My body aches, I have crammed this week two 40-minutres sessions of cardio on the treadmill, yoga, abs and arms workouts and even my lashes are weeping. People here are obsessed with fitness which is funny specially when one considers the fact that America is one of the heaviest (I don’t like the word fat) countries in the world. Like I have pointed out before this is a country of extremes where the morbidly obese and the scarily thin coexist in shaky harmony. Since I am neither skinny nor obese I find myself being in that unhappy middle where obese people hate you because you complain about your weight and you hate the skinny people because they complain about theirs. I gave the gym a shot last year. I went every day for six painful, miserable months and actually gained two fucking pounds.
I am now happily exercising at home with my yet-to-be-paid-for treadmill. I rather bust my ass at home in the privacy of my own four walls than do it in front of a bunch of strangers. Granted is not really easy to exercise around a hyperkinetic dog that licks, pushes, barks and shoves her snout on your crotch but I’ll take that over talking a stroll down to the bowels of Hell. Dante didn’t talk about it in his Comedy, but I am sure it was a mere oversight. What else can you call a place where they make you weigh yourself in front of your husband and make you take measurements of your body so you know IN NUMBERS that your ass is too big and your boobs too small? As if you weren’t well acquainted with that fact. What else can that place be, if not Hell? With all the mirrors and the unflattering harsh lights, the inane music that makes you feel trapped in an elevator while you endlessly loop on a treadmill. You add to that the people around you that are a walking promise of what you might become (Gym Barbie and Willie the whale are your choices) and that sounds to me like a cocktail for insanity.
I remember clearly a girl in particular from my six-month stint in hell (a la Persephone) she was a chubby girl who was trying so hard to lose weight, you could see it. She used to jog/crawl on the treadmill next to mine, sheer determination coming off of her like waves. I could feel her need to fit in a pair of single digits Jeans. So there she was, wheezing air in and out, everything jiggling while her face got purple with a mix of pain, heat and concentration. She would watch Dancing with the Stars on the TV in front of us, seeing the graceful dancers and the cute outfits as an incentive to lose some weight and the shimmery lights distracting her from the pain. Inevitably damnation came in the shape of an Applebee’s commercial, with their fake “healthy” food and their yummy, greasy goodness. You could see the bodiless hands dipping the boneless wing in the sauce, damn them! And the girl would stop jogging, she knew that I knew that she was going to go home and wolf down some wings and there’s no point for her to kick her ass any longer for the night. Right when she is fantasizing about the drippy wings up come from the stairs the trim gym goddesses, in matching Nike outfits and perfect hair. They don’t sweat, they glisten and they climb the stairs gracefully while they pat the nonexistent sweat with a hand towel.
One time tired of seeing her defeat I did the unthinkable and talked to her, I NEVER talk to strangers but her face was just so sad that I couldn’t help it so I look at her and I could hear her thoughts: “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!!!” and I didn’t judge her because they were my thoughts too. Granted I didn’t really hate the skinny bitches in matching outfits and washboard abs. I would totally push them out of the way if a bus was going to hit them. I would just push reaaaaal hard. So filled with pity for my kindred spirit I told her: “Whatever they have like no ass” and smiled at her. She looked at me and I guess she thought I wasn’t heavy enough to hate along with her because her withering stare still gives me the hibbie jibbies and she replied: “Yes, they have no ass, but I have TWO” and she spits that “TWO” at me like a dart.
Even after that I kept going to the gym. I became one of those people I “ugh” about. I never really belonged there, tough, but kept going anyway. Dear Husband loved the routine, the endorphins (an urban myth as far as I am concerned). He would be all peppy and smiley and my eyes were stinging from the sweat, I was blinded by the fog in my glasses, my muscles cramping all confused because they were never worked like that before and my lungs didn’t know quite what to do with the air.
I hated that fucking place; even just remembering makes my blood boil. I still remember Dear Husband’s voice saying: “When you cheat while exercising you are only cheating yourself” every time I took a break. I love that man. God knows I do but when we were at the gym he would say stuff like “Don’t lock your knees” or “Give me two more”, “Love the burn, feel the burn” or my personal favorite “There is no can't here” and I swear I would feel this homicidal urge that only the fear of being someone’s bitch from 15 to 20 and that horrid orange jumpsuit, would stop me from going “Snapped” on his ass.
I tried. I really did. I would wake up tired and achy and not an ounce thinner and I would just say to myself “muscle is heavier than fat” and fool myself into going again. I would try to be all positive and shit and imagine myself jogging at the beach in my thong with nothing jiggling. I would repeat “The Secret” in my head over and over again “Don’t just wish to be happy, be happy, feel happy” Smug bastards.
The pain, I assured myself, was a gentle reminder of my efforts, I would someday, laugh at my pains, no! Someday I wouldn’t even remember what it was like! And I would be curling 35 pounds and I would run around naked in the beach, thong? Who needs a thong!? I would walk around the gym doing nothing, patting my forehead with a towel and being hated by all. Sigh. That’s when you know you are hot when petty women hate you on principle.
I am a stinking failure because no matter how obsessed this nation becomes with a 100 pound ideal of beauty I am never going to be it. I am Hispanic! My ass alone weighs close to 100 pounds. I cannot fight genetics. I am not meant to be thin and I am okay with it. I just wish every commercial, TV show, model; clothing store would stop ramming their ideals down my throat. Only in this country you go to a store where the size L is actually small enough to fit a 130 pound woman. Who do they think they are catering to? The average American woman is a size 10 to 14 but the stores carry jeans from 0 to an 8. Cero is not a size damn it! It’s a non-size! You have to actually go to that dark, musty area of the store where the “plus sizes”. Nobody wants to walk to that area of the store. That means the cute, tiny and acceptable jeans don’t fit your fat ass! Just walking in the periphery of the “plus” size is bad for your reputation, people look at you funny and you want to get violent... remind me, why do I like shopping again?
No matter. I will work out at home and be healthy and fit and God forbid curvy.
Fuck this country idea of beauty.