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The other day, a coworker and I discussed running.  He’s a runner, and runs every day on some trails near his house.  Runners have a great camaraderie – when they’re not competing against each other.  We started talking about something else:  petite women, a trait his wife and I both share.

“But you’re sturdy,” my friend asserted.

Uh.  Okay. I can do poker face, but perhaps not quick enough in this case.

“I mean,” he stammered, realizing his error, “you’re a runner, after all.”

We moved onto other topics. I chuckled to myself.  I’m always curious about people’s word choices.

Sturdy means:

  1. adjective – (of a person or their body) strongly and solidly built.
  2. noun – vertigo in sheep caused by a tapeworm larva encysted in the brain.

Since I’d never heard the 2nd definition until I read it online this morning while laughing, I assume he meant the first definition.

Sturdy is not flattering.  I’ve heard sturdy used to describe boats, good walking shoes and cardboard.  Sturdy makes me think of Noah’s ark, built not to capsize when the flood waters rose. Not a woman’s physical strength or build.

I thought about all the times I’ve let others tell me who I am, what I can and can’t do, on and on. I don’t want to do that anymore.  The comment stung, but I didn’t let it stay. I’m proud of this body that can run half marathons without giving out.  I’m blessed with good health and strength. I’ve never been frail, nor sickly, weak or scrawny.  By God’s grace, I won’t go under when the flood waters rise all around me. I may not be delicate or uber feminine, gifted with an ephemeral sort of grace.   But I can go the distance.