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.
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.