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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Words worth more than gold

After a discussion over the phone with a college student calling to ask for my monetary donation to the study abroad scholarships at her school, – which I exchanged for encouragement to the girl and for sharing with her various specialties related to where she would be studying abroad this coming spring semester (for which she continuously thanked me delightedly, and which she declared was a million times better for her life than a monetary donation to the fund would have been, anyway) – I wrote a sort of poem.

You see, she recommended I write it, because what I was sharing with her, she said, sounded like poetry.

So, find in the following photo the first draft of the poem we discussed today, which I said I would write for my weblog tonight, and which I tapped out on a typewriter(!!!) this afternoon.

Post-a-day 2018

Backsplaining

Sometimes I feel as though I can’t talk about anything without explaining a million other things first…. which then continues the cycle of having to explain more and more, all because I’d wanted to share one little something.

(Perhaps that’s a benefit of having only the same select few people in one’s life forever – never having to do the back explaining…)

Post-a-day 2018

Late-night shared delights

I remember the time I showed someone I love how to shift the gears in a manual car.  Actually, I remember all of the times I have done this.  However, one in particular came to mind tonight, and I smiled at the memory.

We had gotten secret donuts together on the way to drive her home.  She managed to do a good job shifting, as I drove and told her exactly what to do each time.  Afterward, the gear shifter was sticky.  I panicked at first, and then remembered the donuts.  Who’d have thunk that a sticky gear shifter could make me smile, as opposed to recoil in tears?  I cleaned it all off with little concern… something so rare for me.  It meant that I really loved her, as well as the experience.  I still treasure them both. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017

A slice of bread

Sometimes it really is the little things that count the most.  Today, I did some wonderfully awesome things.  I attended art class and mused over some amazing charcoal and pencil still-lifes coming to life; I taught traditionally silent and impassive kids to play charades, and to enjoy it; I played a bit of charades with some of those kids; I had lunch with a happy group of girls, while sitting barefoot in the wonderful and warm sunlight outdoors; I attended a master class on operatic vocal performance; I was given a private lesson in my first round of drawing with charcoal, and I did a decent job drawing; I had another personal lesson on how properly to put on a yukata and a kimono, and then did the yukata all by myself; I had tea and dinner with friends and acquaintances, and was given free amazing stuff to take home with me.

And yet, with all of that, the part f the day that stands out most to me, possibly as most fulfilling, even, was when I found myself spontaneously sitting on the floor with the two girls who had been teaching me to draw with charcoal, literally breaking bread together.  We were sitting and chatting and munching on a shared loaf of bread that we occasionally dipped in a bit of Bonne Mamman, enjoying ourselves completely.  We were silly and exhausted, and entirely content in one another’s company.  We knew we only had a short time for this little pause in the ever-forward movement of the day and its activities, and it was beautiful and blissful.  (And, funnily enough, it all happened, because the one girl had shown me her moldy bread earlier that she was using as a sort of eraser on her charcoal drawing, and I realized that I happened to have a fresh loaf of bread in my bag later on.)
Post-a-day 2017

Pork Buns and Handkerchiefs

Today, at the train station, my brother and I were looking for a place to sit down and eat our lunch.  We found a single spot on this rounded bench, and went for it.  I originally attempted sitting on my bag, but was uncertain as to its ability to withstand the weight, so ended up sitting on the bench (at my brother’s insistence), with my brother squatting in front of me.  We were chitchatting about the food as he opened up the bags (it was some dumplings and pork buns from this famous local bun shop, 551), and the old lady next to me readjusted her belongings a bit, and scooted to her left enough of army brother to sit down next to me.

He thanked her in a fabulous Japanese fashion (so proud!), and took the seat.  As he had the box of buns in his hands, when he opened it up, he offered one of them to the lady.  After some coercing, she finally accepted a half, and even one of the shrimp dumplings, as well (she seemed to perk up a bit when she saw the dumplings, and had no hesitation in the offer of one of those).

She and my brother continued a bit of chitchat about the fact that the buns were from the famous shop, as well as why each of them was there (This was all in Japanese, of course, so I understood the bulk, but couldn’t quite jump into the conversation due to the Japanese and the fact that we were on a rounded bench, so I couldn’t quite see the lady, unless I leaned way forward.).  Eventually, after she learned that I was his younger sister, I heard the same comment I always seem to get here in Japan: that I am “cute”.  While it is not exactly something we love to be called back in the US, it is actually a quite nice compliment here in Japan.

Then, as my brother explained about my living in Japan, she asked me how I liked it.  I gave a half smile and wobbled my head a bit, but couldn’t bring myself to spit out any words – I truly had no idea how to answer, and I could feel something uncomfortable rising inside me already.  Fortunately, my brother, perhaps sensing my hesitation-slash-unwillingness-to-answer, took over answering the question for me.

His answer, however, surprised me – he was quite open and honest with the woman.  I, just in thinking about it all was already starting to tear up, but I felt a small sense of relaxation and relief as I listened to my brother share with the lady how I was not having too easy or good a time (and that that was part of why I had come down to visit him for the weekend).  I had finished eating what I was going to eat, so I excused myself, saying it would be good to jump in the line for the bathroom before I had to go get on my train.

Once I reached the bathroom line, I couldn’t help it, the feeling was so overpowering: tears started pouring down my burning eyes, as I gasped quietly for air.  I couldn’t quite understand what was happening with me.  I had noticed that I was a bit borderline already earlier in the day (borderline tears, that is), but I hadn’t known why, nor had I expected something like this to send me into such a state as I was now.

I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and went back out to my brother, who was standing ready by my bag.  I broke right back into tears when he asked if I was alright, and he just held me in a big brother hug for a bit, soothing me, before gently telling me that I had about 8 minutes before my train, so we’d do well to head toward the gate now.

He was holding a marigold handkerchief in a little clear plastic bag, and he proffered it to me, explaining that it was dyed with actual marigold, and the old lady and her sister (the one whose son is a pianist, and whose concert the old lady was coming to see) had wanted me to have it.  They said that they wanted me to enjoy my time in Japan, and that they hoped things improved for me.  They had wanted to talk to me, too, but had had to leave, so they left the well-wishes and the handkerchief with my brother to pass on to me.

Naturally, there were even more tears at this point, but with a slightly different edge to them.  : )

As we hurried off toward my train, I expressed how my visit to my brother and his girlfriend was so wonderful, that, now that it was at an end, it was difficult for me to think about going back to my life, my town.  I had gotten a taste of so much of what I had been missing these past seven-ish months, and I didn’t want to go back.  Not that I had any intention of not going back – there was just a taste of dislike for what awaited me.  I had finally started to be accustomed with my circumstances, it was hard being reminded of what had been wanting from my life.  I know that I’ll be okay, and that I likely will very much enjoy these next few months – it’s just never so easy to go back to plain white bread when you’ve had all your favorites available to you.  (That sort of idea, anyway)

Yeah… that’s all I have to say about that.  : )

 

Post-a-day 2017