Speaking in song

“Have I told you lately that I love you?” I ask as I approach a friend first thing in the morning, at the gym. “And that I am incredibly grateful to have you in my life?”

He smiles a huge, clearly grateful smile, chuckles slightly, and replies, “Same,” slightly embarrassed yet glad.

Somehow, that song lyric was in my head as I walked up to him, and I realized that it was a valid thought to be having, too – I hadn’t told him lately that I love him. He is a very dear friend of mine, and I am incredibly grateful to have him in my life. I tell others this somewhat often, and I usually tell him, too. But I hadn’t lately. And our interaction yesterday merely supported how awesome he is and how wonderful it is and has been to have him in my life, especially this past year. True friends are a gift from God, I swear.

Thank you, God, for love and life and true friends. Thanks be to God, Hallelujah, and Amen!

Post-a-day 2022

Muscle aches

After reaching my goal of workouts in a year l, from April 8 to April 7, though excited about reaching the goal, I was delighted no longer to have such a strict regimen in terms of gym attendance. I no longer have to go so many times per week, as I was doing, but I have the choice about going once again. And the chiropractor agreed with me that it would be best for my body for me to step back a bit from the workouts. I was pushing myself too hard with them and with their frequency.

So, now, I have been going the past week and a half half as often as I had been doing – three days per week instead of six – and it has felt great. My overall stress has gone down in terms of scheduling and sleep, and my body has started to receive the rest and relaxation it needs for real recovery – these workouts are not easy. The workout today had a repeat movement fro the past few weeks, and I was able to do it significantly more easily than I had even one week ago, the difference was immense. My muscles still ache, but I am now able to work on the lack of range of motion in my arms, rather than simple being able to move from the buildup of lactic acid and such from the workouts.

Thank you, God, for this much-needed rest and restoration of my body; and thank you for the fitness that this gym offers and provides for me and others. Please, bless us with continued and improved health and well-being, that we might better fulfill your will. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Feedback

Today, I was scared to give feedback. But 1) I knew it was important feedback, and 2) I have been working on being courageous and speaking up about things that are important to me in my life. And so, I declared that it would be better done than not, and I went and asked first if I might give a bit of feedback, and then, upon receiving the all-clear, I communicated kindly and clearly what the feedback was and why I felt it was so important (i.e. multiple others had mentioned it as their experience, too). I was sharing feedback about a new coach at our gym, but to the owner. He was grateful for the feedback, and he understood immediately what the issue was and why it mattered in our classes so much (without my having to say anything further about it). He thanked me for the feedback, and he even told me that it helps when it is coming not simply from him but from us, just through him.

It was a really cool experience for me. Sure, I was still a bit odd and nervous, but it went well and accomplished its outset goal. Plus, I got to be courageous. And that was certainly swell.

Thank you, God and Universe. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

(Missed again…)

My Body

My body is extremely sore,
Worn out,
Ground,
Grounded.
But it is also satisfied,
Sated,
Lifted,
And elated,
For it comes from a week
Of releasing what is weak,
Embracing my state
and pursuing my strength,
Letting go of what’s in the way
Of being my best
And fittest
Self.
This week was great
In a really hard way.
Indeed,
I will pass out hard
After a week so hard,
And I will relish
The restoration
Tonight’s and tomorrow’s rest
Will bring.
And I will breathe
Easily,
Freely,
And with increased oxygen.
And,
Next week,
I’ll do it again.

Post-a-day 2022
(Still got it wrong…)

Some skin at the gym

Two or three fingertips press gently on my skin, just above my left hip, halfway between my hip an dry navel. Two or three others do the same on the outer edge of my right side waist. I am in a workout bra and leggings, and the skin-to-skin contact is like a jolt of electricity to my body. But not in a sexual way. It is in an empowering way, as though that contact literally has given my body more power.

We are at the gym, in the middle of the strength part of the workout, transitioning to the second half of the strength work. The hands of the fingers belong to a slightly older man who loves me, just as I am. I love him, too. He was gently preventing us from colliding as we passed one another, and several other people were suddenly right around us, doing the same thing, nearly running into one another. Everyone, of course, just barely misses collision, likely thanks to several hands gently guiding their owners and others away from one another. And, like I said, it wasn’t sexual, those fingertips on my skin. But it was certainly sensual, lighting me up with capability and power. I could feel the spots where they touched for hours afterward, continuously reaping further rewards from that small yet impactful energetic exchange. Thank you for the love, my body kept saying, almost like a mantra, both to me and to him. Thank you for that.

And, golly, it was wonderful. I am grateful. Thank you, God, and thank you , Universe. Please, continue to bless me with Your love, and continue to guide me to be Your love in the world. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

(Barely got it!)

“Fit”ting it all in

I had wanted, at the start of this week, tog et in three more workouts before the end of the year. You see, I keep track of when I do them and how many total I have done throughout the year. I started that two and a half years ago when I started at the gym, because I felt it was important data. Sure, you’ve been going to the gym for four years…, but how many times did you actually go to the gym? I wanted to help keep myself accountable as well as see how results lined up with my class attendance.

I keep both count of how many workouts I’ve done per calendar year and per year of gym membership (I started the second week of April in 2019). My first year, I managed 190 workouts, I believe. (It’s all listed on my computer.) Of course, that ‘year’ ended with the gym closing and whatnot with the COVID shut-downs. Then I had major struggles for a while with no gym to attend, and the workouts died away. But, last December, I got myself back at it, after the gym had closed permanently and then re-opened (with higher prices :/…). So, this calendar year, as of Monday of this week, I had done 55 from 1 January to 7 April, and I had done 132 after that. So, I was at 187 for the calendar year so far. I figured, It would be nice to reach a round 90, meaning 190. Still not 200, but I can still make that 200 happen for the gym membership year, which is what matters most to me. For the calendar year, I wasn’t going to be able to make it happen, what with being out of town for moving my grandma last week, and then suddenly having to move myself this week. But I could challenge myself and get that 190 with the remaining days, especially since I intended to be done moving by Wednesday at the latest. (I was clear that I needed all my sleep and energy for moving on Monday and Tuesday, and so was clear that I was not going to the gym early on in the week this week.

But, today, Thursday, I got up (later than usual) just after six and did a running and core workout in the crazy fog and dark that was my mom’s neighborhood this morning. Then, I met my brother on a walk to see his dog again before he left town – yes, all I wanted was to be able to play with and hang out with the dog, but all I was allowed was walking with him twice… so it goes – and walked roughly two miles with them. Then, as a means of heading home after the walk that ended at his dad’s house, elsewhere in the neighborhood, I did the same running and core workout again. Nuts, I know. So, I racked up roughly 9-10 miles today from running and walking. And I could barely hold myself up for the second round of the core work. And I’ve got a blister between two of my middle toes on my left foot, which is annoying but healing somewhat quickly. (Of course, I poked it with my knife, because it was too much with all the fluid in it earlier… Anyway…)

But I’m glad and relieved I managed the two workouts today. And my other brother, who has been very not-active in life lately but who has just moved back from Japan, has agreed to go to the gym with me tomorrow morning. It’s a good 35+-minute drive into town for that, but it is worth it for my brother to go do it with me. I think he could really use the physical workout and the mental and emotional release it has to offer with it. If he ends up liking it, and he finds a place close to the gym, I likely will get him a punch card for him to be able to go several times without the high price tag.

Anyway, I’m excited for him to go with me in the morning. And I’m excited to round out the goal of 190 for the year and 135 for this leg of year gym year. And I’m nervous but glad to be going at all. The past two weeks have been bizarre for me, and I miss my gym and its people and energy and release and health. I don’t know how the next six weeks of my life will look, but I am glad to have tomorrow morning sorted somewhat, and positively so.

Thank you, God and Universe, for the help and support and courage for all of this lately. Please, help me to be Your love in all that I do and in all that I am, as Your creative expression in this world. In your name I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2021

Uhm, what?

Around 1:30pm today, I was worried. I hadn’t gone to the gym. I guess I had forgotten…, but how did that happen, I wondered? I thought back to when I went to bed last night, and how I got up this morning… and just a sec.. I did go to the gym this morning… What??

Yes, I had gone to the gym this morning. But so much had happened since then, I had felt like it was a totally different day already – the gym felt so, so long ago already. Bizarre, of course, but phew! I was worried there for a minute or two.

I was still restful today, but differently. I did accomplish a bit of the laundry this evening, which was a good start. Now I just need to progress tomorrow or Wednesday – going to help pack up at my grandma’s house out of town tomorrow. I managed important tutoring stuff this morning, providing help on literary analysis essays. I went to a stage production of Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” with my mom at noon. It was great acting, to be sure, and we both enjoyed the little production and seeing a new stage. Though, I was exhausted and my eyes were closing a bunch throughout the show. Yes, I absolutely followed the whole thing, but my eyes definitely did not see the whole thing.

I can home and took a nap after the show, as I was so tired, and then went for my laser hair removal session. I had purchased what is called a Brazilian extension/extended area package. Aka -****Warning for real-body language coming up here**** – the labia, the anus, and the inner edges of the buttocks. However, I didn’t know about the labia part when I first got the package. By the time I tested how things felt and worked up the courage for myself, I had them start doing the labia, too. I’ve finished with all the rest of the lasering of hair, but now am making up for the lost time/sessions on the labia. It was really hard for me to say the words or loud for this, and I still am working on it, but I have improved much in my confidence, willingness, and comfort with the conversation and words, and I am grateful. The fact that I am writing this with real words at all speaks volumes to my improvement.

Anyway, I’m planning on a Secret Santa gift for a coworker. She likes Pocky and Anime, among other things. We have a $10 limit. So, I got her a Costco package of Pocky for $9, and am writing out three sheets of calligraphy for her in Japanese. One will be the name of our company in Japanese, one will be her name correctly written in Japanese, both of those using the foreign words alphabet, and one will be kanji of her name in Japanese (the Chinese characters that have the same pronunciation as her name in Japanese, and give a new meaning to her name with each character’s individual meaning). My mom and I both think she’ll enjoy it all, especially since she’s a huge anime fan. Usually, that spans a broad spectrum of just about anything tied to Japan and Japanese language. I hope she really enjoys them all. I know I would love such a gift! … Speaking of which, I wish I had people who thought out and planned it things like this for me more in my life. I love planning and plotting and, finally, giving gifts to people. But I sometimes end up just a little bit sad afterward, because almost no one ever does anything similar for me. Just my mom, really.

Anyway, in that somewhat sad note, I shall sign off for the night. I think I need to allow myself to experience this sadness, in order to allow it to be heard, at last, and to set it free. So, I shall sleep from here and feel the sad if no special presents for right now.

P.S. My mom and I celebrated Hl. Nikolaus day today together. We both brought each other things that had been ‘left’ with shoes in our own houses for each other. It was absolutely silly, but quite wonderful. I always loved December sixth as a child, and I’m glad I get to love it again. Last year, he brought me all the fixings for and a sewing machine itself. This year, he brought me spices, sweets, heart-shaped agates and stones, and some of the greatest leggings ever. I am quite grateful!

Post-a-day 2021

Perfection

Yup. Everything is perfect exactly when and how it is. We get exactly what we need when we need it, and we end up exactly where we need to be exactly when we need to be there.

This morning, I got myself to open gym before having to go in to work. I was mostly on my own at the gym, with only the owner and a private training session guy there when I arrived (and the owner’s dog, of course). The music was great and jamming and chill, and the workout was up on the screen, so I happily got to work. I knew I couldn’t do the whole workout, but I was fine with that. I did the fastest 5k of my life yesterday morning, so I was okay regarding cardio. And I had to go straight to work, so I didn’t want to get super sweaty, anyway. Just doing the weightlifting part of the workout would be fine. If I could also do the abs closer, that would be great, too. (It didn’t happen, by the way, the abs part, due to timing.) The sun was shining, it was 8:30-ish (which is way later than my usual exercise), the dog was napping in the sunlight, and we all were enjoying the fresh, crisp air of the morning. People had been walking past the open gym door since I’d arrived, so I’d only partly paid attention to them after the first few times. However, one of the passers-by seems to be coming inside. As I turn and look directly at him, my brain takes a few moments to process what I actually am seeing, whom I am seeing.

He had said he was out of town until Sunday, but that he would be at the gym Monday morning. However, he had been saying that he would be at the gym many times in the past several weeks, though he’d made it only to four or five workouts in the past two months… I was beginning to give up on him. But I had checked in on Tuesday just to see what his deal was. He had told me he was in Austin until Sunday. And yet here he was, on Friday morning, walking in to open gym.

I tell you, when my brain fully grasped whom I was seeing, my stomach – and deeper – somersaulted and shivered. My face had a massive smile, and I know my whole being lit up. For both his benefit and my own, I was glad that he was here in the gym. We hadn’t seen each other in what felt like far too long. I had been missing him. We hugged intensely, and I didn’t want to let him go. It felt to be a mutual desire.

Later, as I was passing by him to get to the rings, as I always do with my touch-y self, I gently placed my hand on his shoulder when I passed. He was sitting on a lifting bench, facing me, and ever so slightly raised his hand in response, just grazing the back of my thigh. It wasn’t sexual, no. It was just intimate, in a loving way. For whatever reason, almost since I first met him, I’ve just wanted to hold him and be held by him. Today, in its odd little way, the Universe gave me a taste of that. My morning and day were already set as wonderful today. But that little bit of his showing up and our hugs and gentle loving touches, that set a golden edge to all of it, giving me a certain satisfaction that I rarely have these days. It was perfect, really.

And then, at work, just the perfect person showed up, someone massively important to me from my childhood. We had an unexpected few-minute emotional and powerful conversation, complete with tears and hugs, and tentatively planned to spend real time together in the near-ish future.

Also, the taco someone ordered for me was spectacular and within my dietary desires.

And work felt easy today, on so many levels.

And, leaving work, I walked with a new girl who seemed neat. Turns out, she’s half French, and we spent most of our walk in French together.

And all of that only went to 3:30pm today… It was just an amazing kind of day today, just what I needed in so many ways, and I am grateful. Thank you, God and the Universe, for such love as I felt and experienced today. Thank you.

Peace

Post-a-day 2021

Turkey Day, run away

Today, we ran the Turkey Trot, my mom, folks from my gym, and I. A handful of them ran the 10k, and another handful and my mom and I ran the 5k. I surprised myself.

Of course, it was pouring rain off and on for the start of both runs, but cleared up fully just as the 5k started (at least, until an hour and a half later, when it wasn’t too relevant anymore). I had my running rain jacket on until the start of our run, at which point, as the skies looked clear and the rain had stopped, I tied it around my waist. An annoying appendage for a whole 5k, but it was worth it for keeping my body and hair and clothes mostly dry before the run.

My shoes ended up soaked, but not until about a third of the way into the run.

I pushed myself, and very much so. I have not trained with running, of course, so I had no idea how fast I could go. My ankle bone was out of place only five weeks ago, and has felt still a bit wonky this past month, so I haven’t really been running even in the workouts at the gym lately, and those are just 200-800m runs. And yet, here I was, prepared to walk, if at any point my foot/ankle needed it, running a 5k and giving it my best.

At just about halfway, one of the girls from my gym popped up next to me, calling me a smokes something or other. I, too, had expected her to be far ahead of me, and I had been keeping an eye out ahead for her, just in case I might be able to catch up to her. But she had been behind me for the first mile and a half. From then onward, though, we ran together. Apparently, my presence alone pushed her. Her pace thereby challenged me. And I, even aloud, gave a, “F***ing S—-,” in regards to our gym owner and programmer. He makes some amazing get amazingly challenging programming, and he is always challenging us to push ourselves. Always safely, but truly. And this morning, he was stuck in my head. I felt like a little kid who wanted to make his teacher proud, planning to tell him just how much I had stayed on top of myself to keep it up, lift up my legs more, take longer strides, breathe deeply, and crush it.

And, in multiple ways, I did. He always says that, it we’re throwing up, we’re doing it wrong. So, I limited myself there this morning – I was getting very close to my body’s demanding a vomit, and so shared that with the girl, just to let her know that I might not be able to stay with her. I only got a few meters behind her on the final quarter-mile stretch, finishing only a couple seconds after she finished (which, oddly, was finishing my race a few seconds faster than she had hers, as I began behind her at the start). Regarding results, I looked it up. Had I done the timed race, I would have been ninth in my gender-age category. And that is really cool. What’s most important to me about it all is that, by pushing myself and keeping on top of it and letting go over and over and over again if my mental strains, I ended up getting, without any running practice in the recent past, my fastest 5k time ever. And my EVEN 8:20 splits (8:21, 8:29, and 8:23 to be exact) we’re not only the fastest I’ve gone on a 5k, but the second fastest mile time I’ve had period.

Basically, it was really cool.

After the run, I grabbed some cookies and bananas, and rushed to the kids’ 1k run to see my nephew and nieces finish their run (if they were even there, which they turned out to be, since the rain had cleared up). I didn’t see them run, but I did see them all just after they crossed the finish line, and the point was for them to feel supported, which they did. So, when, upon surprising them with my presence, I congratulated them and offered them cookies and then a banana, too, I think their days were made.

Anyway, the whole affair certainly made my day. And running into two of my old students made it extra-special. My legs are sore, especially my lower thighs. They can really feel my lack of running, I suppose, though they were clearly able to take it, thanks to all the programming at our gym. Hopefully, they’ll feel okay tomorrow!

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, folks. I grateful for all, and I send out my love to you, whoever you are, whenever and wherever you are. May God continue to bless us all. Amen.

P.S. On the dating app, sometimes guys say that their personal hell is families who do 5ks on holidays. I suppose one for me would be families who don’t. I am grateful for my blood family and my gym family. We were a dream team this morning, k-ing on a holiday, even in the pouring rain. Thank you, God, for these families of mine.

Post-a-day 2021

Gym

Remember how I mentioned that Katy Perry song last night, “Teenage Dream”? Well, guess what song played at the gym this morning! It was so fun to have that happen, especially considering how that song does not usually play at the gym – nothing of its genre, even. So, that was a delightful start to the day for me.

However, speaking of the gym, I totally cried during the workout today. We were doing these deltoid press-downs with stretchy bands looped over the pull-up bars. I had attempted my left arm first. I always ask which muscles are managing movements (if I am not already sure), so that I can do the movement correctly and at all. (I’ve definitely been unable to do something simply because I was using, say, my arm muscles, when it should have been shoulder and back muscles, and then it totally worked when I got the right muscle group going.)

But something just didn’t click for me this morning – I couldn’t make the band go down. As soon as I hit the point of the band’s genuine resistance, I just could not make it go any farther. And yet, that was hardly half the distance to my body. I looked around, and saw everyone else doing it with somewhat ease. I took a step closer to the bar, to lessen the tension on the band. And then another. And I still couldn’t get my arm all the way down to my body, as we were supposed to be doing – as everyone else was doing. I was bordering on tears… from embarrassment, perhaps? I was also quite low on my sleep from the past couple nights – nightmares had plagued Sunday night, giving me minimal rest then, and last night hadn’t been much more restful, though the nightmares had mostly all gone.

The coach saw me and told me to move away from the bar. I moved a bit, and he said with more emphasis and volume for me to move, suggesting that I needed to take a huge step away. And I did, but I was beginning to panic. It is not a comfortable feeling when the body does not do as we wish it to do for something that it, by all means, ought to be able to do. Nor is it comfortable to feel oneself beginning to cry over such a simple little movement in a gym workout.

But I reminded myself that I was behind on sleep, which always seems to affect my ability to remain calm and not crying in situations. And so, I struggled and mostly failed, and then switched to the right arm, just to see if it would be any different. The band went right down. It was easy like how I had seen everyone else doing it… So something is wrong with my left side, I thought. Even more stress.

I moved on to the other activity for that round, and aimed to take a mental breather from the fact that I was supposed to do that four more rounds, and yet I hadn’t even been able to do it one time out of the 20 repetitions with my left side.

When I returned for the start of my second round, I tried again, aiming truly to figure out if there were a way that I could do it, despite my body’s not being able to do it fully as intended. A modification would be fine, if I could find one. The coach saw me again, standing too close to the bar as I attempting the modification. The earlier process had repeated, and the taunting tears from before no longer taunted, but fell forth. He was immediately in front of me, standing very close, talking calmly and gently to me, asking me what was going on, what was happening in that moment. I told him that – after a solid ten seconds of being unable to speak, for my tears – I was frustrated because I couldn’t do it. He evaluated, looking to the bar where I was, and the bar I had used the first round. This one was higher, which increased the tension, he pointed out. And I said I hadn’t been able to do it before either. The bands, too, were new, and so were harder to use than the ones we had had until recently. I told him that it was just my left side that I just couldn’t seem to make do the movement. He aligned everything for me, adjusting exactly the angle of my arm and elbow, and altering my handhold to decrease resistance.

And then I did it. I was still crying and, even, shaking, somewhat, but now there was relief in my tears, not merely stress and embarrassment. And I did it again. And I kept going. I nodded, making it clear that I was okay to continue on my own now. Before he walked away, he said to me, “You don’t need to be frustrated. You’re doing f***ing pull-ups,” and it made me laugh through my tears. He was right, after all. I was crying from stress at a tiny movement that I hadn’t been able to do, thinking I was too weak – I could do it, now that he had helped me figure it out, so it hadn’t been that I was too weak at all. And yet, after the workout today, I did three pull-ups, and attempted a fourth five or so times (making it about 90-95% of the way up each time on that fourth), wanting to get in one more than I had done after yesterday’s workout. I most certainly was not too weak.

I took one deep breathe, let it go, and I was breathing fully and easily again. I’m sure my face and eyes were still rather cry-looking for a while after that, but everyone was busy working, so I doubt anyone else even noticed. By the time I started the next round, which I was able to do with ease – relative ease, that it, as it was still hard work, but I could do that hard work now – I was fully calm and focused. While doing my left side, the coach caught my eye from across the room and gave me a visual clapping with his hands (because it was meant to be seen and not heard – there was loud music playing, after all).

I smiled sheepishly, but with immense gratitude. He is always there to encourage us to push ourselves beyond mental barriers (But he is extremely careful to keep us always safe, especially regarding physical abilities. Once, he told me, after I had cried at some back squats, never to do something that actually scared me or made me uncomfortable, where I didn’t feel safe doing it. He wants us safe, but not lazy cowards. That’s why he pushes us.), but, if ever his push of encouragement does not land as intended, he is at our side to help us how specifically we need in that moment. There was no hesitation when I started crying this morning – he saw that something was not okay for me, and his full focus was on helping me clear up whatever it was. And he did exactly that. And today was just one of the many reasons that I love this gym and its owner (today’s coach). Both because of the ridiculous song choices for the morning and for his clear love and care for me when I hit a roadblock.

Post-a-day 2021