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Cry, baby, cry. Wipe your weeping eyes.
On doing what I do best, crying in public.
Fun Fact: I often have whole crying fits in the most inconvenient times and spaces. And once my tears start, it’s nearly impossible to stop them until they’re ready to be stopped.
Inconvenient spaces and times I’ve cried:
Countless aisles of grocery and convenience stores.
Food courts in malls and sitting in restaurants.
On a call with my boss.
In the airport and on planes.
During a client meeting.
In class. (Elementary, middle, high, undergrad AND grad.)
Job interviews. (yep, plural—this market is a bitch and people don’t care)
Last night, it was the gym again.
I used to have an entire Instagram page dedicated to fitness.
I posted my workouts, weight loss progress, whatever diet I was on at the time, and some of the meals I ate regularly. For about six years I was obsessed with getting and staying fit. I thought it would be one of the magic cures for my depression because if my body looked good and I felt great physically, surely that would send signals to my brain to perk up a bit indefinitely. But, no such luck.
As my mental health declined, so did my ability to be consistent with working out and curbing the impulse to binge eat. I would get to the gym and just sob, unable to push my body to work out. I eventually stopped torturing myself and quit going altogether. Some days I didn’t eat at all and other days I couldn’t stop eating. I also began taking an antidepressant that was said to not cause weight gain, but I did, and I eventually found myself at my heaviest weight ever. Ashamed, embarrassed, and frustrated, I gave up trying.
Each attempt so far to get back to a consistent workout routine has been a fail.
Earlier this year I joined a gym and started boxing again. It is one of my favorite workouts because while I am pushing myself physically, hitting the bag serves as a mental release, allowing pinned-up aggression and irritability to be expelled safely. I was consistent and doing great for about a month or so until a traumatic run-in with one of my trainers made it impossible for me to enter the studio without thinking about the incident or crying.
I was having an extremely rough day but it was too late to cancel my class without having to pay a fee. So, I told myself to just go. Even if I barely hit the bag, or didn’t finish a round, I convinced myself to just show up and give whatever I had no matter how little it was. At the beginning of round 5, the instructor did not appreciate that I was taking a breather and getting water instead of starting the combo he just demonstrated. He proceeded to walk over to me and let me know that that was not the appropriate time for a water break and that I needed to make up the 20 seconds I missed. His exact words, "20 seconds in and you haven't even packed a punch! Get moving." While normally I was okay with his usually respectful pushing, that day was just not the day. I even told him when I first joined that I didn’t mind being pushed but if I ever warned to back off, I should be left alone. I tried to explain to him that I was getting myself together and would be back at the bag as soon as I was able. What I didn’t say was that I felt myself beginning to cry because I wanted to cease to exist and I just didn’t want to break down in the middle of a packed boxing class.
The trainer proceeded to tell me that now I was wasting even more time, slacking off, and that I didn't know how many people currently in class were also dealing with things and yet they pushed through them. “Man, there are people in here with problems you don’t even know.” Oh, the irony of his words. I then tried to explain that I knew the current capabilities of my body and mind better than him and could no longer push myself past my limits and instead went at my own pace. He again became combative and I decided that I was leaving class as that sent me over the edge. I felt myself about to break down and either get physical with him or cry and I did not want things to escalate further.
As I was walking out, I turned back around to quickly speak with the trainer working the front desk, who happened to be a relative of the trainer. I informed him that I was leaving, that I didn't appreciate the interaction, and that someone should talk to the trainer because it was highly inappropriate and uncalled for. The trainer noticed this and made a point to walk over to the desk and shout at me, "You can tell him whatever you want honey it doesn't matter to me! There are plenty of people here going through things! He’s not my boss, I work for myself!" and walked away. He walked back a second time and that is when the interaction became too much, I cursed him, and then I canceled my membership. The owner of the gym ended up giving me a free month for my troubles, and I eventually had a sit down with the trainer and he profusely apologized. But the damage was done and I was unable to push myself to go back again.
I recently picked up walking consistently until a dark depressive episode and then physical sickness had me back on the couch. Wanting to get back in action and start strength training again, last night I came up with a simple routine to complete in under ten minutes several times a week that would serve as a warm-up to my walks to get my body and muscles back into the habit of lifting–simple moves like burpees, squats, and curls to remind my body of what it is capable of doing until I can mentally push myself to do more.
Even though it was a short workout, I left the gym feeling so proud of myself and even wanting to push myself to do more but chose to continue with my plan to walk instead so as to not do too much too soon. In true “life won’t let me great” fashion, the night ended on a sour note when I walked out of the gym without my keys. After waiting a few minutes of waiting to see if anyone would walk by and let me in, and not wanting to call and wait for emergency maintenance, I nervously knocked on the door to the other gym to get the attention of an older woman working out. I used to hate when people disturbed my workouts in my apartment gym for me to let them in so I hated having to do that to her, and boy did she let me know she hated that I did it too. “Why would you disturb my workout JUST to let you in? UGH omg,” she said, probably not knowing I could hear her through the door since I was wearing headphones. My voice shook as I explained that I was working out in the gym next door and walked out without my keys and simply needed her to unlock it and I’d be on my way, while also apologizing for disturbing her. If only she knew how much strength it took to do the short workout I just finished or even to get through my day, I wonder if she would have responded differently. Once I walked off, I cried. Because of course, I did.
I cried because I was tired.
I cried because I was sad.
I cried because I was annoyed and frustrated.
I cried because I wish “little things” like this didn’t bother me as much as they do.
I wish I wasn’t as emotionally fragile and sensitive as I am right now and that things that seemingly “aren’t that deep” to some, didn’t have the power to instantly shift my mood and sadden me. And as much as I’d like to say I brushed it off and went on about my evening ready to walk my two miles, I walked back to my apartment instead, cried some more, and wrote this.
Here’s to continuing to try again until I run out of energy or care to try some more.
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