More than just a physical workout

Today was my second day as a member of this CrossFit gym. My friend and I – we signed up together – have schedules that don’t align for workouts today and tomorrow, so we’re going to separate classes on both days, as will be the case going forward, whenever our schedules don’t align (that is, we both must and will go on the same day, at least three days a week, just not always at the same time… sure, there will be times where this doesn’t work out, but it is our strong intention to stick with it as absolutely best as is possible). Therefore, I went to the midday class on my own today. It was hot out, in the eighties, and I was tired… I had helped this same friend put together her new television stand and television last night after our late dinner together after class, and then I had to be up rather early this morning. Plus, of course, I had done the actual workout yesterday evening in the first place, and I was still a bit sore from the test class we’d done on Thursday evening. Altogether, I was hot, tired, and alone on my own. But I was there, and I knew it was exactly where I wanted and needed to be – everything was perfect in this. I was even nervous, because I’m new at it and don’t quite know how things work at least half the time; I’d even said we felt like lost puppies the other evening, as we tried figuring out what was going on in the middle of the class. 😛 Anyway, continuing onward…

So, I’m there on my own. I also happen to be rather un-strong right now – not that I’m weak, but I’m nowhere near as strong as I have been much accustomed to being throughout my life. And I have a good amount of fat on my body that I want to go away. In fact, I have wanted it to go away for years, but it has, instead, increased ever so slowly these past few years or so, with the occasional drop of most of it, and then the returning slow increase. You see, I can’t ever stick with it… I always hit a point where I can’t stand the fat an low fitness level, and so I do something about it. Whenever I hit a certain level of fitness and fat reduction, I always end up stopping… not from exhaustion or annoyance or anything, but from a thought that comes up of, “That’s (good) enough for now,” with a hint of something like fear behind it.

I shall return to this thought after explaining more from the class today (that is, you will figure out its relevance in just a bit).

Pushing through the workout, doing all that I could, my body shaking throughout about half of the workout, due to the struggle, I found myself in almost constant tears. I methodically reassured myself (when I was alone on the running section each time) both inside my head and aloud, that this is perfect that I am here… I can’t do this, and that is why I am here… I am meant to be here… This is perfect… This is exactly where I belong… This is where I need to be right now… This is where I need to be… This is perfect…

Over and over again, I repeated the varying versions of the idea that I was exactly where I needed to be, while acknowledging that it was difficult to do the workout (without degrading in any way), all the while crying.

When I finished the last bit, I stayed lying on the bench for about thirty seconds or so, because the tears were so strong, my body was even convulsing with a few hearty sobs as I rested my arms on top of me in a sort of relaxed hug… I let it out, so I could let it go.

And then I wiped off my tears, got up, and started cleaning up everything that I had used, reminding myself that this is perfect.

I didn’t talk to anyone initially… just the bare minimum of how long it took me, and then nods to say that I was, in fact, okay… avoiding the part where I didn’t know what I even could say, let alone would say, if talking were required.

As I put away the last thing, the bar I had used, the girl (lady) I’d met at the beginning said something to me. I don’t remember if it was a question about the workout, or merely encouragement, but there eventually came a point at which I went ahead and shared a little with her. Taking it slowly, and eventually having the tears start pouring out (but not as badly as they could have been had I not taken it slowly), I told her how a lot was coming up for me in this… My having always been one of the top performers in almost any and every sport I did growing up and as a younger adult, and suddenly being on the other end of it all, I felt like the fat kid – this workout was hard for me in places that things had never before been hard for me… My life direction and style and goals having begun and finally done a sort of plunge into a drastically different direction, terrifying me ever so slightly but intensely… The regular stresses of life, combined with the raccoons and the fleas… and, most importantly and intensely, that I am actually taking on for real getting my body to the physical fitness level and look I so long to have.

This last one may not seem like much, but it is. I told her how I had kind of hit a point of being afraid of being a beautiful female body, and that I started to shy away from the idea, aiming for the less feminine versions of clothing and such. She (appropriately) asked if something happened to me, and (appropriately) acknowledged that it wasn’t that something had to have happened to me – she just wondered if any incident had played a role in that, since it so often does, especially for women.

And, surprisingly, – but also not surprisingly, since I’ve been working on being my true self and being self-expressed truly – I told her that Yeah, I kind of did. It wasn’t exactly the catalyst of it all, – I had already started feeling uncomfortable with being womanly and all. But it did act as a strong encouragement that I was right, and that it is bad to be womanly and sexy. I even shared a bit of details that were relevant, remaining comfortable and confident in myself the whole time.

I recently had a long and tough and beautiful conversation with my best friend about my own incident, and I completed what I needed through that conversation – whatever I needed addressed or said or acknowledge, happened, and my feeling of being trapped by the incident was, after years of avoidance and mental pain and struggle hiding in the back of my mind, finally disappeared… I could see it as something that happened, and was able to talk about it fully at last. I don’t mean each and every detail, of course, but the experience itself and anything that was particularly heavy on me suddenly lost their power and weight in my mind. And my recent efforts to find the kind of exercise I want to do, and then finding the right gym to do it once I’d found the exercise, all came out of this conversation I’d had with my best friend near the end of last year.

And today, all on my own, knowing fully that I am in this at least through September – already paid of through then, essentially – and that I am guaranteed spectacular results by then (especially since it usually only takes about three months to see massive results, anyway, here), was a somewhat terrifying experience and feeling. I’ve spent so long, so many years, convinced to my core that I must avoid these exact results I am not actively seeking. I must not become an object that might be desired sexually… But my recent experiences of wanting to be able (eventually, anyway) to have that experience of not only wanting to desire a man, but of wanting that man to desire me… now those already have been huge, and were formerly unthinkable… but now they actually have a chance to happen one day soon…, and that is so scary to the terrified girl I had grown so accustomed to being inside my head.

But I want this. And I can finally see clearly enough to believe that it truly is okay for me to want it. I want my partner in life to want me in every way, and vice versa…and physically is one of those ways. And I shared this all with her.

And then she shared about her own miserable incident… and how she struggled to get to where she is today – happily married and comfortable with her body and going after amazing fitness, even showing off her body in her workout clothes (not inappropriately at all, but quite flatteringly and tastefully, I dare say) – and that she agrees with me that this is the perfect place for me to be with this. The community is wonderful at this gym – yes, there are physical beasts of men, but not one of them is anything less than a wonderful human being. And, by the way, ‘I didn’t dress like this when I first started coming here,’ she told me, smiling knowingly as I smiled and chuckled in my loose and somewhat baggy t-shirt and shorts. A hint of her midriff was showing, her top was sleeveless, and her shorts were mid-thigh and exercise style snug… it looked great and showed off her muscles modestly, but well.

As we were leaving, she told me that she regularly attends that class, clearly encouraging me to return and to see her as a willing friend of sorts. It felt good. And in a way I’m not sure I’ve known in quite a long time.

Post-a-day 2019

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Book characters

In class tonight, talking about literature, I mention that – and this is somewhat quietly after someone else mentions that she loves the character ‘so much’ – I mention that I kind of hate her.

The classmate who always sits by me says, almost immediately, “Hannah, you don’t ever like nobody,” and we both crack up, knowing that it is kind of totally true (at least in terms of the books we’ve discussed for class).

Post-a-day 2018

An Evening of Moon River, and more

Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style some day. 
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker, 
wherever you’re going I’m going your way. 
Two drifters off to see the world. 
There’s such a lot of world to see. 
We’re after the same rainbow’s end– 
waiting ’round the bend, 
my huckleberry friend, 
Moon River and me.

© 1961 Paramount Music Corporation, ASCAP

So go the lyrics to the beautiful song that is sung by Audrey Hepburn in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and which was written for the occasion.  They have been in my mind all night tonight.  I likely still will be singing them and humming the song tomorrow, and possibly the next several days or weeks, too, imagining Miss Holly Golightly sitting on her windowsill in jeans and a gray sweatshirt, strumming her small guitar, singing the song while her hair dries in a towel on her head.  That was her one genuine moment, where there were no airs put on and no facades blocking the view; dreamy longing and total honesty were there, coming to life in her music.

Why, you ask, is all of this on my mind?  Well, because of just that.  My cousin makes jewelry from guitar strings.  (I do a little, too, but not to the same degree.)  Since that particular scene had Holly being simple and honest, showing her core, she loved the scene.  Since it included Holly’s playing the guitar, it became relevant to my cousin’s jewelry.  You see, this neat art gallery in Galveston decided to do an “All About Audrey” exhibition, in which all of the selected pieces were submitted by various individuals in the community.  The only requirements were that the art be vegan and be somehow about Audrey Hepburn.  So, my cousin used guitar strings and fake pearls to construct her own version of the famous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” necklace (with the aforementioned information taking part in creating the idea).

Tonight, the art show had its opening, and my cousin’s piece was part of the show.  So, my mom and I attended the opening.  The opening happened to be a costume party, with the theme being ‘your favorite Audrey’.  I genuinely liked the honesty moment in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and the fact that it directly related to the reason we were going – to support my cousin’s guitar string jewelry inspired by that scene – made it an easy preference for my attire for the event.

And so, I put together the clothes, had my mom help me with a white hand towel on my head (I had to take out the seams to make it long enough to tie correctly.), and looked up “Moon River” chords.  I only have a full-sized guitar with me, so I figured my ukulele would do well for the completion of the outfit.  Since I was going to be carrying around my uke, dressed as a character who sings an incredibly famous song, I figured it only fair that I make an effort to learn to play the song myself.

And it was a good thing I did!  Not only was I requested to play, but I was asked to play three times.  The third time was the coolest, because the second time had already been a sort of sing-a-long for a lot of the people at the gallery, but the third was everyone.  I was on my way out of the gallery, heading to dinner with my family who had been in attendance, when a lady at a table complimented my outfit and asked me to play.  The man at the table asked if I could play, because, of I could play, he could sing.  And so I started up playing, singing with him, only to be joined after only a few seconds by the entire gallery.  It was so beautiful, it was almost spooky.  People had all different reasons for being there tonight, but we all shared the experience of true bliss and community as we sang together tonight.  Reasonably fitting end to the week that included International Peace Day (Thursday), I think.

There are two other fun aspects to this.  The first is that we the went to dinner, all of us dressed in our various outfits.  Most everyone looked to be in normal-ish attire for our current life and times, and it was even somewhat high on the classy side, and all black and white.  My mother, however, was in a genuine formal 60s dress that is just about the color of Tiffany’s boxes, and is floor length, polyester, and very 60s.  I was in jeans and a sweatshirt, and had a towel on my head.  Just imagine seeing our party at a casual restaurant – what on Earth would you think?

The second fun aspect is that this isn’t the first time we’ve done something like this.  For the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, we attended a tea and luncheon that was tied to the Museum of Fine Arts’ temporary exhibit on the Titanic.  The idea was to experience tea like back in the day at an actual teahouse in town, and then gonover to the exhibit.  We did exactly that, but dressed in period-appropriate attire.  Aside from the servers at the teahouse, we were the only ones dressed up.  At the museum, someone asked to sketch me (and did), people took pictures of us, and we had several inquiries about whether we weren’t part of the exhibit.  It was a grand old time, and felt somehow totally normal to me.  I guess that’s just how we roll in my family.  Cool, huh?  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

Today’s “ugh”

You know when people seem to ignore the question you ask, and instead answer a different one, one they assume you meant?  And you know how you asked that question on purpose, because you wanted an answer to that question, not some other question?  Yeah, I kind of want to punch people when they do this to me.

My mom and my best friend are the only ones who have a real shot at guessing whether and where I am going with an idea and questions I am asking about something, and they don’t even get it right all of the time.  And they know this, so, if they think I might be leading somewhere specific with my question, they ask if I am doing that, and still answer my question.  Other people don’t do that.  And it makes me kind of want to punch them for it.  Kind of…

Also, I can’t stand when people seem to be incapable of being straight about something.  I ask a question, because I am seeking the answer to that question (see aforementioned explanation).  Avoiding the answer or making up bull when the true answer is of actual importance is just plane crazy, and yet people like to do it a lot of the time, it seems.  Ugh!

Also, when highly educated people misuse basic points of grammar, I have a sort of desire to throw a drink in their faces (the bad-grammar users), and rush away, disgusted.  It’s dramatic, sure, but it’s a feeling that shows up somewhat often, nonetheless.

Anyway, I’ll go to sleep, now.  I’ve had an annoying time with these few thoughts today (in addition to what felt like a million others), so I guess I just wanted to get them off my chest, in a sense…

Post-a-day 2017

A compliment to remember

About a year or two ago (though, I think it was two years ago), I received one of the most memorable compliments I have ever been given.  I was reminded of it today, as my mom and I drove around in the sunny daylight that was following our storm so nicely.  With all of the rain and flooding, many people have pulled out their trucks and boats, and gone to the rescue of those in need of water transportation in areas that formerly were roads (and which, I suppose, likely still are, just beneath all that water now).  For this reason, I was reminded of a particular friend of mine who has a boat.  (Or, at least, he did have a boat when we last were in touch.  Currently, I’m not so sure, because we simply haven’t been much in touch since I moved to Japan.)

This particular friend was a childhood friend.  In fact, he was one of the neighborhood kids. I secretly – or so I thought – had crushes on him and his brothers when we were all little, and we all would play together all along the street, the whole lot of kids.  Anyway, as everyone moved off to college and parents moved off the street, a lot of us rather lost touch.  Here in there, though, we each would see others briefly in life.  About two years ago, this happened for me with this particular friend and his brothers.

We were at a country-western bar/dance club in Houston, and I recognized them.  Sure, they were all massive men compared to the last time I had seen them, when they were all possibly in college.  Big and strong, burly men was an easy way to describe the guys who stood before me in this bar.  I was amazed, though delighted – I guess scrawny little boys can grow up to be big, strong men, after all. 😛

It was as I was talking with one of them that the memorable compliment came.  He said to me simply, “You’re gorgeous.”  And he said it multiple times.  I’m not sure how many times exactly, but I know that it was more than once.  What really stood out about it was not so much the words (though they were amazing), as how he said them.  I can still hear it, even, it was so impactful.  He did not say them in any condescending way – ‘How unexpected that you would be gorgeous,’ – or as though he were hitting on me – ‘Hey, let’s go to my place, gorgeous.’  He was simply stating something he believed, and earnestly, with feeling.  It reminded me of how girlfriends (true ones, not the fake kind) might talk to the girlfriend who has just found the perfect dress for something, and is thrilled, or who is all dressed up for a big date or presentation or her wedding – there is no jealousy or dishonesty, but pure love and honesty in the declaration of her being gorgeous in that dress.  He wasn’t being sleazy, but truly gentleman-like, and it was amazing. It really was.

And that was it.

Because of this brief interaction I had with this friend, he has remained in my regular thoughts these past couple-ish years.  Every so often, I am reminded of him, and I am grateful for him, and I wonder how he is doing (and I usually get distracted by something or other before I am able to send him any kind of message to check in, but I occasionally manage it).  This weekend especially, I have wondered how he is doing, over and over again, and I finally managed, after however many days this storm has been, to check in with him.  It was brief, but I made contact and found out that he and his family are doing okay.  They all hold special places in my heart, because of their various roles in my childhood, but he has an especially dear one, thanks to his beautiful compliment, whenever that was.

Post-a-day 2017