My body is moving. I don’t have to fight so hard to get myself moving. Mornings are terrible, but then I never expect that to change about me. But when it time to go to curves, I actually get excited. And then I look in the mirror and check that I am still me, because I have never been excited about exercise.
My mom is still being supportive – amazingly so. She sent me a check in the mail to pay for my Curves membership. No strings attached – the card just said you deserve to feel good and healthy. Wow. I can’t think too much about it, I’m trying to accept it on face value.
Curves is good for me. I’ve gone about 6 times now and I feel that I’ve used my muscles but nothing hurts. I get my heart rate up, I get my muscles warm, I get just a little sweaty and out of breath, but not too bad. The 30 minutes fly by fantastically quick. The women there are all supportive, and although they get chatty with each other, it is easy enough to ignore. They see I am focused and rarely engage me in the chatter. They watch me curiously as I hold my weak leg, assist it into position on the machines with a hand, but so far only my trainer/coach has asked about it. I use a neoprene brace velcroed around my knee to give it extra support and I guess I’m doing well if it doesn’t hurt (any more than it usually does). The machines are great for me, they keep me aligned and really make it impossible to hurt yourself by overextending. They have resistance from hydraulic cylinders, no weights. They have this squat machine that has me dropping it like its hot and release my inner shawty, something I can’t do at all without falling over without a machine to hold on to. NOT sexy to fall over. Not at all. (not quite ass to grass yet, but this may be possible some day)
Next part may be triggering – dug up some unwanted memories
I’m trying to figure out my new attitude. I used to HAVE to exercise ferociously. First reason was to keep any bit of tone in my jelly leg, I had to keep it moving. My spinal injury removed that involuntary muscle movement that keeps us toned. I knew the meaning of ‘use it or lose it’ better than anyone. 1 day off my crazy routine and I would have to start over, sometimes even resorting back to electrodes to get my muscles to respond again. I had to keep moving.
I want to leave out the part that my AF used to make me do certain exercises to shape my body for his own viewing pleasure. This was in elementary school, years before my surgery or required PT. He had an entire routine for me that we would do together every night, specially designed by him he said for maximum sculpting. Some parts of this routine he would time, some parts he would count for me. Watching me work out. And of course he touched me. He’d say he was improving my form or checking if I was working hard enough as he adjusted my leg positions, his hand on my flexed bottom and thighs as I did leg lifts. I’m getting that panicky feeling as I realize I have never spoken or written about these particular memories before, so that’s all the detail I am going to give today and save this for processing with my therapist.
And then I had to exercise to be perfect. In high school I was so ashamed of my limp, and ashamed of what I thought was a fat and freakish body. I exercised compulsively while starving my under 100 lb body for many years.
Fast forward to about 6 years ago, I was about at the point I am now. I was making healthy choices, adding regular but not overdone exercise. I was losing baby weight and feeling pretty good. Until I started gaining weight out of the blue and could not figure out why. I started gaining quickly, and it was only when I could not button my jeans that it dawned on me I could be pregnant. Ah. Yes. I was on the pill, and had just stopped nursing my baby a few months back. My cycle had been irregular all year, I thought nothing of more irregularity. Yup. I was about 7 weeks along when I figured it out. That turned out to be a difficult pregnancy, I was on bed rest for most of it, and it was the end to my exercise for many years. The depression during and after that baby was terrible and I barely recall those times, but I’m fairly certain exercise was not a part of it at all. I remember my couch mostly, and moving about like a drugged zombie trying to care for so many young children. I never thought about me, I just had to survive each day.
So to remember those days, and see me now, I am very proud of my progress, and amazed at the human ability to change, to improve, to survive, and to do what used to seem impossible. I am adding my reality check here again, because although I think I am on the right track, enjoying many parts of my days, I still have this heavy feeling, if I look too closely, that says it is all pointless and asks me why I continue to work so hard. I know it is there, but lately I can ignore those thoughts, mostly.
Is that why they say ‘idle hands are the devil’s play thing?’ Does this happen to everyone? Do we all have a demon inside trying to poison us from the inside out and make us give up?