I hate exercising.
I hate it with the passion of thousands of sunburns.
I hate it more than I hate the giant brown moth who has moved in and refuses to leave or to allow himself to just be killed already, no matter how many strategies or maneuvers I have tried over the course of his several days of making himself quite comfortable in one corner of my home.
I hate that I've now been outsmarted by a moth on a daily basis and have started to consider offering him amenities like a sleep mask or bath salts to make his obviously lengthy vacation plans a bit more enjoyable, as I am nothing if not a good hostess.
But back to exercise:
I hate it like I hate eel.
I hate it like I hate whoever the person was who initially greenlit anything involving the words "Honey Boo Boo" and then set that vernacular free into our world where they now make tragic sense.
I hate exercising more than that there will actually be a book released next year of Kim Kardashian selfies that will actually be called Selfish, and that I know she's doing this without a hint of irony.
I hate that an imbecile has become so very wealthy, but not as much as I hate that there are people who will buy that book at full price, and not as a joke.
I hate exercise more than I hate Aviva, her lecherous father, and Ramona from The Real Housewives combined. Quantitatively-speaking, that's a lot.
I've done yoga for about two years now, and I don't always hate that. I mean, I love the part when it's over. And I have been impressed lately with the shapes my body can now contort itself into when, just a few months ago, I couldn't even force my mind to imagine some of those positions. I especially think I like that so many poses are named after animals. Pushing my ass towards the sky while my thighs are shoved towards my back door as I'm leaning forward on my forearms and pulling in my core and being told to hold that pose as my instructor counts more slowly than any human being ever has just becomes somewhat nicer an experience when you hear that your physical misery is being caused by something some cute yogi somewhere coined The Dolphin. I like that so many horrible poses are named after sweet furry mammals and cute little critters.
If there's not yet a pose called The Otter -- my favorite (besides Wookie) of all the world's creatures -- I'm creating it, though I'm fully willing to admit that a pose created by me would probably involve lying horizontally on a sofa.
Look! I'm doing The Otter right now. And I am fucking fantastic at it.
But with all this time off over the summer and with my mornings free, I find myself engaging in other kinds of exercise, and it's mainly walking with brief sprints thrown in. I recognize that someone going on walks would not cause the normal people reading this to think anything fantastical has taken place, but those are people who don't know me. Those who do, listen to this:
I bought sneakers.
I put them on.
I walked and I ran in them.
They are pink. I'm still questioning that choice. (I'm pretty sure the answer to the question is a definitive No, but at least I've embraced a little color.)
My first foray into power-walking happened the other day and it was like I had been possessed by something, because all I know is that one moment I was drinking a large cup of black coffee and the next I was walking upstairs and pulling open the drawer that has my exercise clothing inside. I pulled on a little tank and some yoga pants and off I went.
I live in a place that's full of hills, something I aesthetically have always wanted around me, as they are gorgeous when you're looking at them from the windows of a moving car with the air conditioning blowing your hair just so.
Turns out, though, walking those hills hurts like hell.
The first day, I couldn't fully commit. It's like when there might be a new guy in your life, and you're just not ready to break out the really good bra or something, so I went on this hilly walk in flip flops. They have only a very small wedge. I wear them around the house and I consider them my appropriate footwear, so I thought they'd be fine on my stroll.
They were not. Because it turns out that I wasn't taking a stroll.
Headphones on, playlists at the ready, those flip flops could not handle what it was that I had to release energy-wise. The switch to the bought-and-still-had-tags-on-them sneakers came out on Day 2 of this Exercise Endeavor, and it turns out that genuinely responsible footwear can change everything.
I know: lessons like Wear Sneakers for Physical Activity are what other people learned in toddlerhood and I'm sure I was taught those things then too, but just like how to discover the circumference of a circle or what the capital of South Dakota is, it's a fact that went fleeing from my head to make room for important things, like quotes from the movie Airplane.
Each day that I walk, I've been going a little farther. Each hill becomes a new challenge. Every time I see a sign and think, I'm going to sprint to that sign, and I actually break into a run, I feel like I'm another person who would drive by the girl with the ponytail and the pink sneakers and think "Good for her! Now, which carb am I eating for dinner tonight?"
But even that's changing. I'm eating stuff like edamame for a snack. Did you know you can buy a bag of it you can steam while it's still in the bag in your microwave at the supermarket? It's true! The edamame is located in a different aisle than Hostess is, an aisle I've lately ignored completely.
Who am I?
I'm loving salads.
I roasted kale.
I bought kale.
But each morning before I take the walk, as resolved as I am to go on it, I all but have to push myself out the door, trying my mightiest to think of any excuse that can keep me from heading out to begin. I think maybe getting cuter gear might make the process more engaging to me, but the hills are so windy, I find it best to keep the top part of me in white to ward off the cars that sometimes take those hills at an alarming speed.
(If I ever start wearing reflector tape anywhere on my body so I can exercise though, please have me committed. And bring me Twinkies when you visit me in the hospital along with shit magazines like Cosmopolitan or anything that gives a pregnant girl from Jersey Shore a cover. Leave the Vanity Fair at the door. I've obviously lost my mind completely and can only read that which is total bullshit.)
But I've also started to discover things I can enjoy about all of this new activity that wasn't immediately apparent since the entire time before I'm exercising and during the process is merely about me wanting it to end.
I like that I'm rediscovering playlists I made on my iPod that I haven't listened to in years.
I'm liking hearing U2 followed randomly by Nirvana and then James Taylor, whose music is pretty good for the cooling down part.
I like that every song I hear that I haven't listened to in a long time is associated in my mind with a particular time or a certain person, and that then I think of those people or those moments as yet another hill appears up ahead.
I like how my clothes are fitting and that I don't have to wonder if a skirt will look nice.
I love the moment of seeing my home finally up ahead on my way back, though there are days that I think I might have to crawl the last few steps to my door and that if I lie there long enough, Wookie will eventually develop thumbs and learn how to open the front door to welcome me back.
I like that, every day, I'm drinking more water to make up for sweating, which I hate most of all, as sweating is just the opposite of unpretty, and if that wasn't a line in that TLC song, I'm sure they meant to include it after telling me that I could buy all the makeup MAC can make. (I wear their eyeliner -- the bordeauxline color, even after all these years, is killer.)
And I really like that I'm starting to feel my own strength -- and that I've rediscovered it for myself.
But that said, should you discover me one day in workout clothing and hot pink sneakers, and I'm keeled over by the side of the road because I took one too many hills, please at least compliment me on my ass or my thighs as you drive by, though just think it to yourself. Don't shout it from the car window because I will, with my last heaving breath, tell you to go fuck yourself, as doing so is just now an instinct I've adopted after being born female in this world, and being female in this world includes many wonderful things, but it can include some shitty stuff too -- one of which is being shouted to from car or truck windows by men since puberty.
And then, on your way back from wherever it was you were going in the first place, just swing by to make sure that I'm not still there, in that same spot, existing only on pond or drain water as I try to make myself a bed out of leaves -- though I think my moth roommate might like that he'll finallyget to spend some quality time alone.