course of nearly 17 years, he has seen my stomach stretched into shapes that defy the laws of physics. He currently thinks I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. So, if he doesn’t have a problem with my flabby abs, why do I?

Can’t I be content with how things are?

I contemplated this while doing crunches on the ridiculously big blue ball in the basement. The reason I desire flat abs is the same reason I wanted to run a marathon: because goals, no matter how great or small, make me feel truly alive.

Without goals, I begin to wither. I physically/mentally/spiritually need a trip to plan, a book to write, or a marathon to run. 

Life is more than shuttling kids to activities—my life has worth too, even if it’s not in mint condition.

I kicked the ball across the room, and as I quivered in plank position while keeping a close eye on the stopwatch, it occurred to me that my quest for meeting high goals, at the core, comes from an ember of low-self worth, which faintly glows inside me.

It is an uneasy feeling, which periodically fans the message:

“I am not quite good enough.”

I used to pray it would go away. For a while, I pretended it went away. When that didn’t work, I took meds to make myself think it went away. Finally, I worked hard to force it away. Despite all my efforts, nothing could completely extinguish it.

Insecurity, once it scorches the land of the heart, cannot be forgotten.

Despite new and more vibrant growth on the surface, the evidence lies forever in the soil record—never rekindled but always revealed if you dig a little.

The strange thing is, without this charred ground, I would not be motivated to reach new heights.

Insecurity is part of me, and I should make peace with that.

After all, without it, I would be a completely different person.

With it, only God knows what I might accomplish.

I may have flat abs someday.


Miles last week: 23

Plan of action: Increase mileage until I’m up to 30 miles a week. Continue physical therapy for the knees. Be faithful to my hand weights and old-school upper-body festivities. Keep philosophizing about my abs.

Weather: We had a week of rain, which turned the lovely snow into mud, whereby I was forced into the dungeon, I mean, basement, to use the treadmill. Then we had a break of sunshine (temps in the upper 40s to low 50s), which makes me feel like I might just go a couple more days without fleeing the country in a gray-sky induced panic attack.

Wildlife: the deer are plentiful, and so are the hunters. To be honest, it’s only one hunter, the Village Hunter, also known as the Jaegermeister (some of you are familiar with that word), who has built a new deer blind. I try to scare the deer away from his lair (I waved at him up there during a run–he waved back), and I am always sure to wear colors not found in the natural world.


One response »

  1. I understand your yearning for flat abs, I share it with you. I think, genetically, I was meant to have that rounded, feminine belly. Those bellys are beautiful in old paintings but not in modern clothing. I admire your efforts, Keri.

    We all have our flaws and have made mistakes, we are simply human. I have forgiven myself for most of my mistakes, I chalk them up to stupidity or immaturity, the circumstances of that time. I do try to be a better person though and make daily improvements…most are very small..only noticed by myself. One thing that I understood long ago is that we can evolve daily if we permit it. Think back to age 15-16, your thoughts, your actions. If you have something you wrote back then, can you even recognize yourself in those words? Let the little girl inside you forgive herself and forget her pain. Let her sterilize the soil with your understanding and compassion for her and she will plant a garden of flowers for you on that sacred soil of the heart. Keri, you are beautiful and perfect just as you are..achy knees and a belly that was changed by carrying 4 extra-large wonderul, fabulous babies.

    I like for you to exercise and eat foods that are good for you ..for your health. Granny and I would like to read the rest of the story though… we are worried about the baby and the evil little brownies concern us! The robin egg blue stove tale needs to be expanded.

    Keri, Ghanim and I love you very much, fat or thin, flabby or ripped. You do have talent though, I know you use it when you are teaching and mothering. The marathon was exciting for us…we did brag a lot about you to our friends. You are talented and you are much more than good enough! My thoughts may not change anything but you only need to challenge yourself to see how you can grow…not to prove that you are worthy or good enough. YOU ARE MUCH MUCH MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH!

    Very proud to be your Tia and your friend.

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