Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Weight loss diary -- conducting

Well I did it.
After yesterday's sob story, I went to the pool and did a workout.
I put on my star-spangled bikini and I got into the cold (for about 30 seconds until your body adjusts and it's really not bad) water.
"I hate it I hate it I hate it," I said to the palm trees, knowing that they would be on my side. They like the sun and aren't used to being plunged in cold water, except when the wind breaks free a frond that falls to the pool below, soon to be fished out by a human eager to swim.
I swam like a frog, back and forth across the length of the pool, avoiding the chilly stream of water that was topping off the giant vat I was swimming in.
I did a liiiiiittle bit of freestroke, but that wears a person out, and I don't have goggles so I couldn't really do it properly anyway.
I jogged in the shallow end.
And I treaded water.
I don't know why, but I have for a long time loved to tread water. I guess it's kind of like running, repetitive motion to the point of one's mind forgetting quite what it's doing.
I got 10 steps out of my apartment when I realized I would need my phone at the pool, so that I could time my workout (I aim for 20 minutes of activity).
I turned back, took two steps toward the door.
I turned once again, telling myself I didn't need a number tied to my exercise to make me valuable. How often I get lost in this kind of thinking -- I need to run X number of miles, get my heart rate to Y beats per minute, stay on the treadmill for Z minutes, in order for my efforts to "count," to be worth something.
I don't want to be a slave to the stopwatch. I will still use it, as a tool, but I want to do my best to keep it as a tool only. Not a judgmental drill sergeant.
I got bored in the pool, and hungry.
I tried to mix things up by swimming quietly. Keeping my hands and feet away from the water's surface so that I would not splash.
Instead of grabbing the edge of the pool with my hand when I finished a lap, I used my feet only to touch the wall and kick off for a return lap.
I did my best to guestimate in my head if I had hit 20 minutes of cardio.
As I hovered in the deep end, treading, treading, treading, I thought of how my body's been hovering at the same number of pounds for weeks now.
There I go again, counting my life away.
I listened to the pool filter's flapping plastic tongue, lapping up sloppy gulps of chemically water.
I watched the waves around me, hitting the pool wall then moving back inward, colliding with waves heading to the wall themselves. Big, wet chest bumps.
I exhaled from my mouth, making a breathy noise as I did. I aimed my air at the water, trying to create ripples.
As I thought of dinner, I thought, "Three more minutes," and turned my gaze upward, to the palms.
I've lived in Los Angeles long enough that I take palm trees for granted, but these particular two by the pool are endearing to me. They are not too squatty, not too tall. They cast an impressive canopy for the unassuming size of their fronds. The leaves fade from lime to lemon. They tickle each other's edges, sounding like tiny crumples of paper making light music.
When I got out of the pool, I didn't feel stronger, or skinnier.
But I felt changed.
My skin radiated warmth, and itched from the chlorine.
I shed my towel and built a salad of lentils and Granny Smith apple, still clad in my bikini. Parading my X number of pounds around the quiet kitchen, enjoying the quiet of my body. My edges softly humming, slowly shedding the motion of the water, moving into stillness for the first time all day.
I poured 2 percent milk, because I didn't have skim at home. I reminded myself I am of worth, even if I didn't put "pure," fat free liquid inside of me.
I traveled in time as it covered my tongue. Standing in my California bedroom, I was back at the octagonal table of my youth. In our Kansas kitchen, six heads, six glasses, twelve feet tucked underneath.


My swim last night wasn't life-shifting, but it was something.

It was motion. It was quiet. It was effort put forward when I wanted to instead remain inside, unmoving. It wasn't pushy, like pounding feet on a treadmill, the hard clank of weights slamming down. The resistance of the water made everything less intense.

As I looked up from the deep end to my friends, the Palms, I forgot the day's stress. My overwhelming list of to-do's was erased, difficult in fact to bring to the forefront of my memory.

I listened to the filter, to the palms, to the tiny, tiny sound of the water creating haphazard, rounded waves; peaks and valleys all throughout the giant tub.

And underneath the surface, I conducted the music I heard. Arms turning in wayward circles, in and out, legs paddling at random.
Losing weight is not easy. Loving a body that has met its fourth decade and has said goodbye to its metabolism is a struggle.

Meanwhile I try to smile, genuinely, when I look in the mirror.

To count my blessings and urge my stress to melt off of me.

To get in the water and conduct. Conduct motion. Conduct calm. Conduct health, contentment, and peace. The kind of peace that makes me prance around the kitchen in my bikini, in the soft dusk of a summer night.

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