I expected a bolt from the blue, a major revelation, some kind of spectacular come-to-Jesus, hallelujah kind of moment would proceed my starting to get up early, making me a protein shake, and heading on over to the gym to perform some kind of exercising/flailing maneuver, and yet, there has been no falling to my knees and clutching my head, no seizing of my heart, no visions or moments of self-discovery. Just me, getting up in the morning and thinking I am going to go on over to the gym and swim some laps, I think.
And that’s what I did. I put on my only swimsuit, which is not a sleek and Olympic-caliber swimsuit that makes me smooth and glossy and slippery like a fish but instead is a plaid halter number from Target with matching boy shorts, dug out my dusty accoutrements–the rubber hat, the goggles that I feel make me look inquisitive and somewhat developmentally disabled, the nose clip, the ear plugs–and I biked on over to the gym. The pool was, to my surprise, filled with tiny old ladies who were bouncing up and down looking bored and chatting with each other in front of a young instructor looking frustrated and on the verge of beating everyone to death with a kickboard.
I hesitated a moment over by the hooks on the wall, about to pull off
my T-shirt dress in front of a room full of people, to be exposed there
in all my weird, wrinkly glory, and then I realized I didn’t care very
much. I was at the gym, preparing to be strong and awesome, and if you
don’t like my thighs, you can go look at your own thighs. There are
many mirrors for you to do exactly that.
The class cleared out, and I swam, up and down the pool, veering around
small old ladies wondering where the ladder was and young swim team
hopefuls slapping the water with their outsized adolescent paws like
it had done them wrong, and I swam. I was getting very tired, and my
arms were aching, and I thought I must have been swimming for hours and
laps and laps and hours, and it turned out it was less than five
minutes. My endurance might be a little low. My arms might be a little
I stuck it out for a while longer, pushing myself until I felt like I
was going to sink right to the bottom of the pool, and then I staggered
out and into the locker room, and then came back out for my towel, and
then came back out again for my bag. And that was my return to
swimming. For a whole 15 minutes that felt like three hours.
Maybe, I thought, I really need some exercise. I went home, and was
useless for the entire rest of the day, because I am pathetic. Except I was pretty awesome, yeah?
I decided to cross-train, I looked up the yoga classes at the gym
(because the idea of Bikram is still weirdly terrifying and
intimidating) and I bravely crawled out of a warm bed filled with warm
boy to bike home and make myself a protein shake before I wound my way
over to the gym. I was the first one there, and wondered if I was in
the wrong place, but then a tiny blonde lady bounced through the doors,
turned on some soothing music and started doing things like lifting her
entire body up off the floor, balanced on a single pinky. She offered
modifications, and that was nice.
We balanced on our pinkies for a full hour, dropping from pose to pose
to pose, and it was remarkably aerobic. I only almost fell over twice,
and I think I have finally figured out Downward Facing Dog (which is
really harder than you’d think a pose where you just sort of…face
downward ought to be). I felt wiped out at the end. The teacher, who is
adorable and has very strong pinkies introduced herself at the end,
told me I did a great job and I wandered out, feeling vaguely out of
it and tired but really lovely and not at all flexible and strong. That
would come with time, I promised myself.
And then I went home, and have been useless all day. Though I have to
cop to a psychological effect–I worked so hard! I think. I am going to
let myself slack off for a little, as a reward! And then it madly gets
out of hand and it is 5:30 in the afternoon and the only thing I have
accomplished is a shower. I brushed my teeth! Unfortunately, I cannot
invoice for that.
That’s going to stop, right? I’m going to build up endurance and power
and strength and feel all energized after exercise pretty soon and get
over my rationalizations, right? Because as much as I love it and as
good as exercise feels, I really cannot spend the rest of my life lying on
the couch and putting off doing anything more strenuous than sipping
water and patting the cat after working out, no matter how like a magical Viking yoga and
swimming and tomorrow, Body Pump, make me.
I assume I have to just not wait for a bolt from the blue, and just do
what I have to do, as one does. Class is at 5:30 tomorrow morning. By
noon, I will have cured cancer.