Thursday, November 14, 2013

All Sorts of Strength

Yesterday I headed out to spin class, only to find the elevators weren't working.  Luckily, I'm fit enough to take the stairs. 

You might say, "Of course you're fit enough.  That's why you go to spin class, right?"

Indeed.  But our gym that has the spin class is on the 8th floor of the doctor's office building that's attached to a downtown hospital.  Many of the people who come to that gym are recovering from some kind of acute health issue, like a heart attack or a diabetes diagnosis.  We're not all fit enough to take the stairs.

Even some of my fellow spin class members grumbled mightily.

It's been a tough week for our gym.  On Monday we showed up to find out that the air conditioning wasn't working.  It wasn't as hot as it was outside, but it was stuffy.  We did our spin class anyway.

I thought of the days of my wayward youth, where I'd go out in the heat of the day and run 6 miles.  Even in the middle of the hottest summers I did this.  I liked to sweat and sweat and sweat.  I felt purified at the end.

Even today, I like exercise because it's one of the few places where sweating is encouraged.  I suspect not everyone would agree with me.  The other night we were watching a Zumba class.  Now that is not an exercise for me.  It feels too sexualized.  I go to exercise class to get away from the relentless cultural pressure to have a super-sexy body.

I want to be strong.  If that seems super-sexy to some people, that's fine, but that's not why I'm at the gym.

I have begun to see the world as divided into Zumba women and women who hike the Appalachian Trail and those who hike the AT alone with only a canteen.  Maybe I'm just kidding about the last one--maybe not.

The other day I went with my friend to the post office, and I carried her tub of packages.  She said, "Let me carry the heaviest one." 

I said, "It's balanced this way.  And it's not very far."

She has physical issues so she parked in a handicapped space.  It was only 50 steps, if that.  If I can't carry a tub of packages that far, why do I work out with weights?

It's interesting to think about the ways that strength doesn't transfer to other tasks.  We've been doing a variety of home repairs during this year, and I'm amazed at the weight of a cordless drill.  I can't hold it up while also managing to drill a hole straight and true.

I used to joke that I don't have the upper body strength to do my hair.  I don't have that kind of upper body strength, the kind where I can hold my arms above my head for very long.  I can carry a heavy load--last week, I moved a 60 pound back of concrete/mortar mix from the car to the backyard.  Yet I can't hold my arms over my head.

It's probably like that in my writing life too.  I'm at a peculiar time where my writing friends are having success in the form of publishing contracts.  And I'm wondering what's wrong with me.  Why haven't I been chosen?

Luckily, I'm not going to live in a scarcity consciousness world.  It's great that I haven't been chosen at this point.  I can't imagine how to fit one more project into this busy time.  When I accepted the offer to teach not one, but two, online classes in 8 weeks, I knew that my writing would take a back seat.  Hopefully, only for 8 weeks.

I'm still getting writing done, just in smaller spurts.  And should a publisher call with an offer, I'd gladly figure out how to take advantage of the opportunity.

In some ways, my daily writing--the blogging, the thinking about my larger writing projects, the dribs and drabs of work on said projects--is the daily exercise class.  Should the 8 story stairwell of a publisher call with an offer, I have the training in place to allow me the strength to meet the challenge. 

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Much to think about here, as usual! I have started a zumba class, for fitness and aerobic exercise, and I enjoy it (but I am ignoring the super-sexuality of it, which is mostly present in the music, not in what the teacher and participants are doing. Sigh....)!