Badass.

The Knight and I became full-time fat kids* over the winter.We sat, and we ate (and ate, and ate, and ate, in my case), and we let our stresses and problems hold us back instead of demanding they push us forward. To action. This is not okay. Because FTFK status brings with it a number of other problems, including low energy, ill-fitting clothing (do they make chinos with thigh vents?) and all-around self loathing. If you're me, anyway.

When we met, the Knight and I were badasses. Shortened to BA, if you're Dane Cook. Which I'm not. And far be it from me to steal a joke from Dane Cook. No more abbreviations. Our respective badassery was undeniably magnetic, and it wasn't just that we looked better than we do now. (Though that helped.) We were lean. Hungry. Stabbing ahead almost blindly, wheeling headlong into the future because we wanted to so badly to prove to ourselves that the past wouldn't always define us. In our adrenaline rush, we barreled straight into each other, dusted ourselves off and kept running. We were badasses in love.

For a while. Fat kids in love sounds kind of cute — I'm thinking Cabbage Patch dolls or little plastic Strawberry Shortcake figurines dancing around together — but it doesn't have the same lithe, Bond-esque allure.

So as Chicago wakes up, as tulips and daffodils shoot up from the warming earth and trees explode with new leaves, flowers and color, we're stepping back out. We've gone running together. We ride our bikes to the lake, to brunch, to Target. He sometimes walks the four miles from one of the colleges where he teaches back to our apartment. Last week, I rode my bike 21 miles from my office back to the apartment. (And ate my weight in fried rice afterward, but I'm not beating myself up about that, either.) He's joining a gym as soon as finances permit. I'm signed up to run a 5K this weekend. I did four of them last year, but I'm not the runner now that I was then. But I'm going to do it; if I have to walk a bit of it, I will. And I won't hate myself for it. (Mark my words.)

We're stabbing ahead again, too, though less blindly this time. I hope. Together. The Knight defended his dissertation yesterday. He's been working toward that day since long before we met. Twelve years. It's a project he tabled for quite a while when his life took an unexpected turn, and the bravery required to dive back in and finish what he started? It's the kind of courage I hope I never have to attempt to dredge up in myself; I wonder if I even possess it. But he defended this massive piece of research and writing — to great acclaim — and he celebrated afterward over veal ravioli with his longtime adviser.

My first reading is next Wednesday. I haven't started writing yet. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that fat kids don't write. My emotions have been monumentally slow to catch on to this "we're not going to be mopey fat kids anymore" thing — and I refuse to let myself write more entries like the one from last week that I recently deleted. (Miss that? Yeah, sorry. You're not going to read it now.) I have ideas; I have little paragraphs scrawled on torn-out pages of steno pad. I might even have an arc. This week, it will take shape. Running errands last night, we stumbled upon a reading at our neighborhood bookstore. A waif of a woman in all black was purring into the microphone about penning songs to Matt Dillon, in hopes that he'd Google himself and see them and want to be with her. The room erupted into laughter. I want my reading to be like that. I want people to think, "She's great. Where can I get more of her?" And I want to be able to give them more. More of badass me.

As I wrap this up, Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway" has just shuffled along into my earbuds. And I'm OK with that. Tom Cochrane is for badasses. You can quote me on that.

* I hope no one is offended by the fat kid thing. I don't want to offend anyone. It's a phrase I've been using for so long that I can't think of any other way to say it without using three times as many words. And I don't have that kind of energy. This post has been a feat in itself. So fat kid it is. But I promise I don't have a thing against fat people. Seriously.