Ruin

I was used to watching nothing but The Golden Girls reruns whenever I wandered toward the television. After Friends ended…well, I suppose my TV-watching spirit died a little…but, hey? Who’s didn’t? I quickly adjusted to minimal TV viewing, and used it more as a distraction than anything, hence why I chose to watch a sitcom whose script I probably know start to finish, season-1 to season-x.

But then came an increased awareness of this thing called High Definition TV. I’ve become a snob, and have a hard time watching The Golden Girls because they appear so grainy…what is the monstrously-sized blob lording over the left of the screen with the thundering voice? Oh, it’s Dorothy. Of course. (I love you, Bea Arthur, I really do!)

But I find it ironic that with the multitude of cable packages that Nick pays for every month, there are but a handful channels that I even consider. The graphics artist in me appreciates the beauty in the flawless picture (yes, I intend to make this sad observation intellectual if not artistic), and fumes even further as another CSI episode clarifies a blurred image by ADDING PIXELS FROM THIN AIR. The life of a graphics artist so belittled. That’s totally why I traded it all for an entry level position at the bottom of a totem pole: who’s laughing now, huh!?

But it is an excitement when we find some sort of show on at bedtime (around 8:00, sadly) on a network station, and we rush to refold the blankets covering our laps and restore the living room before tackling the steps two, three at a time all while cheering excitedly as we head toward the new bedroom TV, “LET’S WATCH IT IN HD!”

And it is now that I know the interesting phase in my life has passed.

C.S. Lewis

The Magician’s Nephew  is the most autobiographical book the C.S. Lewis ever wrote, and, while watching a documentary on the great writer yesterday afternoon, my skin prickled at a truth I’ve never heard stated in quite the same way. It gave me tears, and then it gave me peace.

The mother of the little boy (Digory) in the story is dying of Cancer, a scenario Lewis knew only too well. In case you don’t know, C.S. Lewis was a born again Christian, having strayed toward atheism in adulthood when he began to question his spiritual upbringing. After years of debate, his logic led him back, and he was a devout Christian until his death in 1963. The Chronicles of Narnia are a Christian allegory.

Anyway, The Magician’s Nephew  was the sixth of the seven chronicles published, though it is the first chronologically. It is in The Magician’s Nephew  that the world of Narnia is created. Digory asks Aslan, The Creator, the most powerful and gracious, to save his mother. Aslan cries. Digory concludes with wonder that Aslan loves his mother even more than he does.

I pleaded nightly in my prayers for over two years asking God to save Mom and make the disease go away. In Sunday School, my teacher taught me that God hears every prayer, but that sometimes, he just says, “No.” I know that He wept at her pain, and loving her even more than I did, he wanted her to know the splendor of Heaven.

Who I Am

I developed an awareness of my lifestyle on my own somewhere around the onset of my 20’s. Considering that I am sitting, legs dangling, atop the apex of my twenty-fifth year, this is a very sad piece of trivia indeed. Before that time, I subsisted largely on second and third helpings, Mountain Dew, and really anything that left a grease mark on the plate. Fortunately, I never had much of a taste for sweets (I guess I was sugared out with that Mountain Dew). It was the way of my household, the way my family ate. I thought it was normal.

I was in college when I had a chest pain. Twenty years old and my heart protested its environment so enthusiastically that I lost my breath. Then began my transformation—or was it my reformation? I was a sponge for information—anyone who’s taken healthful living seriously will tell you of its addictive nature…all of the sudden you just feel so good. Even today, I can estimate the calories on just about any plate. I have omnipresent knowledge of RDA’s and UL’s…and enough about fiber to make you go cross-eyed.

Why this topic, why now? I almost never talk about this stuff here…part of my self-therapy, I suppose: it is easy to become obsessed. That, and everyone in audience tends to feel uncomfortable when you inadvertently cause them to take a look at their own habits. Nick and I were out to dinner last night, and somehow this subject came up, so it is on my mind. “It’s hard,” I told him. On one hand, I’m incredibly proud of how I’ve changed myself for the better. I’ve lost weight, have kept it off for years, and I’m so fit. I’m only about a month and a half out of surgery and I jogged for 75 minutes the other day. I couldn’t have gone for even two minutes a few years ago—at that time, having been out of the hospital since birth. On the other…I’m so ashamed of how I was, how I behaved, and how little I knew while still in my self-dug trench of poor health.

While in the process, my friends and family would ask me, “How do you do it? How do you lose weight? What’s the secret?” There is no secret. There’s only one thing that works, and it’s got nothing to do with that infomercial you just watched from Guthy-Renker or those expensive pills on the shelves that control your appetite by making you feel like you’re going to puke if you even THINK about food: it’s nutrition, and it’s exercise. Do you know the FDA recommends 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables? 25 minimum grams of fiber? Take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and it is this amount of water in ounces that you should get a day, base. The American Heart Association calls for sixty minutes of heart healthy exercise every day. I dare you to meet these recommendations and see if you feel like making the same lifestyle choices afterwards.

Nick asks me about this topic now and then…he notices things about me…a lacking confidence in my appearance, my disbelief when someone seems to find me attractive. To this I can say that I am grateful to my beginnings: while confidence is the sought out trait, I would rather have mine invested in my personality than in my appearance. My mother was complimentary of my looks, but what mother isn’t? (And especially when her daughter looks so much like herself! LOL!) She repeated this same sentiment those last months we had together…that the way I grew up made me exactly who I am today. If a book could be interpreted by its cover we wouldn’t need to waste all that ink underneath. An overweight person is not a lazy person. An overweight person is not a glutton. An overweight person has a story, just as everyone else has. One could say that I changed myself a few years ago…but I didn’t, not really. I just switched out the cover.

Circuit Training

A full week now of this dumb head cold winding out, obviously I’m fussy and irritated by many things. I had a half-day at work yesterday, and I like nothing better on my half-days than to knock away a few hours at the gym. I love the gym. I love exhausting my body, especially now that I can do deep pliés without feeling like I’m seam-ripping my incision.

The gym makes me happy, it always makes me happy. I put just over in hour in on the treadmill yesterday, and then I moved over to do some strength training. There was a sweaty toad of a man there doing circuit training on the machines, and I was revolted. I get the theory, I know all about it, and I even believe in its probable effectiveness: but I was absurdly offended yesterday afternoon. I am a fan of supersets, having your muscles reach failure before moving on, quivery and questioning continued movement at all.

So I’m sitting there breathing through my pectoral work, and this man stops briefly in front of me with a quick diva look that I swear said, “You’ve been there so long (all 90 seconds)! I wanted to use that machine next!” Then he continued on to the next machine with a barely audible huff and did reps so fast I don’t understand how they did him any good and how he avoided joint abuse (if he even did). He was quickly ruining my calm—and I was SO calm! The sun rained in through the tall windows and pinstriped that particular room with dust mote sparkles and glorious, caressing heat.

It was like practicing yoga next to the Energizer Bunny. What was worse, he wasn’t wiping down his, SWEATY TOAD MAN’S, equipment after he finished is 5-second set. At first I carefully wiped his “leftovers” from the various machines in a concealed manner, not to be rude, but after a few more looks that told me in no certain terms that I was ruining his flow, I began to clean them with very flashy movements so that he could not miss the fact that I found him to be a sweaty toad man.

Surprised, Pleasantly So…

So, I’ve put a spot of weight back on in the past several months…and while the unhealthy-minded part of me misses the malnourished sprite that got sick off of at least one meal daily, it doesn’t hurt so much when I lie down anymore. The ribcage has a bit more of a cushion.

I ordered a skirt for myself last week…it was on clearance and I ordered it a size larger than I was once, thinking I was probably just thicker enough around the middle…but I really need to stop throwing away receipts and ripping off tags as soon as I get something. I wore the skirt to work yesterday and as soon as I got there I accosted my team: “Does anybody have a safety pin?”

They scurried around, offering binder clips and security tag pinchers while I stood looking properly devastated. “I don’t think I’m in danger of being indecent…?” I stated uncertainly. Finally, a sewing kit did there emerge and I made my way to the bathroom, righting my waistband to a more appropriate circumference.