The plan was to come and write a sort of re-centering post (I’m still here! I still rely way too heavily on coffee and sugar! Oy.) Anway, I have a new laptop and I switched browsers, so my drafts folder is in a different place and caught my eye; I went to see what I had left in there and found this. I don’t actually know how to feel about the fact that it is seven months old and totally on point for me today, but the title I was planning on using today was “Sitting with what is,” (which is totally aspirational, mind you) so I guess I’ll sit with this still being where I am at in many ways. I wandered away from gym again toward the end of last year (wandering away is definitely a theme. Parenthesis another…) but I am back and grateful to be. All promises below to the contrary I’m not going to edit. I never managed to finish this thought and I want to post it and then keep working through it.
I was awake for an unnecessarily long time last night, composing posts of vitriol and loathing in my head. It seems that this New Cup may be sloshing around some Old Anger for a while longer – righteous and petty, both inwardly and outwardly directed. Oh, yes: I’ve got it all going on! But it’s Friday morning, the sun is shining and I have had a useful (if daunting) little insight that I want to get down here in hopes of developing and eventually working through it.
This morning at the utterly ungodly hour of 5:41 my husband – for whom this is a regular rising time although he is not really a morning person either – shook me awake, turned on my bedside light and made me pick up my coffee so I wouldn’t go back to sleep. (He is much, much more virtuous than I am and for the most part very much better than I am at overcoming his baser nature, for which I am usually profoundly thankful but which also elicits occasional belligerent irritation. Can you be belligerently irritated? I was last night, anyway. Ha! It’s taking me a while to get to the point here – I may have to come back and do some heavy editing.) In fairness, this is what I had explicitly asked him to do, and he didn’t know that I’d been up half the night.
Fortunately for both of us he went straight off to gym, leaving me to glare into the middle distance through my first cup of coffee and decide how much of my morning’s ambitions could realistically be achieved. Inevitably the light woke our oldest (apartment living) who came and crawled into bed next to me, which woke our youngest (involuntary, on our part, co-sleeping.) My urgent, unwavering need for solitude and silence in the morning can only realistically be met by stoically ignoring everything and everyone until I am ready to face them – easier said than done. I have high hopes that “easier” mornings will be an eventual benefit of sobriety,* whether because I am able to wake up a bit earlier and more easily thus not disturbing the boys and giving me a bit of legitimate quiet time or because my need for same diminishes somewhat, but for the time being this is where we find ourselves. (*They absolutely have been! Still very much a work in progress as I go to bed too late and seem naturally to need more sleep than the average bear, but around about the 8-month mark I started, finally, to sleep all night, almost every night.)
Anyway, so at last to the point. A lot of editing, definitely. The reason I asked to be woken so early and… thoroughly is that I wanted to fit a gym class into an already full day. Since I stopped drinking my workouts have improved considerably, in large part because I make it into the gym more regularly than once a fortnight and I am bringing my whole self to each one. The classes are short – half an hour – but intense and I work hard. I revel in the strength and capacity of my body.
I am strong, and getting fitter, but I am definitely not where I would like to be. For as long as I can remember, really, I have suffered from pain in my right hip and shoulder, which varies in intensity from mild to virtually debilitating and refers all over my body. Finally, though, after almost 37 years of living in this body, I have stopped telling myself that the way to wholeness and health is to try (or wish) harder to be like everyone else.
Instead, in addition to the scheduled gym classes I have started going for somewhat regular massages and doing some one-on-one sessions with my coach to identify and address the specific issues at the root of my pain (musculoskeletally speaking, but there is a metaphor here…) These are nothing like the regular classes. We move slowly, trying different exercises in different positions. We talk a lot. We are trying to figure it out, combining my lived experience with his knowledge and expertise. I work hard, but there is no endorphin high.
Wonderfully, though, after each session there is a marked difference in my understanding of my own body, which I am able to bring to subsequent workouts and I am steadily better able to keep up with the group in intensity and proficiency. My first insight, as I jogged (staggered) home from the class this morning, spent and exhilarated, was that I need both – in life as in fitness. What works for everyone will work for me IF I do my own work on my own stuff.
The second insight is harder to swallow in some ways and is actually the reason that I am leaving my long-suffering husband to cope with the boys, who are literally climbing the seats of this mercifully empty train, so that I can get this down before it vanishes in the chaos of the day.
This is a superbly dramatic point to have stopped writing. Presumably the situation on the train escalated, although the specifics are mercifully lost to the swirling mists, etc.
I suppose mostly because of a lengthy exercise-free hiatus progress has been slow on the fitness front, but I am so happy to realize as I write this that I am actually not at all in the SAME place as when I wrote this post, although it speaks to things I have been thinking about a lot.
The second insight, which I never got to recording after all was actually the subject of the post (the title, anyway,) and what I grappled with on that day was how much unnecessary pain I had caused myself in refusing to address the root causes of my problems. I think I see now, though, that I did what I could until I was ready to do more, and if the pain I caused myself (and others) was the cost of surviving, then there is room there for grace. I am grateful to be here. I am stronger than I was, and learning – one day and sometimes one moment at a time – to use my body and my life fully and intentionally.