*Moan* [There is nowhere on my body that doesn’t ache right now.]
I have no patience for people who mouth ‘I’m dyin’!’ just because they’re a little tired. I’ve a class full of them during my swim time. They half raise their arms and vaguely wave them about in-between their gossip sessions and then go to their doctors and say ‘but I swim for an hour a week!’ in protest when the doctors tell them to get some bleeding exercise.
My brother tells me I’m a bit of a masochist.
But for me, exercise is pushing your body beyond your comfort zone. You’ve got to work the machine until it’s tired. It sweats. The breathing gets fast. You feel bloody uncomfortable and want to stop – in my book, that’s a warm up. Jump higher, punch your arms out with all your strength, lift your legs like your life depends on it – that’s me. And I do it laughing. Laughing because I know I’m red in the face, I’m tired and kind of flopping around a bit, and I probably look ridiculous. Laughing because I can STILL do it at my age. Laughing because under the red face, the tiredness and floppiness and complete ungainly ridiculousness I go through, I feel better. Angry? Punch it out until you can’t lift your arms. Self pity? Kick it out, side to side. It’s as much therapy as exercise, and I know it.
Yesterday I had occasion to head downtown for a short errand. I’m short on clothes -again; need to do laundry – so I chose a slightly better outfit than I’d usually throw on for a quick metro trip. Out came my purple pants. And I wondered. On they went…easily. No tug around my hips, no gathering in front needed to button them up. Just on, zip, bam.
I’ve lost weight. No maybe about it. At least 10 pounds.
My aunt once told me it was easier to lose weight when you’re young than when you get older. I’ve been young, I’m now older (at least as old as she was when she said that to me) and I’m here to say it’s a load of bunk. I’m sure losing weight when you’re older IS more difficult if you let your body seize and freeze up. Then getting the machine to move fast enough to do some real good is a tough thing. But why are you letting your body get that bad?
Just read a ‘guide to healthy living’ from my insurance carrier. Part of it was an “inspirational story” *UGH* about a paraplegic who’s got this positive attitude towards life. As usual, that kind of thing set me off. It shoves depression in people’s faces, just makes most people who REALLY struggle feel even worse because (as I explained to my brother), it sounds like people say ‘Look at this person with no arms and legs. THEY can be happy. Why can’t you?’ It’s a blame game, not an inspiration. And I’m sorry, but I CAN’T relate to someone having no arms and no legs. Absolutely zero of my fantasies – good or bad – involve that scenario. I’ve got nothing to go on with it, other than faint imaginings.
But I DO know about being incapacitated. Hurting so much you can’t hold back the moans. Being bed ridden for almost a year at a time. Needing help with things like getting on or off the toilet, or feeding yourself. THOSE things, I’ve lived. So I feel absolutely confident on sharing a personal motto:
Move it or lose it.
Get up off your ass and make that machine blow the carbon out of the carburetor. Rev it up, get it moving. If you don’t reach a point where you HAVE to slow down to catch your breath, you ain’t got it.
Push, push, push. I feel real good even tho I’m so damned aching. That’s the endorphins. And this can all be yours, for the price of an hour a day and a bit of effort. Keep your body open. Stretch! For fuck’s sake, if you do nothing else in a day for your body, stretch. Keep it flexible. You know the old saying – the tree that can bend with the wind survives; the tree that snaps, dies. Keep bendy. Be Gumby.
Gonna grab some paracetamol and head out on a stroll. Not gonna kid myself; I overdid it yesterday. But that’s a good thing! It feels good to be so achey. Am I making any sense? Probably not. But I’ll keep it light today. More stretch, less sweat. Back for an hour of Dutch language reading – starting to enjoy the comic book I’m making my way through. And then –
It’s music time. On goes the equipment, on with the headphones. I’ve promised myself all afternoon.
And slowly, things are re-shaping around me. Heard from two of my three MIA friends. My body is shedding the excess weight and getting stronger. My reading is picking up in speed and comprehension. I have plans to get out and opportunities to meet people. All that fake it til you make it stuff is starting to pay off. The smiles, the nods, the trying.
Or maybe it’s just my yearly autumnal manic cycle.
Change is back in the air. Change I feel I have the power to manipulate, rather than it having power to manipulate me. This is different, though. It’s not based on pipe dreams alone. It’s based on solid, hard work. It’s based on me not giving up. It’s based on all those days I tried and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere but I kept going anyway.
I’ve kept moving. And I ain’t losing it.