This week has been an odd one. I’m between writing projects, waiting to see if I’m about to be bombarded with revisions or what, working on a book review (coming next week!), making this new, shiny EmmieLand for you, and generally feeling confused.
Why confused? Well, that’s the subject of today’s blog post, so settle in, gentle viewers.
I’ve been just slightly overweight for a large part of my life. Not obese. Not fluffy or chunky or anything. Just a toe or so over the line where I can pinch stuff at all times.
I’m also pretty strong. I remember once when I was 10 or so, my NeeNee asked me to bring her some nails. I walked over, found the nails, picked up the box, and brought it to her. She looked at me, a bit shocked. Apparently she hadn’t needed that many, and she certainly hadn’t expected me to pick up a fifty pound box and bring it to her.
There are a lot of things I can do that people don’t really know. Like crocheting. I can crochet pretty well. I’ve made afghans and hats and scarves for years. I can also bead a mean necklace. And I can sing. Get a couple shots of vodka in me and see.
All these things are kind of beneath the surface.
I’d never consider myself a runner if you’d approached me a few years ago. Two days ago, though, I went to the gym, ran my 3 miles, did a bit more cardio, met with a trainer, and then got a text from Spouse saying that there was some massive rain headed my way. I had a flimsy gym bag and a film of sweat already drying on my skin. I looked outside and decided that the fastest way to cover the 2.5 miles between the gym and my home was to run.
So I strapped my gym bag on like a backpack and started off.
I ran home. I’ve never ran 5.5 miles in a day before. I’ve never run in a deluge before. The streets I crossed were pooling with water. I was as soaked as if I’d gotten dunked.
I went back to the gym yesterday and did my workout. When I got home, I looked at my arms. I can see muscles there. Just looking down without flexing, I can see my deltoids and a little ridge of triceps. The thing is, they’re kind of hidden under that little bit of extra padding.
Some days I feel like my body is a metaphor for the rest of my life. That it manifests the way I feel about things, and conversely that I can change how I feel by altering my body. I don’t mean in an unhealthy, starve-myself-to-death sort of way of altering. I mean it in the sense of letting the strength rise to the surface.
That’s why I’m committing to fitness. I have a workout plan, a gym membership, and lots of goals. I think the trainer was surprised when I told her I want to be able to bench and deadlift at least 1.3 times my body weight. I imagine what she hears most from women is weight loss, and that’s part of it for me as well. But I want to build those muscles, build my discipline, build my body into something I can be proud of.
That goes for the other areas in life as well. I want to start seriously working on my singing again. I don’t sing in public. I sing in the shower, in the car, in the bedroom, quietly inside my head. I want to nurture my creative life beyond writing. My beading projects and crafty stuff.
Because Phase 2 is stripping away the fat that’s slowing me down.
Sometimes I’ll go pick up some weight. Twenty pounds or so of it. It’s a reminder that this is what I’m carrying around on my body that doesn’t belong there. There are all sorts of things in my life that also fill this role. The extra weight. The things that stress me out. The things that pull me down, hold me back, and get in the way of meeting my goals.
I want to build muscle so that when I trim away the fat, there’s nothing left but a strong core.
Part of this is something I discussed with my bosom friend Kristin McFarland today. Both of us feel like we’ve been living for the future instead of working with the present.
This week I’ve seen something in myself that I like. I ran two and a half miles home in the pouring rain. That rain felt sort of like a baptism. Each time I think my body can’t do something, it proves me wrong.
It’s time to see what I can do.
What parts of your life do you want to trim away? What are you doing to be a more authentic you?
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