People ask me sometimes why I work out every day. How I stay motivated. How I get so many steps in. What drives me to do the things I do.
I don't feel like working out every day. I don't feel like getting my steps in every day. I don't feel like avoiding ice cream and cake every day. I freaking love ice cream and I miss it and as good as Halo Top is, it's not Ben and Jerry's and shut up with that nonsense. I don't feel like being "good" all the time (and please, for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, I am in no freaking mood for emails from the food police or the body positivity police or anyone else who wants to skewer me for that statement, okay?). Sometimes, frankly, it really pisses me off that other people eat s'mores and blizzards and ice cream cake and still stay in ketosis and I merely look at a brownie and am up a pound on the scale the next day. It's stupid and unfair and frustrating.
So why, right. Why? I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
I was walking out of Zumba the other night, sweaty and exhausted. I made my way down the staircase and out in the hall and...marched right past some of the other people who were making their way out of the building. Why? Because I walk fast.
I do. I'm fast now. I move fast and I move a lot.
I noticed, too, when I was walking through the parking lot to my car (which was parked in the absolute furthest point away possible because, duh, steps) that I walk like...like I'm somebody.
Like I know what I'm doing. That's how I walk.
I walk with purpose. I walk with my head held high. I walk like you might see me and think, "Oh, look at that powerful lady". Or something, I don't know. You wouldn't be afraid of me or anything, but you might think I have it all together. That I am strong. That I could show you things and you might listen. You might respect me and that I'm 41 and by God do what I want.
I realized at the same time that I walk this way and I get those steps and I go to my classes and I clock my miles and I painstakingly journal every bite of food that passes my lips because this is literally the only area of my life that I can feel any strength in.
My job is an exercise in chaos and has only gotten more stressful lately. The specifics aren't important but I can tell you that among other things there is no way I could feel more ignored and more worthless and more powerless than to see my name literally left off the advertisements for a webinar that I co-hosted, or treat me like my position isn't important even though I do three times the work of someone in a similar position. To be asked to "prove my value". Like the proverbial good child, I raise my hand and volunteer every single time I'm called on and still. I'm not seen as capable. I'm not seen at all.
It's that way with so many things in my life. I always help out. I always pitch in. People take advantage of me all the freaking time and I'm still nice. I listen when I want to scream. I help when I don't ever get a thank you. People cheat me with a smile on their faces. I take it. I cry alone.
At the gym though, if a man gets up next to me and tries to talk to me and asks me baby how are YOU doing? I whip my ring finger up into his face and reply, "Married" and adjust the treadmill up to 6MPH without even looking over at him.
There, I am powerful.
At the gym if a lady smirks at me while she's taking selfies in the mirror, I adjust the weight bar to 210lbs and push my legs out on that weighted plate like Xena the Freaking Warrior Princess. Smirk again, I could crush you with my thighs. I am strong there, in that place. Very strong and very brave. A man stared at me just a little too long the other day and I turned to my son and loudly said, "I wish that creepy old guy would stop staring at me". I shamed him and he deserved it and I would never, ever do that outside of the gym. He was embarrassed, as he should have been, and I, frankly, loved it.
Because in there? I'm powerful. I'm strong. No one messes with me.
In real life? People do things like tell my brand new boss I didn't do something when I totally did and have proof I did. People pile work on me without caring what it's doing to my life, my health, or my work-life balance (hint: it doesn't exist anymore).
The people I live with are lovely, for the most part, but complacent. I'm just wifey or mom. No one ever asks mom how her day was, but everyone wants to share in great detail every struggle of their day. If it weren't for me there would be no dinner and I'm fairly certain my husband and daughter, at least, would survive completely on tortilla chips and Deer Park water.
I love them all so much, they are wonderful, but Jesus Christ they sometimes all make me feel like I don't even matter at all.
I feel helpless, often hopeless, and completely powerless in so many areas of my life.
This is why I work out every day, why I stay in ketosis, why I manage so many steps even when I'm way too tired. Why I keep going when I feel like quitting.
It's sometimes the only way I feel alive. Like I have power. Like I matter.