11.27.2007

Let's Get Physical


Ever since I can remember, my mom was trying to get me to exercise. Look at those thighs! Aye gorda! You need to move! What do you have? Tired blood? In the 80's, jazzercise was all the rage, so she signed up for every freakin' class the community center had to offer. There was no L.A. Fitness or Bally's in those days. My sister would run around and play with the other kids whose mama's were fat asses, while my mom and I did leg lifts, stretched our arms to the sky and cycled until our thighs felt like jelly. I know my mom did it because she was a good mother and she didn't want me to suffer and be a fat adult. And she never made me do it alone, she was always by my side, working out with me.

But I hated it.

I hated to have to wear leotards and tights, leg warmers--it was sooo embarrassing. I hated that I was the only kid there, jazzercising alongside grown women. I hated the music. I hated the peppy instructors with the headbands and the heavy vein cords in their necks. Whew! Yes! You can do it! Can you feel that burn? Wooooo! Yes! You guys are awesome! Two more! Wooooohooooo! Did I already say how much I hated the leotards and tights? We didn't wear sweats or yoga pants like self-respecting people cuz that is what you wore to work out in those days. Sigh.

I also played softball for eight years. You wouldn't think so, but we ran alot. Butches get their exercise on, too. I hated to run. It took me about twelve minutes to do a mile, but I did it. That is what kept me in decent shape until college.

Before I transferred to CSULA, I attended CSULB for a year. It was there, on my own volition, that I took four aerobics classes a week. Note the change in verbiage. I can't put too fine a point on it. Aerobics, not jazzercise. Twice a week I took this class for P.E and it kicked my ass all up and through that gym. The instructor was like a crazed Jamie Lee Curtis drill sargeant on crack. She had us running up and down those bleachers, pull-ups, sit-ups, scissor kicks until I wanted to cry. I would work up a good sweat with really good house music pumping on the speakers. Me and all the tall, skinny blondes from Seal Beach. Um, yeh. When it was was over I would drink my bottled water and bite into my big green apple and feel really good about myself. It was a good thing because if you went to college in Long Beach, you would basically have to park your car in the next town and then they'd shuttle your ass in. So I had a long way to my car to feel good about myself.

In the evenings I took another aerobics class at the local recreation center. This one was a little more my style, since there were lots of other fat girls hiding in the back with their little rolled up blue mats. I have to say that for a good two years, this is what I did for exercise. No wonder I could eat like a horse, drink like a fish (and never get a hangover) and never gain a pound. I stayed the same size for years. Let me clarify, I was never thin but you could have bounced a quarter off my booty. And a fat stomach? Forget it, I was packing all my junk in the trunk just where it's supposed to be.

Then I got married.

And babies started popping out left and right. You could depend on me and the Man to procreate every seventeen to twenty months, like clockwork. I had stamina like a horse...udders like a goat. The man was like a stallion. And all of a sudden, my desire to exercise was replaced by the desire to pee alone. To shower without two beady eyes belonging to a little person peeking at me through the shower curtain. To get through a meal without someone needing their butt wiped. Simple things. And the exercise fantasy became just that, a fantasy.

I got myself into this vicious cycle where if I only exercised more, I would relieve stress, lose weight, sleep better and boost my endorphins. But because I don't exercise, I am totally stressed, the chub is spreading everywhere at an alarming rate, I take naps and I'm still tired, and endorphins...those are those grey things that swim in the ocean right?

The ironic part is, I don't think I could hang through an aerobics class today. If I were to take an aerobics class right now, I probably couldn't do a leg lift to save my damn life. These bad boys are heavy, yo! A few years ago, Michael bought me a set of Tae-bo tapes. Yes, Billy Blanks with this black nipples hanging out. Those were cool, and the chil'rens loved to jump alongside me as I was working out, but....I did not like the sensation of my chub jiggling with each kick I made. Every time I would kick my leg out, my chub would start shaking and it would take a minute for the aftershocks to stop. Seriously. It totally distracted me from the workout. So I gave that up. Then I'd go for walks. That's cool but I would complain because it was either too hot (I don't like to sweat) or too cold (and then I couldn't get out of bed). Then I would complain that I didn't want to walk alone, but then it took us all about two hours to get dressed and out the door and by that time it was time for lunch and naps. Then if I walked alone, I was like a rabbit waiting for a wolf to come out at me from every bush. That's what happens when you grow up a latch-key child.

So I finally settled on swimming. That has to be my absolute favorite exercise. I guess because it doesn't really feel like you are exercising. While all the old ladies with plastic caps are in the corner splashing on noodles at the Y.M.C.A, I get into a lane and just start swimming laps. I wish I could swim as smoothly as some swimmers I've seen. They swim lap after lap, they peek their head out for a quick breath of air and they just keep on swimming. I want to swim like that! The best part about swimming is when I am underwater, it is absolutely silent. Sure, you can hear a few muffled sounds, but for the most part, it is still and quiet. My mind goes blissfully blank and I focus on my breathing. While you are stretching out your arms and your legs, you feel weightless. And your lungs...after your swim they feel deliciously spent.

But it is the quiet that I love. It's not so much the actual absence of noise, although that is wonderful. It's the rare quieting of my mind that I really appreciate. No stress, no bills, no schedules, no crying, no refereeing...just getting to the end of the pool.
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