I came home and collapsed on my bed, the sensation is like a pool of energy draining into the mattress as if I spilled gallons of water on its surface. I can feel it seeping out of me, everything going limp as my muscles let the mattress take over supporting for my weight. I have felt this tired before, I remember. After 18 mile runs or 4 hour bike rides, for example. Things that have tested my body’s ability to keep going mile after grueling mile. Today, I am feeling that same slack of crushing fatigue. I am drenched with sweat. I am can barely move.
Today, I worked out for 28 minutes.
My pilgrimage back to myself will be a long one. I have only recently started to accept that. In two years since diagnosis, I initially lost some weight and now have gained almost 100 pounds. That is hard to write. It makes me want to hide and not be seen. Granted, I am pregnant and have damaged lungs, low iron levels, and serious deconditioning from months spent in bed. The amount of effort it takes to curb my weight gain at this point is sincerely obscene. I write down everything I eat. I faithfully login to Weight Watchers multiple times a day. I have a pretty good walking regime. And now I have started back to the gym.
Listen, going back to the gym at this point is a humbling experience. I finally got up the courage to go to my first class in December- something I had put off for nine months. I cannot quite describe what it feels like to will my body to do something, and then simply not be able to do it. I am so weak that sometimes when I ask my muscles to perform a task, they just fail. Then I’ll fall down or have to stabilize myself somehow. It’s all the comedic antics you would expect of the out-of-shape chubby person trying to make it through a workout. That shame, the shame of being so acutely aware of what a mass media stereotype I am, is so much of the reason why it is so hard for me to go in the first place. I know what I look like. I know who I used to be. I know what other people are thinking, even the kind-hearted, generous ones like I used to be.
Suffice it to say, I am part mortified and part terrified when I go work out. Mortified because of the unfamiliar blob of a person I see in the mirror. Terrified of what could happen if I don’t go, if I don’t keep fighting through this. So I go. I leap. I take my insecure rear end to the gym and workout alongside the kind and supportive staff at the gym in my office building. Admittedly, not once has anyone at Epic made me feel less-than. In fact, it is has been an incredibly hospitable place. I am lucky for that. Some people don’t get that kind of support. I am also fortunate that Epic is maybe 30 feet away from my office threshold. I have to walk by it daily to get to Element. If nothing else, that persistent reminder is enough to help me get over myself long enough to tie my laces and slap on some spandex/polyester blend.
It is not easy to accept how far I’ve fallen. It is not easy to not love what I see in the mirror. It is not easy to have faith in the process or to give it time to resolve itself. At the same time, it is not a problem that is going to fix itself. I miss my size 8 pants and my small/medium tops. I miss wearing flirty skirts and feeling attractive in jeans and a tee shirt. I miss undergarments that were mostly comfortable or at least sexy (one or the other- I don’t care). I miss feeling strong and powerful. I miss relying on my body, having confidence in what it can do, and having a heathy relationship with it.
I am working hard to maintain my faith that the life I used to have is still attainable. Reclaiming that girl, her strength and ability, is a big part of my recovery. In the meantime, I have to commit to myself that I am still worthy. I honestly don’t know if I will ever be someone who is comfortable and confident at this size. I reserve no judgment for anyone else here, but for me, it is foreign and uncomfortable. It is something I think about almost all day long like it’s a broken record playing in the background oh my mind.
All I can say for sure is that I know I feel better when I try. So I will try. I have leapt and even though these moves are not monumental, the sum them will be. Hopefully. Someday.
Give ‘Em Hell
*Special thanks to trainers Jen and Jackie for helping me get back on my feet. Thank you for not judging me and for being so kind and welcoming.