My partner is running his first marathon in the morning, and somehow I’m the one up late worried that I forgot to pack something—anything!—that I might need while standing around in the spectator area tomorrow. He’s fast asleep while I pace. This is how we typically operate; our temperaments must be hardwired by now. But I wouldn’t miss him crossing the finish line for anything, just as he wouldn’t miss my events, though he’d undoubtedly be less stressed getting ready.
The spectacle of big events isn’t the draw—it’s the chance to deepen our mutual love of movement, whether it’s a marathon, a dance show, a backpacking trip, or a high-five after our daily workout. Movement builds community for us, when our hard work meets peak celebration.
So I get ready, triple-checking that I packed both sunglasses and layers—San Francisco is temperamental—and find myself thinking of all the ways that movement sustains me. About how movement, both bodily and political, has changed during the pandemic. How old ways of moving, motivating, and gathering expand and contract.
Social became solitary as the pandemic halted our hangouts, with Zoom lording over us. So we turned our kitchen counters into ballet barres and slid furniture to clear way for YouTube yoga. But I like to think of our insistence on movement as a small rebellion against the forces trying but failing to stop us.
Moving is so good for me. I wonder if it is for you. And if you can at all. Here I run into a question of just who can move and who can’t, to whom movement is available and whom it’s denied. We each confront movement’s limitations. But we also get closer to its liberation. Recognizing that makes me all the more grateful for the movement I do have access to.
Movement takes lots of cathartic, freeing forms. We should consciously make more time for it. Count and celebrate your small movements. And if you can’t be moved to move, at least sit back and watch one of my favorite chef-lebrities, Lucas Sin, make egg rolls from scratch. That should get you. I defy you not to watch and feel inspired to make them yourself.
—Cathy Asmus is Mother Jones’ membership initiatives manager. Send stories about movement, if so moved, to email@example.com.