two, three, four

Conveniently, I cannot exercise for a few days with a fresh tattoo. Except, it is not convenient at all. I am disappointed that I couldn’t go for a run today, and that tomorrow I won’t be able to go to a Pilates class I scoped out. I was getting back into the idea of exercising, of being an active person, of having the scale actually start moving again, the way it hasn’t been. After ten months of reliable loss, it is–probably unsurprisingly, though it feels like a surprise to me anyway–a little staggering to realize I have to work at it now.

It has always been work, sure. But I’ve felt over and over that even when I fuck up, I have my fancy new biology on my side and in that way, I was winning. It was so nice to have a safety net. Okay, I ate some pasta and now I am somewhat socially unacceptable, but look at the those numbers fly! It is a shame that in order to make the numbers launch back into the air and plummet downward (to extend the metaphor to its breaking point), I have to go exercise in a group. I do not approve of group activities.

The ultimate expression of group activities and all the evil therein is
gym class, I believe. And gym class was a nightmare for me. I am
exactly the opposite of graceful as a swan. Would that be graceless as
a dead swan? Probably less graceful than that, even. Add to that the
weight and dimensions of my body, and there you have a recipe for
cruelty via the inventive heads of fellow middle-schoolers, up all
the way through high school. Though elegance of movement would not
have so much saved me from the slick and clever malice of the little
shits I grew up with, I am pretty sure.

Gym class got bad enough that I started to skip it. Sixth period would
roll around, and I would roll right out the door and down to the lake, or
into the last bathroom stall on the top floor of the building to crouch
quietly and read my book silently, holding my breath and whispering the
pages whenever someone would come in, because I couldn’t stop reading
for a whole ten minutes.

It was a very happy way to live, even on a toilet, because it meant I
didn’t have to change into my gym shorts and be on the brink of crying
for 50 minutes every day. But then, they finally caught on to my
unexcused absences; there was a flurry of meetings, parent-attended and otherwise, and I was stuck in remedial gym. Remedial gym! God, I loved
remedial gym. I played ping pong with kids who had casts or cerebral
palsy, and I earned my credits, and I never looked back.

Then I grew up and found out about gyms, where you actually go
voluntarily and take classes–voluntarily!–with groups of other people
who are all trying to get fit. Voluntarily! It seemed like madness, to
me. But for some goddamn reason, I thought I had to do it if I ever
wanted to be healthy and fit and smaller. So I kept going back. I took Jazzercise and fell down (I’m sorry, Sally!). I took boxercise, and
fell down. It is not just the -cises that killed me; I took salsa
dancing, step, spinning, regular aerobics and flavored aerobics, and in
each one of them, I fell down. Or stopped and laid down, in the case of

And yet, that did not stop me. Why did that never stop me? Why am I so
not the brightest? It was humiliating, each time, walking in and
realizing I was the largest and least fit of the bunch; it was
humiliating, each time, being out of step and tripping over my feet and
falling down. It was humiliating probably only to me, I know–I know
that everyone else was very busy being pumped and counting the beat,
two three four, and they did not care about the fat sweaty lady who was
having a heart attack in the back row. And it still felt awful, every
time I slunk out of the room–I would usually slink out about half way
through, if I made it that long. On one memorable occasion, I made it
only seven minutes in. Seven minutes of warm-up, that was. Fuck you, cardio

And now I am proposing to sidle into a room of long, lean,
ballerina-looking motherfuckers and throw myself on the floor and
do–stretching things. Is that what Pilates is? It looks kind of
stretchy. And a lot of ouchy. About all I know is that most of it takes
place in a prone position (though probably I am wrong about that) and
in a prone position, maybe I won’t fall down. But I wouldn’t put it
past me.

In this way, I will earn the numbers on the scale, going down. I will
earn my muscle tone and my health and my fitness and I will have earned
the fact that I am not a ballerina-looking motherfucker. But I have a
tiny reprieve before I have to.

8 Replies to “two, three, four”

  1. I have gone down like a tumbling pile of logs in step aerobics, oh yes. Better yet, I once had an instructor that would incorporate other weight-lifting and resistance moves, and she had us take the platform thingie–the step part–off its little risers, hold it across our outstretched forearms, and do bicep curls with it. And I? Curled too vigorously, and hit myself in the face. With the step.

    I think sensible grown people are much kinder, in general, in the fitness class environment…certainly superior to those junior-high shitbastards. And roll-around-on-the-floor-type classes are particularly generous and friendly, I find! Granted, I fell over once in a yoga class, too, which might not have been so bad but for the peaceful peaceful silence, shattered by the tremendous thud I made hitting the floor. One beeyotch in the room pointed at my prone form and said “See, that’s what I’m afraid of!” but she was definitely outside the norm.

    I wish you luck!

  2. You should be fine doing Pilates with a fresh tattoo. It’s not the kind of thing where you’ll be sweating a lot, although it’s definitely a challenge!

  3. You should be fine doing Pilates with a fresh tattoo. It’s not the kind of thing where you’ll be sweating a lot, although it’s definitely a challenge!

  4. Kick ass!

    i’m starting this yogo pilates dvd that i’ve had for over 4 years…and 50 lbs ago…oh well. gonna start it up bc it looks cool. and i want to be able to say cool things like “yeah, i do Pilates And Yoga”

  5. Sigh. Ok, Anne, ya got me. You just don’t want me to EVER, EVER write “Jazzercise” on this blog again, right? Admit it!

    Actually, I do believe you. In fact, I know you’re not lying to us about any of this. My very overweight stepdaughter almost flunked high school (this past June) by skipping 19 gym classes in the alternative artsy-ass high school I busted my jazzer-butt to get her into, finally, Senior Year!
    Oh I was mad, I can tell you…but I did sorta get it. I get it better now after reading this post.
    (She did graduate…Her Dad had a psychiatrist write a letter saying I don’t know what…)Anyway. I’m so glad you’re going to do Pilates though I myself hate that part of Jazzercise (who doesn’t sweat doing Pilates? I certainly do–it’s hard!!!)

    And I have also fallen down during Jazzercise, and knocked someone else down! LOL! But I won’t bring up the “J” word again…I’m sure everyone is very relieved ;-)

    PS: In sports–the gear is EVERYTHING!! Splurge for the gear in the swimming and pilates. Those swimmers are right about that. It makes you love your sport…
    PPS: I love your sparrow!

  6. I hate group exercise as a rule, but LOVE Pilates. It makes me very bendy AND helps me slim down a lot up top especially. Even with only one class a week I lost 2″ off my band size last spring.

    My class starts up again tomorrow and I can’t wait. LOVE IT. Pack up your sparrow and go. It’ll be great.

  7. You’ll like pilates, I think. I’m not the most graceful gazelle either and I’m able to do it fine. It’s a lot like yoga in that it is always meant to be done at your own pace, if you can only do the move half as fast or half as high as the instructor, that is just fine.

    You will probably find you fit in quite well also since it originally started out as a form of physical therapy so you’ll have a bunch of folks in there trying to get back into the game, so to speak.

  8. I hate group gym classes. I swim and cycle and do the eliptical machine because I just *hate* the idea of being in front of all those people and having them watch me in that mirror and smelling everyone else’s sweat and watch me sweat! I am gross!

    No thanks. I love swimming. I hear you on the hard work part, but once you get into the rhythm of it, you’ll be great. You HAVE to have goggles, and the way I got into it was with a intermediate swim class, they show you strokes and how to breathe without choking. Takes some time, and lots of practice, but its way better than group workouts, imho.

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