Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ow, my obstreperal lobe!

I think I sprained it.

I joined a gym. See, I was in Vegas this last weekend. It was fun. Quelle and I went with Quelle's mom--I'll call her Faye--and Faye's BFF (Barbara) (that's her real name--I can't think of anything) who are both in their sixties. Neither of them is doing so well. Faye has adult-onset diabetes (or The Beetis, as I like to call it) and needs a new knee. She doesn't want to bother getting the new knee, though, because she doesn't want to do the rehab. Barbara has heart problems and has to take a diuretic that has her out of bed every hour of the night. We got to Vegas on Thursday evening and we left on Monday afternoon, and that whole time, they didn't set foot outside our hotel. Friends, we stayed at the Orleans. I liked the Orleans okay, but five straight days inside that building sounds like a season in hell. Once, Barbara wandered out to get a look at the pool, but other than that, they just hobbled around the casino, now playing slots, now eating at TGI Friday's, now drinking cocktails upon which their doctors would frown.

Faye is sixty-five. I'm thirty-three. I feel like I've finally crested the hill of youth, and stretched out before me is the great river valley of adulthood. Far away, on the opposite slope, I can see sixty-five. It's hazy in the distance, but I can definitely see it from here. When I get there, when I'm climbing toward the mesa of old age, I do not want to be creeping painfully around, cursing Wilford Brimley. (Even if you already know why Faye would be cursing Wilford Brimley, click that link. It's pretty great.)

"But Bitey," you admonish me, "you can't compare your future self to someone else's mom. What about your mom?" ("What about your mom," I wittily retort, before remembering that I am not six years old.) My mom will be sixty-two this year, and she's doing pretty good. Her blood pressure is a little high, and she's slowed down a little, but she still does yard work and home repairs, and exercises a little and takes walks. But. First of all, I have this photo of my mom from when she and my dad first married, and she was much thinner than I have ever been. Granted, I happen to know that when she was in college, her doctor gave her amphetamines as a weight loss aid, but still. Second, Faye's favorite activity is lying on her bed, propped up with pillows, watching her soaps. Change the bed to a sofa and the soaps to police procedurals, and I'm there. Third, just this year, my knees started to hurt. Not often, and not a lot, but just the same. If I'm sitting for any lenghth of time, they're a little stiff when I first get up. Ten steps walks it off, but that's ominous, yes? Yes.

So I have to lose some weight and strengthen my knees. I've thought long and hard about this weight loss issue. I've got a tricky relationship with all that, some of which is detailed in previous posts. I don't think I'm unhealthy now. I think that my organs and systems are operating just fine, and I don't have any complaints. I don't have body image issues. This is what I look like (not the bee--that's to make you think, "Wow, Bitey is really the Bee's Knees!"), and anyone who's got a problem with that needs information or therapy or a head-dunking or some combination thereof. But I think it would be better for my knees if I weighed a little less. *NOT* that I'm going to diet. I've learned a lot about nutrition in the last couple years, and a lot about disordered eating. I eat whatever the hell I want. Period.

So I joined a gym. I've had two workouts so far, and I like it. This place has a structured workout that goes pretty fast and changes up a lot to prevent boredom and fatigue while still working you out. It's women only, which is FANTASTIC, and there are no mirrors, which is also really, really great. The equipment is sized for women, which means that it's almost too small for me and my ridiculously long limbs, but that's okay. Unlike most gyms, it's got a very friendly and convivial atmosphere, and it doesn't smell like stale man-sweat. I actually like it a lot.

It's Curves.

Yeppers. Curves.

For all its woman-friendly appearance, Curves was started by a dude, and not just any dude, but a right-wing evangelical Christian who gives money to George Bush and anti-abortion groups. It's all true: I looked it up on Snopes (it's pretty bad--read it for yourself), and also? I knew it going in. I couldn't afford some fancy-pantsed exclusive place, which is the only other women-only option. My second choice was the Y, but it's smelly and full of men. Also, you have to remember my strong proclivity for lying around like the Queen of Sheba. Left to myself, I would do nothing at all, ever. I need structure and guidance and variety. Plus, I don't feel like I'm in good enough shape to work out at a regular gym, which I think is the fault of the gyms. I've been to regular gyms, and I always feel awkward and self-conscious, and I quit going after a couple weeks. I don't like it. I'm not doing it and you can't make me.

But the whole thing is causing some kind of stress injury in my obstreperal lobe. I know we all live in the patriarchy as best we can, but we don't have to fall all over ourselves shoveling money to misogynists. But sometimes the misogynists have the only game in town. Here's how I figure I'll get myself back into alignment: I got the Curves student discount, so I only had to pay $99 for five months, which is really, really cheap. I figure that I'll make up for it by giving twice that amount to a worthy feminist cause. That evens things out, right? Right?


Jezebella said...

If Curves hurts your obstreperal lobe too much after five months, look for a "wellness center" affiliated with a hospital. It will not be a stinky macho Gym, but rather mostly filled with people trying to get healthy, many of whom would also prefer to sit on the couch and eat bon-bons.

Bitey said...

Mmmm. Bon bons. *drools*

That's a good idea--I'll check that out. My campus has a gym, of course, but the last thing I need is to be staggering through an aerobics routine with any of my students looking on.

tinfoil hattie said...

Well. I once joined Curves, and I LOVED it. I too knew it was a righty godbag who owned it. But I got my scheudenfrade when their stupid "Curves Cereal!" failed miserably.

I am struggling right now with SO MUCH about weight. I am feeling guilty for wanting to lose weight! Becuase I am trying to reconcile it with fat acceptance! How convoluted is that?

But I'm FAT. Obese, even. I have GERD, and I move slowly, and my cholesterol is high, and honestly, I see Faye & Barbara-ville way, WAY sooner than bitey does! (I'm 47)

So thanks for this post -- and I do have a membership to our local rec center, which has a limited selection of free weights, so we don't get a lot of sweaty, grunting men. In fact, it's mostly senior citizens, and they're nice & non judgmental, and it's a SAFE SPACE.

So send me "you can do it, tinfoil hattie!" vibes. Thanks, and (((bitey))). (hugs aren't forbidden here, are they?)

Bitey said...

You can do it, tinfoil hattie! Woo!

I think that the FA movement is definitely a force for good, but I also think that each individual has to be in charge of her own body. Staying fat when you want to lose weight is no better than starving yourself to be thin.

If you think you would feel better if you were more active, then go for it. Go for active, and the weight will take care of itself.

It's your body. You decide.

And of course hugs are allowed! (((tinfoil hattie))) You can do it!

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