Kettle Belle Chronicles: “Why I’m hostile to exercise”, or… “follow the way of the Wrecking Belle in the Real Madrid T-shirt and yoga pants.”


I sometimes toy with the idea of attaining exercise god status. The black yoga pants wearer,  that adored symbol of strength and power.  The all knowing being whom saunters into Pinkberry without a care or a ripple on her behind.  I endeavored to be the cut / toned / tony-excessively smooth pantaloon wearer.

I embarked on this journey with some reservations but higher than proper expectations.   I only wanted to do this if it fit nicely within my carefully crafted idea of invigorating exercise, and I painted a pretty good picture of the journey in my mind.  A precise one in fact.   I would accept it if it was moderately tiring but yet refreshingly rejuvenating.  If I could meet other ladies and affiliate with them and we could form a team of supportive women working toward the goal of being ridiculously hot!   Where shared experience and hardship made the journey that much easier and rewarding.  I couldn’t picture myself caring much about some sweat.  It might only serve to make me look like Jennifer Beals sans chair but still like Jennifer Beals.  I had the curly hair that hung around my face uncannily like her…when I didn’t blow dry that is.  And  I accepted that I may feel a modicum of pain, but that soon my muscles would be toned and sculpted.  But how much pain would be bearable?  And, as I would learn, I wouldn’t get to determine that.

Well it hit me like a kettle bell on the side of the temple when I found out that there was no magical group of women welcoming you into their leg pumping lair. The women arrived, threw down their keys, knock-off sunglasses, squeezed their water bottles into cubbies and threw their white towels round their necks.  They visually organized eachother, preened, hands on hips slowly checking out newcomers.  There were no smiles, just long gazes, that if you caught one, a sort of straight grimace was returned.  I seemed to have entered a paddock of overweight racehorses readying for competition.

I wasn’t exactly sure why all the life lessons I had had drilled into my psyche about ‘listening to pain’ were lost on the Exercise gods.  I reasoned, I was the person who was feeling the pain, the person whose brain was responsible for the urgent messages to cease and desist whatever the particular activity was at the moment, so why was ‘ignoring the pain’ the instruction that I was given? .” I had discovered the essence of the problem that I had with ‘exercise’  Do they believe that our minds are separate from our body? Does the body not work in conjunction with the brain?  does the brain not field signals from the body and then decide what actions to take?  Is it then wise that we keep working the body in the repetitive manner when the body is clearly saying, “NO YOU CANNOT KEEP THROWING THAT KETTLE BELL OVER YOUR WANING LEFT SHOULDER AND EXPECT NOT TO LAUNCH IT INTO THE CHEST OF THAT ELABORATELY SWEATING CROATIAN WOMAN!

We began with two laps around the building and were told not to stop.  One of the evil geniuses was stationed at the opposite side of the building to ‘keep an eye on us and make sure we did not stop.  Our herd returned bounding for the water fountain.  Seconds later we swang kettle bells to and fro.  We then did burpies until dizziness set in. We lifted heavy bars while doing jumping jacks. We swung ropes as though ceaselessly straightening them out.  We did squats that threatened to re-open our episiotomies.  Even if they were given to us years ago.  “Wider, Wider!”  How My mind begged my mouth to shout, “yah? let’s see you open that wide!”  We did push ups, chin ups, and fast weights to keep the cardio effect going.   We army crawls and the dreaded burpie.  Every time my body began to revolt, writhe with the equivalent of a physiological scream, heart pulsing out of my chest easily seen by passers-by, like some comic book grinch in love, and I would point at my chest signifying my lack of breath, The exercise god (female or male),  Impervious to my impending heart attack, would glance at me momentarily finally offer a deliberation,  “you can go further, you can do it Christine!”  As I looked up with long eyes, intentionally trying to clear my double vision, my soaked shirt seemed to bangle in the wind like some latvian wet towel air conditioner.  My jello thighs danced. My exercise god lavished a wide smile unto me saying, “THERE YOU GO!!!” Usually finishing off with the dispassionate and quite routine 90’s meme “YOU GO GIRL!!!”

The exercise gods believe in “pushing oneself” It’s a rite of the baptismal font of back sprains.  The ungainly church of belly crunches and impossibly performed burpies.  “If you push yourself, you will surprise yourself.’  ….”If you push yourself….you won’t be sorry…”  “If you push yourself you will be so proud!”  I find an extreme dichotomy in the fact that the women or men that are ‘coaching’ you, many of whom you do not know from Adam or Eve, are ripped beyond belief and do not remember their own days of cookies and carmel macchiatos. Well not really anyway.   Those discretions are seen through skinny-latte coloured glasses. If you ask them, the cookies are remembered as necessary ‘Tiger Milk Bars” maybe only two a day, and the caramel macchiatos are declared but suddenly remembered as intermittent at best.   The bad ‘ol days of minimal muscle and ripped adipose are forgotten and that is the disconnect.

Half way into the reality of the work out, the dry throat, the slight dizziness.  The women wince in pain and look up as they rise from doing push ups.  They begin to knowingly glance at each other.  The tired faux warrior princesses realize that they need each-other.      They begin to look for the affiliation that they narcissistically did not seek in the beginning of the workout.

Class after class this social machination repeats itself.  Ignore each other, then feel pain and affiliate. Rinse and repeat. Do they like it?  Do they like communal pain? Additionally, Do they enjoy paying the Exercise Gods to “make” them push themselves?  I offer that they do.

Part of the motivation comes from pure peer adulation for ‘just doing it’ being ‘brave.’ I was recently told I was a ‘real trooper’ I kept going in part because I didn’t relish the idea of letting everybody know that I thought it was ‘too hard‘ for me.  I had just been given the rather militaristic moniker of “Trooper” and I was feeling a tad nationalistic at the time.  I pictured myself a sort of stylized  Jane Q. Public  upholder of the exercise ethos. Well, within my circle of soft-bellied family and friends.

Ultimately, I found that the exercise gods wanted me to believe that my body was my enemy and that I must conquer it with my Jedi mind.

It was not proper to let my body tell me that one or another exercise could not be done.  Somehow I was to overcome all of the brutal messages that my body was sending me about my pain and satiety.  I really WANT TO DO THIS, but my analytical nature may be getting in the way, oh! that and my muscle capacity!  How can I know whether I can actually do this? …Guess I’ll just have to trust the ‘wrecking belle’ in a Real madrid T-shirt and Yoga pants.

______________________________________________________________________

Stay tuned for hopefully twice weekly updates on “The kettle Belle Chronicles” (Written by unwilling exercise maven, Christina Long) about the ugly and hopefully someday ‘beautiful’ side of cardio / strength training classes in Los Angeles on “The Trouble With Milk.”  http://thetroublewithmilk.com

Advertisements

Jason “Snake” Homeless


Open your mind. Support NAMI. National Alliance Mental Illness. Support “Frank” a site for people who are wrestling with addiction. http://www.talktofrank.com/ and….be there for your kids.

My Post secret Synchronicity


On New Year’s Day, (okay yesterday)... I woke up and decided to visualize my new goals and resolutions. I decided that before I got to the real  angst and torture from which all sacrifice must come,  I would flounder in my old habits just a little longer.   I proceeded to roll out of bed at 1PM, eat cereal for my breakfast / lunch / afternoon snack.  (one bowl accounted for all of those meals, but lord it was a large one).  I then lain in an extremely hot bath hoping to settle the granola that was without a doubt nefariously swimming in my breadbasket like paunch.

After enjoying my scalding dip (which lasted approximately an hour), I dried off and took a seat next to my husband at our local Mexican food eatery, “The Whole Enchilada.”  I consumed “Street tacos.”

It did, in fact, cross my mind that i just paid $10.00 for a plate of ‘street tacos’ not on the ‘STREET but ‘in THE ‘KITCHEN’ of a corporate restaurant.  I probably should’ve  mosied back down the boulevard and bought some those tacos for about $2.00!   Yes, I did get a tiny bowl of frijoles de la hoya with a ‘pift’ of cacique cheese floating in it, but even that didn’t make it a moderate economic gain.  After whooshing the corporate cloaked ‘street tacos’ down my gullet,  Steve and I decided we would see the latest Coen Brothers’ movie, “True Grit.”  but with an hour to kill before our flick,  we decided to first go to our local bookstore use it like a library (as usual.)  Usually we purchase a coffee and cookie reading books in their entirety and taking pictures of weird titles.  We’d wait until the movie started or they kicked us out.  Whatever came first.

I hung in Cultural studies / social issues because I can’t get enough controversy, stories of intervention and political unrest.  I must say that I do have a ‘highbrow literary fantasy’ so sometimes I break character and skulk over to the literary fiction looking for affecting coming of age tales with political overtones set in middle America.  Ahem Thomas Pynchon..Ahem…

Steve dallied in Tech, computing, cooking or building.  But I was hoping to find something different in my usual domain, running my finger along several spines, the  new P.J. O’Rourke, the new Amy Goodman, 

some blasted books blasting Obama, some social book applauding Oprah, what it feels like to be half black and half white, how it feels to be transgender.  Partisan stuff, union stuff, struggles of women with eating disorders and how to talk to your child if he’s in a gang.  I noticed some opinion stuff on Kabul and then… there I spotted it.  “PostSecrets.” Intrigued in general with ‘secrets,’ I opened the book.  “PostSecrets” is a book created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard.

The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before.

Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.  I was intrigued to say the least.  I flipped through the book dazzled by the humor, the honesty and yes the sadness.

The sadness was striking and hard to digest at the same time since it was expressed with such artistic beauty.

Some of the revelations sworn to secrecy were familiar.  Yes, at times I do hate people who display some of the same traits that I do hate within myself.  But I read on.  I found people who felt ignored, unloved, bound and angry.  Some were flippant, using the platform / art piece / literary work as a context to simply goof on the idea of a secret through the use of exaggeration or minimalism.  There were ‘matter of fact secrets’ and then there were ones that we only have had inklings were occurring in some of our family friends and neighbors.

As I perused the expanse of artwork, now with Steve looking over my shoulder, I was turning the pages and found this!  It said, “I cheated on my husban with a woman and i’ll do it again.”  In a way I felt honored to be the unlikely and completely unexpected

recipient of one woman’s “secret.”  I felt sad that she (whomever she was), was obviously torn in her relationship, and that she was burdened with something she seemed to feel ashamed of.  I felt sorry for the unknowing party, the deceived, the husband.  This unknown woman had seen the book, gone into the bathroom which was only 10 steps from the end of the aisle where the section was located, and tore a sheet from the towel dispenser, authored her admission and left it for discovery.

I felt as though the sadness and beauty of this book had just reached out and touched me in reality, there on that shelf in that bookstore while killing time waiting for a Coen Brothers’ movie.

"I only ever played sports to feel like my father loved me."

UtneReader.com: The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce


Utne Reader

This page was sent to you by: chrissylong@mac.com

The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce

A small-town soldier returns from Iraq broken. He is not alone. He thinks he is.

chrissylong@mac.com wrote:

We can’t ignore PTSD, or more importantly the anger, psychosis and confusion between right and wrong that war brings.

Privacy Policy | Copyright 2009 Ogden Publications, Inc.