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What pushes me to run


November 2010


I’ve always loathed gym class all throughout my years in primary and secondary schools. I just hate to sweat.

What activity did I truly enjoy? Swimming.

You don’t sweat when you swim. And you can swim in any style you want – there is no particular right or wrong way to swim.
I love swimming upside down (sleeping/floating ahead), meaning I’ll never know whether I’ve reached the end of the pool.
I tend to bump my own head. Then my Chinese-speaking, Hokkien-howling mother would go, “Yuuiiin, you’re so dumb. Be careful, lah!”
Yun (Chinese character 芸) is the name I’ve been called since I first wobbled out of my mother’s womb. It means art in the East-Asian culture. My full name is 何沁芸, surname He (何), and it doesn’t literally meaning anything. The character itself is normally applied in questions when we ask who what where when why how, and up to this day, I still don’t get what my middle character means – Qin (沁).

So I guess I learned to love running from that swimmy sense.

Swimming and running are both an individual activity. In both I can just go space out and let my mind go free. However, if it becomes your job, like what a reporter would tell the media and say something like, runner He Qin Yun has just ran a whole damn ultramarathon! How far can she go?

This can become a real work to just get out of your bed, tie the damn shoelaces, and go for that run you used to enjoy.

The whole idea of being labelled as a runner consumes you. The word “runner” is reflected back to you through a distorted mirror, instead of you taking full control in defining who you really are.

Then again, there’s no one to blame. We’re living in an increasingly self-expressive, individualistic, and rebellious world, and there are a myriad of outspoken voices in the kind of society we’re in today. Back then there were only dinosaurs and sheeps and lambs and theoretical meteor showers, and now the newsworthiness of a runner’s sensation, making his or her personal record, is conventional wisdom.


From io9.


What’s left to blame is the negative way we perceive our selves, and we can only count on how strong we are in resisting the media’s shrewd perceptions of us to take over our souls.

The soul is the essence who we are, and we can never run away from it. It’s what separates us from other individuals, and it’s the only thing that makes each one of us unique.

Reaching the Ideal

It’s sad to say that strive for perfection is common among women.

Being the girl who dramatizes high-school dramas, logs on to IRC, chats on MSN Messenger, texts like a maniac, and talks on the phone for hours every night during my teenage years, I can safely say that I’m able to absorb tons of information at once from all these channels and get the best picture out of all these stories.

With so many things absorbed, I just have to have a blog to report to – a self-contained, self-centered and not-so-secret diary – with its egotism doubly highlighted. I came to a realization that this self-ishness as a form of expression becomes inescapable when it comes to blogging, because YOU are talking that’s why YOU end up talking about YOURself when the audience is the world.

“You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts,” and that’s Andrew Sullivan-speak. ” The only term that really describes this is friendship. And it is a relatively new thing to write for thousands and thousands of friends.”

And so you make friends to people you have never met. Or even enemies.

Blogging keeps my emotions running, so let me exhaust some fumes.

Reading have always been my long-running pleasures. Like, literally reading. It’s my form of escapism whenever I shy away from dramatic stories coming about, day in and day out, in my social circle, and also the problematic family background I come from.

I want to stress that reading, and literacy in general, is very important. At least, to me, it’s one way I think – by reading stuff from novels to magazines to nutritional labels to advertorial boards, combined with my running life.

Here’s the part where I think: How did I start running in the first place?

Back in December 2008 when I gobbled up meats and potatoes and ice creams and no green stuff on my plate, I now forgot why I decided to lose weight in the first place. The only reason I can remember is that my mother called me fat.

In fact, she has called me fat all throughout my life.

It’s a gift and a curse.

Like I hear the words fat fat fat in my head wherever I go.

In some ways, running became a reason for me to satisfy her. Part of that perfectionist element inside of me is to satisfy her. All throughout my life I only want to satisfy her, because she deserves me as a result of her success in dedicating her freakish amount of time, raising the only daughter she’s ever had.

In another way, that constant fat fat fat sounds in my head has became a behavior I learned towards food, after my journey as a constant runner, where my mother turned from fat fat fat into eat eat eat. I didn’t have an eating disorder, I just run a friggin’ ton of miles, so there you have it – the perfection point every girl dreams about – eating whatever you wish and still losing weight.

However, I came to love the activity the more I do it. Like, for months I toiled almost everyday on the treadmill, for 30 to 45 minutes or more, just to kill time with music. Since I love listening to music too as a kid besides reading. Which are, I guess, reasons why I love reading Murakami’s stories so much. His characters always love spacing out, reading stuff, listening to music, and doing mundane things.

And then as my skinny-ness pushed me up to the social circle, I would say my thought as to what kind of a circle it is except for drugs, marijuanas, and alcoholics on the high practically under legal age with no future in sight except having nice cars, weeds, and Skinny girls, I witnessed even more dramas, which then pushed me to run further miles as a way to escape from that. Like a self-defense, resistant thing, even though I was living in that circle.

Then at the beginning of this year, I decided to get away. Like, really get away. Because I’m tired of that hectic life, where I’m filled with no real friendship value I can share my sincere thoughts with, where I feel uncomfortable to things I really want to say, wherein what I really thought about buying luxury goods in a matter of slashing credit cards as a lifestyle maintenance is unsustainable, unreal, and very tiring, I made a decision to be in a state where I don’t justsurvive, no, not anymore; I decided to live more than mere survival.

There are more truths in things we see out there outside of an un-nurturing, un-supportive, and completely enclosed social circle. Understand that Indonesia is full of its flourishing corporate culture infiltrating our daily lives, no matter how old you are – it is a third-world country not only competing with the world’s most powerful economies, but also a place culturally formed, controlled, and manipulated by the high-profile society of the corporate world. At least, that’s what I see.

If you have money, anything’s possible surviving in our islands. Negotiation is flexible by the numbers, but people will never forget what you say you say you’ll do. Or is doing. Or has done.

Projecting an Image

It’s tight. Your image is the only thing people see. Once you were born, you are instantly labeled for what your family does, what your company’s background look like, what future developments are in your agenda, and so on and so forth.And my approach? Escape. By running.And I kept on running and running away from the reality, and this year has taught me just that: Running away from who you really are, where you come from, what you’re going to do, will never, ever help.

One day you’ve just got to sit down and deal with it, no matter how you do it.

And this blog shall be the means to rewind my definition of running back to when and where it came from:

Just for the fun of it.