A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 33rd birthday…celebrated being a euphemism for what I ACTUALLY did, which was spend a significant portion of the day crying while getting royally drunk on red wine.

33 roared up on me, presenting itself in motorcycle leathers, demanding the goods for its payment at my birth.  It had given me enough time, it reasoned, gesticulating with a cigarette, to DO something, BE something, SHOW something, and it wanted proof—just the facts, man—that its loan had been put to use.

My lower lip trembled.

I hadn’t, in fact, done anything with the gift, and was standing there–With nothing as proof.

Instead, I look back at a long road, a tough one, and me, a terminally miserable, ever-dissatisfied wastrel; a mess in her quest toward the unnamed and ill-defined.

Standing in my place, in these shoes, this body, there was supposed to be a bohemian traveler.  A jaunty soul.  An accomplished….SOMETHING.  I was set to see the world, to take lovers, to fit my life into a backpack.  I was to lie on beaches, stroll museums and bazaars, to teach small children English As A Second Language, stopping each day by the box to send the postcards I now beg off of others.

Would have.  Should have.  Could have.

Youth is indeed wasted on the young.

Somewhere along the line, it became too late for those things.  Somehow, the small setbacks got the better of me.

The successes that I push myself toward are only illusions to fool the unwitting onlooker.  “But this!” they shout, “You’ve done this!  And this!  And THIS!!”  Smokescreen, I tell you.  Sleight of hand.  Shadows and mirrors.  For if they knew the image of myself that I hold in a secret pocket, the shock of the disparity would silence the room.

How do I reconcile this failure?  How do I make it okay that my end point is here, rather than THERE?

In truth, I cannot.  And that is the bottom of the well.


Down To Zero*

I might just go crazy this week, if I’m not careful.   School is out for spring break and I am homebound by injury.  Three weeks into this cavalcade of crutches and I’m pretty close to despair.  I can’t remember the last time that I went this long without stepping foot into a gym, and I’m slipping slowly into madness as I daily watch all my hard won successes go to seed.

As the days wear on, my ass sinks lower, and the definition in my arms is fading.  I’ve tried very hard to curb my eating, but going from 3200 calories a day to 1200 is no easy feat, and I just don’t have the motivation to keep my hands out of that pretzel sack.  I’m back to averting my eyes from the mirror when I stand before it naked after a shower, and my “thin girl jeans” have been placed back to the bottom of the drawer in exile.

This does not a happy yawp make.

Yesterday, I gimped down to the fitness facility in my complex.  My orthopedist had okayed work on the stationary bike, (with no resistance), so I thought to get some cardio.  No such luck as 10 minutes in, my leg started aching.  I cannot fathom how I’m going to make it another FIVE weeks.

Being fit was inextricably linked to my feelings of self-worth and sex appeal.  Working out was the thing I was good at.  It kept me going.  I ran on running, thrived on plyos, gave thanks for planks.  This girl who had spent the first quarter of her life in abhorrence of herself, who had finally found a measure of pride in the fruits of her efforts, has been forced back into that world of disgust and self-loathing.  Back to square one.



*The title of this post comes from THIS song.