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

Advertisements

Sexy, not Sex

I think that I am afraid of being sexy, due to the risk of falling under the description of “sexual”.  I believe that there is a time and a place for sexy, and that it is an appropriate way to present oneself in the world… just not myself.  Or do I believe it acceptable?  …Yes, I do.  Sexy, not sexual, is entirely acceptable in my book, given the appropriate time and place.  As a teacher at school, no.  As someone at a dinner event, yes.  Being “hot” is not off limits to me, and yet I believe there is something deep inside of me that is terrified of it.  Of being it, I mean.

Perhaps I merely fear that it would be interpreted as a call for sexual intercourse, therefore not only labelling me as “slutty”, but also attracting unwanted advances by men toward that unintended message.  I want to be sexy, because I can be sexy, not because I want sex.  I want to have the body, because I can have the body, and I find the body entrancingly beautiful.  I don’t want it for some man, but for myself and for myself alone.  However, I do not want to have to hide it, to keep it only to myself and to avoid allowing others to notice.  I want to be able to go into public with it, because it is part of who I am, and I need not be ashamed of it.  Just as I have gone into public in my pajamas or with a towel in my hair, I want to be able to go out dressed in “sexy”: comfortably.

Yet where is that distinction between sexy and sexual for me?  i would say that it is intention, but I do not feel safe in such a distinction.  I do not want to have sex with the people around me, and I do not want them to attempt to or want to have sex with me.  But I am still terrified that I will come across that way.  Really, though, I must be kidding myself a bit here – I fear this regularly, not just when I dress up or want to dress up.  I have this fear present simply in the way I walk or the clothes I wear daily.  I envy the way some women dress, and cannot consider my actually wearing the same outfit… even though it is beautiful on them, and likely would be on me, too.  Why?  Because of this inner terror of coming across as sexual and desiring something specific (i.e. sex) from those around me.

What’s with me?  Is this really all just tied to one incident of things been utterly misunderstood about me?  I’d like to think that the one incident doesn’t have such power, if any, over me still today.  I’m not so sure, though.  I will consider this actively over the coming days and weeks…

Post-a-day 2017

 

As though in response to this post from last night, the world presented me with this article tonight, from a pile of my old papers through which I was sorting.

img_1421.jpg

A match made in France?

In my first year of college, I went on a traveling Janterm, where we spent two weeks studying French in Cannes, and doing tours to the nearby towns and famous spots, and one week in Paris, exploring as we wished.  During the first two weeks, while a group of us were on a city bus, I noticed a French kid about our age.  He was sitting in a seat, on the left side of the bus, somewhat near the front, listening to music with headphones on.  I was curious what music he had playing.  I also thought he was cute.  Therefore, I wanted to talk to him.  The easiest thing for me to say to him was to ask him to what music he was listening.  I fought constantly with the insides of my brain and the fluttering of my stomach, and at last, I believe, he got off the bus.  Or else, we got off the bus.  I really don’t remember. However, I remember making eye contact with him at least once, if not a few times while we were all riding  the bus.

Well, I was incredibly disappointed that I had not spoken with the boy, though not entirely surprised at myself – even today, I have to psych myself up for odd situations like that.  However, I usually succeed in making the interaction nowadays, whereas at the time, I did not.

But this tale does not end sadly.  At least, not yet.

I believe that it was that same night, or perhaps the following – but I really think it was that same night – that a group of us decided to go to a nightclub in the town.  Some of the older guys who were working at the dormitory where we were all studying offered to take us to some cool bar and club.  We all happily agreed.  Well, some of the girls and guys and I agreed, but not everyone.

So, a small band of foreigners temporary living in Cannes so they could study French headed to a nice bar for a while, and then to a dance club later on that night.  On the way, I learned that a Romanian speaker can understand other romance languages rather easily.  (Fun Fact: This was my first interaction with someone being able to understand another language that is similar to his/her own, without necessarily being able to speak that language.  Of course, I can now do that with various languages myself, but it was a fun start to the concept for me.)

The bar was fun and interesting, and we didn’t have to check our coats, but we did have to buy drinks to compensate for having not checked our coats, and we had to deal with a huge pile of coats, which we were somewhat hiding in the corner.  However, I need not say much more about the bar.  Rather, anything more.  The club is the important one, you see. 

First off, the club was huge and, really, quite an awesome dance club.  I was amazed at the environment, as well as the clientele.  People danced by themselves or with a friend or with friends, and it didn’t matter which they did.  There were no circles forming awkwardly, or anything like that.  People weren’t doing official or formal dances of any kind, though.  They were just free dancing, having a wonderful time, doing their own things to the music.  I happily joined in in this type of merriment, while being amazed that on one side of me could be a 17-year-old, and on the other side of me could be a 40-year-old – no one cared how old anyone else was.

In short, I loved the club, and I loved dancing in it.

And, while I enjoyed dancing in it, I saw a familiar head.  When he turned and saw me, we looked in each other’s eyes, and there was this sort of understanding.  We both knew that we had seen each other that day.  We both knew that we had not talked to one another.  And it felt as though we both knew that I at least had wanted to talk to him.  This time, however, it seemed quite clear that he wanted to talk to me, as well.  Shortly after seeing one another, he was dancing in front of me, with me.  We held hands as we danced with one another, and we danced without holding hands, too.  

Even though I could manage French rather well at that time, he never got to find out this fact, because he addressed me in English.  It was somewhat iffy English, but adorable, and I loved that he was trying and that he knew we had all been speaking English on the bus.  He had been listening to music, of course, but he clearly had been paying enough attention to us nonetheless.

I don’t remember how long we danced or how we started dancing with one another, but I remember that it was absolutely wonderful.  At some point later in the evening, a couple of the girls who were with me told me I needed to give him a way to contact me.  I didn’t have a phone, of course, but one of the girls had just gotten one that day, because she was staying for the whole semester.  So, we wrote my full name and her phone number on a piece of paper.  In the French conjugation of the verb to want, I couldn’t remember if the you form ended in an or a t.  So, instead of saying, “If you want,” I wrote, “If one wants,” which, in French, can also be read as, “If we want.”  (Si on veut.)

I handed him the paper and I said goodbye and rushed out with my friends.  I don’t even remember what I said to him, or if I even said anything to him as I gave him the paper.  I just know that I gave it to him.

I spent several hours throughout the following months searching a particular page on Facebook.  It was the page for the club where we had been dancing.  I was scouring the faces and names of all the people who had liked the page, looking for this guy.  I used to know his first name.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what it was now, though.  I do remember his eyes, though… those gray-blue, yet bright eyes.  But I searched long and hard for his Facebook, to no avail.

He never called.

Or, at least, if he did, it was after I had left, and my friend with the phone never told me.

I am reminded of all of this, because today, for the second time in my life, I gave a piece of paper with my name and contact info on it to a guy.  (My full name and LINE ID, to be exact.)  He has already contacted me.

Post-a-day 2017