Her:Stories

Shared experiences for everyday women

Not for the Faint of Heart

There are a few things in life I have not necessarily been brave enough to try on my own.  First time admitting it.  Feels good.  Like therapy.  Or at least what I think therapy would or could feel like if I were to ever try it.  I am not sure if I’m motivated to afford myself, actually. 

I mean I can secure a parking spot at the mall during holiday season with no problem.  It does not matter that Grandma Ruth over there just wants to grab one more box of Legos for little Johnny this year, if she circles that spot more than once, she’s out.  (Valet was made for one reason: for the non-decision makers of the world, I’m sure of it.) 

But skydiving, spray tan booths and radical group exercises are among my lists of phone-a-friend first kind of activities.  Being blonde, sometimes we make irrational decisions.  Like if we have said we will NEVER do such-and-such or this-and-that it does not mean we will not wake up some random Tuesday morning and decide it sounds like a perfectly reasonable adventure.  Maybe this is part of being female, too.  Does it make sense to the average person, next door neighbor, best friend or even ourselves?  Perhaps, not.  Will it be fun?  You bet!

            This is how I found myself in a body pump class in the middle of an otherwise normal sunny afternoon.  Now fitting into medium shirts and able to do average exercises like getting in a run AND going to work on the same day, I was feeling pretty motivated.  (Otherwise major physical undertakings were reserved for days off when my energy meter was full and no one was home to watch me struggle to walk afterward.)  I mean, I was no longer just walking the sidewalks and jogging the intersections.  I was serious. I was hardcore.  There were a variety of ladies in all shapes and sizes lining up for this class and my intimidation level was moderate to low.  I’ve got this.  I was actually excited about it.

            The weight bar was 15 pounds in itself.  Still ok.  I tested it out a few times, then selected a medium -sized weight with the lowest number possible.  It added on another 5 pounds.  Ok, cool.  I mean, my groceries feel this much, at least.  Our instructor was about 10 years my junior and fresh out of college.  She still had ambition and lots to live for, and she decided to demonstrate it all on this day.  Some electric metal music track came on and we were off and running.  We lifted and lugged, we squatted and stretched, we bounced up and down and pumped our hearts out.  My lungs were getting tight and heart rate had been up for a while, I was starting to feel the burn.  I looked up at the clock to see 15 minutes had passed by.  Oh, good…halfway over.  The woman in front of me had a sweat stain the size of Texas spanning the length of her Lululemon tank and I suddenly did not feel so bad about how many times I had to gasp for air.  We were all suffering for a good cause. 

            Workout Barbie gave us a 30 second break, “Grab some water, ladies!”  A few of the class members, who were brunettes and of the prepared sort, grabbed the bottles next to their workout mats and chugged away.  Some stretched out for a second and let their muscles relax.  Two of them collapsed on the floor, looks of regret for this time in their lives they had lost and could never get back, and three of them shuffled to the back fountain like water buffalo, fully intending on it taking AT LEAST 5 minutes to make it back to the front of the room.

            A few precious seconds later our time was over and we grabbed our bars.  Squatting having never been on my list of things to master or earn a degree in, I was really feeling this class in my thighs.  Thank God, only 14 more minutes and I can post this accomplishment on Facebook and go on with my life.  The music blasted again and we picked up where we left off.  I was counting down the minutes like it was the last day of school before summer.  Ten minutes left and we were doing dead lifts from our feet on up.  I reach over, removed my weight blocks and let my weights rest on the floor.  Surely fifteen pounds with the bar would be enough to finish.  I still felt accomplished and continued on.  Five minutes left and I slowed down, maybe she would not notice I was off tempo.  Maybe she would chalk it up to me being blonde.  Two minutes left and I stopped looking at her altogether.  I stared at the trees out the window, focused on getting a little more air in my lungs and figuring out a strategy on how to stay alive for 60 more seconds.  One more minute….45 seconds, 30, 15. 

Author NOT pictured

            “Break!” She yells.  “Great job, get some water, we’re halfway!”  Oh no, did she say half?  My arms feel like Gumby and I have lost all sensation in my toes.  This is an hour class? I considered dying as an option out.  I frantically looked around at my classmates to assess their reactions.  Were there any other blondes here?  Did anyone else see the panic across my face?  A few seemed scared, but it was hard for me to see with all the sweat in my eyes.  Holy buckets, where’s the door?  The music started again and I jolted and started moving.  I abandoned my bar altogether and tried to fake the movements along, trying to strategize how I could sneak away.  42 minutes into this class, I decided humiliation was my only option.  I bent over right in the middle of Eclecto Jams and rolled up my mat.  You got me today, world. 

I hung my head and headed for the back of class.  I heard a bunch of scuffling and fully anticipated to turn and find everyone staring at the poor short girl with the red, splotchy face and the weird sweat stains.  Instead four of them were right behind me.  “Go!” They said, “We’ll cover you!”  We all ran like a heard of baby llamas into the hallway, laughing and snorting.  “I didn’t think I was going to make it out alive!” I laughed.  One of them turns, “My husband never believes me when I say I do these things, he thinks I just come and lounge by the pool or get a massage.”  One of them pipes up, “Yeah, a massage…great idea!  Let’s do that instead!”

            I limped out to the car, shaking my head.  I wonder how buff my legs will look tomorrow?  That’s the best 42 minutes they’ve seen in a while!  I might buy some new sandals and a shorter dress.  Oh, yeah baby…life is sweet.

Rachel Asks: Who is hitting their workout goals this year? How are you staying motivated? What is your favorite workout? Comment below!

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Insist on Love

There are two shiny, red corvettes.  I’m not entirely sure of the year, but from the cut of the fenders, the glisten of the cherry paint and the muscley-muscleness they represent, I’d say they are a 70’s model.  Sure, they are probably from the 70’s.  My children are intent on arguing which one is theirs, however.  The little one insists the one in her brother’s hand is IN-FACT hers and the other, identical one on the counter belongs instead to him. It doesn’t matter, I quip.  They are the same car.  We bought them on the same day, at the same time, from the same store.  They came in the same Hotwheels box and you both liked the same car, so take one of them and go play.  She sighs a huge sigh, shoots her brother a death-look and takes the other car from the counter, likely to create some sort of Evel Knievel-style launching system from which to shoot it from. 

It’s tough, this game of possession and the level of importance we assign to the objects, the things, the stuff that “belongs” to us.  As a matter of fact, I’m of the persuasion that we really own very little in our lives.  I feel we are more gifted an authority over things and we get to choose how to execute the stewardship of those things.

I have a home.  A home I purchased and work for and pay for.  However, when I am done with the use of this home, when it has served it’s purpose in my life, or I decide to move on from this place, I will relinquish ownership to the next purchaser and it will no longer be my home.  So, rather than get prideful about the place that I own, I try to honor it for the thing that it is, a place of shelter, a quiet place to read or study, a place to share a meal with family and friends, my safe harbor and the place in which I may rest my head at night.  I take joy in cleaning and shining the wood floors, impressed by the fact that although constructed nearly 100 years ago, the floors are still beautifully preserved and intact.  I give honor to the person who cut and built the archways by dusting, wiping, inspecting and giving attention to what my home may need.  I am the keeper of this place at this moment and I will also work to preserve and extend it’s life should someday I not still be the “owner.” 

I feel we can give such attention to the things in our lives and the people, as well.  I must remember as a wife that I do not “own” my husband.  He is a gift in my life for me to cherish.  Now mind you, I’m not preserving him for the next in line.  But, I rather feel in this dance of marriage and companionship that we are called to enhance the other’s existence, to partner to meet each other’s needs, support each other’s desires and to tenderly care for them in a way that does not overtake or abuse their position in our lives.  I do not wish to take for granted what I have been given. 

I help my children by providing them a donation box in which they can also release some of the ownership of their things in order to share with those less fortunate.  They sort through their toys and belongings and look for items to share.  It is not for the broken things they wish to discard, but rather when my step-daughter pulls out a stuffed bear that she likes and announces, “Beary has always made me smile because I like his silly scarf and his big eyes.  I think another girl would like him, too.”  My momma-heart swells so big and I know they are absorbing a will of goodness, rather than an idea of possession. For now she keeps that little, red corvette and that is okay, too.  She is enjoying it for this moment and perhaps will have a moment in the future where it is no longer hers.  Cherish the moments, baby girl, instead of the things.  I will enjoy more watching you create those loops and jumps, rather than basking in the pride of what items we can afford or not afford for you.  If you must posses, then posses the moment.  If you must own, then own the responsibility.  If you must insist, then insist on love.  Always, insist on love. 

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