The joy of not being a ‘Type’

I do blog randomly besides travel and food. Stuff that moves me and that’s rare considering my history of blogging.

Yesterday I was thinking about the concept of a ‘type’. Exactly that term. What does it mean?

Since childhood we are constantly forced into making choices, either this or that, we like it or hate it, it’s cold or hot, he is good, he is bad. And the same thing is done on us by others. Is he/she tall or not? Is she beautiful or ugly? Fair or dark? The list is pretty long.

But I came across this concept of a type very clearly during my Yoga ashram time  years ago.

I was in an Ayurvedic school in Coonoor( near Ooty, South India) studying nutrition and we would have morning yoga classes. In one of the sessions, someone complimented another student saying ‘Wow, you have the perfect ‘Yoga body type’.

That piqued my interest. Yoga body? Does one have a Yoga body? What does it mean? Did she mean slim,lithe by a Yoga body? Because as far as I know your physique had nothing to do with the Yoga taught in India for centuries. It was what inside you that mattered.

But once I became aware of the term ‘Type’ I could see it everywhere. From a Yoga physique to an athlete type, to a runner’s body type to a person who was working in a gym- everything was slotted to a ‘type’. If you didn’t fit into that type, you were NOT meant to be one.

And humankind takes it further.. What is your type of a man? What’s your type of woman? The more we ‘progressed’ we categorise almost everything into types. Are you cerebral? Intellectually? Sporty? Funny? Surely there must be a type for each one!

Naturally I would search within myself and I did in my  20s and early 30s. I didn’t fit into a dancer body type when I was performing Kuchipudi- an Indian classical dance form. I didn’t fit into the mould of a Yoga teacher body type when I was living in the US, I didn’t fit into the triathlete body type when I was training and participating in tough triathlons and marathons.

And let me be frank it made me question myself, What type am I? And that quest continued, that search for an acceptance within myself to seeking others to accept me into a type.

But it happens, that Click happens when one pushes it and I got it from an absolute stranger and thank god for his nastiness. Almost 6 years ago I was in Singapore, at a friends place at a party, in my prime form, from hours  and months of sweating it in the gym and feeling my best and in a conversation about pastime, hobbies and all, the guy said, ‘You don’t have a gym body’. That did it. That really did it.

It hurt instantly and I could deal with this in two ways. Brush off the guy for being a total jerk or completely take it to heart and wallow in it. I went beyond that. That day I felt it didn’t matter, really it didn’t matter if it was him, or my closest loved ones. I am this, I am really not any type. None. I didn’t fit into anything, in short a ‘misfit’ to the type.

Over the years I have learnt that the world doesn’t work that way. I have seen people who are amazing runners don’t see themselves as having a ‘Runners body’ inspite of putting in double the effort still seeking to be placed in that ‘type’. Especially in women because we have to work double at fitting in.

I have been in whatsapp groups where seeking acceptance from others on everything they do is paramount to ultimate happiness. Of moulding to that particular type that the majority were adhering to.

I had to write this especially after I participated in Hyderabad marathon this Sunday. 26,000 people participated. From 5k to 42k, each and everyone put in their best. Some came to start a new beginning, some to encourage their friends, some to have fun and do it together as a family, and lots of loners like me who just enjoyed running, the reasons are aplenty.

As I was preparing myself wee hours in the morning at 4 am to go to the race, I looked at myself in the mirror, running shorts and a tank top and looking nothing like a ‘runner body type’. I shrugged and said to myself, There you go, I will enjoy today, through the high ascents and the high flyovers, through the hot sun and the fucking moments I will have wanting to give up, I will just be me.

I stood with my friend Murali at 5.30 am who was running 21k with me. He had a damaged toe and was limping and yet was ready to finish it. I smiled big, isn’t he a runner? He was the perfect runner type to be able to do this come what may.

My friend Sai was recovering from Dengue fever and was very weak that early morning from dehydration and he still ran. That was the perfect runner type too. I saw thousands of them defying what the world typecast them as.

So my two cents of wisdom? Do what you really want to do and let no one get to you. Be a runner, be a swimmer, be a football player, be a rock climber, Trekker or anything.

As for me, the biggest joy I discovered is not being a ‘type’. To not have any ‘body’ except the one I own fully. ❤️


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