Savior: Exercise?

March 26, 2014 § 2 Comments

Did exercise save my life? I’ve been pondering it a lot recently. I’ve been feeling sooooo good lately but I’m still really worried that this is just temporary, that I’ll go back into my dark place at any minute. I keep trying to track in my mind when exactly I hit rock bottom, but there were so many times in the last few years that I thought things couldn’t get any worse that it’s pretty hard to pinpoint when things truly were at their worst.

I still have dark thoughts, but they’re fleeting. Looking at the sheen of light on my knife as I’m chopping veggies for dinner, for example, still makes me want to slice it across my arm. My inner voice still says, “Just do it!” But I don’t. The moment passes in seconds and I’m back to my current happy self preparing a delicious meal after a full day of living.

Generally, though, I really do feel fantastic. Exercise has done that for me. Joining fitness classes really was my moment of true genius, the one thing that actually turned things around for me in what feels like a lasting way. I’m learning to use my body in new ways, gaining more control over it while developing quicker imitation skills. I’m also feeling challenged, which is always great for me, and I feel stronger with every class I complete.

I don’t think my body looks much different, but it’s only been a few weeks. I definitely feel a lot stronger, like my muscles have woken up and realized what they’re supposed to feel like, how they’re supposed to function. I’ve had a hard time going up and down stairs and even going to the bathroom because my muscles are so sore. I basically just fall into chairs instead of sitting down in them properly but eventually my legs won’t be so sore. My triceps have had a hell of a week too but thankfully I don’t have to lift heavy objects often (in fact, I actively avoid lifting heavy objects). I’ve got Zumba tonight which is easier than the other classes.

Normally I wouldn’t be this sore, but this week is Spring Break at UAB so the workout classes are on a slightly different schedule. So when I thought I was going to easy-peasy Monday Zumba, I actually ended up in Total Body Conditioning which I’d previously avoided because I thought the class would kick my ass (which it did). But I actually really liked it. If I keep up with it, I’ll be in damn good shape by the end of April. I really like the class (and hate it) because it works arms which was one of my fitness goals. My arms are pretty flabby-looking so I’d really like to have toned arms in time for summer.

I’m actively focusing more on how I look and feel than what I weigh. So what if I weigh 150lbs? As long as I have a flat stomach, I really don’t care. Plus I’d rather not lose too much weight because all my cute clothes won’t fit and I don’t feel like buying a whole new wardrobe. We’ll see!

I think I’m giving up cycling classes on weekends (because they’re fucking miserable) in favor of doing outdoorsy things instead. I joined the Birmingham Adventure Group and am going on my first hike with them this weekend! I’m taking Asha along with so I’ll have someone to talk to if I’m too awkward to successfully make new friends. The exercise and fresh air will be great, but I need to start building a new friends circle so I’m hoping this will be a good way to do it. And hopefully my legs will have recovered from this week’s workouts enough that I won’t die on the trail. I figure 8 hours of workouts per week plus weekend outdoors activities is a pretty solid fitness routine!

There’s something about surviving a rigorous fitness class that makes you feel accomplished and ready to take on anything. It’s very empowering. Morning yoga is still working out great, though I’ve been a little late this week because I’ve been having really intense dreams that make me super groggy in the morning. I miss the days when I first started on sleeping pills when my dreams were short, sweet, and fuzzy.

Still haven’t heard back from the job I interviewed for last week. I’m certain that’s causing some anxiety. Plus I’m working up to “reclaiming” spaces in Birmingham. I’ve had a lot of worry about running into certain people which means I’m avoiding places I really like to be. That’s got to stop. I live here now. This is my city. I should feel free to go where ever I want and not live in fear of awkward situations.

So I’ve got plans to go to every place I have a history within the next two weeks.

A big undertaking? Yes. Emotionally it will be challenging. But this is necessary. If I run into people (statistically unlikely though I have a long history of running into people unexpectedly) then I’ll deal with it and probably no longer have that pressing anxiety about worrying I’ll run into them. I’m breaking the discomfort barrier and reclaiming my favorite spaces.

This is my city too. And dammit, I want to *live* here.


§ 2 Responses to Savior: Exercise?

  • ianlhayes says:

    I have a similar habit of exorcising places of personal historical significance after they’ve become associated with unsavory individuals or unpleasant memories. I would go alone and just occupy the space for a while until I overwrote the unpleasant recollection with the pleasant present.

    Good tactic. Then again, we’re both depressives, so maybe having things in common isn’t a positive thing.

    • alexalhayes says:

      I think we can still have positive behaviors despite being depressives. Reclaiming those spaces and overwriting emotional discomfort is an extremely healthy and freeing thing to do. (I’m still nervous about doing it though. ahhhh it’s gotta get worse before it gets better.)

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