Archive for February, 2012

February 24th, 2012

» glutton

In school, I always hated gym. A self-conscious kid to begin with, gym class focused all the unease, the fear, the shame that roiled in my young, chubby heart. I was awkward and desperately afraid of failing, so I wouldn’t try. I would hang back, hook up with the kid with asthma or a broken leg. It was torture, feeling on display. Now Presenting: The girl who can’t do a chin-up! The slowest to run the mile! Shy girl takes a soccer ball to the face!

It’s strange, then, that I now find myself spending Friday evenings at a gym. I still haven’t quite shaken my dread of them; every time I walk in there the uncomfortable preteen inside of me cringes. But I go — and, more than that, I like it.

It feels good, to push myself. To be exhausted and wobbly at the end of an hour. It’s a drop-in class, and everyone who drops in is incredibly nice and supportive and fun, and the personal trainer doesn’t mind when I talk about setting the weight sleds on fire. So it’s nice that I’m doing something nice for myself. Unicorns and rainbows, tralala. It has a lovely way of turning a bad day around. But, if I’m being honest, what’s really doing the trick about it on those bad days is the chance to be mean to myself.

I push until I burn, and then I dig in. I think about being fat and wimpy and sad, and I push harder. It feels good, gritting through the pain. Grinding out another rep. Staying, just barely, on my feet. It feels like a weird sort of justice. Like something I deserve as much as something I’m earning.

I’m not sure what the point is, really. I feel like I should be sad about it, should try to disown the impulse to beat myself up. But I’m not. I’m glad to have the ability to push through. I’m still proud that I can go and do, that I can go to a gym and set aside the worry about being judged. Some days I’m mean about it, but ultimately I’m doing something nice for myself, and in the end that’s what I’m going to count.

February 1st, 2012

» 36 Books: January

So, a bit of a rough start to the reading year. I was halfway through In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks, by Adam Carolla, when it had to go back to the library, and I just haven’t bothered to check it out again. I’ve been listening to a ton of his podcast, which is pretty much exactly like the book except I can just stick an earbud in and have him speak it to me, PLUS Alison Rosen and Bald Brian, both of whom I really enjoy. Anyway, long story short, halfway doesn’t count.

I did have one nice victory: I started my old habit of just plowing into something without actually knowing what it was about — but when I started to suspect I might not like it, I actually went and read the summary. And then (THEN!) I stopped listening. It was the audiobook for Like Water for Elephants, and I could tell in the first few minutes that if it kept going on and on about this sad old guy trapped in a nursing home at the end of his life I would spend the rest of however many hours it took to get through dreading the thing and squirming and feeling really miserable and depressed.

I did manage to finish one book: The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, read by Peter Marinker. It’d been ages since I’d read any Fitzgerald, and I’d forgotten what a lovely writer he is. This book is packed with gorgeous turns of phrase and pretty images — but almost all of the characters are completely insufferable from beginning to end. I’m sure (or at least hope) that’s part of the point — but they were such nasty, frivolous people that I just didn’t care at all. The strength of the writing kept me engaged, but I kept wishing for an interesting plot or some glimmer of redemption to show up. Still, I liked it well enough. Like I said: very prettily written.

2012 Book Count: 1
January: 1