Saturday, October 13, 2012

Growing Up

I have had two thoughts running through my head today: my name and pride. I decided to shock my regular readers by actually posting twice in one month (I've been very absent on here!). So here are my thoughts. They may be super boring to you, but here they are. Oh yes, and the third thought I'll write about is related to pride, but it's more on the beauty of running.

My whole memorable life, I have introduced myself as "My name is Michelle, but you can call me Mimi." It was even kind of a joke for a while (at least I thought it was funny), because it is just so long and ridiculous when everyone else just says "Hi! I'm Amy." or "Hi! I'm Maria." or "Hi! I'm Becca." But I begin pretty much all new relationships with two names.

It may be evidence of my general indecisive nature that I have never chosen just one name. I think that Michelle is a beautiful name, long and French and flowing. One of my best friends is named Michelle. On the other hand, there are a lot of Michelles. I was always Mimi at home to my family, and then at school when there were multiple Michelles, teachers would ask if anyone had a nickname. I, of course, did, so then I began being called Mimi at school, too. I went by Mimi at work as well, because it is more memorable and, again, Michelle is a popular name.

I asked my mom once why, since she planned on calling me Mimi, did she actually name me Michelle. I think she said something along the lines that she thought I might grow out of the name Mimi and want Michelle to fall back on. I was named after a Michelle who has gone by Mimi her whole life. I think it may have also influenced my mother to have the name Vickie Lee. (She goes by Vickie.) Her whole life she has been asked, "Is it really Victoria?" And she replies, "No, it's really Vickie." So perhaps she didn't want me to be named a nickname like she was. Whatever the reason, I have had two names since birth.

Most of my life when I have given people the two name choices, they always ask, "Which do you prefer?" To which I respond, "I prefer the one you remember first when you want my attention. I like them both." Again, my indecisiveness shines through. I'm sure most people would just choose one. For the majority of my life, usually people picked Mimi. I am actually listed as "Mimi Boling" in some of my yearbooks. And some people didn't know my real name was Michelle.

Recently, I have noticed that a lot (possibly the majority) of my Cincinnati friends call me Michelle.

I've been wondering why.

Am I more serious now? More boring? Just older? Not as much of a fun, spunky Mimi?

Do they see "Mimi" as childish?

Perhaps they have grandmothers or great-grandmothers in their lives called Mimi, so it seems weird to call me Mimi.

Maybe they think Mimi is an intimate family name for me, and since they aren't family, they feel awkward calling me that. Interestingly, I think my family is pretty even on calling me Mimi and Michelle. My husband definitely uses both.

Maybe I should make a poll on my blog: Do you think of me as Mimi or Michelle?

Whatever the reason, I am mostly a Michelle now.

On to my next thought, which is somewhat connected. I ran in high school. I didn't particularly enjoy running. But I did enjoy soccer, and it made sense to me to run track, so I could stay in shape. I was never amazing, but I was not slow either.

After I graduated from high school, the running pretty much stopped. There were a few months here or there where I would pick it up, because I had a friend interested in having a buddy to run with, and that's about it.

I didn't exercise at all with Jill. Her labor was quite difficult. I had heard that exercise can make pregnancy and labor easier. I exercised a fair amount during my pregnancy with Danny. I pretty much stopped (other than a few attempts lasting a few weeks each) exercising after his birth. There were always "good" reasons to not continue Now I'm pregnant again and exercising again. (I guess soccer was the motivation in my youth and now easier delivery is my motivation.)

A while ago, one of my friends approached me with the idea of running a 5K. I have never run an official 5K. I was intimidated by the prospect. With Danny's pregnancy I only ever ran 1 mile at a time. And, at the time she asked, with this pregnancy, I was still just trying to survive the first trimester, and I had not started exercising yet. My uncertainty was clear to my friend, who then said, "Michelle, you strike me as the type of person who could do anything you decided to do."

That stopped me in my tracks.

I thought that was quite a compliment, but I wasn't sure if I agreed with her.

Oh, I used to be that person. I was quite confident (cocky?) as a child and teenager. My parents did a very good job in persuading me that I was amazing and could do anything. I remember when I was starting college having difficulty choosing what to study. The problem, for me, was that I honestly thought I could succeed at anything I tried (unless it was something like bassoon performance in which I would have had to already achieved a certain level of skill). I was pretty sure that I could excel in almost any area I chose if I just dedicated myself to it. I recognized that some subjects would require more effort than others, but I really felt capable of almost anything.

Marriage and motherhood have changed that. Perhaps aging as well. Perhaps this is part of me growing into a Michelle rather than a Mimi.

I now feel much more limited and much less capable. I face mountains everyday that seem impossible at times: getting a crying baby to sleep, getting a toddler to clean up her mess, getting a baby to actually brush his teeth instead of just sucking the yummy toothpaste, forcing myself to make dinner, forcing myself to not do things that I know annoy my husband, finding the time to read my scriptures, etc. I fail all the time. Living a much less self-centered life has definitely instilled in me an awareness of how human I am.

(Please note that I am not depressed or discouraged about life. I just realize that I am not a superhero, and I have limits.)

As I mulled over what my friend said, a new idea began to form within me. Could I be that person again? Even though I can't seem to ever be the perfect wife and mother all the time, perhaps I do still have the ability to choose something and then complete it.

It took me a long time to decide that I could do just that, and so I started running again this week.

I had run a mile here or there early on in the pregnancy, and then the less fun part of the first trimester hit. And I decided that running alone on a treadmill was really boring. Once I started feeling more like a human, I started attending group exercise classes and having a lot of fun (usually).

The date of the 5K kept creeping up on me, and I continued to think about it.

Last Tuesday I arrived at the YMCA too late to feel comfortable walking into a group class that had already started, so I went over to the treadmill. I hadn't run more than a mile in years, but I decided to try for two miles.

I succeeded.

Wednesday, I registered and paid for the 5K.

Thursday, I ran two miles again.

Today, I went to the park and ran 3.25 miles (the near equivalent of a 5K).

It was pretty amazing.

The first mile was the hardest. During the second mile, I thought, "come on! You've done it twice this week—you can do it again." And the third mile was surprisingly the easiest. I was pretty wiped out by the end, but I wasn't dead. It made me wonder how much more I could do. I decided though that a pregnant woman didn't need to find out what her absolute limit was. I find it interesting that once I pushed past the hardest part, it became a lot easier.

And please don't think that I'm an amazing fast super pregnant woman. It took me 45 minutes to do five kilometers. The Olympic world record is just under twelve and a half minutes. I have no idea what the average person's time is, but obviously, I was not sprinting.

The best part is now I know I can. I am excited to do the real 5K next week, get the shirt, run with hundreds of people, run along the Ohio River, and run around the Great American Ball Park. But on the other hand, if it is raining or super cold or all of a sudden at 21 weeks it is impossible to do what I did at 20 weeks, I can at least know that I did a 5K today by myself at the park.

As I was running (jogging) around the park today, I paid attention to the other people running. There were men and women. Gray-haired and youthful. Overweight and athletic. People in jeans and people decked out in athletic gear. There seemed to be all types running, jogging, or walking around the park.

But we did all share one common characteristic, that same characteristic that my friend saw in me—we decided to do something that morning, and we did it. I thought about how unifying that determination and follow through was and decided it was pretty cool to share that with all those strangers.

me after running 3.2 miles

And just in case you really only read my blog to see cute pictures of my children, here they are at the pumpkin patch. Jill is a golden bear, and Daniel is a tiger. They were pretty sure they were Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.


  1. Mimi - you'll always be Mimi or Meems to me - I agree with your friend. I have always thought highly of you, and I never saw your ability to do anything as a type of conceit. I've just always admired how you seemed to be so ambitious, set your mind to anything, and be so disciplined and work so hard to accomplish it. Me? I'm lazy. I just go half-hearted at most things, and I just love you for your ability to give it all ya got. That's not prideful. Your parents taught you that you can achieve whatever you want based off of working at it. That's a good work ethic. I'm not even preggers and I don't exercise lol.

  2. I have always called you Michelle. I don't particularly know why, but Michelle and Mimi have been interchangeable in my book. :) I am super impressed that you are running! That is so awesome and you are so ambitious to do a 5k at 21 weeks! I ran for my last time today. My knees and ankles just can't take this pregnancy weight. I'll try to get back into it once the baby comes and once I am getting some sleep (so in like a year and a half. haha) I am excited to hear how your race goes! Good luck! And you CAN do anything you set your mind to. I have always admired the way to take things on head on. I agree with your friend, it's not conceit, it's healthy confidence!

  3. Mimi, will always be the name that comes to mind first for me. Congratulations on your 5K! Maybe you will turn into one of those super women who do marathons and triathlons. Might wait until you're not pregnant for that, just sayin. And for the record, I think you could do anything you set your mind to. You will always be that type of person for me. xo

  4. You'll always be Mimi to me! Maybe Mimichelle, but I'd feel weird calling you Michelle. I'm a creature of habit, I think.

    And I'm surprised you thought you COULDN'T do something you set your mind to. You're an incredibly decisive person and really reliable when it comes to doing something you've committed to. And you've filled me with inspiration. Just because the pollution's too bad to go running/walking with an infant, it doesn't mean I can't exercise inside. I will try not to be a slacker any more.

  5. I love this post.

    You've obviously always been Mimi to me. I have a few other friends and family members, though, that were given "adult" names as babies with kid nicknames, with the understanding that they'd grow out of them and eventually adopt their adult names. My sister-in-law is Melissa who always went/goes by Missy, except at work and occasionally by her husband. My friend Desiree was always Desi, but I've found her on Facebook years later and learned that no one calls her Desi anymore. It's interesting because a LOT of people called me Rebecca when I was little. All the missionaries in Brazil, lots of friends in Vegas before we left, etc. But somewhere in middle school/high school I became strictly Becca, and now I almost bristle at the name Rebecca, and I correct people immediately. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe Rebecca feels to formal or long or stuffy.

    Also, congrats on your 5K! I just ran a race a couple weeks ago and it was thrilling to be out among people, like you said, from so many walks of life, but all with the same purpose of getting out of the house and getting their bodies moving. It makes me want to do it regularly.

    Anyway, you're awesome. :)

  6. I think of you as Mimi but call you Michelle, since words get jumbled between my brain and my mouth, and I end up calling you Mindee if I try to call you Mimi.

    And I don't think you ever lost being able to do anything you set your mind to. It's the kids who don't always do what you want them to. But they got their strong spirit from their mom.

    And, quite frankly, I'm amazed that you are running. Go Mimi!

  7. I think most recently I call you meems. but i do fluctuate between mimi and michelle. Probably more mimi. I am similar to you in that i love being called by my nickname, but i also love my real name. I don't, however, just introduce myself as "Al" because i did that once and that person laughed and told me that was a boys name. It scarred me. So I am Alison. And then later depending on who they are i let me in on "Al".
    I am super impressed with your ability to run that far so quickly and while pregnant. But really its mostly in your mind i think. Something i struggle with. I just have to keep pushing. That is what i tell myself. You are fabulous! Keep it up. My first 5k was scary, but so so so much fun. you will love it!

    and i do believe in your ability to do and be anything you want to. :)

  8. I can't believe I never commented on this post! I love it. I'm so proud of you, and you are so brave and strong. :)

  9. It is important to note that generally your incisiveness never comes along when important things come along... I remember back when I lived in Cincinnati with you and you never had a problem deciding which fast food you wanted. Chicken Nuggets. You may have matured since then but at heart you are still my very commanding little sister (who I think of as Mimi in my head and call Mimzer or Zer for out loud) who never has a problem knowing what is right and what is important. And Rachel raises a good point, no matter how determined you are to do the dishes, if your kids are not co-operating you will almost never get anything done.


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