Note – occasionally I write posts about my relationship with myself. This is one such post. It’s about my relationship with my Saddlebags. You can search “Saddlebags” to catch the history of these posts, or go here for the entry prior to this one.
I hate going to the dentist. I have a past childhood, former adolescence and present adulthood so filled with dental trauma that I know I’ll never get over the all-encompassing fear I face every sixth months of my life. Seriously.
When I was a kid, I had four permanent teeth removed for braces, I had four wisdom teeth removed prior to getting braces (plus a little piece of my jawbone – they had impacted, and having no where else to turn, went downward…into my jaw), cavities galore, more shots than I’ll ever be able to count…I puke when the dentist tries to give me laughing gas. Can you tell I’m serious here? I really, really hate going to the dentist. Now, I’m in the process of getting crowns because of all my cavities and I’m only finished with number three. I have to get seven. I also hate it when people tell me dentist stories…and I’ve just put you through an entire paragraph of mine. Oh my heavenly days – please forgive me! I have a point. Really…
My point is that I fear going to the dentist. I hope that’s clear. But I have realized since last November that I’ve been fearing going to the gym, practically at the same level of intensity…to shake my saddlebags, remember? I mean I really worked myself up on how hard it was going to be to start a workout regimen again, and I had to literally drag myself into the gym the first time. After generating so much lactic acid that I became nauseous and spent some quality time over the toilet, I decided that working out wasn’t just scary – – it was horrific. So horrific that it took me six full days for my muscles to quit aching from the first workout. I recall not being able to sit on the carpet during Thanksgiving because the prospect of getting back up meant moving my legs, arms and abdomen and that would induce pain…Pain!
(For “Hitting Bottom – Saddlebags First Entry, go here.) I took it as a good omen. I pulled up to the Oklahoma State University Seretean Wellness Center and standing majestically next to the entrance were trees just bursting with fall color.
I took it as a good omen because I was looking for anything to hold on to, and fall foliage would do just as well as…oh, say…the parking meter I was fumbling with. I was on my way to an appointment I had set with the coordinator of personal training. I already feared this woman and I had never even met her.
As I neared the entrance, I glanced at the wall, paused and then stopped to read:
Okay, fine. Rub it in. Use deep words, philosophically crafted to reach down into my literature loving soul and say to me things that I didn’t want to hear because they were so perfect. Ugh. Wow. Deep breath. Okay. I pulled open the door and went in.
Kip, the student attendant at the front desk, was nice, made a joke and continued to make this horrible visit as pleasant as possible. “What is wrong with you people!?” I thought. “I’m trying to be sullen and all scared here, okay?” I didn’t even have time to sit in the waiting area and get anxious. Within two minutes, Joanna was bounding up the stairs with a smile on her face as well. “Don’t look her in the eye,” I continued to tell myself. “This experience has to be bad because I’ve built it up to be – – do NOT submit to her powers.”
Everything after that moment was a blur. Joanna started asking me what my goals were, what barriers were in my life preventing me from achieving these goals, and writing what I said down. “Stop it – don’t write it down!”…I continued my panicked thinking, “If you write it down then it will be real!” She looked at me and smiled again. [Cripes! Smiles everywhere!] Some external force took over my body and made me answer her questions, made me fill out a form and sign a membership, and made me commit to twelve sessions – to be completed at least twice per week. “…And we’ll reassess your goals then…to see if you’re ready to crank it up another level to three sessions per week. You really need to exercise intensely for 150 minutes per week if you want to burn calories and get in shape….”
150 minutes per week-week-week-week-week. The words were echoing in my head like someone had played around with a sound system in the building intercom system.
I don’t even know what that means. I was looking at her but I was thinking, “Maybe if I run really fast she won’t catch me. Even in these high-heeled boots, I’ll bet I could give her a good run for the money.” Then I looked at her. She was petite, in great physical shape, was wearing one of those stop-clock watches and had a determined set to her jaw. I think her jaw was more determined than mine. I gave in…right there in my head I knew she was living what she was talking about and I needed to listen to her.
“Okay,” I replied. “I guess I’m ready to go ahead and set up my schedule. And, oh – hey, I’m writing about this experience on my blog. Would you mind if I took your picture?”
A very brief but real look of surprise and possible fear crossed her face. “A blog? Um, what kind of blog? Is it – is it local?” She hadn’t agreed to the photo yet, and all of a sudden there was a slight change in that determined jaw.
I relaxed. She was human…just like me. “Well, it’s just a group of friends and we write about different things around Oklahoma and about Red Dirt country. I wrote an entry about how I needed to get in shape and I’m going to be following up with my progress – – how things go. I’m kind of scared about it.” Then, she relaxed.
She and Kip posed, the camera flashed, and I walked out the door.
I had no idea a little tiny Canon camera could be that powerful. And, I start next Tuesday morning.
I looked at the trees as I walked out, re-read the quote on the wall, and smiled. “Okay, this is going to be horrible. And, I guess I’m okay with that,” I said to myself. Then me and my saddlebags walked back to my car and drove back to work.