Gym Wars Continued…


Actual locker room overheard quotes in a 10 minute span today:

“I’m just trying not to be obese”
“I can’t start dating until I get rid of this belly”
“I think my boobs are actually inverted at this point”
“I’m just skinny, you’re pretty”

All different women, all different ages, all kinds of wrong still happening with body image.

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Coping Vs Healing


When I was a young girl I always assumed I’b be a writer. I had a natural ability as a pre-teen to bring all my teachers to tears with my incredibly dramatic short stories. Only when I became an adult did I finally understand looking back that more than likely, it wasn’t my Hemingway spun words that stirred such emotion in them, but the true and disturbing topics I wrote about with such ease. A cancer stricken grandmother that I miraculously cured or an impossible to please father teaching me to ride a bike. Just a few of the very grown up topics that graced the pages of my short stories at the ripe age of eleven. Releasing them into the hands of my teachers while my Cheshire Cat smile sinked into the darkness as I watched from afar, thinking “I’ve done it again”. It had become a source of pride to watch the teachers gather, tears welding in their eyes as they read my latest masterpiece. I am now, more than ever, very painfully aware that my ability to write such emotional topics without actually experiencing any kind of emotional connection, may have in fact been what moved them so heavily.

I did have a gift, but not in the way that I thought as a young girl. I had a gift to completely and wholly disassociate myself with any kind of trauma I’d experienced. I carried this gift throughout my life and even continued to write about these experiences having absolutely no emotional reaction to the yellow brick road of horrific truths I laid out in words leading directly to my past. I had been so oblivious to the gift that I carried, that when others reacted strongly to reading some of my experiences and gave me that familiar look I’d experienced so many times as a young writer, the same look you may see from a first time mother watching her toddler just barley miss the sharp edge of a table before crashing down face first onto the hardwood floor. A somewhat perplexing mixture of relief for the near miss and complete terror for the resulting fall. When that familiar look met my eyes, it really had become to have no real affect on me. I’d always assumed that I was simply unaffected due to my resilience and natural ability to cope with trauma. Until, I had decided to unearth some of my younger years writing and update the hand written scribbles to savable computer files as a sort of time capsule recording my years of progression.

I’d been keeping what I became to call “The Boy Journal”, updated sporadically from the time I was eleven until the time I was married. It was, at least I thought, a detailed account of the dating woes of a pre-teen all the way to adulthood. I figured it would be a rather entertaining read for young women and maybe even a comical opportunity to repeat those all to over used words “learn from my mistakes, I beg of you!”. I grabbed my hot cup of tea and the worn familiar pages of “The Boy Journal” to, for as odd as it may seem to others, read the pages within for the first time from start to finish. In the course of my journey of putting pen to paper to heal from the many broken hearts I’d thought I’d suffered over the years, I’d never actually read the accounts in their entirety. I would, perhaps, revisit certain chapters as a reminder that last time I thought I may actually be the first woman alive to die at the hands of a broken heart, I did in fact breath on to see another day. Beyond these brief and calculated occasions, pen to paper seemed the only true relationship necessary with “The Boy Journal”. Ironically, it had been the longest relationship I’d maintained to date.

So, when a unexpected wave of emotions hit me like a foul stench upon starting my journey by way of reading into the past, I did what any sound person would do. I got as far away from that book as humanly possible. I buried  that book in a basket, under a pile of clothes, under a table. The corner still peers out of one side showing my haste in running away, similar to how you would hide such things from your mother upon her bursting through your door and intruding into your private world of writing. The corner has taunted me for the last 10 weeks. It stares out at me as a constant reminder of the grim reality that has bubbled up inside of me. You see, “The Boy Journal” started out innocently enough, the worries of a young woman about to enter high school, the recounts of the crushes from elementary and middle school’s past. The constant reminders of mistakes made and the natural lessons as a results of the realizations of those. What I was not expecting, was the first hand unfiltered and tremendously emotional accounts of my home life. I had let my guard down in these pages in a way that made me realize I’d never intended to read these words, but merely write them and be rid of them.

The most disturbing part was reading the accounts of a child knowing what I know now as an adult. Think of it this way, think of something seemingly innocent from your past, Let’s say your friend always got free ice cream from the local ice cream truck guy, nice guy. As a child this was innocent enough, but as an adult reading “Jill said the ice cream truck drivers is so nice, he gives her free ice cream all the time! He even takes her for rides around the park and lets her sit in his lap while steering and changing the music, I wish he gave me free ice cream too…”. Tell me that half way through that sentence you didn’t cringe and think “this is not going to turn out well”. Just for the record, my cul-de-sac never had an ice cream truck driver, but you get the imagery the best in this scenario I felt. In the writing, it’s clear that situations are not what they seem through the eyes of the child, me, but seeing it now through the eye of an adult, me,  it’s one of those moments when you’re screaming at the dumb girl in the horror movie to “turn around!” and you’re looking at your date like “doesn’t she feel the presence of that guy with the huge knife towering over just behind her?”  You’re totally helpless to do anything for the girl in the movie or the child in these pages. So, the anxiety and fear builds up until you simply cover your eyes and plug your ears while the scary parts pass. So, that is what I did. I covered my eyes from the words of my childhood and I developed an inexplicable fear of writing itself.

It wasn’t until I explored the possible reasons for my newfound fear of writing with a career coach that I had the “Ah-ha” moment. The moment in which I realized that there was a difference between coping and healing. Now, to some this may seem rather elementary, but to someone who only ever knew coping, the realization was rather profound. I’d come to a point in my life when the waters were calm, there were no more dramatic surges of trama to maintain my coping habit. So, like any other junkie there were times when I naturally created dramatic situations unknowingly that would result in the need to cope for weeks at a time. Being in the constant state of coping was natural and safe. The process of healing was unknown and terrifying. When I finally stopped beating myself up over the resistance to healing, the writing came. This writing came. So, I’m thankful for this next chapter and I look forward to healing. I look forward to helping others to heal. I simply continue to look forward until I am strong enough to look back again.

You’re nobody in particular. Congratulations.


“If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength. The spiritual truth is dramatically opposed to the values of our contemporary culture and the way it conditions people to behave.” – Echart Tolle

My husband is totally content with video games and Netflix. Sure, he will let me drag him on every adventure I come up with, but truly he is just fine with his Skyrim or latest episode of American Horror story. This used to drive me nuts about him. In fact, on one of the most recent adventures I planned we even had a slightly heated debate about it in the airport pub. I had just finished reading yet another “inspirational” self-help book, The Desire Map by Danille LaPorte, and I was all fired up about my purpose in life. I stirred my coffee round and round and sighed heavily until he finally said “Ok, what’s wrong we just got back from Ireland, you should be happy”. I rolled my eyes up from my mud-like cup of an imposter liquid posing as Seattle’s best and whined “What does it all mean? Every time I think I’ve found my calling, it’s wrong, it’s just all wrong. What or who am I meant to be? What is my purpose? Why can’t I have it all?” My very patient husband gave me his “here we go again with your crazy thoughts” look and scoffed “no one has it all honey, but we are close!” I knew this was going to be followed by a lecture on how great our life is and our jobs and how we travel often and want for nothing and truly are quite lucky and I knew this. I knew this was true. I knew that everything I ever thought I wanted had come true, but…but…here I was. I sighed heavily again and returned to stirring my coffee. You see, my wondering what it’s all about never ends, it’s a constant journey of searching and questioning and searching and questioning. All the while my husband is happy as a clam playing his silly games. Uhg. He drives me nuts. How can the simplicity of life make him so damn annoyingly happy? How? Well, because my husband is insanely insightful and has not even had to work at it. My husband is not concerned with the nag of his ego pushing him along. So, there is no need in his mind to change the status quo, he’s totally content with being nobody in particular. At least nobody beyond my amazingly content husband.

So, I’m torn with this question, why is it that I possess this drive, no need, to do something spectacular? I do sometimes think it goes back to some deep rooted childhood issue pertaining to my very conception. Picture this, I’m eight years old and like so many times before and for some morbid reason I think looking back now, I ask my mother to tell me about when she became pregnant. My mother didn’t hold any punches, she just wasn’t like that, she told it like it was. Not in the way you would imagine, not like a hard or lacking emotion person, she just told the truth. My mother would go back into the gas station to pay them the 2 cents she went over back in the day when they didn’t stop the pump for you. I’m not kidding, she did that all the time and the cashiers would laugh at her. So, when her eight year old looks up and asks her to tell her about when she’d become pregnant, well, she told the truth. She painted the grim picture of two teenagers who had just turned 20 having found out shortly after they were expecting their third child. They were broke. They were scared. They were young and in love and had no idea what they were doing. My mother nervously told my father she was expecting and they decided it was too much to take on another child. They decided they couldn’t keep me. So, my mother made an appointment and they head into the doctor. My eyes were always as wide as cookies during this portion of the story because for some reason it always put me on pins and needles as if I had no idea what the outcome would be. My mother undressed, she put her gown on, she laid on the cold bed staring at the white walls as my father waited impatiently in the waiting room. My mother became inconsolable, put her clothes back on ran out to the waiting room and into the arms of my father who had also decided not to go through with it. It was all very romantic, the opportunity to live, at least in my mind. So, as you can imagine, the pressure to do something great with my stolen romantic life was high.

Since then, I packed up my bags with the bible in hand my grandmother gave my mother during her “dark thoughts” of aborting me and I’ve dabbled in music, writing, acting and even modeling. I’ve dabbled in just about everything society tells us are successful and great endeavors. Meanwhile, each time was a spectacular failure, depending on how to define success, but if we are talking superstardom it was a spectacular failure, clearly I mean, you have no idea who the hell I am. So, here I am, nobody in particular, just some crazy girl doing crazy things to feel alive. Meanwhile, my husband sits quietly from the side lines cheering on whichever latest hair brained scheme I am undergoing, all the while the one that has it all figured out. Finally, at the ripe old age of 30, I’m feeling like I am starting to figure it out too. I have accomplished great things in my life, I have learned to appreciate the “small” things, that are in fact truly the most important things. I’ve learned to love my art and expression, even if it doesn’t make me a dime and even if I die knowing I never did anything “great” by society standards. My romantic stolen life, was a gift, it was an opportunity to be great and I am. I’m at my greatest when I am nobody in particular, when I just am.

What If Your Kid Is Transgender?


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In light of the recent “announcement” of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s gay admission and another report from NPR telling the story of a family with a 2 1/2 year old son showing signs suggesting he may be transgender, I decided to spark a conversation with my husband. What if our child was transgender? I knew where I stood on the subject, but then again I am a woman and I feel that women tend to be slightly more open minded. How is that for gender generalization? Ask a man if he would care if his male child wanted to wear dresses to school and you might be in for a fight, even in this day and age.

So, as we are having this conversation about our possible future children, and trust me that is still up for debate in our house, I wonder how many others have talked about it. We look for a partner in life that shares our same values and conversations normally occur about what kind of schools, or discipline or nutrition we want to implement in our parenting, but how often do we talk about gender or sexual preference. Now, I want you to know straight away that I am a huge supporter of the LGBT community and so is my husband. So, please forgive me if I reference something wrong or use words like “preference”, it’s not an intention of suggesting it’s a choice, so whatever your perspective, excuse my language use. Anywho, as expected when I approached the subject with my husband of our 2 year old boy possibly wanting to start wearing dresses instead of pants, he was a bit apprehensive. He put down his game controller (indicating he was really listening) and said “well, I feel like 2 is a little young and the back lash from school and other parents could cause reall damage, I’d like to wait until he was a little older, but if it was consistent and important to him, I’d let him, eh but not at 2”. This was not the answer I wanted, but it did bring something to the surface I’d hated to admit might be true. Did it cause damage due to society pressure? Was it wrong to encourage if there was a interest expressed?

I am the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice if my son wanted to go to school in a dress, even at 2. I’d probably say “ok, that sounds like fun”. I mean, what is gender if not just a society perspective on how we should act and dress as “men” and “women”. No one said women have to wear dresses, have long hair and play with Barbie’s. No one said that boys have short hair, wear pants and play with trucks. However, somehow as a society we have come to view this as the “right” way of doing things in our current gender roles. I really have no idea why this is and until now have never given much thought to it, sadly. In a society that is finally slowly starting to shift their perspective on the subject and more and more people are starting to become more and more comfortable with the idea, it seems to me this should start to become more and more of a “normal” conversation, right? Maybe my children will be lucky enough to grow up in a world where a major CEO being gay isn’t news worthy anymore. I want to be prepared for that day and I want to make sure I am doing the “right” thing to encourage the natural growth and individualism of my child. However, my husband brings up a good point too. What if my children are not privileged enough to be part of such an accepting society? What if it takes us even more years to get to that point? I really struggle with this. I think for boys in particular at an early age this might be more difficult. No one really questions a little girl that’s a tom boy and likes to play in dirt, but a little boy in a dress is like catastrophic for some reason.

In the end, the conversation might not even come up, but I want to be prepared if it does come up and I want my husband and I to be loving and open to our children (if we have any, ahh). Just as importantly, if the conversation comes up about a friend of our child in this situation, I want my child to be just and open and loving to them. However, not everyone shares my sentiments on this and I think it’s important that we get really clear in our relationships on where we stand on the matter. You’re entitled to your opinion and so is your partner, but if you can’t come to some kind of common ground on this, you’re going to run into issues and ultimately become divided as a family, which sadly is the case all too often. If you do not share my perspective, I encourage you to give some real thought and soul searching to your resistance. The reasons why you resist the idea have everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else, so food for thought. Anyway, I am by no means an expert in the area and of course I am not claiming to be, but I just thought it would be interesting to put this thought into the world and encourage couples to have the conversation as freely with your partner as you do the color of the nursery. Because it’s important. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very accepting family and I’m thankful for that. I want to create that for my children, I want them not to be afraid to talk about it. I want them to show love to everyone and I hope that one day this is the new normal and that it will no longer require pondering how to approach the converstation or what implications will come as a result. Until then, I am happy that my husband and I are loving and open enough with each other and with the world to have an honest debate on the matter. Can you?

You Will See It, When you Beleive It…


I come from humble beginnings. When I say that, I mean, dropped out of high school got my GED and worked 3 jobs to pay my OWN rent at the age of 16 kind of humble beginning. I’d talked the landlord into letting me stay because I was nearly 17 and he didn’t feel like looking for another tenant that had deposit ready in cash. I didn’t believe I’d ever make it out of the constant struggle. Most often, I didn’t even believe I had the ability to. I played the blame game a lot of the time. None of this was a result my own actions I thought. It was because my father died sophomore year. It was because the kids stared at me with wonder and horror after. It was because of comments from my peers like “My mom took your 911 call when you found your dad dead, she said you were like screaming and stuff” on a daily basis that were to blame for my failures. Screaming and stuff was all I could do inside and out at the time. I went from a shiny happy high school class president to a frightened little girl in a big girl world. Actually, that’s not true either. The truth is I was always a scared little girl in a big girl world, but I ran out of places to hide and so now I was emerging for all the world to see.

One day I was sitting in the middle of my bare apartment listening to the rain because my power had been turned off again and that was my only entertainment in the rare moments I actually allowed myself to be alone there. I heard a large bang outside my door and opened it to investigate. I’d never known my neighbor even though she lived across the hall from me. A beautiful brunette woman stood in the shape of a question mark in front of my door attempting to shove her belongings back into an already overloaded paper box. She tossed her hair out of her left eye and peered up at me. She was immaculately dressed like she had a team from Vogue that came over that morning to put her together just so that she could carry heavy boxes beautifully all day and she was, beautiful. It wasn’t so much that she was a particularly blessed woman in the way of her natural appearance, but she just seemed to have it together, even with all of her things falling out of a paper box.

I debated closing my door and allowing her on her way, but instead I said “Do you need any help?”. She flashed a Hollywood smile at me and said “you like name brand purses?” At the time, a “name brand” purse to me was Forever21. So, I said “sure, who doesn’t?” She lifted the box suddenly over her head, pushed passed me and plopped it onto my empty living room floor. “Here”, she said matter of fact, “I just don’t feel like lugging them down the stairs and really I don’t need them, I’m going back to California and their all last season anyway, I mean how embarrassing, right?” I stared at the confident beautiful woman standing in my living room and wondered how she got there. Not how she got to be in the middle of my living room, which was curious enough, but how she got to be so indifferent about throwing a few thousand dollar purses on the living room floor of a strange teenage girl was of particular interest to me. She dusted the rain from her long black fitted rain jacket and looked around my dark empty apartment. “You guys just move in? You and your mom? I haven’t seen you guys, but then again I’m almost never here, since I travel for work. It’s more like a squat spot, you know, like a cheap in between place to sleep now and again.” I didn’t know. I was two months behind on rent and even further behind on utilities and I all I wanted to do was cry to her and yell “no! I’m alone, I’m all alone”.

I guess the awkward staring and silence started to get to her because she began backing away towards the door. She clapped her hands and said “Well, I guess nice to meet you anyway, today’s my last day here. Can’t wait to get out of the rain for good.” I couldn’t find the words, but I wanted to ask her a million questions. All I managed to throw from my lips before she was totally out of site was, “thank you, why are you moving back to California? Did you get a job there?” She smiled down at the floor as if she were remembering a long lost love “no, no job, but sometimes you just got to believe, you know?” I didn’t know. I never saw her again, but from that moment I decided I would go to California too, I wanted to be a part of this wonder. I wanted to want something. I wasn’t sure how at the time, but I decided to “just know” that I would.

Fast forward five years. I’m on the road with a car, a U-Haul and a dog. I had nowhere to live, no job and no plan, but I had a dream and a drive I never knew possible. I thought about the neighbor from years past as I stared down at the now tattered coach purse in my passenger seat. Today I am so thankful that I took that chance. I am so thankful that I chose to believe. The 24 hour and 6 year journey from Seattle to Long Beach to LA to Port Hueneme California has been so rewarding. Once I gave myself permission to believe, I accomplished the unimaginable. I’d chosen not to allow myself to let my faith waver, in whatever endeavor I undertook, and had risen to the challenges in my way. I’m no longer a little girl in a big girl world, I’m the confident neighbor metaphorically dropping name brand purses in your living room. Give a girl a coach bag and she dreams for a day, teach a girl to believe and she dreams for a life time.

The Notorious B.I.G. – Machine Gun Funk


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Every once in a while we are taken out of our bodies, out of our minds and out of our world. These are the slow motion moments that suddenly everything is clear. For me, these moments often coincide with music. This time it was The Notorious B.I.G. – “Machine Gun Funk”. I am not exactly sure why this particular song spoke to me. It’s not one of my favorite Biggie songs and it’s not particularly moving lyrically. Don’t turn your nose up about rap songs being particularly moving, if you want to argue with that then go listen to “Keep Ya Head Up” by 2Pac and tell me that doesn’t move you. Interestingly enough, I am not necessarily a huge rap fan in my recent years. Granted, I love old school rap and I’m never opposed to it, but it’s not what I reach for. The last few years have me reaching for Frank Sinatra and Janis Joplin. If I’m in a particular gloomy mood I might turn to Jimmy Reed, there seems to be a time and place for rap and I just do not find myself in it very often any more.

Although, nothing seems to work better than good old fashion gangster rap when I need to get motivated to work out. If you’ve read my past posts, you know that I am fond of this method. So, having this experience come from a rap song meant to simply motivate a work out as background music was somewhat odd. However, here it was. The slow motion, the emotional awareness and the power of being in the now. Everything in my mind was clear, not clear in the sense that is all made sense it was just clear. The rest of the world seemed to slow way down to a snail like crawl around me. It was as if I had complete control over this moment in this space in time. It was brief and followed by a stronger sense of self awareness. For some reason I had this strong fear bubble up inside of me, that I think has been there for quite some time. I realized that I currently was building someone else’s dream and would probably continue to do so for the next 30 years of my life. For the next three decades I was to be someone’s tool, I was to be a means to an end. Is this all there is? Sadly, in a sense I am living the “American Dream.” I make a great living, I am financially comfortable to a point, I have great benefits, I have freedom to travel, I will probably own property very soon. This is the dream. This is what people from all over the world come to America to achieve and yet, it terrifies me.

 

I often joke with my fiancé that we should just throw caution to the wind and start our own business. While he laughs this off, I think if I came to him with a legitimate plan he would probably get on board. What makes us all tick? This is always the question that rolls around in my head. What is it that appeals to the masses, what is the secret formula? I wonder if we’ve lost the “start-up” magic that so many were able to achieve mere years ago. Maybe everything that can be thought of was already thought of. Either way, it’s terrifying. Maybe that is why so few people actually pull the trigger. The comfort of a 401K and health coverage is more appealing than the CHANCE your business will take off and actually turn a profit. Although, I find myself looking to the road of startup more often then I care to admit. Sure, you could just try something on for size while you enjoy the security of a 9-5, but I wonder if that is enough? I recently read “The war of Art” and one of the things he wrote that I found interesting is that you have to make your passion like your job. He then went on to describe his “routine” of waking up in the morning and writing until noon none stop even if everything he wrote was crap. I know what I was supposed to get from this, but instead I just found myself thinking “who has the time to wake up every morning and write until noon? Doesn’t this guy have a real job?”. A real job, indeed.

I say all the time that I wish I was really good at something. I wish that I had some kind of skill that I loved that no one else was really good at. I don’t think that overanalyzing qualifies. It’s a shame, because I am REALLY good at that. I wonder if I’ll be brave enough to take the leap one day to start building my own dream. For now, I guess I’ll just keep plugging away at the 9-5 until I figure out that I am only saving to die, really. I mean, it’s not like any of us is going to have any other outcome in life. So, what are we doing busting our butts to achieve “The American Dream” when we could be busting our butts to achieve our own personal dream. Even if that means we don’t end up having the white picket fence and the fancy car. Maybe we are too concerned with material items and the way other people perceive us to truly go after it. Maybe I just overanalyze things too much. I guess I’ll leave it to you to ponder.

 

Gym Wars – Continued


A man clearly invented these spandex work out pants that slide on as easy as a second skin laced with sand paper. I probably look like some kind of ape with my elbows pointing in and out attempting to squeeze my ass into the tiny black hole that is spandex. Typically, I would wear my most baggy covered up clothes to the gym with a cap and hope not to be noticed. Maybe I thought the extra exposed wobbly bits would encourage me to work just a bit harder. Instead, I felt myself continuously checking for a camel toe before bravely and finally leaving the woman’s locker room. I quickly tune into my gangster rap so I can build the confidence to walk the 20 steps to the nearest elliptical. I’m cut off by another determined woman, clearly more comfortable with the concept of a camel toe, and I wonder if that super power is what made her just a tad bit more speedy than myself. Panicked, I look around for a suitable machine that is comparable to that of the elliptical, which is really the only gym machine I know how to successfully use without looking like a complete idiot. I jump onto the curious looking machine directly next to her in a unnoticed attempt to say “this is actually what I meant to do, so there”. I painfully try to work this machine similar to the way that an elliptical works, but quickly realize though they are close in appearance they are not in the way that they move.

I’m not even sure what the hell this machine is. It takes strides but also teeny tiny little steps, my guess is to work your calves? I’m desperately trying to coordinate my body on this awkward beast when I see the reflection of two gym employees standing behind me appearing to be gawking at my spandexes ass becuase by this point it’s clear that they own me. My initial thought is to tighten my buns and straighten my back like a proud ostrich, I guess so as not to look saggy and old in my new found work out clothes. However, I am sure it translated more like the desperate mating call of a cat in heat arching her back and making that terrible sound, which is the sound I am convinced I must make moving in these pants. I’m squeezing my eyes closed hoping my Jedi mind tricks will kick in and sway their gaze elsewhere. Suddenly, I have a dreadful thought that perhaps they are in fact gawking at something appalling. Just then, I feel something inside my spandex scratching my rear up and down and I swear to myself if I’ve torn these horrible pants down the rear I’ll never return to this gym. So, here I am with this critical dilemma. Firstly, Pandora finally stopped playing commercials and started in with a dope Bone Thugs song which is just ghetto enough to bob too, but not so much that I feel like a bad person. Second, I have promised myself that I would spend at least 40 minutes on this stupid machine and there are 10 minutes left to go. Third, am I supposed to be wearing underwear with these things?

I can pull off 10 more minutes, that’s like 1 and a half gangster rap songs. The scratching intensifies and I pull my tank top down low in an effort to conceal any exposed skin that may or may not have occurred. I try to calm myself reminding my head that I am new to the world of spandex and perhaps they all just feel a bit airy. The staring continues followed by some pointing and arm punches back and forth. The clock isn’t moving “oh please just let this be over” I think to myself in an effort to calm my wobbly legs. At 8.5 minutes left, I finally give up, knowing that I still have to walk over, grab a sanitizer wipe and walk back all with the possibility that I am giving out way more than this crowd paid for. I keep my head down during the journey holding the false sense of security of a 5 year old and in my head chant that if “I can’t see them, they can’t see me, nah nah nah”! Wiping the machine down with the speed of light I run through the gym, past the gawking men and down the long flight of stairs. Cooley, I check my rear in the mirror relieved that there has been no tear, but realize my tags were in fact still attached and had been rubbing and poking out causing the airy sensation. I shower and change feeling pretty good that the gawking was probably more in a flattering way than anything that was humiliating.

Reaching the top of the stairs feeling triumphed and hot I see said employees exchange the same arm punch. Just before I return my ears to the sounds of gangster rap bliss, I over hear one of them state “I told you, next game was mine, now you owe me $50”. I stumble towards the front door and in the confusion catch a glimpse of my abandoned elliptical and then just above it where the football game had been playing. Well, I guess matters could have been worse. Much worse…..