Look Away

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Looks are fleeting, yet for so many of us, they form the entire reason for our existence. That doesn’t just mean physically, either: everything we consume has to look as good as possible. Take my Gym, for example: they rebranded their food concession earlier in the year, and an awful lot of time and effort has gone into the ‘healthy’ aspect of their produce. We use this food and that one and everything is fresh is the mantra, time and again. Except, they’ve now rebranded the menu again and I can’t help but think that this time I’m being spoofed, because the thing with the least number of calories on the menu, apart from a fruit salad for breakfast, is pancakes and maple syrup.

They’re supposed to be ‘protein’ pancakes but nowhere on the menu is there an explanation of what that means, what’s in them or indeed how the calorie content of this breaks down. Sure, there’s a calorific value listed on the menu but nowhere on the website can I find an actual breakdown of what exactly is in this dish. Now, because I’m not the person who just complains about this anymore, I went to a member of staff and suggested to them that if the menu had a barcode on that I could scan (or even a QR code) that showed me exactly what this meal broke down into, life would be a lot easier, and I’d be more willing to eat there going forward.

Ironically, I have a better idea what was in my hugely unhealthy takeaway pizza last night than I do what was in my supposedly ‘healthy’ breakfast this morning. Summat ain’t right here, folks.

Today’s other massive revelation is how my push-ups have evolved since I first began doing them. Before I will be honest, there was no core body strength in me at all. Thanks to my surgery, which fixed a belly button hernia back in May, I now have the ability (and muscles) in these areas which simply did not exist before, and this has meant that the form I used to compensate for that lack of strength, is now hindering proper posture. Just as I had to relearn how to run, I’m now tasked with the ability to relearn how to push myself up and down without losing the ‘plank’ posture that matters so much and bloody hell do my arms hurt now.

The great thing about this is, as was the case with running, that I need no equipment to make a change. There’s no fancy workout or video to follow. I simply have to learn to lift myself, and once that takes place without effort or pain, a lot of other stuff falls into place. Plus it is an exercise that can take place every day without the need for a rest. Tomorrow’s 36 will be tough, I suspect, but after that, it will be downhill all the way. I am looking forward to what I know now is the next step forward in my physical transformation. Even with a head full of cold, that’s the most satisfying session of PT I’ve undertaken for quite some time.

It’s all up to me now, and long may that be the case.

Hole in My Shoe

Apart from alcohol, I’ve never taken drugs. The closest I’ve come to losing the plot was as a child, amazingly, when an excess of gas and air did very strange things to my system for several days after dentistry. All the times I’ve ever had to write about being drugged, I’ve done extensive research, but that’s all it ever is, words on a page. I need to use my imagination to do the rest. Now, of late I’ve been working increasingly hard when walking/running over distance. I’ve experienced lesser versions of what’s known as the ‘runner’s high‘ in the past but last night?

Something very interesting happened indeed.

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I’ve long used walking/running as a means to work out issues in my writing: paired with musical soundtracks I ‘visualise’ the scenes I’m working on and this helps find the right words. Last night I returned to a piece I work on from time to time, and one particular song sparked a chain of events that saw me pushing harder and harder up an incline, and becoming more and more involved in the ‘visualisation’ process until, for a brief period, it became real. One character’s ink-stained hands were placed on the body of another and I watched as the colours leeched from skin to skin. I had to stop afterwards because the vividness of the moment was actually frightening. Not only did I think it, it was there, in front of me, made real by the combination of endorphin and imagination.

It was one of the most unsettling things I’ve experienced for quite some time.

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I’ve had lesser versions of this, and different results. It does all boil down to the exertion expended and the time I’m walking/running, plus the music being listened to. In this case, the track created a calm inside me that I suspect was conducive to all this kicking off to being with. What it made me realise is that I have the ability within myself to produce things that aren’t simply powerful, but significant.

After the last few weeks, that’s coming as something of a reassurance.

There are many things I cannot control. Those I can however, will never be underestimated. Your body isn’t frightening or intractable, anything but. Learning to love what you are capable is the best thing I could ever have done at this point in my life.

I need to explore this further.