So my Tuesdays and Thursdays now look like this:
In the morning I wake up. I feel sore and tired and just plain bad. My allergies are atrocious and I have to clear out all my sinuses. And my asthma is ridiculous and I’ve made an appointment with the doctor next week because I think I’m at the point that I need a blast of steroids. My husband tells me I’m a vampire because I want no human interaction whatsoever, from talking, to making sounds, to touching me, looking at me, or even breathing on me. I am the anthesis of a morning person. Seriously, steer clear of me with a wide berth until about an hour after I’ve woken up. Throw in my moon time, and you have a perfect storm.
My husband, on the other hand, wakes up with a grin on his face, ready to take on the world, energetic, happy. It is about the opposite energy of mine and super annoying. You know, like when you are sad or grumpy and someone is just shooting rays of sunshine and rainbows out their ass? Yeah, like that.
Anyways, it is in this state that I stumble into the gym and take on some of the hardest things I will take on during the day. My poor trainer. She tries to correct my form but first off I don’t trust her so don’t try to touch me, especially in the morning (see paragraph one), and secondly, if you just ask me or tell me to put my hips parallel to the floor that is enough. I will do it. I have a good sense of my body position because, you know, I’m a dancer. Anyways, I digress….
These work outs are so difficult for me. So hard that I can barely do some of the exercises. So hard that I start panic breathing. So hard that I start crying silently. I’m already hurting and sore and then put this with a trainer who has no idea what it is like to be overweight or out of shape, who has never lost a significant amount of weight, in a room full of people who are all specimens of human perfection, and me seeing the cellulite on my knee through my workout pants, it is hard on all levels, emotional and physical. It feels like shit. Really, it does.
By MSGT Jon Nicolussi, U.S. Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Yeah, I don’t look like that when I go to the gym….
Me, I feel angry when I’m working out. So very angry. Because I can barely do the hamstring bridges on the physioball and have to grunt to hover just pathetic inches above the ground. I’m angry because I’m so goddamned fat that I can’t do a proper Burpee because my goddamned belly gets in the way and even doing the modified ones I can barely complete the jump at the end. So angry because of reasons I can’t even put into words or explain to myself.
But I do it. I on some level have faith that eventually it will get easier. That it might actually feel good to be in my body. That I will maybe some day be proud of how I look and what I can do. Right now this seems like a pipe dream and all I see is the huge mammoth in the mirror and my giggly parts and all I feel is the pain, the effort, the disappointment, the anger. It’s overwhelming and sucks and I’m shaking as I’m writing this.
So anyways, I’m doing my process this morning as usual. Pushing hard. Crying. Struggling.
And just about when I’m done with my work out as I’m walking back to the area to complete my last exercise in the circuit, this older man with stark white hair steps in front of me and says, “Really good effort today. I mean it. Just keep it up.”
Well, I lost it. I’m still crying. He’s a total stranger. I have never seen him or had a conversation with him or anything. I feel so alone in this. And I consciously (or unconsciously) block out other people in the gym as much as I can because it is too hard to feel all the body shame and stay together enough to complete the tasks in front of me. So it was a total surprise. Like, I’m not there to show off (that is a laugh! I usually look like I’m flubbering around on the floor like an injured slug) or for attention (like those dudes who feel the need to grunt with every power lift, calling attention to the effort they are putting forth, making sure the world knows they are there and important). No I’m there for me.
So I’ve made no friends. I’ve made no effort to make friends. And this guy just swooped down and crashed into my world, shot a spear straight through my heart. He noticed me. He noticed my struggle, my effort, my perseverance. He pointed it out to me when I can’t see it for myself, when I focus on my shortcomings and how awful and angry I feel. I block out the strength I’m demonstrating. It just doesn’t feel like enough, somehow. It’s the ultimate in the need to be right, according to one of my friends. I can never be satisfied with what is.
No, no I can’t. I am so unsatisfied. I’m so unsatisfied with not being able to dance like I really want to dance. I’m unsatisfied with being kicked off roller coasters. I’m unsatisfied wearing frumpy clothes because I hate the way I look. You are damn right I’m unsatisfied.
But it is stealing whatever joy could be in the present moment. As Ivan told me long ago, I still have that Mental Problem. Beyond all the physical battles, this is the biggest battle I will fight – the one to set my mind healthy.
And now I’m leaning even more into it. I’ve hired Chelle, from Recipe For Fitness to hold my feet to the fire when it comes to nutrition. Because that’s the missing element from my transformation, and I’m pretty convinced I am not successful doing this stuff on my own and need help with it.
Because I have a BHAG (Big Hairy Ass Goal). I’ve decided I will do a solo at Emerald Ball next year in May 2014 an it will involve a lift. This gives me just a few days over one year to prepare and scares the bajeezes out of me. I’ve never been to Emerald Ball, which is a pretty big deal, and to dance a solo in front of that kind of audience, well, I’ve never done a solo at a competition before either! There will be goalposts and milestones along the way. I’m doing People’s Choice in like 4 weeks and don’t even feel remotely ready. And I will do Desert Classic or Galaxy or both and possibly Vegas in December. I will have weekly meetings with Chelle and my sessions with my trainer. I will continue to take lessons with Inna and Ivan and Rado. I will keep a food log and weekly progress reports. I will fit into normal size clothing and have Marieta design new dresses for me. I will hold my leg at 90 degrees or higher in ballet and complete a double pirouette. I will become the champion I can be, in dancing, and in life.
So that’s the dealio peeps. Taking my life on like no kidding. Scared, angry, sad, excited, determined, and strong. It is okay to move forward even if it doesn’t feel good in the moment. Feel the crap and do it anyway and all that.
Good luck! Although I can’t identify specifically with your challenges, I definitely know the feeling where every day feels like a struggle, especially when you’re surrounded by people you want to compare yourself to. Being at the gym where fit girls are dashing along on the treadmill with their pretty ponytails, while I struggle to keep up even 10 minutes of a slow jog… staring at the mirror in ballet class, wondering why everyone’s legs are so much longer and leaner than mine… it’s horrible. But the fact that you have some big goals means that you have something worth it to fight towards, and that’s great. Rooting for you!
Thanks, Vivian 😉
First of all, I am such a blog stalker! Whenever I get an email notification that you’ve written a new post I zoom right over to this corner of the web. Thanks for letting us follow your journey.
The story about the stranger at the gym made me tear up. So glad he said that. So glad you’ve got a nutritionist on your side. So glad you’ve got a fire in your belly and a dance goal on the horizon to keep you motivated.
I will be at Emerald Ball to see that lift happen!
That would be so cool if you could be there! I have been stalking your blog too, girl! No posts lately? Loved the pics of the cherry blossoms! Can’t wait to meet with Chelle. She is a nutritionist but also dropped 80 pounds herself and competed in a bikini on stage in a figure show. Glad to have her on my team!
Stef–I am one of your blog stalkers, too! When I get an e-mail, I click on it and go right to your blog posting and read it through. Your mental and moral strength give me a big boost! We all go through our private challenges, some minor, some major, in different ways. I mentally enter the gym from hell with you every day as I go through my own challenges. You always complete your tasks, hit your marks, and make that day happen. You don’t quit, and you don’t dumb it down. What I take from that is that our feelings can trick us and deter us from our life goals. It’s like having a drunk monkey in your head and you have to either laugh at him or kick him to the curb.You have great style, Stef!! I look forward to more blogs!
Just the fact that I have any “blog stalkers” at all makes me feel better already 🙂 Thanks for being one and for the support.
Stephanie I remain impressed with you and once again you have not let me down in this department. The fact that you show up at all is more than 90 % of the rest will do. The guy who stopped and spoke with you at the gym, obviously saw the determination you had and the tremendous effort you are putting towards your goals. You really are inspirational. Keep knocking it out day after day because the name of the game is perseverance, in all your endeavors. You will be rewarded in time, in the end. It will be well worth the effort. You will look back and be able to literally recall the blood, sweat and tears, you put into all you hoped to achieve. You, in the end will reap the reward of your efforts, trials and tribulations.
God provides and I think perhaps that while haired man showing up at the critical moment is simply fabulous. There are angels amongst us. Feel encouraged for you are fighting the good fight. You have a team rooting for you that you can’t even imagine. You are in the refiner’s fire and you will reap the reward of your efforts and be stronger for it.
Stef – re: paragraph one – I KNEW in my heart we were soul sisters! re: the other paragraphs – I keep saying this, but you are amazing. As a serious non-morning person I sympathize. I have often wished I had the drive to do something like that, but I don’t have it in me. So glad someone was there to see how hard you work and give you credit where it is obviously due.
I read somewhere that today was Pay It Forward day. I didn’t know there was such a day, but it is something I try to do now and then. I always thank at least one volunteer at comps personally, because I know the work that goes into that for my benefit And I will compliment random people (cashiers, people waiting in line with me) on something that catches my eye, because you just never know when that one little thing will help get a person through the rest of their day. And it is fun! I wonder if the white haired man will ever know exactly how much his little comment meant to you:-)
Emerald Ball, eh? Let me see if that fits into our comp schedule!
Thanks BgBallroom. You are so sweet. And it would be AWESOME to meet you in person at Emerald! I hope that happens!