it’s been a long time coming, and i think the day has finally arrived.
i’m going to go back to the gym.
ironically, this is occurring four days before my (six month) membership expires. (i’m going to try to extend it…we’ll see how that goes.)
anyway, for the last few months my relationship with my body has been incredibly tumultuous. i have an office job that takes up nine hours of my day. i’ve been sick, and many different kinds of sick at that. i had a blood clot surgically removed. i dealt with pretty serious “women’s issues,” for lack of a better phrase. i got shingles…yes, chicken pox at age 25. i had an allergic reaction on my face that took months to heal. and, most recently, i’ve had a pretty severe sinus infection. beyond that, i’ve also been rehearsing for a production of neil labute’s the shape of things, a play that deals specifically with society’s obsession with appearance.
in the play, i’m in my underwear for a scene. my first impulse was to work out daily, restrict my caloric intake, and hate myself immediately for every “failure.” of course, once i examined my motivations for these changes, it became apparent that i neither agreed with them or felt motivated by them. truthfully, i didn’t want the other women who came to the play to look at my body and judge me, to think, “gee, she knew she was going to be in her underwear, and this is the best she could do?” eventually, i realized that, of course, if these women (or men, or goats…) had nothing better to do than scrutinize my body, then they were probably horrible and insecure people. i also realized that this would be a great opportunity to get onstage in my underwear without being emaciated which would possibly even encourage other average-sized women to feel body confidence and acceptance.
so…without meaning to, i gained three kilos (6.6 pounds). well, shit.
sure, i shouldn’t work out because of what other women would think of me. i shouldn’t work out to be attractive to men or otherwise to be accepted. however, i should and do value the idea of having an active lifestyle. i value eating well and taking pride in my appearance. i value having a body that is capable of running, lifting, yoga…ing. once i overcome the hurdle of “getting back in shape,” i know that i experience genuine calm and happiness from exercise, as well as a sense of accomplishment. and i realize that kind of happiness is truly priceless. the kind that i can provide for myself that someone else can’t take away from me.
i also realized that in order to start working out again, i needed to clean a few things up.
no, not my apartment. as usual, it is pretty much spotless. of course, i need to clean up my diet. sneaking weekly pizzas and beers and chocolate and pastries and lattes and french fries…it adds up. and pretty quickly. i feel worse, look worse, and have less energy when i eat poorly. it doesn’t satisfy me. but in a way…actually…it does. it’s a big fuck you to all those “other people” i made up in my head who expect me to be skinny. it’s my way of saying, i don’t need to be this! i don’t want to be this! i’m my own woman, and if i want to be FAT, i have every fucking right to be! bitch!
and that’s great and all…but for many reasons, it’s also harmful and unnecessary.
i also realized that i need to clean up my friends a bit. i’m really grateful to say that my life in seoul is surprisingly void of drama or frenemies. there isn’t anyone outright who i need to get rid of or whose friendship i find toxic. but i guess that’s what made it so difficult to spot. i had to come to terms with the fact that some of my closest friends here just genuinely do not support my aims to be in better shape. and i think it’s probably because they are just not at a place in their journeys where they’re ready to better themselves, so it is envy-inspiring and difficult to watch me succeed. (because i will succeed.) they want to start working out or quit smoking or lose weight or eat less…but they lack motivation, so it’s much easier to talk me into eating two desserts and going for drinks than it is to change their own lives. of course, these friends are some of the most generous, loyal, and loving people i have here in my life. i have no intention of distancing myself from them. but i do have to be conscious of the time we spend together…maybe just meeting for coffee instead of dinner. and i need to be more strict with myself when faced with a macaroon and the rolling eyes of my friend if i say no. fine, roll your eyes. because eating the macaroon isn’t helping either of us. i’m not “being there for them,” and i’m not being there for myself.
which is my goal. to be there. for myself. in good health. for a long time.
so after my show closes next weekend, i’m taking the winter off. no rehearsals. no commitments. just me. i’m hoping to get a membership to a yoga studio not too far from me. (well, a few subway stops…and that’s probably going to feel far at 6:30 in the morning, but it could be worse.) between that and the gym and walking my puppy, hopefully i can make it back to a size where i feel comfortable and healthy.
i know that the first step in any sort of change is making one’s intention clear. so that’s what i’m doing. i would like to surround myself with positive influences, with friends who love and support me. with friends who have similar goals. i would like to change my lifestyle to make room for healthier foods and more physical activity. i would like to move forward in my asana practice, as well as get back into running. eventually, (though i hope sooner rather than later) i would like to get back into and become more knowledgable about weightlifting. perhaps i will consider a personal trainer if i can find one who can help me achieve my goals in the way i’d like to achieve them. (that’s to say flexibility as well as strength, and free weights over machines.)
and maybe in the spring, i can emerge from this long winter (both literally and figuratively) feeling back on track and good about myself.
this doesn’t make me less of a feminist. and if i want to have this, then i deserve it, and it is no one’s place to make me feel guilty for wanting this.
thanks for being there to listen, universe.