Monday, March 03, 2008

Weight Preoccupation + Stress: The Experience

If on thursday your kid gets hit by a car, then by saturday you find yourself standing in the changing room at Salvation Army shocked and horrified at the condition of your thighs. You feel compelled to make changes. To get back to exercise, to make a concerted effort to sculpt away from the flacid excess you see before you. You are shamed by the look of pastey rising yeast dough punctuated with a thousand pricks of a pencil. You dread the exposure of summer; the inevitability of the great reveal.

Within the hour you are in a fitness store, pulling on sport socks and new running shoes. Surely this time you will follow through on your commitment to make regular exercise part of your daily routine. You feel your spirits begin to rise as you imagine your thighs tightening.... March, April, May.... maybe by June you could minimize some damage? Maybe you won't be so ashamed. Maybe you won't worry about people recognizing your inadequacies, your soft spots, your lack of discipline. Maybe it will compensate for your insecurities.

Sunday night you change your alarm settings before you get into bed. 6:00 am. That leaves time for lacing up your sneakers and heading out to start the new you. You wake up before your alarm and wait for it's rude break in the revery. The alarm blasts. You imagine going out into the wind instead of grinding coffee beans and staring off into space. You lay your head on the pillow. Think about it.

There's something familiar about failing again. There's a place to put your sense that you'll never change. Never succeed. Your thighs speak for you when you have no words. They remind you that life is unstable, embarrassing, frightening; and there's no place to hide.

Monday finds you staring into space. Chewing the inside of your lips and fantacizing about how you'll start running again, real soon. Occasionally you remember the dread of your parents' accident, your shock at seeing your daughter on the street with tight lipped Samaritans around her. You remember how it might be today, and how it really is. It's altogether surreal.

But your thighs are not.
They spread out before you.
Endlessly challenging.
Endlessly demanding.
Endlessly aggravating.

What does it feel like to be normal?


Heather Plett said...

I doubt if any of us really know. I think "normal" is a false construct we all erect to torment ourselves.

Anonymous said...

The day I figure it out, I'll let you know.


wm said...

normal: conforming to the standard or the common type...

two random thoughts (really almost opposite of each other): 1) Oh please Lord, let me never be normal, never a conformist
2)maybe WE (meaning everyone who reads your blog and relates) are the normal ones that everyone else should strive to emulate... only they don't know.

joyce said...

and why do we torment ourselves? Is that not also something that we are trained to do? Not accept ourselves? Not love the way we are?

wm- glad to have your comment.
true, that I don't either want to be a conformist. But would a healthy person not just feel the emotions- fear of possibly seeing her kid dead on the street? My anxiety seems largely redirected. Which causes me anxiety...

gloria said...


Anonymous said...

That sounds totally normal to me.

Anonymous said...

I think that IS normal.

I'm trying to find way to make exercise fun instead of torture. I really enjoy hiking but going out at 6am in the blistering MB cold would pretty much turn anyone off. Especially if they're tempted with promises of coffee.

You always word things so well. I always feel like I can relate to you so well.

it's a gong show... said...

oh joyce, the intentions are always good.

but if you enjoy running at a VERY slow pace, let me know.

Anonymous said...

I'm back...from a warm place and then back as in "the back" to more normal activities to do without pain. Enjoying you again.Roselle

joyce said...

Roselle- pain? In your back?
Seems like a theme, yes?