though I’ve been avoiding it, and the longer I was away, the harder it was to get back, I DID go back this morning. To the gym. Excuses: I was sick, I was tired, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I had an infection, I was at my girlfriend’s house, I had too much work to do. Blah, blah, blah.
the power went out. I had to reset my clocks, and when I woke up this morning, I found myself with an extra half hour. So, I put on those shorts, those sneakers, stuffed the work clothes in a bag, and WENT.
I was slow, I’d lost some of the cardio health I’d built up, and I was sweating inside 5 minutes. Yes, walking. Fat men sweat easily. Watching the monitors of the several different TV stations, though, I tuned more into my music, even with the missing cover for the earbud that somehow affected the dB levels going into my left ear.
Somewhere, I started gathering power from doing the damn thing, and though I was sweaty, though I’m out of shape, I grew proud that I was here, doing the necessary thing to go from amorphous mass to being chiseled from… modeling clay? Dough? Certainly not stone. Not yet.
Then a song came on the tune player, saying exactly what I was thinking, feeling. His voice was yell-singing through a megaphone, saying “I wanna get better,” and as he did, I looked up. Between the yellow and purple machines, and the diamond plate walls was a single word:
Years of reading history came back to me, just as years of bad eating and laziness had, and it all became so clear. There is no lightness in being, there is no unrestricted movement and growth, there is no success, no matter how small without work. My long-ago memory of studying a Teutonic tongue came back, and turned a genocidal slogan on its head without changing the wording at all: Arbeit macht frei.
But in this, there is no death. In these words, there is no genocide. There is no wall between me now and me later. No jelly donut talking head, Only the work to be done to free my body from the pain of weight, carried around far too long. Smiling, loving, “screaming at myself / HEY / I wanna get better!”