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For Real, Though
How’s life treating you this fine day? I’m on my way to the gym for the second time this week, and I must say, it feels good to feel good. Sort of. It’s an adjustment. But I’m trying to be okay with it.
I remember back to when I first started going to the gym (again) a couple of months ago. My goal was simply to go, even if all I did was walk around the track and then stretch. And let me tell you, when I was recovering from my fatigue illness, even that was a feat, at times. I was used to being sick at this point, and decided that I wasn’t going to let it hold me back that day. Despite the fact that I felt nauseous and my stomach was killing me, I felt barely attached to reality from light headedness and pain, and I could barely move faster than a slow walk without wanting to pass out, I went to the gym, and I walked around the track. I listened to my music, and I didn’t let myself think about the people passing me. Because of how tall and skinny I am, I often get people approaching me to tell me that I have no reason to be at the gym, because of how “fit” I am. I guess they feel ashamed by my presence? Luckily no one came up to me asking why I was moving so slow when I was clearly a track star, but that was certainly an insecurity playing at the back of my mind.
I felt horrible, especially for the first twenty minutes or so, but as I told myself to just keep going, just for a little longer, things started to change. Some of my symptoms started going away or lessening. I still felt light-headed and was still in some pain, but I was able to stand up straighter, and walk a little more briskly. By the end of the workout (and yes, it’s a workout, even all you can do is the bare minimum!) I actually felt pretty good.
The next few times I went, I reminded myself that I didn’t have to do anything extreme, but I was starting to get some strength back, and I was able to go for a short run. I felt very proud of myself, not for being able to run, but for not letting my “inadequacy” from last time keep me from coming back, or trying to push myself a little when I felt ready.
Even though I haven’t been going to the gym every week, I do enjoy my time when I go. I go when I’m ready, and I try to push myself when I know I could go, but I’m letting fear or inadequacy hold me back. I’m learning to treat myself gently and lead with my body. Just by starting something that I don’t want to do, or don’t feel I can do, I often discover that all I needed was a bit of a push. I tell myself that I’m just going to work on something for a short amount of time, and then I can go back to whatever I was doing before. Sometimes, that’s exactly what happens: I’m fatigued, so I’ll complete an activity and then go back to watching TV. But other times, that small action makes me realize that maybe I can do one more thing, and then another, and then another, until I’ve knocked more off my to-do list than I thought I was capable of. Of course, as long as I don’t go overboard and go into overdraft.
Yesterday’s workout is one that I can be really proud of. The last time I went to the gym, I was a little crunched for time, so I couldn’t run for as long as I wanted, even though some awesome songs were coming on my playlist. I got myself to task switch by telling myself that the next time, I would be able to run for as long as I wanted. So that’s what I did. And I used all the machine weights at least once. I didn’t have time stretch since I had a meeting to get to, but I took a long bath before bed and now I feel great. Things seem to be looking up, for now. A couple of days I had a down day, where I couldn’t get dressed or leave my room. But it wasn’t as bad as some of the other dips. I was still able to eat and get some work done, and the next day, I got back on track. I’ve come to accept that those days will happen, but hopefully less frequently, and hopefully they will stay short in duration. So, wherever you’re at right now, I pray your good days get better and your bad days get some chill.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13