Thursday, November 1, 2007

Observations

I've had this big fat recipe staring me down for a while now. I'm finally going to be making it. Since the weather's finally cooled off a little bit, I've been in a huge soup mood. Andi, however, does not like soup. But what the hell, I'm making a big pot and I can eat it for lunch. My house smells divine...I'm making the vegetable stock for it as we speak. I can't wait! It's vegan to boot.

So I got up today and went to the gym. I had all intentions of participating in a yoga class...but since no clocks are ever exactly correct (or synchronized), I was five minutes late by one clock at the gym and nearly ten minutes late by yet another clock there. The clock in my car said I was three minutes early. I didn't want to be the new chick who held up the class because I walked in late and oh, by the way, doesn't know any actual yoga poses...except for downward dog. Does that pose even count? So anyway, I opted for the treadmill -- again. This time I did an hour.

I like to people watch while at the gym. Generally I go to the very back line of treadmills, but today there were two men on that row, so I opted for the second to last row. I like to watch how all the guys over at the weight station act. I swear that nearly every guy over there glances around at least every three minutes. I think this is to see who is watching them; if anyone is aware of how strong they are. It goes back to that whole primal dominant male thing.

Then you have the women who I see there regularly. There are two women who are always on the treadmills together. I think they got a little peeved today because I was in the prime television viewing spot. It took them a few minutes and a couple of treadmills to find a spot where they could both be together and in front of the television that they wanted to watch. The Price is Right was what they were forced to watch: apparently I was in the middle of their news viewing station. Drew Carrey isn't that bad, ladies.

There are also all sorts of ladies who I think must have eating disorders. I have radar for them. The other day, a rail thin girl I'd been eying all morning ran and ran on the treadmill. She looked like she was running a marathon; arms flailing wildly as her long, blond ponytail swished from side to side. As I was dying on the elliptical machine, she looked like she could run forever...very Forrest Gump cross country-ish. And then, out of breath, she ran over to the trash bin where she vomited for a good three or four minutes. I felt a little bad for the woman on the elliptical beside her who tried to look away as much as possible. I feel like I should have helped her, but at the same time I felt like she didn't want to be helped...like she'd be more embarrassed than she already was. She knew full well what she was doing to herself. But before my conscience could fight too much, another woman went over and offered a helping hand. As the girl stood there vomiting, I noted in my mind her enormous over sized sweatshirt and sweatpants that bagged and sagged where they should have been tight. I remember all too well those days: you wear clothing that's too big to hide the fragile frame beneath...and when you've gotten to your rock bottom, the clothing that used to fit nicely now falls off in places where curves used to hold everything in place. After she was done vomiting, she slunk away and poured herself down the stairs, where I assume she promptly left the building. I felt deeply for her.

Today I spotted another one of these women who, I imagine, tortures herself for perfection. A young girl walked over to one of the stair stepper machines, got on, and began to climb the endless stairwell. As she went, she stared into different directions aimlessly -- painfully. She really looked as though she was calling out for someone to make her stop. After a while on the stair stepper, she pried herself off and left, legs shaking.

I just really don't understand why, as women, we feel the need to torture ourselves to be the ideal. And as much as we want to blame this tendency on others, we really should look inward. I could blame the media for my previous eating disorder. I could. Or I could just confess that it was my own messed up perfectionism that drove it. Why do we keep striving to be something that is impossible? I wonder. We set our minds on a goal that is most likely unattainable (or nearly so), and of we do reach it -- however miraculously -- there is always another impossibility to strive for.

As mothers, we do it as well. We always want what's best for our children. That's what we say, right? And who in their right mind wouldn't want what's best? But we all know we take it a step further. We're guilty of mothering as a competitive sport. It's only natural that we want to be the best at what we do. But we really should learn to take it in stride. As women and mothers, our lives would be a lot more fulfilled if we just took everything with a grain of salt.

Stop taking everything so seriously and just live.

4 comments:

OHmommy said...

Great post. Found you on NaBloPoMo. I agree with you. I actually, haven't been to a gym in 5 years. I have been prego, nursing, or chasing after kids ever since then. And you know what, I look better now than I did on my wedding day. 3 kids did wonders on my body. But, now, my jeans are starting to fit tighter with every bite of this Halloween candy. Yikes! Anways, great post and good luck this month!

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

That was really good B! Well said!

It's so hard to just do what we want instead of what "others" want us to do and without wondering if others do it better.

There is a lot of pressure out there to do things one way or another, but ultimately, I think we put the pressure on ourselves. We allow "outside views" to taint our judgement and force us down paths we know isn't true to what we want.

Hopefully, as we grow and learn we listen to the innervoice that is the strong, self assured woman more and more!

Missy said...

Oh man, those guys at the weight station KILL me. They are a riot. At my gym sometimes they leave the free weights and go over to the weight machines and have strength competitions.

Again, I think it is great that you are going to the gym. I need to go to the gym. I do not want to be perfect, I just want to look nice in the clothes I already own.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

So true! We really shouldn't do the things we do just so we'll look a certain way.